Leaving Treadmarkz Across the Universe

Posts Tagged ‘athletics

A Time Machine With Hand Controls, Preview of Episode III

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by Treadmarkz

Be sure to stay tuned in to Treadmarkz.wordpress.com as we lighten the mood a bit for the next installment of “A Time Machine with Hand Controls.” Join us as the four-wheeled rambler leaps across the space-time continuum to 1948. Here, we will drop in on the pioneering days of wheelchair athletics, and the precursor to the Paralympics.

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

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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.

A Brief Meditation on Wheelchair Sports

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by Treadmarkz

Carrying on in the same vein as my last posting, a friend of mine (also a paraplegic) and I had a discussion a while back about wheelchair sports. It was his feeling that wheelchair athletes tend to be so focused on wheelchair sports that it gives the impression that people in wheelchairs were one-dimentional. I am sure this could be especially troubling for those in wheelchairs who are more intellectual types than sporty. But the way I see it, whether you are in a wheelchair or not, if you love something, if you are honestly and truly passionate about something, then it is natural to show it. Especially if you plan to make it a big part of your life and succeed in it. It is likely the same with guys like Terrell Owens, a football player whom I consider to be passionate about his NFL career. Though I’m sure he’s fairly intelligent, I would guess he’d rather talk about how to get to the Super Bowl than how to reform Social Security. It doesn’t have to mean there is nothing else going on in the athlete’s head. People in wheelchairs took the court in the first place because they wanted the world to know that they could do it just as well as anyone. If we no longer had these passionate men and women, there would be nobody to mentor the younger people for whom sports is also a passion, and we might end up back where we started with the general assumption being that a person in a wheelchair can only take a desk job.