White men can't run

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Q. When did a white athlete, male or female, last represent the United States in a major international competition at a distance of less than 800 metres and who was the last to win an Olympic medal?

A. Perhaps surprisingly, the World Championships in Gothenburg last month was the last occasion a white sprinter represented the United States at a major championship. Kevin Little came third in this year's 200 metres at the US Championships, but failed to progress beyond the second round in Sweden.

Before that, the last white sprinter in a major championships was also the last medallist, Ralph Mann gaining the silver medal behind John Akii- Bua (and ahead of David Hemery) in the 400m hurdles at the 1972 Olympics in Munich. The last (probably forever) white American gold medallist was Mike Larrabee, the 1964 Olympic 400m champion. - Vern Mapp, London SE3

Q. I remember a "refined slogger" playing for Somerset in the Fifties, Harold Gimblett. I have just missed a play about him on Radio 4. Can anyone tell me the tragic circumstances leading to his suicide?

A. Describing Harold Gimblett as a "refined slogger" is like comparing Mozart with Andrew Lloyd Webber. The precision and aggression of Gimblett's off- drive was a marvel to behold. He was a more thrilling batsman even than another famous Somerset batsman, Ian Botham. His most famous deed was to score the fastest first-class century of the season (at Frome in 1935) in his first county innings, the day after they had told him they were dropping him as an apprentice.

I wrote the Radio 4 play referred to - Dead Perfect - using David Foot's excellent biography. I feel Gimblett, like many great batsmen (and sportsmen), had the ability to "see" a ball better and more quickly than most of us, but the intensity and concentration needed for this led to depression and nerves after the match - a form of manic depression. - John Fletcher, Shepton Mallet


Q. Has any cricketer stayed on a county staff longer than Keith Greenfield of Sussex - eight years - without being capped? - Nigel French, Liverpool

Q. Has any Test team failed to remove any of the opposing batsmen on the first day of a Test match, given a full day's play? If so, has any team then gone on to win the match? - Philip Jones, London E3

Q. As more and more countries become independent, and the map of eastern Europe continues to be redrawn, the first thing these new nations appear to do is enter sporting events such as the Olympic Games. Is there any independent country (excluding dependent territories such as Hong Kong, Gibraltar, Greenland, etc) which has never entered the Olympics, and why? Albania springs to mind but I am positive they had a team in Barcelona. - Antony Zivkovic, Manchester

Q. Is it possible to ascertain whether Thomas Lord, the first landlord of the present HQ of cricket, was a genuine cricket lover or simply a very shrewd real-estate owner? - Kevin Maguire, Batley

If you know the answers to any of these questions or have a sporting question of your own you would like answered, write to:

Q & A

Sports Desk

Independent on Sunday

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London E14 5DL

Fax: 0171-293 2894