Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Go Oscar!

This is a story I've been watching with interest just because of its uniqueness, human enhancement factor and the precedent it is setting for the future.

Oscar Pistorius is an athlete in South Africa who is a double amputee. He's a runner. That's right. He runs fast - he is the disabled world record holder in the 100, 200 and 400 metres events. He runs with the help of special carbon fibre transtibial artificial limbs. But he's not satisfied with records in the realm of handicapped sports, he wants to compete with regular Olympians. At first, he was banned from competing because he supposedly had an unfair advantage over athletes with flesh and bone limbs. But that ban was overturned and now he is eligible to compete in the Olympics.

I'm still on the fence as to whether this is the right decision, but I will say that at least his advantage is on the table for everyone to see, as opposed to hidden advantages like pharmaceutical enhancements. One thing is for sure - this opens the door for other handicapped athletes to enter the world of mainstream sport.

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