U.S. Olympic track legend Michael Johnson, who won gold medals in 1992 and 1996 and posted numerous world records, made an eye-opening comment recently.
In an interview with the UK's Daily Mail, the sprinter posited that hard work and determination were mostly responsible for his world class athletic talent.
That and one other historical factor.
Michael Johnson explained, "All my life ... I believed I became an athlete through my own effort and determination, but it's impossible to think that being descended from slaves hasn't left an imprint through the generations."
"Difficult as it was to hear, slavery has benefited descendants like me ... I believe there is a superior athletic gene in us. Over the last few years, athletes of Afro-Caribbean and Afro-American descent have dominated athletics finals."
Johnson still holds the 400-meter world record. The all-time best 100- and 200-meter races were both run by Usain Bolt ... of Jamaica.
"It's a fact that hasn't been discussed openly before. It's a taboo subject in the States but it is what it is. Why shouldn't we discuss it?" Johnson adds.
Doesn't explain Michael Phelps, but it's an interesting theory.