Interesting.TheGoods said:You may have read my two substantive posts, so I'll be honest when I say that this article is full of scientifically vague and misleading statements. Particularly the statements about motor development and muscle fibers are simply wrong. Muscle fiber (slow vs fast) to some extent is hereditary, but to nowhere near the extent implied. As I previously mentioned, IIalpha and IIbeta fibers flip, fast vs slow, depending on activity and training.
The bottom line froma strictly physiological view, without the clear biases of this article (perhaps due to a writer lacking in medical training), is that some, but not all or even most, people of African descent have elongated tendons (particularly achilles and patella) which certainly make them better run-jump athletes. However the argument for the predisposition for fast oxidative over fast glycolytic muscle fibers is unsubstantiated. In fact on average those of African descent have no distinct advantage or disadvantage on cursory glance. However, if you take the athletes among the entire population, they will have elongated tendons (more likely than not) as well as a high percentage of fast oxidative fibers. Now the question that arises is, is the high instance of fast oxidative fibers hereditary or a product of hard work and muscle building exercise? It may be a combination of both. But certainly if you ask a pro athlete how much work goes into their training, it indicates that the instance of fast-oxidative fibers is due to work and not genetics. If you'd like to talk about the work ethic of black athletes versus white athletes, that may have merit based on this evidence. Or there could be a biochemical predisposition at work that allows those black athletes to convert glycolytic to oxidative more easily; but there has been no substantiated or throough study to provide any insight there.
Basically, you cannot arrive at general physiological conclusions without looking at the entire population, prior to making such a generalization. Things average out though. For every Watutsi, there may be a Pygmi who evens things out. What's really at work is a higher standard deviation among athletes of African descent and these qualities (ie: more extremes among peak and bottom tier athletes.
Note that I'm not taking sides. I just thought for the purpose of this discussion, that article is relevant and may add to the discussion. No, I'm not going to pretend I'm an expert when it comes to muscle physiology and what not.
I have to agree with you, though, on the point that hard work is a very vital component behind a pro athlete's rise to the top.