isagt> It's important because for decades whites have been at the end of an orchestrated campaign to browbeat them into thinking that they cannot compete with blacks and others.
just kidding> Because his parents are black!
trackshard> ... It is a big deal that he is white and that fast. I'm a white 400m runner from NYC and for years I've stood out for no other reason besides my race. However, there has always seemed to me to be a barrier that my race puts up that stops me from entering the next level (which I know is a feeling other white sprinters I talk to have). What is important about Jeremy Wariner is that he just shattered that barrier.
Critic100> Wariner suffers from the same condition as Michael Jackson
puntificating>Running is entirely too racist. 100m, 200m, 400m, 5000m, 10000m, marathon.... What's with all the different races? Can't we all just run together?
One day last spring, the legend appeared at Baylor. Pookie's teammates flocked to Michael Johnson, all aflutter, eager to bathe in his five-gold-medal glow. Jeremy stood quietly to the side. At last Johnson went to him and introduced himself. From that moment Johnson--the master of containment--knew that the sophomore might be something special.
Injuries had kept the kid in the weeds his freshman year. But Johnson noticed something else. "Jeremy's his own person, but he has one thing that I had," says Johnson. "He hates to lose, but he's not afraid to lose. It's a fine line, but this kid just gets it--that attitude of, You can't beat me, even if I don't win today. It comes from complete confidence in himself and his preparation. He believes totally in Coach Hart's training program and strategy. Too many athletes identify themselves too much with winning and losing and what that means about them as a person. You can see them before a race thinking of the consequences if they lose--what will people think, what will the media say, what will my father or mother think of me, how much money will I lose? Some of them deal with that fear by jumping around and entertaining the crowd, some of them turn it inward. Either way, they're using energy. What you're about to do takes so much energy that you can't waste any. Whereas Jeremy is just being Jeremy, thinking that all he can do is run this race the best he can, focusing on the things he can control and not worrying a bit about what he can't, or what the consequences might be. That focus sets him apart."
At the end of his sophomore year, Jeremy moved into a house just off Baylor's campus with three teammates: a black 800-meter runner whose parents came from Kenya, a black long jumper from New Jersey and a white 400-meter runner from Indiana. But Jeremy's closest friend was his closest rival--teammate and 400-meter sprinter Williamson--a relationship nearly unprecedented in the annals of track and testosterone. What other world-class 400-meter man had another one of nearly equal talent pushing him, and supporting him, every day in practice?
No injury interrupted Jeremy's second year at Baylor. He began tearing tenths of a second off his best times with each passing week, tearing Coach Hart's timetable to tatters--a jet hissing beneath the radar of American sports fans and international track. He won the NCAA indoors 400, then the outdoors a few months later, then the Olympic trials a few months after that, passing every drug test along the way.
By then he ran wearing a mini-goatee, a silver chain his parents had given him and a pair of zirconium earrings he'd picked up for 20 bucks. He tried to let his hair grow out so he could braid it, but he couldn't bear the long, curly locks he saw in the mirror and went back to the buzz cut. "You know you're not white, Pookie," his black teammates teased him, and Jeremy laughed and teased them back.