July 17, 2012

Inclusion of Oscar Pistorius in the Olympics - "political correctness gone mad or an inspiring human story"?

That question was asked of Michael Johnson — who has twice won an Olympic gold medal in the event that will include Pistorius, the 400 meter:
“I think it is both. I know Oscar well, and he knows my position; my position is that because we don’t know for sure whether he gets an advantage from the prosthetics that he wears it is unfair to the able-bodied competitors.

"That is hard for a lot of people to take and to understand when you are talking about an athlete and an individual who has a disability. It is a great story, he is a great individual and he has been a great ambassador for athletes with a disability and for people, and how to overcome [that] and continue to strive."
Should Pistorius be allowed to compete?
  
pollcode.com free polls 

ADDED: Poll results:

96 comments:

leslyn said...

I've been looking forward to Pistorius competing in the Olympics. There has been a lot of testing as to whether he has a "disabled advantage." (Now there's a concept to wrap your mind around.) The results were "No."

The Olympic Committee was not enthusiastic about admitting him to run. In the end, they just couldn't come up with a good reason to keep him out.

Michael K said...

I don't really care and since the effect is not certain, he should be able to run. I think the thighs probably have more to do with short races like the 400. I don't know about events like the broad jump, though. There the prostheses may give a real advantage. Sort of like fiberglas poles in the pole vault. I was roommate at one time of the last vaulter who used an aluminum pole.

Tom Spaulding said...

If he wins a Gold, he'll of course give it to the people who built the roads for the people who built the trucks for the people to get to where they build factories so someone could build his legs for him.

He didn't earn that medal all on his own.

Individual sacrifice and self-determination is selfish.

BTW, Vote Obama...he's dreamy!

edutcher said...

The words, "weight advantage", ring any bells?

Aridog said...

This is just silly. Pistorius' best time is 2 seconds slower than the fastest "able bodies." In short, he can't win squat. No taking away from his courage and ability to rise above a disability, but it IS that disability that makes him slower.

So what is the point?

ricpic said...

That prosthesis gives him kangaroo spring. Of course it's an advantage.

Curious George said...

No. This is as bad as letting Casey Martin play PGA events using a golf cart.

traditionalguy said...

For some reason this brings to mind my thoughts as a child that the best seats on a bus were the round spacious area one at the back of the bus. It was so unfair that we white children weren't allowed to sit back there. The blacks had the best seats reserved for them.

But I was a difficult boy.

Shanna said...

I've been looking forward to Pistorius competing in the Olympics. There has been a lot of testing as to whether he has a "disabled advantage." (Now there's a concept to wrap your mind around.) The results were "No."

The only way to test would be him with and without the prosthesis, so I'm not sure that you can say that. I'm kind of with Michael Johnson. That's not to say it isn't amazing what he can do, though.

bagoh20 said...

Can he use steroids too to make him more able? Why not?

And why can't anyone use technology to even up the genetic or accidental deficiencies they have. Everyone can be an Olympian with science. If not now, then soon.

I also think they should do it all naked. Purity - that's what I want.

C R Krieger said...

At the time I voted I was one of four who went with "Yes".

If it turns out he has an advantage, THEN split the event(s) and increase participation.  By the way, where is baseball?  Is this the Europeans denying us recognition?

Regards  —  Cliff

Ann Althouse said...

"So what is the point?"

Well, that's why I wrote option 1 the way I did.

He's not going to win. The other runners don't feel that bad because he's not going to win.

But if he were a bit better, what would the answer be? He sets the precedent, so what about the next guy?

Now, you could say there won't be anyone else like this? Who loses their legs and then gets this good? I don't know. But maybe people who lose their legs feel a special incentive to develop their bodies, and if the prostheses give a great feeling of empowerment, it could happen.

You have to combine someone who's got a lot of natural ability with the calamity of losing their legs. Who would that be?

AllenS said...

Are the prosthetics an advantage? Of course they are. Let him try to compete with old fashioned wooden legs. What if next year, prosthetics had developed to an extent that one jump would win the 100 yard dash in a time of 2 seconds? Would you accept that?

Coketown said...

