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Expounding On My Theory for Racial Differences In Sports

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JP Rushton

Richard Lynn

L:inda Gottfredson

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In the past, I’ve talked about why the races differ—at the extremes—(and the general population, but the extremes put the picture into focus) in terms of what sports they compete and do best in. These differences come down to morphology somatype, physiology. People readily admit racial differences in sports and—rightly say—that these differences are largely genetic in nature. Why is it easier for people to accept racial differences in sports and not accept other truisms, like racial IQ differences?

I’ve muscle fiber typing and how the variances in fiber typing dictate which race/ethny performs best at which sport. I’ve also further evidence that blacks have type II fibers (responsible for explosive power), which leads to a reduced Vo2 max. This lends yet more credence to my theory of racial differences in sports—black Americans (West African descendants) have the fiber typing that is associated with explosive power, less so with endurance activities. Since I’ve documented evidence on the differences in sports such as baseballfootballswimming and jumpingbodybuilding, and finally strength sports, tonight I will talk about the evolutionary reasons for muscle fiber and somatype differences that will have us better understand the evolutionary conditions in which these traits evolved and why they got selected for.

Most WSM winners are from Nordic countries or have Nordic ancestry. There’s a higher amount of slow twitch fibers in Nordics and East Asians (and Kenyans) which is more conducive to strength and less conducive to ‘explosive’ sports. West Africans and their descendants dominate in sprinting competitions. Yea yea yea white guy won in 1960. So they will be less likely to be in strength comps and more likely to win BBing and physique comps. This is what we see.

Only three African countries have placed in the top ten in the WSM (Kenya, Namibia, and Nigeria, however, one competitor from Namibia I was able to find has European ancestry). Here is a video of a Nigerian Strongest Man competition (notice how his chest isn’t up and his hips rise before the bar reaches his knees, horrible form). Fadesere Oluwatofunmi is Nigeria’s Strongest Man, competing in the prestigious Arnold Classic, representing Nigeria. However, men such as Fadesere Olutaofunmi are outliers.

Now for a brief primer on muscle fibers and which pathways they fire through. Understanding this aspect of the human body is paramount to understanding how and why the races differ in elite competition.

Life history and muscle fiber typing

Slow twitch fibers fire through aerobic pathways. Breaking down fats and proteins takes longer through aerobic respiration. Moreover, in cold temperatures, the body switches from burning fat to burning carbohydrates for energy, which will be broken down slower due to the aerobic perspiration. Slow twitch (Type I) fibers fire through aerobic pathways and don’t tire nearly as quickly as type II fibers. Also, CHO reserves will be used more in cold weather. The body’s ability to use oxygen decreases in cold weather as well, so having slow twitch fibers is ideal (think about evolution thousands of years ago). Type I fibers fire off slower so they’ll be able to be more active for a longer period of time (studies have shown that Africans with Type II fibers hit a ‘wall’ after 40 seconds of explosive activity, which is why there are so few West-African descended marathon runners, powerlifters, Strongmen, etc). Those who possess these traits will have a higher chance to survive in these environments. Those with slow twitch fibers also have to use more oxygen. They have larger blood vessels, more mitochondria and higher concentrations of myoglobin which gives the muscles its reddish color.

Each fiber fires off through different pathways, whether they be anaerobic or aerobic. The body uses two types of energy systems, aerobic or anaerobic, which then generate Adenosine Triphosphate, better known as ATP, which causes the muscles to contract or relax. Depending on the type of fibers an individual has dictates which pathway muscles use to contract which then, ultimately, dictate if there is high muscular endurance or if the fibers will fire off faster for more speed.

Type I fibers lead to more strength and muscular endurance as they are slow to fire off, while Type II fibers fire quicker and tire faster. Slow twitch fibers use oxygen more efficiently, while fast twitch fibers do not burn oxygen to create energy. Slow twitch muscles delay firing which is why the endurance is so high in individuals with these fibers whereas for those with fast twitch fibers have their muscles fire more explosively. Slow twitch fibers don’t tire as easily while fast twitch fibers tire quickly. This is why West Africans and their descendants dominate in sprinting and other competitions where fast twitch muscle fibers dominate in comparison to slow twitch.

