Posted by: rusch | July 6, 2008

Let Pistorius Play

For those who don’t know, Oscar Pistorius is the first double amputee who has a real chance of competing in track field at the Summer Games in Beijing this year. There’s one problem, IAAF has banned him from competition. I think this is wrong. Scientists determined that Pisorius’ carbon fiber prosthetics, colloquially called blades, give him no significant advantage over able bodied athletes. If he has no real advantage, then he should be allowed to compete if he qualifies.

But here’s the rub. Ryan Merriman, a distance runner at BYU, wrote a ridiculous opinion article for the Daily Universe. Among the rambling wreck of his article, this stood out.

How many regular athletes would be willing to give up their original model for a fresh pair of blades then?

First, what is a regular athlete? What is a regular human being? Is there some kind of humanometer we can use to measure the regularity or irregularity of a person and on top that, where are the norm referenced scores one would use to determine regularity?

Second, who and what is an athlete? My dictionary says an athlete is:

A participant in a sport, exercise, or game requiring physical skill.

So who is an athlete? Anyone who competes.

Ryan is being a bit snooty now that he has risen to such great heights as a runner at an NCAA division one school. Perhaps Ryan needs to remember that unless you are a distance, something I used to be, you would have no idea who is at the top of the sport and who is not.

Ryan’s question is ridiculous. I seriously doubt any ethical doctor, would perform such an operation. Ryan also has not done his homework. Pistorius’ blades are very unstable. He has trouble turning corners and is prone to slip and fall if the track is the slightest bit wet.

All that Ryan has demonstrated in this article is his own ignorance about people with disabilities. Instead of throwing up barriers to the mainstream, we should be breaking down these barriers and recognizing that in spirit we are all the same. At least that is what the scriptures say.

I for one would love to see what Pistorius is capable of against his peers. Shame on the IAAF.

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