Option A if he loses and option C if he wins. I want to flatter my sense of moral arbitration, but not at the expense of others. The latter is what distinguishes me from the liberals.

Chris said...

How about cut Michael Johnson's legs off at the knee, fit him with the same prosthesis and see how he does? That's the only true way to know if Pistorius has any advantage.

bagoh20 said...

This blurs the line between track and NASCAR.

What's the real difference between this and letting him use a bicycle.

Ann Althouse said...

"No. This is as bad as letting Casey Martin play PGA events using a golf cart."

No, that was worse, because the PGA did not make its own decision to let him use a cart. He qualified for the PGA under its structure and then he sought an accommodation, which the PGA denied him, on the ground that walking the course was part of the competition. There was litigation, and the court required the accommodation, disagreeing with the PGA's interpretation of the nature of the game.

Cedarford said...

Tom Spaulding said...
If he wins a Gold, he'll of course give it to the people who built the roads for the people who built the trucks for the people to get to where they build factories so someone could build his legs for him.

He didn't earn that medal all on his own.

Individual sacrifice and self-determination is selfish.

-----------------
Stupid comment, trying to apply Obama's business statement to all human endeavors. Not witty. Clumsy sarcasm.

And I suspect most Obamites WANT Pistorius to be entered as a regular competitor because he is all inspirational and stuff and a member of the Hero Victim Class that deserves all support from us and all credit to himself for his prothetically-assisted "achievements". And the triumph of PC winning yet again over common sense.

Kit said...

He didn't earn that medal all on his own.

And, I bet, he'd be the first one to say this.

exhelodrvr1 said...

Aridog;
"No taking away from his courage and ability to rise above a disability, but it IS that disability that makes him slower."

You're assuming that without the disability, he would be faster than he is right now. There is no evidence to suggest that.

Bryan C said...

If another athlete who had intact legs were to wear a device with similar springs, would the Olympic Committee allow them to compete? How about if a amputee weightlifter had a hydraulic jack for an arm?

Curious George said...

I would allow him to strap a jetpack on his back and wear roller skates however. That would give him an advantage but would be so awesome I wouldn't care.

LincolnTf said...

I like the idea of Pistorius running. I get the argument against it, and would probably feel differently if I was running against him, but it's a cool enough story that I'll waive whatever concern I ever had or ever will have over the South African Olympic selection regime.

I think it would be great if after the Olympics they went about designing all sorts of "superpowered" prostheses to see what he can do without any regulation or competition. I'm picturing compressed air canisters giving him a 40 foot broad jump...

Shanna said...

I don't think that golf cart thing was as big a deal because I don't think walking the golf course is the same thing as hitting the ball.

The prosthesis directly impacts the ability to run, for better or worse. It's not shaped anything like a leg (and the point about reducing weight is well taken). It has some kind of impact on his running.

bagoh20 said...

"Stupid comment, trying to apply Obama's business statement to all human endeavors. Not witty. Clumsy sarcasm."

I think you're confused about who made the stupid statement. Clue: it was a guy who sees himself as the leader and defender of a government rather than the citizens it serves.

SunnyJ said...

Working in physical therapy for many years I have nothing but admiration for the grit and courage it takes to return to function in the community much less perform at this athletic level.

That said, and with all due respect, the games are about and even playing field and let's compete. The science is not in on the advantage...or disadvantage or neutrality. However, this science is in: he will be the only person in the race that cannot pull a lower leg muscle, break a bone in his foot, sprain an ankle, or tear a tendon...and that is not an even playing field. That is an absolute advantage.

Too much PC emotion and "feelings". The facts are as I stated...he has the advantage of mechanical parts that cannot respond to adverse stress, strain, effort or surface in the same manner as the human lower extremity.

Here's the part that bothers me after working with multiple BKA and AKA patients with prosthesis. He knows this. He knows exactly what I am saying. You have to know this to manage prosthetic devices and learn to use them. He is taking advantage of the PC fears of administration and playing on that to give himself this opportunity. That's not in the spirit of the games...even if you stretch the letter of the rules.

AllenS said...

I've got a great idea. How about performance enhancing drugs?

