African Press International (API)

"Daily Online News Channel".

Africa at large: To be black, Jamaican, Nigerian and very proud

Posted by African Press International on August 25, 2008

Nairobi (Kenya) – When American swimmer Michael Phelps won his eighth Olympic gold medal of the Beijing Games to beat Mark Spitz’s 1972 record of seven, a BBC TV presenter noted that he had bagged more gold than most countries.

The BBC presenter didn’t pursue the matter. Instead she announced a contest in which viewers were being asked to assume Phelps were a country, and to send in proposals about what his flag might be.

As of Tuesday night, Phelps’ eight golds were more than those of the sportsmen and women representing nearly 900 million Africans at the games combined.

But perhaps more surprising is that by the same Tuesday evening, Phelps’ medals represent 30 per cent of the USA’s haul at the Olympics.

For a country that topped the Olympic gold medal table for so long and is now second after China, the impact of a single sportsman on its fortunes is not a good sign.

One man who is very happy about the performance of Africans at the Olympics is Dotun Adebayo, a controversial columnist with The Voice, the black London-published weekly newspaper.

First, Adebayo does something that a lot of us politically correct folks just can’t. He argues that the Olympic games began with the White Week, dominated by sports like swimming, fencing, rowing and others which black folks do not excel in.

The REAL Olympics’, as he called them, begin with track and field, and this year the Jamaicans are the stars. He counts every athlete with a hint of black blood in his or her veins as African.

He is more specific. He holds that all those fast Jamaicans cannot be descendants of slaves from Ghana, as history has it, because for a long time, there has been no Ghanaian in the final stages of the 100- and 200-metre race.

However, there is always a Nigerian. So, he deduces, Jamaicans must be Nigerians, and therefore Nigeria is the best performing country at Beijing!

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API/Source.Daily Nation (Kenya), by Charles Onyango-Obbo (opinion)

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