Double-amputee sprinter Oscar Pistorius has vowed to keep fighting for a chance to compete in this year's Olympics in Beijing despite being banned. But athletics fan Ollie Richter says he supports the the controversial decision of the sports chiefs.
Defiant Pistorius has pledged to appeal against a ban issued by the international athletics' ruling body the IAAF, which prevents him from competing in this years Olympics in Beijing. The IAAF have said that his prosthetic racing blades give him an advantage over able-bodied opponents and contravene rules on technical aids. A scientific study revealed that Pistorius, nicknamed "Blade Runner", used 25 per cent less energy than able-bodied runners to run at the same speed.Personally I don't see anything wrong with this decision, and don't see why he should be allowed to compete.
Athletics remains the purest form of sport on our planet, the ultimate test of man and his capabilities. The introduction of any form of chemical or technical aid diminishes this pureness. If there is any doubt at all that Pistorius gains an advantage, then you simply can't allow him to compete - and the fact is, there will never be any 100 per cent positive method of knowing one way or the other, however many complaints you submit and tests you carry out.
Take the vast amount of banned substances - many won't alter a specific athlete's performance in their chosen field, but the rules quite simply are rules; any irregularity and you're out. If you're not allowed to introduce a substance into your body that potentially gives you an advantage, why should you be allowed to have bionic legs? The argument that the difference here is that Pistorius was born with the need for his fibreglass legs to be able to walk, rather than an athlete simply choosing to take drugs for performance reasons holds no water. If an athlete was born with a condition meaning the natural level of nandrolone present in their body was higher than the allowed amount — they simply wouldn't be allowed to enter.
I also take issue with Marc Wadsworth's quote: "I don't know why the stuffed suits at the IAAF won't let Pistorius run. Despite being a really brave competitor, his track times are no big threat to able bodied sprinters battling for Olympic medals." The implication here sounds very much like "oh go on let him run, he'll come last anyway — if he was going to wipe the floor with the able-bodied athletes, then it might be different". To include him 'safe in the knowledge' that he won't go on and actually win anything would be an unbelievably patronising act. His likely placing at race meetings has got absolutely nothing to do with this discussion - if you let him in, you let him in 8th place or 1st regardless.
What if Pistorius was allowed in - where would it lead? The Paralympic Games are a great and prestigious event in their own right, and a move such as this would create waves far beyond one individual and his career. Take Pistorius' quote: "I feel that it is my responsibility, on behalf of myself and all other disabled athletes, to stand firmly and not allow one organization to inhibit our ability to compete using the very tools without which we simply cannot walk, let alone run". Ok then, so why couldn't a wheelchair athlete now claim right to enter a sprint race, or a shot-putter with a bionic arm now be allowed in, and so on and so on. The Paralympics are there for a reason, and this would not only devalue and question the integrity of the able-bodied Olympics, but hugely devalue the Paralympics itself, simply degrading it to some sort of "B Olympics" for those not good enough to enter the 'real' thing.
What if down the line an athlete was to 'accidentally' lose part of their foot, in exactly the position suitable for a spring loaded heel to be put in place? This may sound extreme, and it is (many would say ludicrous), but it's food for thought. With millions of pounds in prize money and sponsorship deals up for grabs, athletes already pump themselves full of illegal and often dangerous substances in pursuit of glory, who's to say instances to this extremity in physical abuse wouldn't eventually occur?
Is it discrimination? Yes, yes it is — and it's perfectly justified.
Also, on a somewhat lighter note, naming his artificial limbs 'Cheetahs' perhaps wasn't the brightest idea...