Aridog said...

Tongue in cheek here, but.... I'm with Bagoh20 on this!

Let everyone use whatever appliance or medication or whatever there is to achieve greatness. I for one will take my 70+ year old butt to the next Olympics to "run" sprints at 100, 200 and 400 meters....using my Scooter powered by a 635 HP Corvette engine!!

PS: Inspired by the blog-ad in the side bar :-)

leslyn said...

Curious George said...
No. This is as bad as letting Casey Martin play PGA events using a golf cart.

Was that sarcasm, or could you possibly be serious??

Cedarford said...

Ann Althouse said...
"No. This is as bad as letting Casey Martin play PGA events using a golf cart."

No, that was worse, because the PGA did not make its own decision to let him use a cart. He qualified for the PGA under its structure and then he sought an accommodation, which the PGA denied him, on the ground that walking the course was part of the competition
-----------------
There is abundant evidence that neither the Track and Field sanctioning bodies or the US Olympic Committee wanted Pistorius allowed in as a regular entrant. But the Disability Lobbies in America and Europe put huge pressure on Track's sponsors. The sponsors caved or saw money in it - led by Nike which signed Pistorius to a contract and planned to market the shit out of him.

It would be more like Nike and Calloway got into the golf cart business and saw disability advocates for Casey Martin as a great way to force golf to get their golf cart product accepted.

Bryan C said...

"Stupid comment, trying to apply Obama's business statement to all human endeavors. Not witty. Clumsy sarcasm. "

Yes, because business is clearly completely different from all those other human social interactions which aren't, ya know, so business-ey. And stuff.

Jane said...

Related:

http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2012-05-16/news/ct-met-disabled-swimmer-lawsuit-20120516_1_ihsa-executive-director-marty-hickman-illinois-high-school-association

Above is an article from a couple months ago about a disabled high schooler suing to be able to swim competitively. As best as I can figure, she wants some kind of "handicap" assigned, some kind of adjustment (subtracting out x% of her time, maybe?) so that she has a chance to, on paper, have a score similar to others. I find this a pretty bizarre demand -- but maybe this wasn't invented out of whole cloth but other states do this? (My kid has low muscle tone -- can I have him diagnosed so he can be in sports without being cut?)

This is a different sort of situation. Yes, his time is low enough that he's not going to medal. And it's inspiring for other disabled athletes. But running on prostheses is not the same as running on legs, and a low time doesn't "prove" otherwise -- there's no way of determining what his time "would have been" with real legs. I can see, though, that just competing against other amputees would lose its appeal after a while, as there aren't enough of them to have a world-class sporting event system.

Lem said...

A 'controversy' to remind people we still have an Olympic Games.

Sad.

Marshal said...

"Aridog said...
This is just silly. Pistorius' best time is 2 seconds slower than the fastest "able bodies." In short, he can't win squat. No taking away from his courage and ability to rise above a disability, but it IS that disability that makes him slower.

So what is the point?"

You're not deciding today to admit this person. Your decision is whether to admit a class of people one of which may be capable of winning the event some day. The fact that this particar guy isn't going to win is irrelevant.

I am skeptical he doesn't get an advantage. He can control his leg length for starters.

Curious George said...

"Shanna said...
I don't think that golf cart thing was as big a deal because I don't think walking the golf course is the same thing as hitting the ball. "

Both are part of the game.

"leslyn said...
Curious George said...
No. This is as bad as letting Casey Martin play PGA events using a golf cart.

Was that sarcasm, or could you possibly be serious??"

Very serious.

exhelodrvr1 said...

Shanna,
There is 5-6 miles invovled with walking the course during a round of golf. Clearly there is a conditioning factor there.

leslyn said...

These comments are hilarious and are really lifting my day. Some of "The Best of...."

That prosthesis gives him kangaroo spring. Of course it's an advantage.

Let him try to compete with old fashioned wooden legs.

I also think they should do it all naked. Purity - that's what I want.

How about cut Michael Johnson's legs off at the knee, fit him with the same prosthesis and see how he does? That's the only true way to know if Pistorius has any advantage.

