• 2007-11-19

    Sporting Dominance is a NUMBER GAME?



    New Yorker staff writer(also the bestselling author of "the tipping point" and "Blink") Malcolm Gladwell presented his latest post ,regarding the Running dominance of Kenya middle-and-long-distance runners.He came up with a NUMBER GAME theory to explain the oddity of why Kenya produces far more than its fair share of world-class runners in the world.

    "We've always known that running is culturally important in Kenya, in a way it isn't anywhere else in the world. But these are staggering numbers. A million 10 to 17 year olds running 10 to 12 miles a day? I'm guessing the United States doesn't have more than 5,000 or so boys in that age bracket logging that kind of mileage. 70 miles a week is an enormous amount of running--even for an adult. I ran middle distance at a nationally competitive level as a teenager, and never got close to 70 miles a week.

    I know this isn't going to put the genetic argument about Kenyan running dominance to rest. But maybe it should. It's a far more parsimonious explanation. No one ever claims that Canadians are genetically superior to everyone else when it comes to hockey, or that Dominicans have a genetic advantage when it comes to baseball. We all accept the fact that those two countries succeed at those sports because they draw their elite talent from a developmental pool that is simply larger--in relative and in some cases absolute terms--that other nations. Its a numbers game.  If Kenya really has a million kids, doing that kind of mileage, then we scarcely need any other explanation for their success.

    Here's the appropriate thought experiment. Imagine that every year 50 percent of all American 10 year old boys were shipped to Boulder Colorado, where they ran 50 to 70 miles a week at altitude for the next seven years. Would the United States regain control of international middle and long distance running? "

    I THINK DIFFERENTLY,because I can readily rebuke the theory.I wrote the following in the comments section of his blog(located at www.gladwell.com )

    "I beg to differ,malcolm,though it's rare.

    Number game?How about China?The nation with the largest population in the world.And take Soccer,which is about the most popular sports game in China.You can't possibly barge into a fourteen-year-old chinese teenager's home without spotting a soccer ball somewhere under his bed.It's a national craze.
    and PLAY FOOTBALL first chance they got.

    BUT STILL,Chinese soccer team has only entered the worldcup ONCE(by sheer luck,I'd note),and went home without a single goal scored.

    And it's not like the INCENTIVE is not huge.In China making it into Chinese national soccer team(or maybe even just a provincial team) equals earning a wharton MBA degree and getting hired by a FORTUNE 500 company.The pay package is excellent,so are a lot of other privileges,not to mention being treated like a CELEBRITY(He may not play football very well,but he sure is best player we found so far).

    Number game?Try Chinese Soccer!
    (PS:As a quite remarkable contrast,Korea and Japan beat us a lot in football.You don't need me to tell you the population and size of the two countries,do you?)"



  • i am pretty agree with you !
    You do? Well, glad to hear,king! By the way, cool name...
    2007-12-10 23:13:42