I think this questioning of Oscar Pistorius leaves a lot to be desired and loses sight of what an extraordinary young man Osacar is. Firstly I question the scientific evidence because it is all fundamentally flawed for one simple reason. The scientists have not tested an athlete before & after a double amputation. The only geniune test would be for a current well-trained 400m athlete (preferably multiple athletes for a larger sample size) to run a series of sprints from 60m to 400m THEN undergo a double amputation, train using the blades and return for a second series of tests.
NOW until a guinea pig is willing to lose their legs and prove to the world that Pistorius has an advantage, then we should all admire and find inspiration from what Oscar has achieved.
This will not set off a flood of double amputees on to the Diamond League or towards the London Olympics. Pistorius is basically one of a kind.The paranoia surrounding him is ill founded.
The following article appeared online today and it perfectly resonates my views on the hysteria surrounding the man.
Hope is a running dream
By Carl Thomen
Friday, 2 September 2011
Oscar Pistorius’ participation at the Athletics World Championships in Daegu this week raises a defiant finger at those who wanted him banned from competing against able-bodied athletes. At the same time it affirms all that is good in the human animal.
In 2008, even though he was close to a second outside the Olympic qualifying time for the 400m – a metaphorical country mile – he was treated as a harbinger for the coming cyborg apocalypse. Elio Locatelli, Director of Development at the IAAF, said that Pistorius’ running blades “affect[ed] the purity of the sport. [What we will see] next will be another device where people can fly with something on their back.”
Initially the IAAF suggested it would be dangerous for Pistorius to run in a relay because his blades might harm other athletes. Without conclusive proof for the claim that his blades gave him an unfair advantage, the powers-that-be banned him from competing against able-bodied athletes anyway. Pistorius challenged the IAAF’s ruling in the Court of Arbitration for Sport, and the decision was reversed after the Court could not find enough evidence to support the claims of the IAAF.
Throughout all of this it was largely forgotten that both his legs were amputated as a baby because of a congenital condition that meant he was born without fibulas. The world’s media did not champion the will to compete in ‘normal’ rugby and waterpolo as a schoolboy, or the sense of humour which allowed him to laugh as he woke up in his school’s boarding house to find that his friends had hidden his legs.
The focus was on his performance, bringing to the fore a tension between Pistorius’ achievements in objective, scientific terms, and those same successes seen in a personal, metaphysical or spiritual light.
Unsurprisingly, the sports profiteers were quick to spot an opportunity to exploit the courage of the ‘fastest man on no legs.’ A Nike advertisement featured the following text next to a picture of the Bladerunner:
[i]I was born without bones below the knee.
I only stand 5ft 2.
But this is the body I have been given.
This is my weapon.
How I conquer. How I wage my war.
This is how I have broken the world record 49 times.
How I become the fastest thing on no legs.
This is my weapon.
This is how I fight.[/i]
The use of words such as ‘weapon’, ‘conquer’ and ‘war’ shift the emphasis from the deeply personal – from the self-affirming message of valour in the face of severe limitation – to the discourse of exploitable performance. ‘Even without legs, you can beat, conquer, win; even without legs you can break world records… with Nike’s help. So buy Nike stuff.’
This is the travesty of our time: when people look at the Bladerunner what they see is conditioned by the interests of an image-conscious hegemony and a multinational behemoth. In spite of bigoted bureaucratic sanction and corporate exploitation, Oscar Pistorius stands firm as a monument to self-affirmation, self-belief and a refusal to accept limits – in short, to freedom.
Pistorius says of the Paralympics that they “taught [him] so much more about doing your best, while able-bodied sport is just about winning at any cost. [He] can win now and be disappointed, or [he] can come fifth and be happy.”
No doubt this is because Paralympic athletes have a much greater appreciation of what it takes simply to be in the starting blocks. They have not forgotten that true inspiration comes not from the fastest runner, but from the spirit of the man that would run without legs.