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Burning Spear News

Africans dominate the Olympics; white countries steal the glory

Sep 1, 2021
Matsemela Odom


A true count of Olympic medals would show the measure of African talent and skill.

 

The 2020 Summer Olympics were held in Tokyo, Japan from July 23, 2021 to August 8, 2021.

The official medal count had the United States ranked first followed by China, Japan, Britain and Russia rounding out the top five countries.

No countries with majority African populations ranked in the top ten medal count. Brazil ranked 12th, Kenya ranked 19th, Jamaica ranked 21st, Uganda ranked 36th, and the Bahamas ranked 42nd were all of the majority African countries in the top 50.

Yet, anyone who watched the Olympics knows that this by no means represents the success of African people at the Summer Games. In the remarkable picture of the award ceremony for the Women Track and Field 4 x 100 Relay in which Jamaica, the U.S. and Britain placed first, second and third, all but one of the women on the stage is African. In the 4 x 400, eight of the twelve women were African.

The images of African dominance at the Summer Olympics are being circulated as symbols of African pride and strength. In a Facebook post, I even remarked that my uncle, legendary track and field coach Bob Kersee, has garnered more medals than most countries in the past 37 years.

The African internet news site 2nacheki.tv created a graph showing that the true medal count for the Olympics has the dispersed African Nation ranked first with 50 total gold medals, 65 silver medals and 85 bronze medals totaling 200. This eclipses the U.S. which had 39 golds and 113 overall.

Olympics symbolize theft of African resources

The colonial narrative states that the Olympic symbol, the five interlocking rings, represents the unity of the five continents and meeting of athletes. In fact, the modern Olympics began in 1896 concurrent with the imperialist “Scramble for Africa” and other parts of the colonized world.

The truth is that the Olympics represent the plunder of human and material resources from Africa. According to mediaradar.com, billions of dollars in sponsorship money was made through the first half of 2021 alone. Overwhelmingly, this money goes to imperialist and colonizer nations.

Olympics represent U.S. colonialism in crisis

Many Africans who were born in the U.S. or lived in the U.S. for many years chose to compete for other countries out of resistance to the U.S. Naomi Osaka has lived in the U.S. since she was three years old and performed for Japan. Marcell Jacobs was born in El Paso, Texas and won gold medals in the 100 meter and 4 x 100 meter relay for Italy. Jasmine Camacho-Quinn ran for Puerto Rico and won the gold medal in the 100 meter hurdles. Camacho-Quinn was born in South Carolina.

The U.S. men’s track team did terribly this year and the U.S. men’s basketball team got off to a very rough start, though they eventually won. Jason Whitlock, a neocolonial African journalist and white nationalist in blackface, views the decline in the U.S. Olympic team with the decline of the U.S. empire. “The combination of arrogance and irresponsibility is killing America. We arrogantly take for granted the Judeo-Christian values and nuclear family culture that made us the greatest nation in the history of the world. And we've irresponsibly allowed the people who don't respect our values and culture to reshape our society,” Whitlock writes.

To be clear, Whitlock is referring to LeBron James and other African athletes when he talks about “people who don’t respect our values.” In another article, Whitlock blamed LeBron James for the indifference African athletes have for competing for the U.S. According to Whitlock, LeBron “wrapped himself in the Black Lives Matter flag.” It seems Whitlock would prefer that LeBron James and other African athletes represent the U.S. values of genocide, colonial violence, rape and pillage.

After winning the silver medal in Women’s Shot Put, Raven Saunders raised her hands in an X salute. “Them” magazine quotes Saunders’s explanation of the salute as a “shout out to all my black people, shout out to all my LGBTQ community, shout out to everybody dealing with mental health. Because at the end of the day, we understand that it’s bigger than us, and it’s bigger than the powers that be.”

Simone Biles takes a mental health break, white nationalists lose their minds

Simone Biles has 27 gold medals in world competitions and is the most decorated gymnast in history. Simone Biles’ skill and technique places her far above her competition. She completes moves others cannot. Despite her success, gymnastics is an overwhelmingly white sport.

Biles was under unprecedented stress. To beat her, the International Gymnastics Federation changed their scoring metric. Biles was clearly being underscored and also suffered from “the twisties.” “The twisties” is when a gymnast loses awareness of their relationship to the ground. It can result in severe injury, even paralysis.

Inspired by Naomi Osaka, Biles took a mental health break, but white nationalist commentators lost their minds. Biles was slandered as a coward and a quitter who abandoned her team and her country. None of which was true. Biles went on to win multiple medals as did the U.S. team.

The real source of mental crisis is the colonial reality that African people face and the reality that when African athletes fall on hard times, they do not have a country to lean on. African athletes are fully aware of their alienation, in both success and defeat.

African athletes need a unified, socialist Africa

Chairman Omali Yeshitela notes that for revolution to happen, there must be a state of crisis. The ruling class cannot rule in the same old way, the masses must decide their willingness to do whatever is needed to make change, and there must be a revolutionary party guided by an advanced revolutionary theory. That party is the African People’s Socialist Party (APSP) and the theory is African Internationalism.

Colonial-capitalism is in crisis. The colonizer nations only found success at the Olympics because of the labor of colonized athletes. In the U.S., African athletes recognize the contradiction and have chosen to compete for other countries. The U.S. Olympic Committee cannot govern in the same old way. Colonizers and neocolonizers lament the increased power given to African athletes in rebellion.

The APSP and African Internationalism are the advanced party and advanced theory, and African athletes need to get on board and be willing to do whatever is needed to make change.

Point 14 of the APSP’s 14-Point Platform calls for “the total liberation and unification of Africa under an All-African socialist government.” African athletes need to move from resistance to revolution.

They need to reject all of the colonizer nations and neocolonial countries in favor of true African independence. African athletes should join the revolution and protect the ones like Simone Biles, Gwen Berry and Raven Saunders who took brave stances.

Africa for Africans, at home and abroad!

Izwe Lethu iAfrika!
i Afrika, Izwe Lethu!

 

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