The politics of Black athletes dominating unusual world sports

Practical Politics

David L. Horne, Ph.D oped contribuor | 7/18/2019, midnight

Last weekend (July 12-14), the most popular athlete in Great Britain looked to be Roger Federer, the legendary, 37-year-old tennis phenomenon often called the male GOAT (Greatest of All Time) in the sport. His counter-part, Serena Williams of Compton, another 37-year-old, most frequently called the female GOAT of professional tennis, had just lost her finals match that Friday. Very high hopes were then laid on Federer to come through. The crowd loves a champion. 

Unfortunately, in the longest finals match in the history of Wimbledon, Mr. Federer lost, too. But alas, Federer was not the most celebrated, most honored British athlete of that weekend in any case (besides being from Sweden).

That honor belonged to Lewis Hamilton, the outrageously talented and successful Formula One race car driver born in England. Over 141, 000 fans streamed into the stands for the latest British Grand Prix race, the largest crowd in the history of that 90-year-old event. Hamilton was seeking his record tying sixth winner’s cup championship at Silverstone, England, and by a wide margin, he was the driver that most of the crowd came to see. He is also Black.

Mr. Hamilton did not disappoint. He won his sixth British Grand Prix championship on Sunday, and stands now poised to win his sixth straight Formula One World Driving Championships trophy, putting him only one behind the sport’s all-time greatest driver, Michael Schumacher. Hamilton, with his latest win, took a commanding lead in points with only 11 more Grand Prix races to complete this year. Barring any major unfortunate circumstances, he will stand tallest as number one again at the end of this racing season.

Mr. Hamilton has already won the Spanish and Chinese Grands Prix this year and actually holds the world record for winning at the most different Grands Prix (23). Grand Prix racing is very expensive (the cars cost an astronomical amount), and both countries and car companies pride themselves on winning the annual circuits. It demonstrates more than national and corporate pride, it signals technological and manufacturing supremacy. 

Mr. Hamilton drives for Mercedes, and with him in the cockpit, Mercedes has been dominating their races with Ferrari, Red Bull, Mclaren and      currently, the only real competition Mr. Hamilton has is with his co-driver from Mercedes, Valtteri Bottas. Mr. Bottas has come in second several times, and is at least within striking distance of Mr. Hamilton’s point totals. All other drivers have already been vanquished.

It is great to see Black athletes dominate in unusual world sports. Hamilton’s celebrity in professional Formula one racing is as special as Simone Biles’ dominace in world gymnastics.

Professor David L. Horne is founder and executive director of PAPPEI, the Pan African Public Policy and Ethical Institute, which is a new 501(c)(3) pending community-based organization or non-governmental organization (NGO). It is the stepparent organization for the California Black Think Tank which still operates and which meets every fourth Friday.

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