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Pistorius: a hero, yes, but not an Olympian - Mick Hume (Read 1154 times)


Feeling the growl again

    I was using the example of Casey Martin in reference to the concerns that the sport would be fundamentally and forever changed by making an alteration to the time honored and established rules (which it has not). 

     

    I could see the argument both ways.  My completely ignorant understanding of the golf situation -- a sport of which I am pretty ignorant -- was that the issue was that Martin may  possibly play better by not having to walk between holes.  In the end my personal -- and perhaps ignorant -- take on this was that the potential advantage was probably being overblown.  To me riding in a cart between holes seemed more an insult to long-established conventions rather than a real performance issue.

     

    Did I mention this might all be based on ignorance?

     

    Pistorius is different.  The issue of performance enhancement seems much more central, significant, and founded on hard information.  The article linked saying there was no advantage says he is actually 9% slower than real legs, but that means that he'd be the world record holder by more than a second if he had his legs.  Seems hard to believe.  However, once you make that exception, if he is successful what is next?  Seems a dangerous door to open.  I doubt Yohan Blake will have his legs amputated so he can get prosthetics to beat Bolt more consistently but I have to wonder how far the formerly black-and-white lines would erode.

     

    It makes me think back to the last Olympics and the issues raised with the swimsuits.  People downplayed their performance enhancement abilities, however once everyone was wearing them it seemed like almost every race broke the WR.  Then they took the suits away and those same swimmers could not approach those times afterwards.  So it seems it was a mistake to ever let them be worn in the first place.  Now it may be decades before "real" performances start replacing the ones that were likely only set due to the suit.

     

    One reason I took to running was it seemed very "pure", money did not have as much influence on success by defining who could have the best equipment (cycling, skiing).  Whenever I see equipment like these carbon fiber legs get proposed, I think the onus is on the user to prove that they do not provide an advantage.  This is not an "innocent until proven guilty" court, it is a sport.  I can see why the court may have ruled for Martin to get a cart.  I think the argument to let Pistorius in is a lot weaker. 

    "If you want to be a bad a$s, then do what a bad a$s does.  There's your pep talk for today.  Go Run." -- Slo_Hand

     

    C-R


      You really can't see the difference between Martin and Pistorius? Please.

       

      Casey Martin is the head golf coach at Univ or Oregon and Pistorius is a 400M specialist from South Africa.

       

      Snide comment aside, my comments have focused on the attitude and concrete nature of the governing bodies and the "sports expert" crowd's thoughts of doom. IMO it seems misplaced on an outlier situation.

       

      Now if able bodied runners want to start using bionics (ala the wetsuit issue) there is some fretting to be done.


      "He conquers who endures" - Persius
      "Every workout should have a purpose. Every purpose should link back to achieving a training objective." - Spaniel

      C-R


        I could see the argument both ways.  My completely ignorant understanding of the golf situation -- a sport of which I am pretty ignorant -- was that the issue was that Martin may  possibly play better by not having to walk between holes.  In the end my personal -- and perhaps ignorant -- take on this was that the potential advantage was probably being overblown.  To me riding in a cart between holes seemed more an insult to long-established conventions rather than a real performance issue.

         

        Did I mention this might all be based on ignorance?

         

        Pistorius is different.  The issue of performance enhancement seems much more central, significant, and founded on hard information.  The article linked saying there was no advantage says he is actually 9% slower than real legs, but that means that he'd be the world record holder by more than a second if he had his legs.  Seems hard to believe.  However, once you make that exception, if he is successful what is next?  Seems a dangerous door to open.  I doubt Yohan Blake will have his legs amputated so he can get prosthetics to beat Bolt more consistently but I have to wonder how far the formerly black-and-white lines would erode.

         

        It makes me think back to the last Olympics and the issues raised with the swimsuits.  People downplayed their performance enhancement abilities, however once everyone was wearing them it seemed like almost every race broke the WR.  Then they took the suits away and those same swimmers could not approach those times afterwards.  So it seems it was a mistake to ever let them be worn in the first place.  Now it may be decades before "real" performances start replacing the ones that were likely only set due to the suit.

         

        One reason I took to running was it seemed very "pure", money did not have as much influence on success by defining who could have the best equipment (cycling, skiing).  Whenever I see equipment like these carbon fiber legs get proposed, I think the onus is on the user to prove that they do not provide an advantage.  This is not an "innocent until proven guilty" court, it is a sport.  I can see why the court may have ruled for Martin to get a cart.  I think the argument to let Pistorius in is a lot weaker. 

