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Black men CAN swim

Advances in genetics are finally allowing us to get to the bottom of long-held racial myths

By Tim Harris   August 2010

In the swim: African-American world and Olympic champion Cullen Jones has confounded racial stereotyping in sport

In the ten years since its sequencing was (prematurely) announced, the human genome may not have delivered the hoped-for quick fixes for disease. But in sport, it is helping to disentangle the vexed issues of genetics, race and talent.

In July, the Science Museum hosted an event called “Black Men Can’t Swim?”—a question that was answered by Cullen Jones, the African-American world and Olympic champion and 100m freestyle record-holder. The debate arises partly from the low participation rates among African-Americans; as few as…

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