Paleolithic Europeans who had more stamina spread more of their genes to the next generation as their genotype was conducive to reproductive success in Ice Age Europe. Conversely in Africa, those who could get away from predators and could hunt prey more efficiently survived. Over time, frequencies of genes related to what needed to be done to survive in those environments increased, along with the frequencies of muscle fibers in the races.

Racial differences in anatomy and physiology

Along with muscle fiber differences, blacks and whites also have differences in fat-free body mass, bone density, distribution of subcutaneous fat, length of limbs relative to the trunk, and body protein contents (Wagner and Heyward, 2000). These differences are noticed and talked about in the scientific literature, even in University biology and anatomy textbooks. However, in terms of University textbooks, authors who recognize the concept of race do so in spite of what other authors write (Hallinan, 1994). Furthermore, Strkalj and Solyali (2010) analyzed 18 English textbooks on anatomy and concluded that discussion of race was ‘superficial’ and the content ‘outdated’, i.e., using the ‘Mongoloid, Caucasoid, Negroid terminology (I still do out of habit). They conclude that most mentions of race are either not mentioned in anatomy textbooks or are only ‘superficially accounted for in textbooks’. Clearly, though they are outdated, some textbooks do talk about human biological diversity, though the information needs to be updated (especially now). The center of mass in blacks is 3 percent higher than in whites, meaning whites have a 1.5 percent speed advantage in swimming while blacks have a 1.5 percent speed difference in sprinting. East Asians that are the same height as whites are even more favored in swimming, however, they are shorter on average so that’s why they do not set world records (Bejan, Jones, and Charles, 2010).

For another hand grip strength (HGP) test, see Leong et al (2016). Most studies on HGS are done on Caucasian populations with little data for non-Caucasoid populations. They found that HGS values were higher for North America and Europe, intermediate in China, South America and the Middle East, and the lowest in South Asia, Southeast Asia, and Africa. These are, most likely, average Joes and not elite BBers or strength trainers. This is one of the best papers I’ve come across on this matter (though I would kill to have a nice study done on the three classical races and their performance on the Big 3 lifts: squat, bench press and deadlift; I’m positive it would be Asian/white and blacks as the tail end).

Among other physical differences is brain size and hip width. Blacks have narrower hips than whites who have narrower hips than Asians (Rushton, 1997: 163). Bigger-brained babes are more than likely born to women who have wider hips. If you think about athletic competition, one with wide hips will get decimated by one with narrower hips as he will be better able to move. People with big crania, in turn, have the hip structure to birth big brains. This causes further division between racial groupings in sports competition.

Some people may dispute a genetic causation and attribute the success of, say, Kenyan marathoners (the Kalenjin people) and attribute the effects to the immediate environment (not ancestral), training and willpower (see here for discussion). This Kenyan subpopulation also has the morphology conducive to success in marathons (tall and lengthy), as well as type II muscle fibers (which is why Kenya placed in the WSM).

I would also like to see a study of men in their prime (age 21 to 24) from European, Africans, and East Asian backgrounds with a high n (for a study like this it’d be 20 to 30 participants for each race), with good controls. You’d see, in my opinion, East Asians slightly nudge out whites who destroy blacks. The opposite would occur in sports that use type II fibers. West Africans also have the gene variant ACTN3 which is associated with explosive sports.

For a better (less ethical study) we can use a thought experiment.

We take two babes fresh out of the womb (one European, the other West African) and keep them locked in a metabolic chamber for their whole entire lives. We keep them in the chamber until they die and monitor them, feeding them the same exact diet and giving them the same amount of attention. They start training at age 15. Who will be stronger in their prime (the European man)? Who will have more explosive power (the West African man)? A simple thought experiment can have one thinking about intrinsic racial differences in things the average American watches in their everyday lives. The subject of racial differences in sports is a non-taboo subject, however, the subject of racial differences in intelligence is a big no-no.

