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Stunt Runner Allowed in Olympics?

While most people who run or watch running enjoy seeing “stunt” runners like jogglers, there is a certain segment of the population that loathes us. They think running should be a pure sport and have disdain for people who dress up in stupid outfits, run obscenely long distances, juggle or are just different than regularOscar running runners. I wonder how they would feel about Oscar Pistorius.

Oscar Pistorius is fast.

Olympic qualifying fast.

He’s not a stunt runner, but he is different.

He’s been dubbed “the fastest man on no legs” because he happens not to have any legs. In January this year the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) ruled that his blades gave him an advantage and barred him from the Beijing Olympics. He appealed and was just recently given the go ahead for racing against able-bodied runners.

My favorite part of the story was that the case was won after reviewing the results of a scientific study.

These experts in biomechanics and physiology demonstrated that in a 400 m race, Pistorius would have no unfair advantage. So now he’ll get his chance to qualify. If he can, it will be the first time an amputee races in the Olympics. Good for him. The Olympics are about finding out who is the fastest right? If they wanted to remove all advantages they would make everyone carry the same amount of weight like they do with horse racing.

The next step for Pistorius is to qualify. He’ll try this in July.

Incidentally, I’m giving up on my bid to qualify for the Olympics this year. I didn’t want to have to run in the polluted air of Beijing. Also, I heard no other athlete was going to joggle. How archaic.

This Post Has 7 Comments
  1. For me, its just not the same type of physical activity. With prosthetics, it may be harder, it may be easier. Who is to say? I just know its not the same. Joggling, on the other hand, is the same with extra. That’s OK with me 🙂

  2. To be accurate, they overturned the original ban not because they proved that he had a disadvantage, but because they felt the original ban was based on a biased study and they were not convinced that he definitely had an advantage. He is allowed to compete, but that could change over the next couple of years once they determine what sort of advantages he does or doesn’t have over able bodied athletes.

    My guess and assumption is that his blades do give him an advantage, since he can in fact speed up when runners with legs slow down and because he doesn’t have to worry about the muscles in his lower legs.

    That being said, I doubt highly that any advantages that he has over able-bodied runners outweighs the disadvantages that he has due to the fact that he has no legs and has 20-25% less blood volume.

  3. The scientific study referenced suggests that the blades do not give him an advantage over a distance of 400 m. This is why the ban was over turned.

  4. I’m on the fence for this one. It’s quite a slippery slope to have to “Prove” that any external device does or doesn’t give one an advantage. Sucks he was born with a defect that required amputation of his legs, and his abilities are impressive, but I’m not convinced (And I haven’t read the study admittedly) this isn’t an advantage. If he gets a new set of legs with different mechanics, will a new study be done?

    He may have less blood than another runner, but he is lighter too for his “Height”

  5. You make a good point and perhaps he shouldn’t be allowed to compete. But they’ve been using equipment to improve performance in the Olympics for years. The swim suits they use allow swimmers to go much quicker than without.

    I guess if you let everyone wear similar prosthetics than that might make it more fair.

    Of course, if he doesn’t win anything what difference does it make?

  6. And Oh by the way he is not “Olympic qualifying fast.” yet. Last I saw, his best time in the 400 still 1 Sec slow of the qualifying time, however his Country could put him as an Alternate or on the Relay Team without a qualifying time.

  7. In stead of working on qualifying for the olympics, Oscar went on to do a publicity tour after he was allowed to participate.

    He is not going to qualify. SA has a decent olympic team, and I’ll be highly upset if one of that team members are replaced by Oscar, to give him a chance.

    It is unfair having having a guy running on springs to participate with normal runners in the first place, and if he doesn’t even qualify, so much more so.

    Why doesn’t Oscar rather do the high jump or long jump or something where his springs give him even more of an advantage?
    The guy who designs his feet is on record as saying that this is the future of the olympic games. Kind of Cyborg stuff.

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