Disabled athlete Oscar Pistorius should not compete against able-bodied atheletes

¬†Oscar Pistorius is a South African disabled athlete who has just been banned from competing against able-bodied athletes. He lost both legs below the knees as a child and runs with carbon fibre prosthetics known as “Cheetahs”. Oscar was in with a chance of qualifying for the Beijing Olympics when the IAAF banned him.

There has been a lot of interest in the issue (here, here) but I agree with the decision. Here is my reasoning:

  1. If a prosthetic offers an advantage then it should not be allowed.
  2. Oscar’s prosthetics have been shown to offer an advantage.
  3. Therefore, Oscar should not be allowed to compete.

Oscar should get into swimming. Instead of the “Cheetahs” he should attach flippers to his legs – he could call them “Dolphins”. He could then power along and kick some serious ass in the pool. If you think that would be unfair then you agree with point 1 – advantageous prosthetics should not be allowed.

Now, my intuition tells me that the Cheetahs do offer an advantage over able-bodied athletes. But don’t rely on that – a pretty detailed study by a lab has concluded just that – the Cheetahs do offer an advantage over normal feet.

So we agree, Oscar should not be allowed to compete. Sorry Oscar, but it just wouldn’t be fair.