Friday, May 16, 2008

Double Amputee Allowed to Compete

Over the past two years, many news reports have covered Oscar Pistorius, a double amputee record holder in the 100,200, and 400 for disabled athletics. Many of the articles I have read have not been so favorable on him competing against able bodied athletes and fulfilling his dream to compete in the Olympic games in Beijing.

Oscar was born with several deformities which cost him his legs at the age of 11 months old. Obviously with the advances in technology, he can now compete on a fairly level playing field with other runners. Not disabled athletes but able bodied ones. This is the way it should be. However, not everyone feels that way and after the way the International Association of Athletics Federations ruled, it is obvious that they didn't feel that way either.

The IAAF ruled that Oscar Pistorius had an advantage over his able bodied competitors because his prosthetics gave him an advantage of having to expel 25% less effort over the same distance. Yet, in spite of this supposed advantage, he has failed to automatically qualify for the Olympics. In the IAAF testing, it is unknown exactly what they based this judgement on but one can only assume that they based it on him being completely whole in body which he is not.

Now, finally after all the wrangling and testing and the sheer hell that these people and organizations have put Oscar through, The Court for Arbitration of Sport has made a decision that he can compete for his country. Luckily, this decision is final and there is no appeal for the IAAF at this point.

Because of his failure to qualify automatically to compete, it is highly likely, according to some reports, that he will go to Beijing as part of the South African 4x400 meter relay team which is allowed to take 6 athletes to the games to compete. I sincerely hope that Oscar Pistorius does well and performs his best there as the whole world will now be watching. Not because the man will break any world records, but because he is now joining the ranks of the able bodied athletes after being forced into a classification most of his life that he neither asked for nor had any choice in.

To all the nay sayers in the world, who thought that Oscar Pistorius was not capable of competing or that he had a technological advantage, I say "go Oscar Pistorius!!!"

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