There has been a rather bizarre twist in the whole disablist debate in the last few days. It comes, not from someone being excluded because they are seen as inferior but because they might be too good!!
Oscar Pistorious is a double amputee and probably one of the best athletes on the planet. Had he taken part in the 1928 400 metres Olympic final he'd have won easily. He is far too quick to meaningfully race against other disabled athletes in disabled competitions as he is at least a second better than everyone else. He obviously wants to test himself and as a result of the competition, improve his times. Oscar's ambition is to compete for South Africa in the Beijing Olympic Games in 2008. He wants to put himself up against non-disabled sportsmen. And bizarrely he is facing all kinds of opposition.
Oscar has already raced against non-disabled athletes in his native South Africa and last week at a meet in Europe came second. On Sunday he runs in his first Grand Prix event at the Norwich Union event in Sheffield and the debate has been raging about whether Oscar has an advantage over the other competitors because he hasn't got any legs!!!
Pistotious runs on blades that are manufactured for him by an Icelandic company. The blades are made of a lightweight carbon fibre that are inspired by a cheetah's rear leg. The IAAF is concerned about the energy release form Oscar's blades, the length of his stride pattern and that, get this little chestnut, because he hasn't get any calf muscles he won't get a build up of lactic acid and therefore tire like the poor non-disabled bipeds he'll be running against.
Other athletes, commentators and the media have joined the fray, some for Oscar but many against saying that it is 'unfair' that he should be allowed to run. This is nonsense of course. In my view, the reason there is so much opposition to Oscar's participation is that they couldn't bear it if he actually won. What a terrible thing that would be for the non-crip world an uppity crip beating them in a running race. They can't let that happen so they are trying to make it seem that it is unfair. The fact that Oscar's current times are a long way off (in athletics terms) from the worlds best at the moment is beside the point. He can't be allowed to show anyone up. He is a crip and should remain in the crip ghetto where he belongs and can do no harm to there safe little world.
I sincerely hope that Oscar Pestorious does get to run in Beijing and fulfill his dream. wouldn't it be fantastic to see him on the podium in the 400 metres final having won a medal? That would be one in the eye for the Medical Model brigade.
Labels: Oscar Pistorious