“You're not disabled by the disabilities you have, you are able by the abilities you have.”
That’s the motto of 400-meter runner Oscar Pistorious, a paralympic athlete from South Africa known to some as the Blade Runner. Oscar runs on Cheetah Flex-Foot prosthetics, the result of having both legs amputated as an infant. Critics say the devices give him an advantage over able-bodied competitors, and his desire to run in able-bodied races has stirred controversy. Administrators of the World Track and Field Championships evidently do not believe he has an unnatural advantage, having allowed him to enter this week’s competition.
Recently on NPR I heard two scientists discussing Oscar’s prosthetics. One said the loss of energy he would otherwise receive from the ankle function while running will have a negative effect on Oscar’s performance. The other believed Oscar will receive an advantage with the prosthetics, but not until he approaches top speed. And I’m sure there are numerous other “Yes” and “No” opinions out there.
Nevertheless, the results are in: While Oscar earned one of 24 spots in the semi-finals by placing 14th in his preliminary race, he failed to make the 400-meter final after running last in his heat. Oscar will have one more chance at these World Championships if he runs in the 400-meter relay on Friday. You can go here for more on Oscar and his race.