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


Over Analyzer of My Log

    http://www.spiked-online.com/site/article/12605/

     

    In this story from Wired it says:

    Pistorius appealed the decision, and further research determined the prosthetic blades may offer an advantage in certain parts of a race, mostly when running straight ahead, but hinder him at other times, particularly at the start or when rounding corners. Pistorius won the appeal, and has argued his legs are just legs.

     

    So would the Carbon Blade make a big difference in a 10k or HM with that has long straight sections?  Can he compete in road races?  I tend to agree that its a wonderful accomplishment that Mr. Pistorius but I tend to agree with Mr. Hume that while a wonderful story and a great human accomplishment, he doesn't deserve a spot in the Olympics.  

    Rodgers Running

    2012 Goals

    Run a 10K 15K Half Marathon

      The guys at Science of Sport have long discussed this issue.  

      http://www.sportsscientists.com/2008/07/oscar-pistorius-remarkable-physiology.html

       

      Why does he run the 400 and not the 200, 100, or 800+?  Or as you suggest, a 10k or HM?

      I think of Dash from the Incredibles running his track race at the end of the movie, and holding back to finish 2nd to avoid disclosing his superpower.  If Pistorius ran something longer than a 400, his advantage would be exposed.

        Running without legs is an advantage?

        Live the Adventure. Enjoy the Journey. Be Kind. Have Faith!

          I can see the dilemma. But I think he deserves to be an Olympian. I think it's fair to put limitations on the types of prosthetics that can be used. For instance in golf they made determinations that certain engineered clubs aren't allowed because it gives golfers an unnatural edge in their ability to drive the ball. But there doesn't seem to be any quantifiable advantage. I mean if we had 20 double amputees that were running at world record pace there might be an argument. But clearly that doesn't seem to be the case.

           

          I've only found two arguments against him being an Olympian.

           

          1. The artificial limbs give him spring. (there has to be a way of testing how much of an edge this is.) But there hasn't been any proof that a runner would be better off with these legs than his own.

           

          2. The lack of calves means that he doesn't have to deal with lactic acid build up. I imagine that some runners win races because their bodies naturally produce less lactic acid. I would lump Pistorius in that category.

          Fall  2013 Goals: Doable sub 22:00 5k; Challenging Sub 21:00 5k; Unlikely Sub 20:00 5k.

            there are other parallels in my opinion.  I don't know all the details in swimming but it seemed some countries had a significant advantage from their swim suits.  that should not be.  these are the olympics.  line 'em up and go.  but if you have artificial testosterone or artificial limbs which potentialy gives you an advantage you should be out.  sorry.  it's not the feel good olympics.  it's the actual olympics. 

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

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            Interval Junkie --Nobby

               I mean if we had 20 double amputees that were running at world record pace there might be an argument. But clearly that doesn't seem to be the case.

               

              Yet.

               

              What will it mean if he dominates the sport?  If he sets a new world record?  Will it have an * after it?

               

              Is it only okay that he runs because he's not expected to win gold?

              2014 Goals:  sub-3 Marathon 

              Current Status 06/19: Pelvic stress-fracture = 6-weeks of no running.

                I can see the dilemma. But I think he deserves to be an Olympian. I think it's fair to put limitations on the types of prosthetics that can be used. For instance in golf they made determinations that certain engineered clubs aren't allowed because it gives golfers an unnatural edge in their ability to drive the ball. But there doesn't seem to be any quantifiable advantage. I mean if we had 20 double amputees that were running at world record pace there might be an argument. But clearly that doesn't seem to be the case.

                 

                I've only found two arguments against him being an Olympian.

                 

                1. The artificial limbs give him spring. (there has to be a way of testing how much of an edge this is.) But there hasn't been any proof that a runner would be better off with these legs than his own.

                 

                2. The lack of calves means that he doesn't have to deal with lactic acid build up. I imagine that some runners win races because their bodies naturally produce less lactic acid. I would lump Pistorius in that category.

                 

                I assume the artificial limbs means he has less weight below the knee than the other competitors do.  there is a reason runners weigh their shoes to the ounce.  if he's 2 pounds lighter in each leg I have to believe that's a potential huge advantage. 

                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

                 

                 

                 

                  Running without legs is an advantage?

                   

                  No, but running with carbon fiber blades in place of lower legs seems to be in some cases.  The advantage appears to come from two factors: the energy returned by the carbon fiber limbs, and the reduced mass resulting in a lower cost to run fast.  The advantages are quantifiable and have been studied.

                   

                  It's a really difficult situation because nobody wants to be against improving access for double amputees but his Cheetah blades are mechanical devices that provide a technical aid (which is supposed to be against the rules.)

                  Runners run.

                    I know nothing of the subject matter, but isn't this what the Paralympics are for? The fact that there is even a discussion between "is it allowed or not allowed" is enough evidence to me that it most likely shouldn't be allowed. 

