Were black slaves bred for athletic performance?

Spree view

Tagesschau correspondent Michael Castritius explains why Jamaican sprinters are so successful: because of slavery.

On the sugar plantations in particular, they (the slaves) then had to do the heaviest, muscle-building work, up to 18 hours a day. In the end, many plantation owners have abused their physically best slaves as "stallions" and given them to the strongest women. Human breeding - muscle breeding. A cruel story - perhaps with golden, Olympic long-term consequences.

As a child, I believed that playing basketball would make you big. Now I find out that I (and Lamarck with me) was probably right: If you do muscle-building work, the genes are changed so that the great-great-great-grandchildren can walk quickly.
In 1831 slavery was abolished in Jamaica. So nature would have had plenty of time to slow down the results of breeding.

In the 80s it was frowned upon to genetically explain the successes of athletes with African roots. The common interpretation was rather: Since social advancement is not possible any other way, black people have to try their luck in sports or in the music industry. Later on, genetic explanations came back into fashion. In 2004, the SZ wrote extensively about the physical differences between East Africans and West Africans.

“The East Africans have more of an enzyme that slows down lactic acid production and accelerates its breakdown. According to Saltin, this means that Kenyans can burn fatty acids “unusually well” and thus get more energy out of the biochemical reactions of their muscles. With the same amount of oxygen, they run ten percent further than Europeans. "

The physical requirements of West African sprinters, on the other hand, are different, according to the SZ:
“They differ even more from the East Africans: They weigh around 30 kilograms more, and their muscles are also built differently. 67 percent of West Africans have so-called fast muscle fibers, while whites have around 60 percent. Saltin certifies that Kenyans have 90 percent of the slower, more persistent fibers. "

Castritius lightly disregards such trifles:
“The only thing that is certain is that the black inhabitants of the Caribbean islands have different muscle fibers than Europeans, but also than their African cousins. They are world famous as long-distance runners, not as sprinters. "

It is regrettable that Castritius' contribution is so short, otherwise he would have been able to explain why Italians play football so well (because they had to defend Rome for so long), the Chinese are successful in table tennis (because the crease in their eyes protects them from the overhead light), Iranians in wrestling regularly win gold (because of the battle of Salamis) and why the Germans are hard to beat at rowing (because they were allowed to march in lockstep for so long).

Malte Welding | 08/22/2008 at 2:16 pm