By Anthony McClean, Editor In Chief Emeritus NEW HAVEN (BASN) —...
They Have A Dream
THEY HAVE A DREAM USA’S RAHSAAN BAHATI
QUESTION what is
the difference between
LONG distance running
and LONG distance
Kenyans and Ethiopians have overwhelmed the Sport of long distance running in recent times. Combining natural talent, a hunger for something better and intense training at high altitudes along formidable roads have combined to the point you expect an African to win most Marathons and 10,000 meter races among others.
Now someone whether they read the Box or not – they certainly should and probably do – someone has made the OBVIOUS connection between long distance foot racing and bicycle racing. Or the even more basic and powerful point we make ad infinitum here MOST ATHLETIC SKILLS ARE GENERIC AND CAN BE APPLIED TO ANY SPORT. IF AFRICAN Americans would learn that lesson we would have far more success in the many Sports you rarely or NEVER see African Americans competing.
For now let’s go back to Kenya
The Box can thank and you should thank A. Bruce Crawley and his Blog “The Black Issue” for alerting us to what is going on in Kenya right now that in years to come might have us see AFRICAN teams very visibly competing for the Tour de France Championship and for GOLD at Summer Olympics to come. That will still beg the question when will we see African AMERICAN race teams riding beside African bicycle race teams.
Back to Kenya once again
Let’s quote extensively from African American Bruce Crawley in his Blog, ” After watching this year’s Tour de France, however, I was left with this conclusion: cycling is not that much different from pre-black baseball, pre-black basketball, or pre-black football. They were all missing something that wound up making them better–the participation by athletes of African descent. The ugly truth is that since the Tour de France began in 1903, only three African cyclists have ever participated, and all of that happened just this year, in 2008, and each one of those cyclists was white–two from South Africa and one from Kenya. So my take-away from the Tour de France is this: interesting sport, 20 teams, 180 cyclists, no black people.”
Crawley continues …..
” Indeed, there were no black cyclists on either of the two U.S.-sponsored Tour de France teams (Columbia and Garmin-Chipotle), this year. Even more curious, there were no black cyclists on Barloworld, the South African team.”
“Does this mean that black folks don’t know how to ride bicycles? Certainly not. It simply means that, over the past 105 years, no “Tour” team has thought there has ever been a black person anywhere on earth who might have contributed to the overall success of their team and its pursuit of the coveted first-place team finish.”
” Sounds like pre-Jackie Robinson Major League Baseball (prior to 1947), pre-Woody Strode National Football League (prior to 1946) and pre-Earl Lloyd/Chuck Cooper/”Sweetwater” Clifton National Basketball Association (prior to 1950). Of course, these players weren’t the first blacks who were “qualified” or “good enough,” they were just the first blacks to be given the opportunity. Sounds a lot like what happens today with opportunities in the construction industry, in Corporate America, in higher education, and in politics, right here in the good old U.S.A.”
Actually Crawley sees one African American on his radar …
” Following in “Major” Taylor’s legacy in the separate specialty of road racing (the type of cycling practiced at “the Tour” and in Criterium events, such as Philadelphia’s own Commerce Bank Pro-Cycling Race) is 26-year old Rahsaan Bahati, from Los Angeles. Bahati is generally recognized as one of cycling’s brightest and fastest stars and, with a continuing focus on the endurance training demanded by the major “Tour” events, could be the first black Tour de France winner, assuming one of the 20-22 teams would make a place for him on their roster. All Bahati does is win. It would seem that at least one “Tour” team should be interested in that.”
But here is Crawley’s real point back in Kenya
more than an “exception” like Bahati in America
methodology back in Kenya to train bike racers
” Finally, there is a black Kenyan cyclist, Zakayo Nderi, who may well represent the first in a whole new generation of East Africans who have the potential to re-write virtually every road racing record currently in existence. Nderi and his fellow-Kenyan cyclist Samwell Mwangi have been supported by a Singaporean named Nick Leong in an effort to prove that East Africans, the world’s greatest endurance athletes, are able to transfer their prowess in distance and marathon events to endurance cycling events.”
” In fact, Leong, Nderi and Mwangi are on their way to France, as you read this, to have the Kenyan cyclists test their hill-climbing speed at Alpe d’Huez, the most difficult mountain stage of the Tour de France. From August 8th – August 15th, they will be comparing their times up that murderous ascent to times that great Tour de France riders, such as Lance Armstrong, have produced. If Nderi’s times are competitive or beat the standard set by most Tour riders, it will constitute clear evidence that East Africans should be competing in the “Tour.”
” The logic behind this effort is pretty clear. Marathon racing, a very comparable endurance sport to Tour bike racing had no African participation until the late 1980′s. Prior to that, it was commonly held that black Africans and African Americans could only excel in sprinting events. It was further believed that endurance races required a kind of strategy, intelligence and knowledge of the sport of running that blacks naturally did not possess. But now we all know what a “crock” that was. The Africans have absolutely dominated distance running since being given the opportunity. They certainly have “raised the bar” for athletes from every other part of the world in that discipline.”
That is the Point a Singaporean of all people Nick Leong who is NOT African has seen the light for Africans and is putting his efforts toward convincing and training Africans specifically Kenyans they can be WORLD class bicycle racers.
African AMERICANS need
their own Nick Leong except
not really we’ve got the Box
to spread the Word as we
are doing today thank you
so much Bruce Crawley
KENYAN BIKE RACERS