US tennis star feels some people don’t want Black players to succeed
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In a message sent to the International Olympic Committee, US tennis star Venus Williams is urging the body to reconsider banning all black athletes from the Olympic Games.
Williams, a three-time gold medalist at the Wimbledon Championships and the reigning US Open champion, expressed reservations about whether she’s the best person to judge whether someone was good enough to play in the Olympic Games.
She also mentioned the possibility of a different outcome in 1992, when the Games were moved from Montreal to Atlanta, in the belief that the best players in the world, regardless of color, would be there.
“For me, this is about being an advocate for an athlete,” she wrote in a letter delivered in Beijing. “I think about how I would feel if I was told that now, because I’m black, I can’t compete at this level. I feel that this is a very important issue for me. I would also like to ask one question. How would you feel if you were told you didn’t have the right kind of genes — that you needed to be a white male? I also think on the other side, if you know that you are the best in the world, then why don’t you stand up and say I will do it?”
Earlier this week, Williams spoke out at the Sydney Writers Festival, where she said she didn’t think it was the best idea to remove all-black teams from tennis from Olympic competitions.
Williams has been outspoken about the issue. In an interview with The Sydney Morning Herald in 2010, she said, “I don’t think anything should be done to the detriment of young black girls playing tennis because they’re black and they’re beautiful.”
“I just want to be recognized as the best player in the world,” she said then. “I feel like I’ve done that.”
But some have questioned whether Williams should have that right.
A former tennis coach from England, Jules McKeon, wrote Tuesday that he had been approached in 2010 by a woman who came to him with a story, a claim that she had been a member of a black professional tennis team in the mid-‘70s, and that she had given her the tennis coaches’ contact information, to get