Josefin Malmqvist

True dedication.

3 kommentarer

The fantastic story of Oscar Pistorius, who without legs, are up and running with the fastest men on earth. ”Now the fastest man on Earth with no legs has the chance to become part of Olympic history as the first disabled athlete to challenge able-bodied competitors for medals, if he can be selected for Beijing. Blade Runner could yet fulfil his dream.”

His story, according to timesonline:

In a relatively brief career, Pistorius has engaged experts and fans as one of the most charismatic emerging athletes. He has triumphed over the adversity of being born with no fibulas, which led to the amputations below the knee as a baby. By the age of 11 he was playing rugby for the Pretoria Boys’ High School as well as water polo, tennis and wrestling. It was not until 2004 that he took up running but he immediately made his impact, winning gold in the 200 metres sprint at the Paralympics in Athens.

A year later, he was competing against able-bodied athletes in South Africa. But his artificial legs were regarded with deep suspicion by the authorities, who questioned whether they gave him an advantage. The prosthetics, called the Cheetah Flex-Foot, were said to allow Pistorius to make longer strides and use less energy. The claims were vigorously denied and rejected by the Court in Lausanne.”

This makes you think that everything truly is possible. If a man without legs can run in the Olympics, there are no longer any hinders to where our dreams can take us.

3 thoughts on “True dedication.

  1. Well, there has been a lot of concern about the advantage his ‘legs’ give him. In particular, their length is said to be longer than necessary, giving him more bounce (obviously, foot lengthening isn’t sn option for regular athletes yet). Also, he has no lactic acid build up (which affects other athletes) and an independent German scientist concluded that his legs need 25% less energy than human legs to cover the same distance. There is a strong case to be made that his performance is down to the technical innovations in his legs (surely the work of scientists to increase performance is hardly the olympic ideal?) and hence that letting him race is similar to letting an underprivileged runner inject himself with Human Growth Hormone to allow him to compete.

    Also, to make the olympics 400m event (the one he wants the most), he needs to shave 0.39 seconds off his all time personal best (an absolutely massive demand) and then hope that no other South African makes the same time. In short, there is no hope that he makes the team, unless they decide to invite him into a relay team (which he probably doesn’t deserve based on his times).

  2. Yes, I read those objections as well. It would be interesting to see what made the court in Lausanne overturn the ban for him to compete. On what grounds?

    You’re absolutely right about his times. But the question is bigger than that, don’t you think? It’s more a matter of principle.

    I just think it’s fantastic what this man has been through, and not given up… He must be determined to say the least.

  3. I don’t think what he has done is any more impressive than the dedication of any other paralympic athlete (he is just a bit faster than them). I think the media focus on him as a story of triumph over adversity is a little unfair. If the triumph over adversity is what matters, how is he distinguishable from all the other paralympic athletes? The only thing setting him apart from them is that he is faster (although still not fast enough to compete with the best athletes). If the overcoming of adversity is competing at international level, they all do this. If it is running on even terms with able bodied athletes, he has not achieved this. I do not see why being better than all other paralympic athletes but not as good as able bodied athletes is anything particularly special: after all, everyone who holds a paralympic record does this.

    I had a look at the CAS judgement (http://www.tas-cas.org/d2wfiles/document/1085/5048/0/Pistorius%20award%20(scanned%20published%20on%20CAS%20website).pdf) and the substantive point seems to be that the German research only took into account the performance over the part of the race he does best in ( he does best in the 2nd and 3rd parts of the 400m, most athletes do best in the 1st and 2nd). They concluded that they had no idea if overall he had an advantage or not, since there hasn’t been enough testing.

    The disabled person I admire most is Douglas Bader, who lost both legs in a flying accident, returned to duty and shot down 22 German aircraft (the loss of his legs wasn’t entirely disadvantageous though, since it may have stopped blood draining to the extremities away from the brain during high-G turns), and then made as much difficulty for the Germans as he could after he was captured. The film Reach for the Sky was made about him, and it is well worth watching.

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