         

        The Martin case was more about ADA rules in court but on the course it was about a physical assist. The particular issue was with the USGA and the US Open in particular. Qualifying requires 36 hole single day play. I realize that this will get bashed on a running board but let me tell you that playing championship competitive golf in 90 degrees and having to hoof 36 is not picnic. So using a cart was deemed an aide that would prevent him from being physically worn. After many of these qualifiers, I know the last few holes are tough simply because you're dog tired. I also think that Martin's disease makes things physically tough much earlier in the round so I didn't see the benefit per se. What I did see, were many stodgy types throwing up their hands and claiming that golf was doing to be ruined and that everyone would be riding carts and cruising the fairways. He didn't take my spot because of the cart. He took it because he hit better shots. I called the physical issues a wash. About ten years later, we can see that this is not the fact and that Martin was an anomaly. A great golfer with a broken body. He was a Halley's comet and likely we won't see something like this happen in another generation.

         

        So back to Pistorius. I don't know much about the situation. But what I read was he didn't auto qualify with the Olympic A standard but that he was the fastest that South Africa has and they voted him to the team based on his performances. If I read correctly, he earned those times and is faster than other South African 400m runners. Did he get that via the limbs? Did he bump another South African racer with an unfair advantage? Perhaps. That's an issue for the South African Olympic committee. I don't see him on a podium with a medal. Will he forever, change T&F? Not in my "fan" of the sport's perspective. I don't have some of the years others have here in honing their craft, but he seems to be the comet. So watch and enjoy and if you see people looking to amputate limbs so they can run in blades, perhaps there is something to then generate concern. But it's unlikely as I don't see lots of carts in US Open qualifiers these days.


        "He conquers who endures" - Persius
        "Every workout should have a purpose. Every purpose should link back to achieving a training objective." - Spaniel

          When I first saw Pistorius my mind immediately jumped to "Wow! Footless carbon fiber Powerrisers."

           

          "Imagine: Run 25 mph, Jump 10 ft high"

           

          If I wouldn't die trying I'd live to give them a go and see how fast I could run a lap on the track.

           

          xor


            I thought the Tom Dempsey parallel was interesting because he wore a wacky flattened shoe on that foot... and for years it was debated whether that shoe provided an extra advantage.  Apparently studies were done that debunked this.  I didn't know that.

             

            I don't know what to say here. Tough situation.  And I doubt my opinion really matters.

             

              If I wouldn't die trying I'd live to give them a go and see how fast I could run a lap on the track.

               

              OK, looks like some guy in France has been doing it. Here he is on youtube running a lap. According to the comments he's gotten down to 54 seconds.

               

              I know, Pistorius isn't on Powerrisers. 

                Casey Martin is the head golf coach at Univ or Oregon and Pistorius is a 400M specialist from South Africa.

                 

                Snide comment aside, my comments have focused on the attitude and concrete nature of the governing bodies and the "sports expert" crowd's thoughts of doom. IMO it seems misplaced on an outlier situation.

                 

                Reasonable enough. I came on strong, and my own opinion is probably not as vehement as I have presented it on this thread.

                 

                I know that I presented myself as an "expert" but I guess I get frustrated when the sport gets into the spotlight and folks want to talk about everything but the sport itself. That's my own problem, and probably comes down to snootiness!


                Feeling the growl again

                   

                   

                  I know, Pistorius isn't on Powerrisers. 

                   

                  Ah, but he's on springs, and shoes with springs in them are forbidden, no matter the level of evidence as to what advantage may or may not be provided...

                  "If you want to be a bad a$s, then do what a bad a$s does.  There's your pep talk for today.  Go Run." -- Slo_Hand

                   

                    Can you imagine a manufacturer approaching Pistorius saying "our prosthetics will make you even faster"?

                     

                    I can, and that's what puts me on the "unfair advantage" side of the argument. Legs are not equipment in track. To me that alone makes this different than the swimsuit, cycling, football, etc. arguments.

                     

                    That said, it's such an inspiring story and he is obviously a fantastic athlete caught in a competition no man's land, so I too am conflicted. 

                    vinno101


                      I'm totally suprised this thread is even still going a double amputi doing what he's done and this is the muck that gets said, He's proven that there is no advantage in a court of law yet you all question it. Had any of you researched it properly you would realise the disadvantages far outway the advantages and if he has a unfair advantage why then is he the only one who is able to compete against able bodied athletes. Sorry but it really gets under my skin when someone like Oscar gets lambasted like this maybe it's more so because I'm South African but I think not I would feel just as strongly were it another para-olympic athlete who had achieved so much.

                      Sub 20 5k

                       

                      !st Marathon in November

                       

                      Qualify for comrades marathon 2013

                      vinno101


                        When I first saw Pistorius my mind immediately jumped to "Wow! Footless carbon fiber Powerrisers."

                         

                        "Imagine: Run 25 mph, Jump 10 ft high"

                         

                        If I wouldn't die trying I'd live to give them a go and see how fast I could run a lap on the track.

