Double Amputee Too "Able Bodied" To Compete in the Olympics?

Oscar "The Blade Runner" Pistorius [wiki] (aka "The Fastest Man on No Legs"), a South African paralympic runner is a double amputee world record holder in the 100, 200 and 400 meter events.

Oscar wanted to be the first amputee runner to compete in the Olympics, but other runners cried foul saying that his artificial running legs actually gave him an unfair advantage!

From a New York Times article earlier this year:

“I pose a question” for the I.A.A.F., said Robert Gailey, an associate professor of physical therapy at the University of Miami Medical School, who has studied amputee runners. “Are they looking at not having an unfair advantage? Or are they discriminating because of the purity of the Olympics, because they don’t want to see a disabled man line up against an able-bodied man for fear that if the person who doesn’t have the perfect body wins, what does that say about the image of man?”

The question before the International Association of Athletics Federation, the governing body of the sport, was this: was Oscar the double amputee too "able-bodied" to compete?

YouTube Link

The answer seemed to be yes: the IAAF had banned the use of "any technical device that incorporates springs, wheels or any other element that provides a user with an advantage over another athlete not using such a device."

Link: NY Times Article (Photo by Christopher Furlong)

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Let him compete with non-mechanical feet! Otherwise don't let any of the other runners use shoes! That is one sure way of winning! Eliminate the competition.

Unless all the runners are going to run barefoot and naked anything can be considered an unfair advantage.

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I think that the issue is not about the able bodies esteem but the fact that the olymics is for the able bodied, paralympics is for the physically disabled and special Olympics is for the intellectually disabled. If someone was fully Able bodied and wanted to do the Paralympics it would be out of the question. Look what happened to spain and a few other countries when they faked intellectual disorders. The INAS-FID is still on probation. The Oscar is an amazing runner and I really do not see why the paralympics is not enough for him. What people should be fighting for is more media coverage of the Paralympics because i love watching quad rugby and those events. I tried to find it on television a few years ago and could not. Maybe more Plublicity would help make the paralympics more popular and more of a common occurance.
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the simple fact is that he has a mechanical device that, as LS said, never fatigues or strains to the point of damage (under normal conditions anyway). this has nothing to do with 'imperfection' and everything to do with unfair advantage.
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It seems like everyone has good points. Oscar does indeed have something the runners do not have, but at the same the other runners also have legs which he does not. So we then have to look to oscar's legs vs normal runner's leg. I'd say in that comparison Oscar would win hands down, it seems the best solution would be to give Oscar artificial legs that are comparable to human legs, which don't seem to exist.

It would seem having a handicap is handicapping afterall... go figure.
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