Think about that for a second. People obviously accept racial differences in sports, yet they have some kind of emotional attachment to the blank slate narrative. We don’t hear that you can nurture athletic success. We do, however, hear that ‘we can succeed at anything we put out minds to’. That’s not in dispute; that’s a fact. But it’s twisted in a way that genetics and ancestry has no bearing on it, when it explains a lot of the variance. People accept racial differences when they’re cheering on their favorite football team or basketball team. For instance, NFL announcer Gus Johnson said during a broadcast of a Titans and Jaguars game “He’s [Chris Johnson] got gettin’ away from the cops speed!

Pro-sports announcers, as well as college recruiters, know what the average person doesn’t who is not exposed to these differences daily for decades on end. People in these types of professions, especially collegiate sports recruiters, must get the low-down on average racial differences and then use what they know to make their choices on who to draft for their team.

For more (anecdotal) evidence, you can look up the race/ethnicity of the winners in competitions where peoples from all over the world compete in. More West African descendants place higher in physique, BBing comps, etc; more Caucasians and East Asians (and Kenyans) place higher in strength comps. A white man has won the WSM every year since its inception. West African descended blacks dominate BBing and physique comps. Eurasians (and Kenyans) dominate in marathon running.

All of this talk of racial differences in sports (which largely has to do with whites vs. blacks, though Asians are included in my overall analysis), I’ve hardly cited anything on East Asians directly. In regards to sports that take extreme dexterity or flexibility (and high reaction), East Asians shine. They shine in diving, ping-pong, skating and gymnastics events. They usually have long torsos and small limbs. I theorize that this was an evolutionary adaptation for the East Asians, as shorter people have less surface area to keep warm. Taller people would have died out quicker than one who’s smaller and can cover up and get warmer faster. They also have quicker reaction times (Rushton and Jensen, 2005) and it has been hypothesized that this is why they dominate in ping pong.

Conclusion

We don’t need any tests to show that there are racial differences in sports; the test is the competition itself. On average, A white will be stronger than an Asian who will be stronger than a black. Conversely, a Kenyan will be a better marathoner than a West African, European or Asian. West Africans will be more likely to beat all three groups in a sprint. These differences come down to morphology, but they start inside the muscles with the muscle fibers. Some anatomy textbooks acknowledge the existence of race, however, they have old and outdated information. It’s a good thing that anatomy textbooks talk about racial differences in physiology and anatomy, now we need to start doing heavy research into racial differences in the brain. The races evolved their fiber typing depending on what they had to do to survive along with their immediate environment, i.e., high elevation like the Kalenjin people.

The evolution of differing muscle fiber types in different races is easily explainable: Europeans have slow twitch fibers. In cold temperatures, the body switches from burning fat to burning carbs for energy. Furthermore, the average person would need to have a higher lung capacity and not tire out during long hunts on megafauna. Over time, selection occurred on the individuals with more type I fibers. Conversely, West Africans and their descendants have the ACTN3 gene, which is associated with elite human athletic performance (Yang et al, 2003). Africans who could get away from predators survived and passed on the genes and fiber typing for elite athletic performance.

In sum, the races differ in terms of entrants to elite athletic competition. These differences are largely genetic in nature. Evolutionary processes explain racial differences in sports. These same selection processes that explain racial differences in elite sports competitions also explain racial differences in intelligence. I await the day that we can freely speak about racial differences in intelligence just like we speak about racial differences in sports. Denying human variation makes no sense, especially in today’s world where we have state of the art testing.

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18 Comments

  1. egregious philbin says:

    good work! & worth a thought experiment: looking at black overrepresentation in basketball & football, if you assume blacks are 1 std dev. above whites on a “general reaction athleticism” factor (which i know doesn’t really exist – as opposed to “g!”) then assume someone has to be 3 standard deviations above the overall mean to play pro basketball, say, then look at white/black representation – depending where you draw a cutoff line (sorry, not able to do the math right now!) it looks like you get what you see int reality, IF you assume blacks are a standard deviation above whites on an “athletic explosiveness general factor.” (even though different sports, & different positions within sports would require different measures of athleticism, etc.) still, as an overall blunt initial hypothesis, it works out eerily well – the converse to whites 1 std. dev. advantage over american blacks in general mental ability! see what you think, i just bring it up as thought experiment that only requires drawing 2 overlapping normal curves, etc. thanks for your continued good work!