                         

                         Sounds Great if only you realised you did not have that connection between your knee and the end of the blade, easier said then done!!

                        Sub 20 5k

                         

                        !st Marathon in November

                         

                        Qualify for comrades marathon 2013

                          I'm totally suprised this thread is even still going a double amputi doing what he's done and this is the muck that gets said, He's proven that there is no advantage in a court of law yet you all question it. Had any of you researched it properly you would realise the disadvantages far outway the advantages and if he has a unfair advantage why then is he the only one who is able to compete against able bodied athletes. Sorry but it really gets under my skin when someone like Oscar gets lambasted like this maybe it's more so because I'm South African but I think not I would feel just as strongly were it another para-olympic athlete who had achieved so much.

                           

                          who is saying he's not awesome?

                           

                          he's awesome and amazing at the same time.  he's 1,000x the athlete I've ever been. 

                           

                          and in my opinion someone with artificial legs should not compete in a running race in the olympics against people without artificial legs. 

                          In an infinite universe, the one thing sentient life cannot afford to have is a sense of proportion

                          http://htwins.net/scale2/scale2.swf?bordercolor=white&fb_source=message

                           

                           

                           










                          Feeling the growl again

                            I'm totally suprised this thread is even still going a double amputi doing what he's done and this is the muck that gets said, He's proven that there is no advantage in a court of law yet you all question it. Had any of you researched it properly you would realise the disadvantages far outway the advantages and if he has a unfair advantage why then is he the only one who is able to compete against able bodied athletes. Sorry but it really gets under my skin when someone like Oscar gets lambasted like this maybe it's more so because I'm South African but I think not I would feel just as strongly were it another para-olympic athlete who had achieved so much.

                             

                            Nobody has "lambasted" Oscar, the discussion has solidly been around the circumstances of the decision, impact, and merits of the information provided.  IMHO you are reacting emotionally and it appears you did not even bother to read some of the information provided...if you did, you would understand why there is a feeling that he has an advantage.

                             

                            He is a great athlete.  Nobody has questioned that, however it is immaterial to the point being discussed.  Why is he the only one that can compete?  Well, first of all, how many others like him have even tried?  Second, say over 400m he has a 2sec advantage due to his prosthetics.  You already have to be a great athlete to run within 2 seconds of the best.  However, once you are close to that level of raw talent, 2 seconds makes a HUGE impact at the elite level.

                             

                            So he's probably one of the few who has tried, and is probably a very skilled sprinter who would have been quite fast with intact legs.

                            "If you want to be a bad a$s, then do what a bad a$s does.  There's your pep talk for today.  Go Run." -- Slo_Hand

                             

                            C-R


                              I'm totally suprised this thread is even still going a double amputi doing what he's done and this is the muck that gets said, He's proven that there is no advantage in a court of law yet you all question it. Had any of you researched it properly you would realise the disadvantages far outway the advantages and if he has a unfair advantage why then is he the only one who is able to compete against able bodied athletes. Sorry but it really gets under my skin when someone like Oscar gets lambasted like this maybe it's more so because I'm South African but I think not I would feel just as strongly were it another para-olympic athlete who had achieved so much.

                               

                              I'm going to pile on here a bit because of a couple of things. First, if you read the thread there were plenty of proponents and antagonists that cited articles and research on the issue. So there is a crowd here familiar with the issue. Also proof in a court of law is different than the discussion of the physics and engineering issue. From that perspective, the Science of Sport (also South African if I recall properly) laid out a very compelling scientific claim.

                               

                              I can understand the emotional side of this but no one was lambasting Pristorius. I'm pretty damn sure each and everyone of us posting would gladly shake his hand and tell him face to face that he is an inspirational athlete. The issue is not that he is inspiring (he is to me). The issue as I see it is if and how it alters or changes the sport of track and field for future generations.

                                                                                                                                                                     ^

                              MTA: and that is certainly worthy of discussion and open debate on a running board. ^


                              "He conquers who endures" - Persius
                              "Every workout should have a purpose. Every purpose should link back to achieving a training objective." - Spaniel

                                I can understand the emotional side of this but no one was lambasting Pistorius. I'm pretty damn sure each and everyone of us posting would gladly shake his hand and tell him face to face that he is an inspirational athlete. The issue is not that he is inspiring (he is to me). The issue as I see it is if and how it alters or changes the sport of track and field for future generations.

                                                                                                                                                                       ^

                                MTA: and that is certainly worthy of discussion and open debate on a running board. ^

                                 

                                Well said.  There is no attack on Pistorius, rather a discussion about whether equipment such as Cheetah Blades are legal in track and field.

                                Runners run.

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