I would allow him to strap a jetpack on his back and wear roller skates however. That would give him an advantage but would be so awesome I wouldn't care.

I for one will take my 70+ year old butt to the next Olympics to "run" sprints at 100, 200 and 400 meters....using my Scooter powered by a 635 HP Corvette engine!!

Curious George said...

"Ann Althouse said...
"No. This is as bad as letting Casey Martin play PGA events using a golf cart."

No, that was worse, because the PGA did not make its own decision to let him use a cart. He qualified for the PGA under its structure and then he sought an accommodation, which the PGA denied him, on the ground that walking the course was part of the competition. There was litigation, and the court required the accommodation, disagreeing with the PGA's interpretation of the nature of the game."

I agree, but really was referring to the fairness to competitors and competition, and not how the decision came about.

leslyn said...

I am skeptical he doesn't get an advantage. He can control his leg length for starters.

No, he really can't. The prosthesis has to be proportional to his body and within his normal experience. Think of a guy on stilts at the fair trying to run a 400-yard dash.

Ann Althouse said...

"I don't think that golf cart thing was as big a deal because I don't think walking the golf course is the same thing as hitting the ball."

It's not the same thing, but it's another thing. In baseball, you have to hit the ball and also do something in the field, unless you're a pitcher/DH in the American League. It's 2 things that you do and it takes something out of you.

I've never played golf, but I've been a spectator -- many times -- at PGA events, so I have walked the course. I was exhausted, especially in hot weather. It's one more thing you do that takes effort.

Ann Althouse said...

And also you're saying YOU don't think it's a big deal, and the court said it didn't think it's a big deal, but the fact is, it's the PGA's business and they've set the rules and they thought it was a big deal.

The court let the Americans With Disability Act affect the game of golf.

Ann Althouse said...

"I agree, but really was referring to the fairness to competitors and competition, and not how the decision came about."

From what I heard first-hand, the players were okay with Martin using the cart. It wasn't perceived as unfair.

Revenant said...

My vote goes to "political correctness gone mad". There is a reason why these events try to standardize everything and make certain there is as little difference between the athletes as possible.

leslyn said...

SunnyJ said,

However, this science is in: he will be the only person in the race that cannot pull a lower leg muscle, break a bone in his foot, sprain an ankle, or tear a tendon...and that is not an even playing field. That is an absolute advantage.

I understand that you're the expert in this area--but do you really think he couldn't pull a muscle in his upper leg, stumble and break the prosthesis, or tear a tendon?

How much stress does the prosthesis place on his upper legs and body compare to a person without prostheses? Isn't it true that he has to go through strenuous conditioning just to be able to walk? How much more to run?

Shanna said...

There is 5-6 miles invovled with walking the course during a round of golf. Clearly there is a conditioning factor there.

Sure, I just don't think it's as BIG of a difference.

But I'm not a golfer and really don't care about it, so I'll defer to ya'll on everything golfy except that I think this is a bigger deal, competition wise.

Patrick said...

From what I heard first-hand, the players were okay with Martin using the cart. It wasn't perceived as unfair.

That would change if the other players thought Martin could beat them. Guaranteed.

Shanna said...

I agree, but really was referring to the fairness to competitors and competition, and not how the decision came about.

Right. That is what I was talking about as well. Competition wise, your talking about the ability to walk a few miles before hitting a ball, but you are not judged on walking in golf. You are judged entirely on running in track.

Curious George said...

"Ann Althouse said...
I've never played golf, but I've been a spectator -- many times -- at PGA events, so I have walked the course. I was exhausted, especially in hot weather. It's one more thing you do that takes effort."

That's it...fatigue. Even very fit golfers...and most are these days on the PGA...will experience some level of fatigue over 18 holes. The golf swing is a very precise movement of the entire body. To eliminate or at least reduce fatigue provides an advantage. Now is that advantage more than disadvantage that Casey Martin had? Probably not. But doesn't matter. You walk the course in the PGA. Just like you run the bases in baseball. That's the game. can't do it? Do something else.

Shanna said...

you're

Curious George said...