                    Running my way to being a little less fat.

                      there are other parallels in my opinion.  I don't know all the details in swimming but it seemed some countries had a significant advantage from their swim suits.  that should not be.  these are the olympics.  line 'em up and go.  but if you have artificial testosterone or artificial limbs which potentialy gives you an advantage you should be out.  sorry.  it's not the feel good olympics.  it the actual olympics. 

                       

                      What about extra money to spend for athletes to train?  Or better training facilities than other nations choose to put together?

                      Isn't that an "unfair" advantage?

                      You also mentioned the swimsuit technology from 2004? or maybe 2008? when we were the only country with the advanced technology.

                       

                      Americans see the Olympics through tainted lenses.

                      For us, it's a medal counting game and a "we" are better than "you" mentality. 

                       

                      To me, this story sounds great!  I'm happy that an individual who has physical limitations can compete on the world stage with those without limitations.

                      Although Olympians compete to win, the Olympics are a "friendly" event among the world's countries.  Enjoy it, and embrace this young man and his ability to overcome the limitations that have been given him.

                       

                      Oh, and if I were a better swimmer, I'd go for surgical webbed feet.  Sounds like it would be beneficial and give me an edge.

                      2014 Goals:

                      #1: Do what I can do. <DOING>

                      #2: 365 Hours training <NOPE, INJURED>

                       

                        People who don't know anything about the sport of T&F will love this. Folks who know a lot about T&F, hard-core committed fans, will feel like it violates the values of the sport.

                         

                        There's a lot more money to be made by corporations selling a feel good story to the folks who don't know or care about T&F, so Pistorius will run.

                          What about extra money to spend for athletes to train?  Or better training facilities than other nations choose to put together?

                          Isn't that an "unfair" advantage?

                           

                          I didn't mean everything has to be "fair".  that's an impossible strawman argument.  I meant you should not have an unatural physical aid like a "faster than skin" bodysuit. 

                          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

                           

                           

                           


                          I've got a fever...

                            No one would argue that being disabled is better than being able-bodied.  But under certain specific circumstances, there is an advantage.

                             

                            The world record wheelchair marathon is 1:18, compared to 2:03 for the able-bodied.  I wouldn't trade places with someone in a wheelchair for one day, but it's obvious they have an advantage in this situation.

                             

                            It's obviously not as extreme as with Pistorius, but  he is likely faster with the blades than he would have been had he been born with healthy legs.

                             

                            As for the Paraolympics, he crushes everyone there -- it's not competitive for him.

                             

                            Best of luck to him.

                            On your deathbed, you won't wish that you'd spent more time at the office.  But you will wish that you'd spent more time running.  Because if you had, you wouldn't be on your deathbed.

                              The lines between fair and unfair in sport are vague, and they seem especially vague and arbitrary to those who are not familiar with the sport. But they've been arrived at through long practice and deliberation.

                               

                              That's an essentially conservative argument. I recognize there are progressive and possibly convincing arguments about "opening up" the sport, but I think that it's important to understand that changing rules and tweaking them to create different competitive procedures will, fundamentally, change the sport and create long term consequences that perhaps those who feel for Pistorius's situation but don't have a lot of familiarity with the culture of competitive t&f have not completely thought through.

                                People who don't know anything about the sport of T&F will love this. Folks who know a lot about T&F, hard-core committed fans, will feel like it violates the values of the sport.

                                 

                                There's a lot more money to be made by corporations selling a feel good story to the folks who don't know or care about T&F, so Pistorius will run.

                                 

                                The Olympics are about feel good stories.

                                It's the Olympics!

                                Not the world championships.

                                It's an event that brings the world together.

                                 

                                I admit that I know nothing about track and field and that I'm not a hard-core committed fan.

                                A long time ago, I distanced myself from the steroids, dream teams, and golden shoes (yes, that was 1988, 1992 and 1996).

                                 

                                I started cheering for the dad who helped his son with the torn hamstring cross the line.

                                I started cheering for the American soldiers.
                                I started cheering for those training in war torn areas.

                                I started cheering for the african swimmer who finished dead last in the opening heat.

                                I started cheering for Eddie the Eagle.

                                 

                                I also embrace the athletes who excel and win and have skills and physique that give them huge advantages (ie. Michael Phelp's 6'8" arm span and short powerful legs).

                                 

                                Yes, Pistorius probably has some advantages.

                                But, I bet that his doctors, his parents, his teachers and his coaches can all provide us examples of his disadvantages.

                                 

                                It's sad that it's a topic of discussion.

                                Whatever happens, enjoy the Olympics!!!

                                 

                                I know that some of you are dang fast, and "could-have-been-an-Olympian" speed athletes while in middle school, highschool, or college.  But, for the rest of us that sit at home and enjoy our "slow" training and our TV and our kids sporting events and teaching them about what is good with sports, we get to watch the Olympics and marvel at their ability and marvel at their stories.  The Pistorius story will be a great story to talk to our kids about overcoming challenges in life. 


                                Cheers,

                                2014 Goals:

                                #1: Do what I can do. <DOING>

                                #2: 365 Hours training <NOPE, INJURED>

                                 

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