This past weekend was a weekend of firsts in sports, firsts set by African and Afro-descendant athletes. It was also a strong weekend for Black female athletes, with dominant, outstanding, and even historic performances by world record marathoner Brigid Kosgei, tennis champion Coco Gauff and Simone Biles, the greatest gymnast in the history of the sport. We watched with great joy when:
Eliud Kipchoge of Kenya ran a sub-2 hour marathon to become the first person in recorded history to run a marathon in such times. On 12 October 2019, Kipchoge ran the marathon distance on a special course in Vienna, Austria, achieving a time of 1:59:40 in the Ineos 1:59 Challenge. However, his record will not go down as a world record, because this technical feat required unprecedented planning and support, and was heavily engineered. We nonetheless celebrate the history and meaning for mankind.
Simone Biles became the most decorated gymnast of all times. The four-time Olympic gold medalist, at 22, broke a world championships record with her medals on Sunday. Winning gold medals for both her floor routine and the balance beam, Biles became the most-decorated gymnast at the world championship amassing 25 medals, breaking the long-held record of 23, which was set by male gymnast Vitaly Scherbo back in the 1990s. She is not only the most decorated in history, but the highest and fastest champion the sport has ever seen.
Kenya’s Brigid Kosgei set a jaw-dropping new women’s world record in Chicago over the weekend with a time of 2:14:04, breaking the record set by British runner Paula Radcliffe in 2003, 16 years ago. Unlike Kipchoge’s record, whose effort employed rotating pacers and just one “racer,” this one will count as a world record. Kosgei removed 81 seconds from the previous record, an unprecedented feat!
Tennis player Coco Gauff became the youngest singles champion, at 15, in 15 years and the youngest American to win a singles title on the tour since 1991. She became the youngest woman to win Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) title since 2004 (and the youngest American to do so in 28 years) by winning Austria’s Linz Open on Sunday. I love the advice her dad who is her coach gave her: “Just relax, you’re not going to sprint to the finish line,… We’re going to walk to the finish line, OK?” And relaxed she got, in order to cruise to victory.
It was truly a weekend of Firsts, unprecedented, and of course Outstanding performances!!!