Skip to comments.Amputee runner Oscar Pistorius wins right to try for Olympic spot
Posted on 05/16/2008 9:00:29 AM PDT by RogerWilko
LAUSANNE, Switzerland Double-amputee sprinter Oscar Pistorius won his appeal Friday and can compete for a place in the Beijing Olympics.
The Court of Arbitration for Sport ruled that the 21-year-old South African is eligible to race against able-bodied athletes, overturning a ban imposed by the International Association of Athletics Federations.
CAS said the unanimous ruling goes into effect immediately.
"As you can imagine, I have been struggling to hide my smile for the last half an hour," Pistorius told reporters in Milan, Italy. "I can definitely say the truth has come out. We have the opportunity once again to chase my dream of participating in an Olympics, if not in 2008 then in 2012."
Pistorius still must reach a qualifying time to run in the individual 400 metres at the Aug. 8-24 Beijing Games. However, he can be picked for the South African relay squad without qualifying.
Pistorius appealed to CAS, world sport's highest tribunal, to overturn a Jan. 14 ruling by the IAAF that banned him from competing. The IAAF said his carbon fiber blades give him a mechanical advantage.
A two-day hearing was held before a panel of three arbitrators at CAS headquarters last month. Pistorius now is expected to get invitations from track and field promoters across the world who want him to run at their meets before Beijing.
"Oscar will be welcomed wherever he competes this summer," IAAF president Lamine Diack said in a statement. "He is an inspirational man and we look forward to admiring his achievements in the future."
Pistorius holds the 400-metre Paralympic world record of 46.56 seconds, but that time is outside the Olympic qualifying standard of 45.55. His training has been disrupted by the appeal process.
Even if Pistorius fails to get the qualifying time, South African selectors could add the University of Pretoria student to the Olympic 1,600-metre relay squad.
Pistorius would not require a qualifying time and could be taken to Beijing as an alternate. Six runners can be picked for the relay squad. Pistorius also expects to compete in Beijing at the Sept. 6-17 Paralympic Games.
The verdict also clears Pistorius to dedicate himself to competing at the 2012 London Olympics.
The IAAF based its January decision on studies by German professor Gert-Peter Brueggemann, who said the J-shaped "Cheetah" blades were energy efficient.
Pistorius' lawyers countered with independent tests conducted by a team led by MIT professor Hugh M. Herr that claimed to show he doesn't gain any advantage over able-bodied runners.
CAS said the IAAF failed to prove that Pistorius' running blades give him an advantage.
"The panel was not persuaded that there was sufficient evidence of any metabolic advantage in favor of a double-amputee using the Cheetah Flex-Foot," CAS said. "Furthermore, the CAS panel has considered that the IAAF did not prove that the biomechanical effects of using this particular prosthetic device gives Oscar Pistorius an advantage over other athletes not using the device."
Pistorius was born without fibulas - the long, thin outer bone between the knee and ankle - and was 11 months old when his legs were amputated below the knee.
Pistorius' lawyer was thrilled by the verdict.
"He simply has the chance now to compete fairly and equally," Jeffrey Kessler told The Associated Press. "We are particularly pleased that the decision is unanimous."
You can't tell me that those bionic legs don't help him to run faster. You would get TREMENDOUS recoil off those babies.
I'd be willing to bet that if someone like Michael Johnson slapped a pair of those legs when he was in his prime, and learned how to use them, he would've gone under 40 seconds in the 400 with no problem!
What would now be the argument against other forms of enhancements (steroids, future technology and other drugs designed to improve performance)?
next the olympics!!
Whatever “trememdous recoil” he might get would be more than offset by the complete LACK of communication between his bionic “feet” and his brain. The feet are where the rubber meets the road. The actual dynamics of how runners run, however you look at it, is greatly compromised for someone missing the natural complement of muscles, tendons,and in this case, LIMBS. He won’t make the cut.
The Power of Determination: Glenn Cunningham's Story
by Burt Dubin
The little country schoolhouse was heated by an old-fashioned, pot-bellied coal stove. A little boy had the job of coming to school early each day to start the fire and warm the room before his teacher and his classmates arrived.