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    • RaceRealist says:

      Thanks for the compliments. Much appreciated.

      IF you assume blacks are a standard deviation above whites on an “athletic explosiveness general factor.” (even though different sports, & different positions within sports would require different measures of athleticism, etc.) still, as an overall blunt initial hypothesis, it works out eerily well – the converse to whites 1 std. dev. advantage over american blacks in general mental ability! see what you think, i just bring it up as thought experiment that only requires drawing 2 overlapping normal curves, etc.

      I like this. It makes intuitive sense. If we assume that certain races/ethnies are more athletic/intelligent than others (they are), then of course for other heritable traits we should see that there is a similar SD difference between them. I believe on whatever measure the ‘general reaction athleticism’ factor you describe would show at least close to a 1 SD difference.

      What metrics do you think should be looked at?

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    • egregious philbin says:

      there seems to be a trade off between “g” & “general athleticism” – e.g., ashkenazi (& north asians) are underrepresented in very physical sports! but, unlike intellectual “g” — athletic “g” varies by the sport & position — a different “g” for each. that makes studying it more problematic & contentious than the quite obvious intellectual “g!” i wonder what the sports kinesiologists think, if they are allowed to:)

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    • RaceRealist says:

      there seems to be a trade off between “g” & “general athleticism” – e.g., ashkenazi (& north asians) are underrepresented in very physical sports!

      I’ve noticed this. That is a solid relationship, though I doubt it’s causal.

      Cardiovascular fitness and cognitive ability are correlated at age 18 (Aberg et al, 2009). A change in physical achievement at age 15 predicted cognitive ability at age 18. Cardiovascular fitness is associated with cognition in young adulthood.

      athletic “g” varies by the sport & position — a different “g” for each. that makes studying it more problematic & contentious than the quite obvious intellectual “g!”

      Yes, I’ve documented as much here. See my articles on baseball, football, swimming and jumping, and my other articles on muscle fiber typing.

      i wonder what the sports kinesiologists think, if they are allowed to

      I’m positive that it’s noticed, but I’ve not read an extensive review on the matter. I dream of a day when we don’t have to walk on a tight-rope to talk about these things.

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  2. T says:

    Recent medical textbooks do discuss racial differences. A few I recall are different responses to drug controlling blood pressure, diuretics, and some psych meds. Standard tests of kidney output place blacks in a separate category from non-Africans.

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    • RaceRealist says:

      Recent medical textbooks do discuss racial differences. A few I recall are different responses to drug controlling blood pressure, diuretics, and some psych meds. Standard tests of kidney output place blacks in a separate category from non-Africans.

      Yes. Blacks, for instance, have a special heart drug made called ‘Bidil‘. Moreover, even when controlling for numerous confounds, blacks still have high blood pressure. Do you have any references?

      One out of every three blacks has hypertension (high blood pressure). Black Americans also have higher rates of hypertension and blood pressure, which are both risk factors for kidney disease.

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  3. Chinedu says:

    You’ve been told repeatedly by people much smarter than you that all these theories are bunk. You tend to ignore all countervailing evidence while doubling down on your fake “science.”

    You cannot lock single black and white individuals in any chamber and expect to get a scientifically valid result. You would need a vastly greater sample size. Living organisms are individuals. Lions are thought to be brave but some are braver then others. Some will flee confrontation. Others are suicidally brave. It’s all up to the individual. Let me repeat INDIVIDUAL. The same applies to human ethnic groups. Your obsession with trying to create hard, discrete categories among humans will always come up against the brick wall of reality.

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    • RaceRealist says:

      You’ve been told repeatedly by people much smarter than you that all these theories are bunk. You tend to ignore all countervailing evidence while doubling down on your fake “science.”

      Point out what is wrong then show me how it is wrong. I literally have a background in this buddy.

      You cannot lock single black and white individuals in any chamber and expect to get a scientifically valid result.

      It’d be a start. It’s a thought experiment for a reason. It won’t happen, and can’t happen but let’s say it did. What do you think would happen?

      Anyway, that paragraph is just a thought experiment. The preponderance of evidence backs my theory.

      The same applies to human ethnic groups.

