Mebrahtom Keflezighi became the first American to win the New York Marathon in 27 years Sunday, but questions about his nationality arose even as he crossed the finishing line. The 39-year-old was born in Eritrea, East Africa, but immigrated to America in 1982—and has lived and trained here ever since. Is that enough to make him an American? (Watch Mebrahtom Keflezighi express his patriotism after winning the New York Marathon.)
Keflezighi’s win doesn’t count: In running, nationality matters, says Darren Rovell at CNBC’s Sports Biz. And unfortunately, because Keflezighi was born in Eritrea, it “takes away from the magnitude” of this so-called American victory. Keflezighi is “like a ringer who you hire to work a couple hours at your office so that you can win the executive softball league.” Update: Rovell has since apologized for his comments.
“Marathon's Headline Win Is Empty”
An immigrant American is still an American: Darren Rovell’s argument is “seriously disturbing,” says Henry Blodget at The Business Insider and “probably racist.” Dismissing immigrant athletes as only “technically American” is “insidious” and wrong. “They’re American. And the rest of us are lucky to have them.”
“CNBC's Rovell: NYC Marathon Winner Is Only "Technically" An American”
Look at the last 'American' who won the marathon: Consider history, says Tommy Craggs at Deadspin. Reactionary commentators like Rovell should check out the proud American who finished first in 1982: “Guy by the name of Alberto Salazar. Who was born in Havana.”
"American Who Won NYC Marathon Isn't American Enough For Some People"