"Ann Althouse said...
From what I heard first-hand, the players were okay with Martin using the cart. It wasn't perceived as unfair."

Some were, but I would guess that many that were against him playing chose to stay quiet, or pretend they were okay with it.

Ann Althouse said...

"That would change if the other players thought Martin could beat them. Guaranteed."

Yeah, I think so. As with Pistorius, they'll be merciful and inclusive, because the difficult question is not presented.

In Martin's case, his disability made it harder to compete, and the cart only partially made up for the limitations -- just enabled him to play at all. His PGA career was never successful.

Marshal said...

It's typical of the left to focus only on the emotional issue. They have no concern for the people who have spent their lives training for this.

In truth, the fact that this guy is good enough to make the team supports the suspicion his prosthetics give him an advantage. The rest of the field has been training their entire lives, but he first started running at all when he was 18.

And by the way, just to show how dishonest leslyn is the following is from wiki:

"The report claimed that Pistorius's limbs used 25% less energy than runners with complete natural legs to run at the same speed, and that they led to less vertical motion combined with 30% less mechanical work for lifting the body.[34] In December, Brüggemann told Die Welt newspaper that Pistorius "has considerable advantages over athletes without prosthetic limbs who were tested by us."

So leslyn's conclusion that the testing concluded he doesn't gain an advantage is wrong.

ken in sc said...

Trad guy, I felt the same way about the segregated bus seats. I wanted to sit in the back.

rehajm said...

From what I heard first-hand, the players were okay with Martin using the cart. It wasn't perceived as unfair.

From what I heard first-hand, political correctness plagued those who would have objected in a public way. Had Martin starting winning on tour on a regular basis, you would have heard a different story...

Lionheart said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
EMD said...

I think cyclists should be able to ingest/dope whatever they want on the Tour De France.

That way, we know it's an open field, and we needn't worry about who is doping and who isn't and who has an advantage.

A for Pistorius, he should change his name to Pistonius, and just go with the one-name thing like a Portuguese soccer player.

bagoh20 said...

I think we should proclaim that both "your" and "you're" are correct and interchangeable. The context always tells you which word is intended regardless of spelling, so lets just make that little change official right now. If you are anal and stodgy and need to spell correctly because you have adequacy issues, then you still can use what you need, but the rest of can use either. Your welcum.

SunnyJ said...

@leslyn...you have made my point exactly...he could injure his upper lower extremity, trunk etc. and so could the others...all things being equal there.

But, that's not what we're talking about. We're talking about the variables that are not the same and equally open to injury, and that is the lower extremity bilaterally. Using the scientific method, these are the variables that need to be assessed, not the heart, lungs, trunk, brain etc. However, the cardio/respiratory effort of the reduced weight of the composite mechanical prosthesis has been identified to be less demanding which is an advantage.

What I hear in your comments and thoughts is the enabling mentality which is really disabling to all of us. I will tell you this, and as I said it's the part that bothers me most about this story. This young man was not enabled into his current state...he was challenged at every step to do more, try harder and work harder while the neuroplasitcity of the brain was forced to learn how to balance and maneuver these prosthesis devices. Were he honest he would be the first to say that he immediately noticed the substantive difference in them, than in his normative lower extremities. His brain KNOWS there is no bone to break, KNOWS there is no risk of ankle/foot sprain, KNOWS there is no achilles to tear...and that KNOWING forms intention and that intention is the power of the brain to create mobility. That is not the same for his the other competitors. Not the same at all.

Lionheart said...

Ann, You forget Tiger, Jack, Arnie etc

From The Sport Journal:
"The PGA has taken a firm stance on this issue. Tim Finchem, PGA Tour commissioner, says there are two main issues in the Casey Martin case. First, "The Tour should always have the ability to make its own rules and regulations. Second, walking is an integral part of the game and shouldn't be lost."(Strange, 1998) All of today's top players seem to be in agreement with their commissioner. Even Tiger Woods, who considers Casey Martin a good friend, doesn't believe Martin should ride a cart. Woods and Martin were on the same team at Stanford University. Tiger's opinions about Martin haven't grabbed much attention and nothing seems to be getting in the way of Tiger's Jordan-like popularity.

