Why is it that all the athletes that lined up for the men's 100 meter final at the Beijing Olympics could trace their ancestry back to the trans-Atlantic slave trade? England's Channel 4 Television has a program that speculates on genealogy and the Olympics. The program is available online at http://www.channel4.com/programmes/michael-johnson-survival-of-the-fastest/4od.
Here is the description of the program, as written by the program's producers:
Why is it that all the athletes that lined up for the men's 100m final at the Beijing Olympics could trace their ancestry back to the trans-Atlantic slave trade?
In this landmark documentary, Olympian Michael Johnson embarks on a personal genealogical and scientific journey in a bid to understand if he and other world-class African American and Caribbean athletes are successful as a result of slavery.
Michael Johnson is a four-time Olympic gold medallist and the finest sprint athlete of his generation. In this remarkable authored film he discovers some disturbing truths about the lives of his enslaved ancestors.
From the mass murder of those on the slave ships to the nightmarish breeding programmes of the plantation owners, Johnson confronts this appalling history.
He speaks to leading voices in the world of sport and science to examine the link between the trans-Atlantic slave trade and genetic selection.
He investigates the role slavery may have played in altering the genomes of their descendants. He speaks to experts whose research has led them to conclude this has contributed to the success of African American and Caribbean sprinters.
Is this part of the explanation of why these athletes are likely to dominate the track at London 2012?
My thanks to Jamie Burnett for telling me about this program.
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