London 2012: South Africa's Oscar Pistorius Overcomes Criticism

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London 2012: South Africa's Oscar Pistorius Overcomes Criticism
Michael Steele/Getty Images
South Africa's Ocar Pistorius

In 2011 at the NCAA wrestling championships, Anthony Robles gave a heart-wrenching performance by winning the NCAA Championship for his weight class. Oh—did I forget to mention he completed this feat with only one leg? Yes, that is correct—he was born with one leg.

I mention this because of the ridiculous banter that followed him throughout his wrestling career since high school. People often stated he had an unfair advantage when competing against other wrestlers.

Their reasoning was predicated upon the belief that having one leg gave him a greater center of gravity over his opponents. That's right—a man with one leg that has to mainly rely upon upper body strength apparently has an advantage over able-bodied wrestlers with all four limbs. Are you serious?

This leads me to the participation of the South African 400 Meter runner named Oscar Pistorius in the 2012 Olympics in London. He qualified for the semi-finals in the 400 meters after being granted the right to participate in the 2012 games. You see, Oscar is a double amputee that races with specially designed running blades.

Of course, his pundits are uttering the same nonsense that followed Anthony Robles. They are claiming that his running blades offer him an unfair advantage over the other runners. Once again—the man has two missing legs!

His critics seem to be missing a few key points when they speak of an advantage as it pertains to the running blades.  First, Oscar Pistorius still has his thighs. Therefore, he would still feel the same fatigue in his quadriceps as anyone else...probably more fatigue due to the rubbing irritation of the prosthetic fitting while he is running.

Do you believe Oscar Pistorius has an unfair advantage with his running blades?

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Furthermore, the respiratory or aerobic fatigue felt by Oscar would be exactly the same as any other runner simply because lungs are lungs.

The man is a good runner, and would be a good runner with or without the blades.  Running blades don't make you run 45.07 in the 400 meters. Endurance and speed are responsible for that feat.

To settle this issue, I believe (if it were possible) that all of his critics should amputate their legs and determine whether or not the "legless" guy indeed has an advantage over able-bodied athletes. I'm sure their perspectives would change drastically without the usage of their appendages.

Meanwhile, after a gallant effort, Oscar Pistorius failed in his quest to make the Olympic final in the 400 meters.  However, he still has another chance to compete for South Africa in the 4x400 relay event to be held later this week.

Regardless of the outcome, he has overcome tremendous odds with both his physical disability and the mental disability of critics believing his "legless" status gives him an unfair advantage.

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