Two of the most famous names in golf are also very adamant on this issue. Arnold Palmer has given a deposition on behalf of the PGA saying that using a cart could, under some circumstances, provide a competitive advantage. Yet, Arnie rode a cart in one event on the Senior Tour last year. Jack Nicklaus has also told the PGA Tour that he is willing to speak on its behalf if it would help the cause. Other top golfers seem to avoid the topic at all costs. Davis Love III has made the words "no comment" an art form in his press conferences. Tiger Woods, Nicklaus, and Palmer appear to have images that are untouchable, but the second tier players have more to lose as far as their image and potential endorsements. The second tier players often make as much or more in endorsements than they do from playing the tour itself."

leslyn said...

Marshal said,

And by the way, just to show how dishonest leslyn is the following is from wiki...[showing Pistorius has certain advantages.}

Tsk, tsk, tsk Marshal, include it all:

In February 2008, Pistorius employed the services of law firm Dewey & LeBoeuf to challenge the ruling via an appeal and later that month, travelled to America to take part in a series of further tests carried out at Rice University in Houston by a team of scientists including Hugh Herr, PhD and Rodger Kram, PhD.

After a two day hearing, on 16 May 2008 the Court of Arbitration for Sport upheld Oscar’s appeal and the IAAF council decision was revoked with immediate effect.

The CAS panel unanimously determined that Dr. Brüggemann only tested Oscar’s biomechanics at full-speed when he was running in a straight line (unlike a real 400m race), that the report did not consider the disadvantages that Oscar suffers at the start and acceleration phases of the race, that Dr. Brüggemann did not consider disadvantages that Oscar suffers, and that overall there was no evidence that Oscar had any net advantage over able-bodied athletes.

THAT'S why Pistorius is able to compete in the Olympics.

chuckR said...

I don't think he should be allowed to compete. I doubt that this particular prosthetic design confers an advantage - read that blades can't make up for lack of muscle and tendons and the stored energy in them. I'll take 4 billion years of evolution over 50 years of carbon fiber development. But you can't foreclose the possibility for future improvements.
Many years ago I worked on metal fatigue detailing of a mechanical heart meant as a bridge to a transplant. Best we could do was the equivalent of 3 months or so of heartbeats. It was very humbling. Failure of the heart was immediately fatal, too.

leslyn said...

Sometimes I think we as American women and athletes forget how good we've got it.

Qatar will send 3 female athletes to the London games. This is the first time Qatar will be sending women to any Olympic games. They are sending a swimmer, a competitive shooter, and a sprinter. Saudi Arabia is still sending no one.

Qatar's Olympic Committee posted a statement July 11 on Twitter saying shooter Bahiya al-Hamad has been chosen to "raise the Qatar flag at London 2012."

Saudi Arabia, under pressure, agreed July 12 two send two female athletes in judo and the 800 meter. They will also be sending female officials for the first time.

I know I stand on the shoulders of giants. I think these women are giants in their own way. They continued their competitiveness in sport despite the obstacles in their way.

Last thought, perhaps trivial, but still: I wonder what they'll be wearing.

Cedarford said...

EMD said...
I think cyclists should be able to ingest/dope whatever they want on the Tour De France.

That way, we know it's an open field, and we needn't worry about who is doping and who isn't and who has an advantage.
======================
Except the advantage then goes to the medical team that manages the doping regime their athlete has. And to the sponsors that line up to pay for the best doping doctors and techs offering their services for pay.

Jim S. said...

I have to say, Michael Johnson's comment is very well-said. He clearly stated what his objection was, pointing out that Pistorius knows it, but without taking anything away from Pistortorius's incredible accomplishments. I seriously doubt I could have phrased those sentiments so well. It's difficult to say something negative and positive at the same time without seeming to favor one or the other.

Marshal said...

leslyn,

1. Saying that testing has not proven X is not the same as saying the same testing proved ~X. For someone who thinks shes poking holes your thoughts are awfully weak.

2. Further the courts claim that the tests were inconclusive because they only tested straight running while the 400 includes curves is logically flawed. Unless the 400 includes -no- straight running at full speed this would only limit the benefit, not eliminate it.

