For Track buffs: Additional Analyses and Statistics behind "Track & Battlefield"

by Steve Sailer, w/Dr. Stephen Seiler

The "Track & Battlefield" article is based on a sizable study of trends in world-class running. (1) The article's section on ethnic bell curves in men's track is based on data from Peter Larrson's superb website. My 400k Excel 5.0 workbook containing the data on ethnic differences in track performance by event (as of 10/19/97) can be downloaded here. It contains lots of interesting data on other ethnic groups' bell curves, like East Asians, Ethiopians, and Mexicans. I hope all the runners' ethnic attributions are correct, but I'd appreciate suggestions (e.g., I put the great Cuban 400m-800m man, Alberto Juantorena, as being of European descent; if you think he's more West African than European, please let me know). One interesting point is that there are surprisingly few of these ambiguous cases.

(2) For those interested in digging into the topic of track's gender gap in depth, the best starting place is a long (10,000 words) draft from December, 1996, which explains many of the substantive issues and methodologies in detail. It concentrates on our original study focus: Olympics and World Championships from 1952-1996. This is available in both the instantly available HTML version (80k) and the complete Word for Windows 2.0 version (123k), which adds the graphs and footnotes.

HTML VERSION: Major Background Draft (10,000 words) on gender gaps in Olympics and World Championships, 1952-1996

WORD VERSION: Major Background Draft (10,000 words) on gender gaps in Olympics and World Championships, 1952-1996

(3) The statistics on the World Records are summarized in another Excel 5.0 workbook, this one of about 80k (not compressed). The data comes from Runners World Online and from Mika Periomaki's  website.

(4) John H. Manners is writing a book called "The Running Tribe" about the amazing Kalenjin tribe of Kenya. They make up 0.05% of the world's population, but win 40% of the highest honors in men's distance running. Here's a scholarly article he wrote for the British Society of Sports Historians previewing his book. Of particular interest are the parts about how polygamy and cattle-raiding worked to select for genetic running ability. This article caused something of a sensation when I circulated it to the Human Behavior & Evolution mailing list. Berkeley anthropologist Vincent Sarich, the founder of molecular anthropology, calculates that the average Kalenjin would appear to be almost 1.5 standard deviations better than the world average -- the distance running equivalent of an average tribal IQ of 122! Tim Noakes' study of the Kalenjin indicated that most of the champions come from a small number of families, so the concentration of world-class talent is even greater.

The Sports Taboo, by Malcolm Gladwell, The New Yorker, 5/19/97 -- Argues that African-Americans aren't faster sprinters than whites on average, they just have a higher variance. By The New Yorker's standards, a highly sophisticated argument -- Still, Malcolm, where are all these really slow blacks?

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