It has been a one big struggle for the man from South Africa known as the ‘Blade Runner’ (his performances are way better than the film), but Oscar Pistorius finally has an opportunity to be an Olympian. After having been born without fibulas he lost the gift of legs below the knees with a double amputation at the age of 11 months, the boy from Johannesburg could have consigned his life to being bitter or a recluse. Rather he turned himself into perhaps the finest handicapped athlete ever. Becoming a runner in 2004 he qualified to the Paralympics and soon become a phenomenon by setting a world record in Athens while winning gold.
For two years Pistorius shattered records and owned the para-running world, but in 2007 the aptly named Blade Runner broke onto the IAAF track circuit with a race in Rome in which he ran a solid 46.90. After several decent performances Pistorius set his sight on the 2008 able-bodied Beijing Games, however the world of sporting rules and science intervened. The IAAF rules committee oversaw his races and using complex biomechanical formulas concluded that the prosthetic legs that he uses were energy saving and gave an unequal advantage over his fully limbed opponents.
After being banned by the IAAF for the findings, Pistorius made an appeal which he won based off the fact that tests had not taken into account the turns which are in the 400 race and they may be a disadvantage to the amputee and the artificial legs. At the end of the day Pistorious was unable to make the qualifying mark to get to the games, but was undaunted by the setback despite several undignified actions by track’s governing bodies. The IAAF went out of their way to make qualification difficult as they stated to the South African Olympic Committee to withhold Pistorious from the nations 4×400 relay team as he would constitute a safety problem to himself and fellow athletes.
This unashamedly argument would most definitely be used against Usain Bolt or David Oliver however each one of these men’s imposing figures would be a danger to whomever they may hit or stumble into and there are no rules against extremely short high jumpers though it may be slightly more dangerous to summit a large height. Don’t even get me started on the inherent danger in pole vaulting that by all means is kosher with the IAAF. The fear that an amputee could compete with the world’s most accomplished track athletes I believe scared the IAAF into thinking their sport would become a circus and would degrade the image of the sport.This though is not due to a heroic story like Pistorious but to ridiculous rulings and low audience turnout in the world’s largest market in America where viewership and interest is low. The IAAF’s rulings and statements to say the least were baseless and narrow in their vision.
The story of Mr. Pistorious took a turn as he again dominated the Paralympic Games in Beijing and set his intent on London. In 2011 Pistorious broke through a ceiling by running a very impressive 45.07 and being picked for the South African 4×400 team and as an individual for the open 400 in Daegu, South Korea. At the World Championships he qualified to the semifinals where was bounced but claimed an impressive silver medal by being participant of the heats for the eventual runner up relay team which had a national record setting race.
Recently Pistorious was named to the South African Olympic team and will be the first amputee to compete on the track in the Games history. However this had drawn the detractors to shout the unfairness of Pistorious’s artificial legs and that he should be excluded. This of course has already been ruled on and the legitimacy of his competing can no longer be in question despite the apprehension of the IAAF and other onlookers. Simply stated let’s see what they do with both their legs and whether they can match the man who runs without the choice of having his. We should applaud this story s a feat of the human condition and what people can achieve when thrown unfortunate events in life as well as the track. Oscar Pistorius himself has never received special advantages or sympathy but as his record proves he has done alright and will continue to do so.