As soon as Mebrahtom Keflezighi, better known as Meb, won the New York City Marathon, an uncommon sports dispute erupted online, fraught with racial and nationalistic components: Should Keflezighi’s triumph count as an American victory? Having immigrated to the United States at age 12, he is an American citizen. But, some said, because he was born in Eritrea, he is not really an American runner. The success of distance runners from Kenya and Ethiopia fostered a lore of East Africans as genetically gifted, unbeatable, dominant because of their biology. Scientists have looked for — but not found — genes specific to East Africans that could account for their distance ability, said John Hoberman, a professor at The University of Texas at Austin who studies race and sports.
To Some, Winner Is Not American Enough
The New York Times