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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
<span style="font-family:'Times New Roman';"><span style="font-size:medium;">As a fellow runner, my brother asked my opinion about</span> Oscar Pistorius, the South African sprinter who has no feet but wants to run in the Olympics on high-tech prosthetics. Below is my response to but it got me wondering what some of your opinions are too.</span><br><br><span style="font-family:'Times New Roman';">Dan</span><br><span style="font-family:Arial;">--------------------------------------------------------------------</span><br><span style="font-family:'Times New Roman';"><span style="font-size:medium;">I first heard about him…and his potential Olympic bid…about a year ago. I admire him and acknowledge that he’s an outstanding athlete and I wouldn’t wish the loss of limbs on anyone. But I don’t think he should be allowed (to run) in the Olympics. As much as his amputation and prosthetics are a ‘disability,’ in running so are the natural human limbs of non-amputated runners. Not only do his prosthetics weigh less than actual human legs, but will he ever have to run with a blister in a bad spot on his foot? Will he be affect by an ankle sprain or Plantar Faciitis? Avoiding those injuries is as much a part of running as going fast is. If he needs a tweak or an adjustment to one of his hinges so that he can run faster he goes to something like a machine shop and has the adjustment made. A non-amputee can’t do that. For better or worse, he is now part human, part machine. The running races in the Olympics are not intended for the inclusion of machines. And, now that I think about that “part human, part machine” statement…maybe there are other events in which I would think he could be permitted. Events where the (lower) leg doesn’t play such a significant roll like cycling (maybe), bobsled/luge, equestrian, curling, etc. But in this case, no, I don’t think he should be allowed to run in the Olympics.</span></span><br><br><span style="font-family:'Times New Roman';"><span style="font-size:medium;">Dan</span></span>
 

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I pretty much agree with you. While it's obviously not easier for a person with an amputated limb to go through life, it's very difficult to quatify any relative advantages/disadvantages in running.<br>
I would love to be able to allow all people to compete for the Olympics, but the problem in my mind comes with trying to draw the cutoff. At what point do the new limbs give you a better chance? Below the knee? An entire leg?<br><br>
I know it's not really fair, and I don't claim to be an expert on prosthetics, but I don't really see how it can work.
 

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People may not like this response, but I disagree. I believe that he sould be allowed in the Olympics if he qualifies. I don't think that new limb(s) give someone a better chance. I'm not really familiar with prosthetic legs, but I feel that they have their own challenges, just like the natural legs of non-amputated runners. I know that the limbs of people with prosthetics do get blisters or bleed in long-distance races, just like a foot might get blisters. I'm sure people with prosthesis get injuries of different kinds to their limbs, just as people with intact legs do. A mechanical part will always need repair or adjustment because it is a man-made mechanical thing. But an adjustment doesn't give an advantage, and mechanical prosthesis have their own set of problems.<br><br>
I don't think science has advanced to the point where a prosthesis of any kind--an eye, ear, arm or leg--gives someone an advantage over a natural body part. I strongly believe that people with disabilities should be able to compete on equitable terms with people without disabilities.
 

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My heart would like to agree with you, but my head says "have you seen this guy's prostheses?" Each one is essentially a large spring. After much testing, the IOC decided they provide approximately a 30% mechanical advantage over normal legs.<br><br>
As I said, my heart says let the guy run, but my head says it wouldn't be fair. Glad I'm not on the committee that had to say no, talk about a tough day.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Yeah, it kind of pulls on my heartstrings too. Where do you set the limits of allowing/dis-allowing one to compete? If he's not allowed in the Olympics, what about college? High school? How do you tell a high schooler that s/he can represent his/her school? And then it depends on the event the person is competing in. I don't think this guy's condition would be either an advantage or disadvantage in equestrian or shooting events (maybe sailing too).<br>
Dan
 

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I agree with MBannon. I'd like to see him run. But I do think they were very careful about checking out his prostheses, and if they give him a mechanical advantage, it's right that they not let him run.
 

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Just a thought -- I know someone who has 2 leg prostheses. His stumps bleed when he has to walk more than 1/2 mile or whatever. He got his legs blown off on a land mine in Vietnam. So any advantage that the prostheses may give him is negated by the agony he has to endure by wearing them.<br><br>
I don't have the answer to this issue, but I did want to bring up this point.<br><br>
BTW, what shoes were banned for being too springy? I never heard about that. I'd love to know (I'll run right out and buy a pair if it would help me personally!!!!! LOL)<br><br>
Susan
 

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Spira was heavily toted for being DQd at Boston Marathon 2??? years ago.<br><br>
looks like they may be acceptable now<br><a href="http://www.pr.com/press-release/57428" target="_blank">http://www.pr.com/press-release/57428</a><br><br>
looks like foreigners don't care about ruleshttp://<a href="http://blogs.usatoday.com/sportsscope/2007/04/boston_marathon.html" target="_blank">blogs.usatoday.com/sportsscope/2007/04/boston_marathon.html</a>
 
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