Colored Swimmers and Cyclists

I was wondering why there are no colored (Black Skin) Atletes in Swimming and Cycling, also i have not heard of them being Race Car and/or Moto Bike Drivers, how come or did i miss some thing?!

Is Lewis Hamilton black enough for you? He came second in the driver’s championship in Formula One last year and is currently leading for 2008.

You “missed something.”

Cullen Jones

Oh, and I think they prefer “negro” these days.

As for cycling, there’s Rahsaan Bahati who races in the US and has been doing very well in recent years. He’s the current US National Criterium champ. There’s Grégory Baugé, a black French rider who won the world championship this year in team sprint on the track and came second at the Olympics in the same event. There’s Erik Saunders on the US circuit who I know nothing about. There have also been black guys in the peleton of the Tour de France in recent years but I’m stuffed if I can think of their names at the moment. Indian guys I think.

You don’t watch much sports of TV. The best moto-cross rider in the sport the past few years is James Stewart. He just won the 2008 AMA motocross title by winning every race. He is referred to as the Tiger Woods of motocross racing.

Marshall Taylor (1878-1932) was:

He’s not riding any more though, so maybe he doesn’t count.

There are fewer black athletes in sports like swimming, bicycling, and golf than in sports like basketball, baseball, and football. Likely the reasons are based in socio/econo/cultural factors.

But to get back to the underlying question, of why some races are under or overrepresented in some sports, it’s mostly cultural. Everyone who ends up at the top levels of a competitive sport is someone who, when they were a kid, dreamed of becoming a pro. How many black kids have you met who dream of becoming a NASCAR driver when they grow up? Even if there are blacks with a great deal of aptitude for driving, if they don’t try to become race car drivers, they won’t.

I know this is going to sound like a “Doperland” response, but I went to an integrated high school – about 30% black – and the swim and track and field team had both blacks and whites. Basketball and football were predominantly but not entirely black, while hockey and soccer were mostly white. The cheerleaders were all white; the step crew all black.

I play curling, and I’ve never seen or even heard about another black curler, period. At bonspiels, pictured in curling publications, on Canadian and American sports broadcasts, and even the widely publicized open houses at the curling club I belong to, in an integrated suburb - none. There’s Asians, Asian Indians, and folks of all other ethnicities and backgrounds, but no blacks. IMHO, outside of sports that are limited to ethnically homogeneous nations, curling is the whitest sport put there.

Is it regional with curling? The demographics of areas where curling is played or even heard of probably show heavy populations of races/nationalities where the sport originated and spread initially.

I grew up in Minnesota, never heard of the sport before we moved there. My high school (in a suburb of Minneapolis) did not have it, but there were leagues. Schools a little farther north did have curling teams, but also considerably less black people if any.

In America, the concentration of black athletes in football and basketball has a lot to do with the college sports system. Both of these sports are wildly popular at the college level. The universities offer excellent scholarships and low admissions standards to good football and basketball players, which gives an opportunity to young guys who would otherwise be too poor and/or uneducated to go to college. And because of our racial inequality, a lot of those guys are black. So football and basketball have come to be seen as serious opportunities for young black men to advance.

If you didn’t already know, some people are offended at the term “colored” these days. Not to snark at you, but in case you didn’t already know, now you know…


Because this is in GQ, and in the interest of fighting ignorance, I’ll assume you just dropped by from the 1920’s, and aren’t aware that referring to people collectively as “colored” is generally not acceptable in polite society. If you want to use a general term, the phrasing “people of color” is by and large preferred, and much less likely to label you as a racist.

Swimming tho-perhaps it is a socioeconomic thing, in that most poorer high schools don’t have pools, or something? No money in swimming long-term, so they go where the money is, as #11 outlined. Several of my African-American students love the water, and there should be enough of a percentage of A-A kids who do have access to pools in high school, but apparently none of them decide to get on the track which might eventually take them to the Olympics. Perhaps almost all of them go into track and field instead? But all it requires is a meager handful of A-A athletes who decide to dedicate their all to swimming, but even that doesn’t seem to happen (or happen enough for us to see them at the highest levels of the sport).

Cut him some slack, he lives in the Philippines (judging from his other posts) and I don’t think he’s up on the latest American racial etiquette.

Here in the UK, I have never heard of ‘people of color’. It seems to me that every generic term for non-white people eventually is deemed to be derogatory. I’m sure that here when we dot *not *want to be offensive, we still use the term ‘colored’.

I thought it could be, but curling is played throughout Canada, where cities are quickly becoming multi-cultural. The two curling clubs in Cleveland are in South Euclid and Shaker Heights, both long-integrated suburbs with a very large black middle-class. There’s a growing number of curling clubs throughout the US, manyt in large cities where snow is rare.

Although rare, there are black hockey players. Curling, though … nope

Surely you mean “coloured”.

Can we say ‘non-caucasian’? That’d tend to cover most bases, wouldn’t it?

“Noncau”…has a nice ring to it.


In the US, “people of color” seems to be used most commonly among those who are very self-consciously politically correct. The term is usually used in a context to describe those aren’t whites of European or Afrikaaner/South African/Rhodesian/Zimbabwean/Namibian decent; this includes blacks, Asians, Asian Indians, Hispanics, Arabs, American Indians/First Nations members, and so on.

In the US, blacks are more-or-less comfortable with “black” to encompass the racial group, and “African-American” to describe an ethnic and sociocultural group distinct from that of recent black immigrants from Africa, the Caribbean, and so on. “Negro” tends to be used mostly in an anthropological or historical context nowadays; e.g. “Negro baseball leagues”. “Colored” remains in use mainly among the less educated in rural areas, and the less enlightened elderly; e.g. “I don’t mind them colored folk, as long as they mind their own business and don’t move in next to me.”