Blade runner Pistorius tastes his own medicine
Has Oscar Pistorius shot himself in the blade? (Image: AFP)
Double amputee ‘Blade Runner’ Oscar Pistorius competed in the London 2012 Olympic Games last month, in which he made the men’s 400m semi final. On Sunday, he entered the Paralympics T44 200m final, and was naturally expected to clean the field to win gold.
Forget cleaning up; he lost in spectacular fashion as Brazil’s Alan Oliveira mowed him down from an impossible position; 8m behind with 100m to go.
This great race served to underscore the farcical decision by the Court of Arbitration For Sport to authorise his inclusion in the preceding Olympics.
Following the loss Pistorius carried on like a pork chop, branding the race unfair and noting the seriously flawed lack of control measures in place for regulation of equitable use of the blades… which of course proved the argument against their validity in the main Games, and with consummate efficiency.
The wondrous irony.
Of course, this disappointment is how it must have felt for an unknown runner, who, weeks earlier, was left off South Africa’s Olympic team so that Pistorius could run in his place.
It’s easy to forget this nameless runner; a bloke with his own set of ambitions, who most likely sidelined his education so he could dedicate his life to running, only to have it taken away so a lawyer could get a promotion in a land far, far away.
Really, it’s easy to forget this nameless runner because he’s not a substantive marketing equation.
So why does the public en masse not see the absurdity in their support of Pistorius’ competing in the Olympics?
His greatest achievement was not in strapping jets to his legs and running a quick time; it was in breaking new ground in exploiting hysteria-driven irrationality.
Not since smoking was invented has the human populace been responsible for such… what’s the antonym for logic?
Much more than this, Pistorius’ inclusion in the Olympics represents the modern social conscience; an undisclosed societal guilt regarding our own good fortune relative to those with some form or other of disability.
Yet, it’s fair to say the term Positive Discrimination requires some form or other of discrimination.
And for those who continue to maintain there’s no difference between his adaptations and flesh and bone: why don’t you swap with him?
It’s pure condescending to say it’s a level playing field; you may as well pat him on the head and say he can’t possibly have an advantage because he’s got no lower legs.
It’s easy to be supportive of sentiment when there’s no impact on the real business of handing out medals.
How would the public respond if blade runners started dominating Olympic finals?
We’ve all heard about the controversial Goldman survey of elite athletes in the 1980s, over half of whom were said to have replied ‘yes’ when asked if they would take a drug that guaranteed them a gold medal but would also kill them within five years.
Accurate or not, perhaps it’s not a far stretch for an average runner with normal legs to undergo surgery to append metal blades. All you need is money and good old fashioned desperation, and there’s plenty of both going around.
Of course the blades are a great thing for the Paralympics. Who doesn’t want to see men run the 100m in under 10 seconds and on the largest blades imaginable?
This is, after all, surely what the Paralympics is all about: opportunity.
The Games, on the other hand, is elitism, played out on a level playing field. Pistorius doesn’t belong in the Olympic Games.
Yes it’s harsh, but so is losing.
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- London 2012 Olympics