One morning they arrived to find the schoolhouse engulfed in flames. They dragged the unconscious little boy out of the flaming building more dead than alive. He had major burns over the lower half of his body and was taken to a nearby county hospital.
From his bed the dreadfully burned, semi-conscious little boy faintly heard the doctor talking to his mother. The doctor told his mother that her son would surely die - which was for the best, really - for the terrible fire had devastated the lower half of his body.
But the brave boy didn't want to die. He made up his mind that he would survive. Somehow, to the amazement of the physician, he did survive. When the mortal danger was past, he again heard the doctor and his mother speaking quietly. The mother was told that since the fire had destroyed so much flesh in the lower part of his body, it would almost be better if he had died, since he was doomed to be a lifetime cripple with no use at all of his lower limbs.
Once more the brave boy made up his mind. He would not be a cripple. He would walk. But unfortunately from the waist down, he had no motor ability. His thin legs just dangled there, all but lifeless.
Ultimately he was released from the hospital. Every day his mother would massage his little legs, but there was no feeling, no control, nothing. Yet his determination that he would walk was as strong as ever.
When he wasn't in bed, he was confined to a wheelchair. One sunny day his mother wheeled him out into the yard to get some fresh air. This day, instead of sitting there, he threw himself from the chair. He pulled himself across the grass, dragging his legs behind him.
He worked his way to the white picket fence bordering their lot. With great effort, he raised himself up on the fence. Then, stake by stake, he began dragging himself along the fence, resolved that he would walk. He started to do this every day until he wore a smooth path all around the yard beside the fence. There was nothing he wanted more than to develop life in those legs.
Ultimately through his daily massages, his iron persistence and his resolute determination, he did develop the ability to stand up, then to walk haltingly, then to walk by himself - and then - to run.
He began to walk to school, then to run to school, to run for the sheer joy of running. Later in college he made the track team.
Still later in Madison Square Garden this young man who was not expected to survive, who would surely never walk, who could never hope to run - this determined young man, Dr. Glenn Cunningham, ran the world's fastest mile!
Pretty soon, non-disabled athletes will be strapping on a pair of those to better their times.
Hey... That’s an idea! Some able bodied athlete should have a pair made and see how he can improve his times and then they’d be a case on how it makes you run faster.
I’d think you’d be able to jump pretty good with those also. I used to do the decathlon and we’d practice the high jump using a small wooden box about 6 inches high. I was able to get over 7 feet using the box and my normal heights were between 6” 1” - 4” range.
So you can’t tell me that those things wouldn’t give you a SUPER BOOST! They’re like springs.
You'd get some serious energy out of those things. I think you're more hampered in the shorter races, because you rely on your calves and feet for the propulsion a lot more.
That's why the quality of his times probably increased the further he runs. I read that he's run a 10.91 for 100 meters, 21.58 for 200 meters, and 46.34 for 400 meters.
His times are higher quality the further he runs, which means he's getting more benefit the further he goes. A 46.34 for 400 meters is much more impressive than a 10.91 - 100 meter any day!
I got nothing against him! The guy's amazing that he can run that fast, but I think to run in the regular Olympics you should have to use your own limbs.
WOW... That's a good story. I knew who Glenn Cunningham was, but I never heard that story before. That's amazing!
I’m surprised noone’s made a movie about him. It sounds like it would make a good movie (At least I couldn’t find any).
Hollywood is probably too busy making movies about murder, gays, and the evil Republicans to waste their time on something that boring!
Actually they did. It was a classic movie. I can’t remember the name. A guy on a blog talking about him posted a link to it. Dang I wish I could remember it.
The story would also make a great Paul Harvey “The rest of the Story”.
I’ll have to see if I can find it somewhere. I’d like to check it out!
Check out this article right here:
It points out that an double amputee might have an advantage using these blades.
“The fact that he is a bilateral amputee slows Pistorius down as he comes out of the starting blocks. Once he builds up speed, however, that same liability becomes an asset: his balanced and extra-long strideof which more belowgive him “a top speed that is ridiculous,” comments American sprinter Marlon Shirley, the only amputee to have ever run the 100 meter dash in under 11 seconds. “