3. There is no public testing showing he doesn't gain a mechanical benefit.

So you're still wrong, you're just too ignorant to know it.

tim maguire said...

Of course he shouldn't be allowed to "compete;" of course what he's doing is different from what the others are doing; of course the prostheses make it impossible to judge what part of the performance is him and what is machine.

Is there any honest debate on that point?

He could have been an inspirational story. Now he's just a PC cautionary tale.

But I think the Olympics suck with or without him. Is Ballroom Dancing an official sport yet?

Christopher said...

Even as a recreational golfer, walking the course makes a difference. I'm a reasonably fit 56-year-old whose most physically taxing activity is biking, which I do fairly regularly--a 40-mile ride is about as far as I go unless I'm trying to prove something. But walking 18 holes takes a lot out of me. Try doing that four days in a row, and at the extreme tolerances between victory and defeat at the elite level, of course walking makes a difference, even for 20-something flatbellies.

Tom Spaulding said...

Stupid comment, trying to apply Obama's business statement to all human endeavors. Not witty. Clumsy sarcasm.

You didn't come to that conclusion on your own. If you killed the messenger in order to try to limit Obama's core beliefs to the business world, it was because someone helped you...blah,blah,blah.

leslyn said...

NBD, but to correct comment at 1:07: "Saudi Arabia is still sending no one."

That was true, then they said they would, then they withdrew their athletes, and then they finally committed again on July 12.

The right info is in the post, but I should have deleted the incorrect statement.

leslyn said...

Oh for gawd's sake Marshal, adopt Jim S's avatar.

Cedarford said...

There is no public testing showing he doesn't gain a mechanical benefit.

=============
And everyone familiar with athletics knows the "testing" is all but impossible when it compares one athlete with prothesis against other athletes that a "fully legged" Pistorius may either have lost to or beaten to. We don't know - because you can't test a hypothetical "able body" Pistorius against the disabled, prosthetically assisted Pistorius of reality.

You might get some idea from computer modeling...but at huge expense and effort in each case.

Marshal said...

leslyn,

So instead of admitting you're wrong claim pointing it out is crying? That's it? That's the best you've got?

Since growing up seems out of the question that's probably your best bet.

Auntie Ann said...

It's all about the precedent.

Even if he is at a tremendous disadvantage, and even though he has proven himself to be an extraordinary athlete to be able to make the team, it does not mean that 10 or 20 years from now future athletes won't have a massive advantage by using more-advanced prosthetics than what we have now.

Think about how technology has changed sports in the last 50 years. The game of men's tennis has become a game transformed by racquet technology. Golf has been transformed by titanium shafts. Compare a modern high-tech marvel of the modern competitive bow, with its sites and counterweights, to what archers used to use. The fact that Geena Davis was able to be a relatively-serious contender for the Olympic team just two years after picking up a bow, tells you something about how technology changes sports.

You could point to almost any sport and see the advantages of technology: sticky gloves on football receivers, slap skates in speed skating, sprung floors in gymnastics, shark-skin suits in swimming, etc. This doesn't even include advances in training science, with things like hypobaric chambers and computer analysis of stride or stroke.

But with all of those, every sportsman can adopt the same technology. It might warp the sport into something new, but each athlete still starts in the same place.

Prosthetics are a different thing, and can't be utilized equally by all athletes. Running is one of the purest of sports. Apart from shoe technology, there is little apart from genetics, training, and will that separates medal-worthy athletes from the rest. Future prosthetics would change that.

dac said...

technology has always been used by some over the advantage of others at the olympics

clap skates
swim suits - swim suit tech msnbc
skate skis v. traditional

What's the diffence?

dac said...

technology most certainly is not available to all competitors. Sometimes by cost, sometimes by one company has tech, another doesn't, and only those repping the company with the tech gets it.

Shanna said...

What's the diffence?

The difference is, as Auntie Ann pointed out, the prosthetics can not be used by all, like shark suits or tennis shoes.

dac said...

technology cannot be used by all - every olympics has some one with tech that others do not. Eventually (usually) they catch up, but history is repleat with examples of some having what others cannot

fivewheels said...