      Fine. A bigger sample then. The thing with thought experiments, is that you only have to use a bit of logic combined with facts already known and then you can make general inferences based on the thought experiment.

      Your obsession with trying to create hard, discrete categories among humans will always come up against the brick wall of reality.

      Reality is on my side my friend.

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  4. Chinedu says:

    Point out what is wrong then show me how it is wrong

    That would be your entire blog and virtually ever article you’ve written. I’m not spending 2 years picking apart your blog.

    The thing with thought experiments, is that you only have to use a bit of logic combined with facts already known and then you can make general inferences based on the thought experiment.

    There are no facts already known. I’m not dumb enough to think that blacks don’t win downhill skiing championships because blacks can’t ski or are afraid of snow. I’m smart enough to look for more plausible explanations. You? Not so much. I expect in the future you’ll concoct some pseudoscience to “prove” why blacks are genetically inhibited when in comes to skiing.

    Reality is on my side my friend.

    You’re delusional. If reality were on your side you would have plastered your blog with the photos of credible scientists as opposed to pseudoscientists, all of whom are on the payroll of the Pioneer Fund.

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    • RaceRealist says:

      That would be your entire blog and virtually ever article you’ve written. I’m not spending 2 years picking apart your blog.

      I’m talking about the one you’re commenting on.

      There are no facts already known. I’m not dumb enough to think that blacks don’t win downhill skiing championships because blacks can’t ski or are afraid of snow. I’m smart enough to look for more plausible explanations. You? Not so much. I expect in the future you’ll concoct some pseudoscience to “prove” why blacks are genetically inhibited when in comes to skiing.

      Funny. But I never mentioned skiing. Talk about what I wrote here. Point out what is wrong then show me how it is wrong. Very simple.

      You’re delusional. If reality were on your side you would have plastered your blog with the photos of credible scientists as opposed to pseudoscientists, all of whom are on the payroll of the Pioneer Fund.

      Are you telling me there are no somatypic and anatomic differences between isolated populations? Then these differences (along with muscle fiber typing) do not account for racial differences in sports? Can you explain how and why this is the case?

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  5. Chinedu says:

    I’m not surprised that you couldn’t grasp my skiing analogy.

    No. There are no racial differences in sports.

    Like

    • RaceRealist says:

      You said that you are “smart enough to look for different explanations”. So, if my claims about muscle fiber typing, somatype, anatomy, fat-free mass and physiology are wrong then please falsify them. I’d love to see that.

      Do you know anything about the human body and what variables different ethnies and races differ on to make the bold claim that there are no racial differences in sports? Because I literally have training in this field my friend.

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  6. Chinedu says:

    Racists before you also made ridiculous claims pertaining to race and sports. For example, they claimed that blacks lacked the physiology to play football. So what you’re doing is nothing new. But unlike the idiots of the past, you have access to modern science. Yet you persist in writing all this nonsense.

    Like

    • RaceRealist says:

      Yawn. I never claimed blacks can’t play football. They have the morphology for it among other things. You can strawman me all you like, but my points still stand on muscle fiber typing.

      Like

    • reezy says:

      step 1. makes outrageous counter to the crux of the post without elaboration

      step 2. gets repeatedly called out by the OP to produce just a shred of evidence for your “refutation”

      step 3. ignore request (thus losing the argument)

      step 4. calls OP racist

      LOL typical liberal creationist

      Like

    • RaceRealist says:

      LCs believe that all humans groups have the same capacity, despite being naturally selected for their environment. They believe that evolution just magically stops for Man.

      Humans don’t differ in elite sports competition largely due to genetic factors (of course training matters and determination etc, but all things being equal, the one who is more genetically gifted will win). Individuals differ in capacity to one another, why not human ethnies and races? Due to different ways of survival, different fiber typings were selected for.

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  7. Tancred says:

    East Asians shine. They shine in diving, ping-pong, skating and gymnastics events. They usually have long torsos and small limbs. I theorize that this was an evolutionary adaptation for the East Asians, as shorter people have less surface area to keep warm. Taller people would have died out quicker than one who’s smaller and can cover up and get warmer faster.

    Volume scales faster than surface. A larger body retains heat better than a smaller one.

    Like

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