Oscar Pistorius and the IAAF fiasco. Let him run!

the future of runningSo the IAAF has ruled Oscar Pistorius can’t run in the Olympics. They argue that Oscar’s prosthetics actually give him an advantage over other runners, making him faster and more efficient.

IAAF: Give me a freaking break. This is just finding excuses to not let the man run. Why? because of the fear he might upset the status quo. It’s actually because they’re afraid he might be faster than the competition. And the main excuse is that he is aided by his prosthetics. This is just lame; it’s not like he has an entire country’s financial and scientific might behind him. He bought his blades from a sports company, this means it’s widely available equipment; from this perspective, cyclists who have custom-made high-tech bikes should also be banned from competing against those who can’t afford anything but a production bike.

The man is fast enough that he might be a match for “able” runners, and there’s concern that the blades give him an unfair advantage; plenty of talk about how the blades “waste” less energy than a runner’s feet. The interesting part is that they know *exactly* how much more efficient Oscar’s blades are. So what the heck? build him a set of blades that give him *no* efficiency advantage, and see how he performs. That would level the playing field, and it would be fair.

Disqualifying Oscar because he’s more efficient would be like rejecting a taller runner, because his longer stride makes him more “efficient”. Or how about implementing weight categories in distance running? after all, lighter runners have an advantage over heavier, larger ones. Yes, you don’t see that happening, do you?

Oh, so the complaint now is that he’s the only one of all the participants who could use his blades, and this gives him an advantage nobody else could have. Yes, we wouldn’t want to have all our best sprinters cutting off their feet and trading them for blades, would we?

Guess what: it’s happened before. An athlete being so gifted, he could use a custom-made sporting implement; one that actually gave him an advantage, and one that nobody else could use.

Sergei Bubka used a special pole for his jumps. His strength and agility meant that nobody else could use the sort of pole he did. And indeed, he is the *only* pole vaulter to ever surpass 6.10m; his 6.15m record will *not* be broken unless someone who can also leverage the tool, the pole, comes along.

And yes, he was allowed to compete only because he was *not* disabled.

How’s that discrimination for you?

Oscar, they’re afraid of you. So what you need to do is stop fighting the system; enter the paralympics, where all the other double amputees who also have an advantage will run as fast as you; a level playing field. Or wait; actually they won’t, because Oscar’s merit is not only about his blades; it’s about his prowess and hard training. Because the fact remains, you can buy the blades in a freaking store. Yet you don’t see double-amputees outrunning cars on the street. It’s about the man, not the artificial feet he wears.

What Oscar Pistorius needs to do is break the 100m world record. That will be fun to see; a double amputee with no actual feet running *faster* than “able” men. Yep, that’d be fun to watch.

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