Pistorious should definitely be allowed to compete. In the Paralympics. That's what they're for.

People like leslyn don't understand the point of sports or competition, and probably never will. The point is not to flatter their own compassion. It's not for you to feel good about "giving" something to someone.

People like her never want a level playing field. They want to be able to select the winners, based on their own criteria, with a hierarchy of victimization playing a large role. The rules be damned.

Craig said...

RAF pilot Douglas Bader lost both legs above the knee flying a biplane in WWI. He learned to use prosthetic legs and was still flying during WWII. He was shot down, captured and managed a daring escape from a German POW hospital, climbing out a window and descending several floors on tied together bedsheets. He claimed to have played golf on a 4 handicap, though I can't imagine he would ever have even considered riding a cart.

EMD said...

Except the advantage then goes to the medical team that manages the doping regime their athlete has. And to the sponsors that line up to pay for the best doping doctors and techs offering their services for pay.

And I care about this ... why?

The Yankees spend more per annum than the Cleveland Indians on baseball players. Discuss.

traditionalguy said...

How unfair can you get. The Bionic Man, Lee Majors was married to Farrah Fawcett.

There is no word on whether Lee could safely do her for more than 4 hours, but its still unfair if it was anything over 30 minutes.

Rabel said...

What about the South African guy who will not get to run in the Olympics because Pistorius took his spot?

Pistorius will also run on the South Aftican paralympic team.

What about the disabled guy whose paralympic spot he took?

Running in both events makes him look piggish to me and voids any sympathy I might have.

Sabinal said...

Pistorius can't win, because if he does, he will always have to defend it, as people would call it cheating and unfair.

DRJ said...

Why would it matter if his disability gave him an advantage? This is his body and he didn't cut off his own legs to get some possible advantage.

DRJ said...
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leslyn said...

@ Rabel.

Pistorius didn't "take" anyone's "spot." He tried to qualify among his own country's athletes for the 2008 Olympics and didn't. He qualified this year.

Just whose "spot" would he be taking in the Paralympics? I think it's an insult to the participants in the Paralympics to insinuate that because a competitor is good enough for the other Olympics, that he somehow diminishes them.

Rabel said...

leslyn,

"I think it's an insult to the participants in the Paralympics to insinuate that because a competitor is good enough for the other Olympics, that he somehow diminishes them."

Well then there's no need for a paralympics is there?

My point is that since he's made the big stage, it wouldn't bust his ass to yield the position in the paralympics.

He didn't, therefore he is a pig.

leslyn said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
leslyn said...

My point is that since he's made the big stage, it wouldn't bust his ass to yield the position in the paralympics.

He didn't, therefore he is a pig.

Really? Look in a mirror.

Top athletes don't "yield" their positions. If they qualify for a World Championship, they don't "yield" the Olympics, or the other way around. If they get a gold medal in one sport, they don't "yield" to someone else on their team. No one expects them to. It's called competition.

raf said...

Why would it matter if his disability gave him an advantage? This is his body and he didn't cut off his own legs to get some possible advantage

If he somehow DID win, I would not be surprised if someone in the future who was almost fast enough WOULD have their legs cut off to gain that advantage. World-class competitors are not always reasonable people.

smarty said...

If they can adapt these devices to healthy men and increase their speed, then it is a disadvantage.

But hey, let's celebrated it- Bionic Olympics. We have regular and special already, why not?

Revenant said...

This is his body

If he wants to run the ran using just his body I doubt anyone will object.

It is his use of prostheses that people object to.

Craig said...

How many pairs of pumps did Michael Jordan's hang time sell for Nike?

Craig said...

I'll bet I could dunk a basketball with a pair of those blades strapped to my ankles.

leslyn said...

Craig,

In your dreams!

Rusty said...

Craig said...
I'll bet I could dunk a basketball with a pair of those blades strapped to my ankles.

That's the point isn't it? Want run faster? Jump higher? Change the springs-that's what they are-in your prostheses. An normally capable runner has to rely on what are basically levers and cables that nature gave them.