Leaving Treadmarkz Across the Universe

Archive for May 16th, 2008

Double-Amputee Oscar Pistorius Eligible to Compete In Olympics…AND the Paralympics

with 4 comments

by Treadmarkz

I have been quietly following this story, about Oscar Pistorius, a double amputee who wishes to compete in the Olympics for his country South Africa alongside fully able-bodied competitors. If you’ve been reading my work, you’d probably guess that this is exactly what I have wanted: Pistorius is now eligible to attempt to qualify as an Olympic athlete, not a Paralympian.

What do you all think of this? Do the carbon-fiber “legs” that he wears give him an unfair advantage or give his body and unnatural performance contrary to what the spirit of the Olympics is all about in the first place? The experts at MIT who have tested his “legs” say that they do not. They are made to mimic the performance of a biological leg and foot as naturally as possible. In this age of performance-enhancing drugs, though, this is bound to raise some eyebrows.

Underneath the story I have linked to above, there is a series of reader comments and one of the readers made a great point (which I myself responded to). He basically said that Pistorius should be required to either compete as an “able-bodied” athlete or a “disabled” athlete. He should not be able to have it both ways, even though it looks as though for now at least Pistorius will be doing just that. If Pistorius is claiming to be “able bodied” enough to compete in the regular Olympics, then is it unfair for him to compete in the Paralympics against “disabled” athletes?

But hey, let’s not get ahead of ourselves here! Pistorius still has to qualify for the Olympics (or be selected as an alternate if he does not make a “qualifying time”). If he can’t do it, then we’ll know the “legs” gave him no unfair advantage and he will go back to being a “disabled athlete” again. Let’s let this one play out.