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An Amputee Sprinter: Is He Disabled or Too-Abled? (The "fastest man on no legs") [View All]

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BurtWorm Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-17-07 10:32 AM
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An Amputee Sprinter: Is He Disabled or Too-Abled? (The "fastest man on no legs")
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Edited on Thu May-17-07 10:33 AM by BurtWorm
Interesting controversy brewing in the world of Olympic track and field:

May 15, 2007


MANCHESTER, England, May 14 As Oscar Pistorius of South Africa crouched in the starting blocks for the 200 meters on Sunday, the small crowd turned its attention to the sprinter who calls himself the fastest man on no legs.

Pistorius wants to be the first amputee runner to compete in the Olympics. But despite his ascendance, he is facing resistance from track and fields world governing body, which is seeking to bar him on the grounds that the technology of his prosthetics may give him an unfair advantage over sprinters using their natural legs.

His first strides were choppy Sunday, a necessary accommodation to sprinting on a pair of j-shaped blades made of carbon fiber and known as Cheetahs. Pistorius was born without the fibula in his lower legs and with other defects in his feet. He had both legs amputated below the knee when he was 11 months old. At 20, his coach says, he is like a five-speed engine with no second gear.

Yet Pistorius is also a searing talent who has begun erasing the lines between abled and disabled, raising philosophical questions: What should an athlete look like? Where should limits be placed on technology to balance fair play with the right to compete? Would the nature of sport be altered if athletes using artificial limbs could run faster or jump higher than the best athletes using their natural limbs?

Once at full speed Sunday, Pistorius handily won the 100 and 200 meters here at the Paralympic World Cup, an international competition for disabled athletes. A cold, rainy afternoon tempered his performances, but his victories came decisively and kept him aimed toward his goal of the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, even though international track officials seek to block his entrance.

Since March, Pistorius has delivered startling record performances for disabled athletes at 100 meters (10.91 seconds), 200 meters (21.58 seconds) and 400 meters (46.34 seconds). Those times do not meet Olympic qualifying standards for men, but the Beijing Games are still 15 months away. Already, Pistorius is fast enough that his marks would have won gold medals in equivalent womens races at the 2004 Athens Olympics....
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  -An Amputee Sprinter: Is He Disabled or Too-Abled? (The "fastest man on no legs") BurtWorm  May-17-07 10:32 AM   #0 
  - it's a tough call  northzax   May-17-07 10:59 AM   #1 
  - SNL had a similar thought back in the late 80's  lazyriver   May-17-07 11:05 AM   #2 
  - Well argued!  BurtWorm   May-17-07 11:05 AM   #3 
  - Yeah  hfojvt   May-17-07 11:37 AM   #7 
     - Voight-Kampff test...  Tesha   May-17-07 01:21 PM   #22 
        - it's not fair using google or wiki to answer that!!  hfojvt   May-17-07 01:48 PM   #24 
           - I didn't use Google. I simply knew the name of the test and...  Tesha   May-17-07 02:05 PM   #26 
  - Do you consider eyeglasses (or contacts or surgery) as artificial?  AngryAmish   May-17-07 12:20 PM   #14 
     - obviously artifical  northzax   May-17-07 12:33 PM   #15 
        - Ballplayers (and Tiger Woods) have overcorrected their vision through surgery  AngryAmish   May-17-07 12:47 PM   #17 
           - but they didn't get mechanical enhancement  northzax   May-17-07 01:01 PM   #18 
           - I never knew that and that seems bogus to me  hfojvt   May-17-07 02:33 PM   #27 
  - Never thought I would see the day when people with legs  dogday   May-17-07 11:08 AM   #4 
  - that's the point, though, isn't it?  northzax   May-17-07 11:46 AM   #8 
     - NO I would not... Running is just a small part of life  dogday   May-17-07 11:51 AM   #10 
     - maybe you wouldn't  northzax   May-17-07 12:05 PM   #12 
        - Could we not also see someone who has longer legs  dogday   May-17-07 01:06 PM   #19 
           - work has nothing to do with it  northzax   May-17-07 08:10 PM   #31 
     - ten million?  hfojvt   May-17-07 02:39 PM   #28 
        - how very exact...  northzax   May-17-07 08:00 PM   #30 
  - How many 'natural' atheletes now use blood doping? Or train in low oxygen environs?  cryingshame   May-17-07 11:12 AM   #5 
  - blood doping is banned (see Professional Cycling, Death of)  northzax   May-17-07 11:50 AM   #9 
     - It's a great discussion, IMO. What has happened with pro sports. The use and abuse  cryingshame   May-18-07 06:04 PM   #36 
  - mabe both - disabled and too abled  hfojvt   May-17-07 11:24 AM   #6 
  - well, I assume he doesn't wear those legs to the grocery  northzax   May-17-07 11:54 AM   #11 
  - Which raises the question, why do we revere "natural" athletes so much  SmokingJacket   May-17-07 12:09 PM   #13 
  - How do other legless atheletes perform?  mainegreen   May-17-07 12:41 PM   #16 
  - He's just naturally fast  KamaAina   May-17-07 01:13 PM   #20 
     - ESPN, I think, does an hour or two.  BurtWorm   May-17-07 01:19 PM   #21 
  - All I know is this poor guy is in the middle of a major ideological debate right now  ComerPerro   May-17-07 01:28 PM   #23 
  - I made the analogy to slavery  hfojvt   May-17-07 01:52 PM   #25 
  - Cases like this are just the tip of the comming iceberg.  Odin2005   May-17-07 03:25 PM   #29 
  - bio-conservative bigots?  northzax   May-17-07 08:14 PM   #32 
  - I think there should be two classes - "Stock" and "Modified"  Canuckistanian   May-17-07 08:16 PM   #33 
  - Remember the flak over Dr. Rene Richards playing women's tennis?  kskiska   May-17-07 10:40 PM   #34 
  - He doesn't look like a lifelong "Sprinter." They have very little body fat.  alphafemale   May-17-07 10:57 PM   #35 
  - It's a fascinating story  malaise   May-18-07 07:10 PM   #37 

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