1,000 Words: Olympic tears

While watching Simone Manuel accept her historic gold medal at the Olympics in Rio last evening, I was thinking about this 2014 story from MPR News’ Laura Yuen about the “swimming gap” between white people and people of color.

Swimming became popular in this country during the 1920s and 1930s with a building boom of public pools, and then again in the 1950s and 1960s with the rise of suburban swim clubs. In both cases, whites had relatively easy access to those pools, but African-Americans were often restricted, Wiltse said. Today, he added, there are far fewer public pools in many American cities than there were a half-century ago.

Advocates note that Minneapolis currently has only three indoor public pools, which are located in more affluent corners of the city. Building more public pools in underserved areas is one way to solve the swimming gap, they say.

  • chlost

    Great photo. No words could add to it.

  • Jeff

    I wonder about the “basketball gap”…any attempt to correct that one or is that okay with everyone? Personally, I don’t have a problem with it one bit…whether it’s Kevin Love or LeBron James celebrating their win it’s all the same to me…although with LeBron’s history in Cleveland his victory celebration might mean more than Kevin Love’s…but their skin color is quite meaningless.

    I see an Olympic athlete competing for America and succeeding, good for her and all those who work hard for that moment.

  • PaulJ

    It’s all about the money.

    • Jeff

      It does get old seeing all these emotional stories behind every event…just show me the competitions and cut out all that fluff. I don’t care to hear some story about about an athlete’s brother picking on him in the pool…I just don’t, unless the story is incredibly interesting leave it out.

      We’d probably get to see 2-3 times as many events if Bob Costas and Chris Collinsworth would be quiet and let us watch the competitions.

      • PaulJ

        Being poor is bad. What is being done about that?

        Pools? That begins with P which rhymes with T ……

      • Rob

        You’re right. Shame on News Cut for making us ponder yet another area of our society in which racism has left such a large stain.

        • Jeff

          Or was this article an example of a step in the right direction that our society is overcoming these historical injustices? You can take it many ways…your take most likely reveals your political view of the world…just like how the media “interpreted” Trump’s 2nd Amendment comments.

  • Gary F

    To win a gold medal means you are the best in the world, a great accomplishment.

    And we also need to get more kids of color involved in the Mn State High School Clay Target league. Only whites on the US Olympic shooting team.

    • Rob

      Strange as it may seem, I find myself in agreement.

      • Gary F

        Spring 11,300 kids in MN were on high school trap teams. I have no idea how many are minorities, but there are more thank you think. To the best of my knowledge, Mpls public schools doesn’t have any teams and St Paul has Highland and Humboldt starting this fall. Its a great sport for the kids to learn. Great life skills.

        Oh, and today, we will see how the media covers it, but USA’s Kim Rhode has won a medal in SIX different Olympic games. She won a bronze in skeet today. That’s huge.

        http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/olympics/rio-2016/2016/08/12/kim-rhode-skeet-shooting/88619694/

    • Kassie

      I had no idea it was even a high school sport. How do they get around zero tolerance policies around weapons?

      • Jeff

        My niece is a top performer on her clay shooting team, they have to leave their guns off campus and go get them after school.

        • Gary F

          About 25-30 percent of the league are girls. They shoot just as good as the guys. They love it.

          • Jeff

            She’s much better than me, that’s for sure!

            She shot 49/50 in a recent event…sort of crazy only missing 1 in 50 shots…she even goes to an all girls Catholic school…who knew they’d have a trap team.

            Do colleges have trap teams and do they offer scholarships?

          • Gary F

            Does Vis have a separate team than STA?

          • Jeff

            No idea, my niece goes to high school in Omaha.

          • Kassie

            Seems like the type of sport where having different leagues for men and women isn’t really necessary. Like American Ninja Warrior and Debate Team.

          • PaulJ

            I’d like to see a competition on who can choose the best leaders; is there a curriculum (or extra-curriculum) for that? Kids might feel better if they thought they were making good choices. Making sure they are entertained is great but I’d feel my tax dollars were making a difference if the students felt more secure.

          • Kassie

            So mock-United Nations? Or Youth in Government? Those sound like similar to what you want.

          • PaulJ

            I was thinking more on teaching kids an how to avoid falling into and defending themselves from the “wrong” crowd, how to build character and judge(!) other’s character; how to cope with work and family situations. Pretend politics strikes me as being a dweeby social club (no offense intended) and screens out the Realpolitik.

      • Gary F

        1. No guns on school property. You must go home after school to get your gun, leave it locked up at the club, or park off school grounds.
        2. Every kid must have their DNR hunters safety certificate.

        Growing like wildfire. It started in Minnesota, 10 years ago, now the people from Minnesota have started a national organization and 17+ states have programs

        MNclaytarget.com

        • Kassie

          I think that rule, when you can’t have the gun at school and you have to go home and get it and then go somewhere else with it would keep a lot of poorer kids out of the sport. 1) Guns are expensive and 2) cars are expensive.

          • Gary F

            Yes, the shooting clubs are in the outer burbs. But there is lots of grant money available from Pheasants Forever, Ducks Unlimited, Mn Weapons Collectors, and Friends of the NRA for the guns, ammo and range time. Doable, but yes, more difficult.

          • Jeff

            Yeah, it’s sort of too bad that there is an irrational fear of guns in many parts of our society today…I’d personally like to see gun safety taught in public schools and have every student go through at least one gun safety course and even be offered a chance to go to the range and shoot as part of an optional class.

          • >>I’d personally like to see gun safety taught in public schools and have every student go through at least one gun safety course and even be offered a chance to go to the range and shoot as part of an optional class.<<

            Used to be on the shooting club…way back when I was in junior high.

            We even had a range in the basement of our school (Robbinsdale Jr. High)…

  • I recommend people listen to David Steele’s interview on tonight’s All Things Considered.

  • lindblomeagles

    Great story. Great accomplishment. Great Olympic moment. It’s WIN-WIN here.

  • Anna

    Persons of color not having access to swimming pools is no excuse for not learning how to swim. You can learn in a pond or a lake just as easily as in a swimming pool and Lord knows we have plenty of lakes in Minnesota!

    There are public high schools in Minnesota that have swimming pools on their campuses and they open them to the public and offer community education classes on learning how to swim for children as well as adults.

    The great majority of my black friends seem to have an irrational fear of the water and I don’t know why. I offered to give them lessons but they always turned me down. I sometimes thought it was a cultural thing and that fear of the water was instilled in them from an early age. I think that is the reason you don’t see very many African-American boaters on Minnesota lakes either because they don’t know how to swim.

    Those of you reading this who know how to swim and have friends of color, offer to teach them especially those that have young children. Once the children see that Mom or Dad is not afraid of the water they’ll be eager to learn, too.