Guest on the set of the channel LN24 Tuesday evening, to talk about his book, The Irreducible, Jacques Borlée found himself, in the wake, at the heart of a lively controversy where the indignant reactions to part of his televised intervention have multiplied. “A passage was completely taken out of context and thrown into social media to create a buzz”, considers, quite annoyed, the coach of the Belgian Tornados.
The extract in question relates to the evocation, in his book, of what he calls “Jesse Owens Syndrome” – “A black athlete cannot stand to be passed by a white athlete in sprint events or relays” – and that Jacques Borlée integrated into his racing strategy before the World Relays final in 2015, when the Belgian 4×400 m relay won the bronze medal, “but also from 2010 at the World Indoor Championships in Doha where I asked Kevin to really set off to destabilize our opponents”, the Brussels coach tells us.
Who, the day before, had explained: “Most of the time, it’s blacks all the time who are dominant in sprinting. And so we have Jesse Owens syndrome. They have something dominant over us. And that’s undeniable. But when a white man manages to show that he is better than them, they are losing ground. “
This is certainly not the first time that this subject has been mentioned – in the written press, verification made, it has been mentioned in the same terms at least three times since 2015 – but the first time that Jacques Borlée, who rather passes for a lover of Africa – is accused of racist. “I never wanted to oppose blacks and whites!, he says. What people don’t understand, or don’t want to understand, is that I am talking about psychological attitudes in high performance sport and the fact that dominant athletes – and in the field we are talking about here, it is it is black people – do not like to see their supremacy questioned. It is not even a personal theory but an observation: it happens to some people to lose their means when one disrupts their mechanics a little. And our team has managed to capitalize on this on two specific occasions. Now, I have no desire to respond to this sad controversy which is, in my opinion, a sign of the times… “