Amputees in Races

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04/08/2012 at 17:47

Please don't flame me on this. I'm feeling very mixed, but I'm struggling to decide if I think amputees and able bodied people should compete against each other in races.

I feel incredibly inspired by Pistorius, but am not sure if using the 'blade runner' prosthesus means that he's competing on a level playing field.

 

 

seren nos yn canu    pirate
04/08/2012 at 18:18

i think we have had this debate before.........and i agree it isn't straight forward..............the experts have decided that he isn't unfairly advantaged.............i'm not too sure............my worry is if trchknowledgy advances and the new level of blades get even better...where is the line drawn.........

it certqinly isn't a ckear cut area.........

but ads he has been let in I WISH HIM WELL,,,,

04/08/2012 at 18:25

I remember the time I was having a particularly bad day at a 10K race, and I was oevrtaken by a guy with a prosthetic leg. Pissed off and embarrassed as I was, it didn't occur to me at the time to mutter 'Cheating bastard!' at him...

We'll be able to tell when blades have advancd sufficiently to confer a definite advantage on their users when athletes start undergoing elective amputations in order to wear them and win!

04/08/2012 at 18:29
I agree with Seren. It's been discussed. When I saw him today he definitely looked to be disadvantaged at the start but if they've agreed that he can be there - then good on him!
05/08/2012 at 07:34

Playing Devil's advocate - Specialist training, in terms of big improvements in athletic performance seems to have hit the buffers in the last 20 years, and it's a fair bet that improvements made by science and technology over the next 100 years will advance much quicker. So there is the possibility that Prosthetic limbs could be faster than human ones in this period, maybe not having the flexibility and range but it's likely to happen, what will we do then, having allowed it now. 

Regarding Oscar Pistorius, you just have to admire the man

05/08/2012 at 09:46

The ruling from the arbitration body which overruled the initial IAAF ban was very specific in stating that Pistorius could only compete on the blades he is using at the moment, and that any athlete looking to do the same thing would be judged individually.  So they're well aware of the ''slippery slope'' of technology.

 
Emmy_bug wrote (see)
When I saw him today he definitely looked to be disadvantaged at the start

...and yet he's caught up by the end.  He has a clear advantage over the closing stages. It was demonstrated in the initial test that he uses significantly less oxygen at maximal effort than able-bodied athletes.  But due to the burden of proof, this demonstration wasn't enough for the IAAF's decision to be upheld.

IMO it's just not a level playing field. He doesn't have to train his calves to withstand fatigue or lactic build-up, because he doesn't have any. Maybe that sounds harsh but it's beside the point; what he's doing is just different.

On balance, is the fact that he is in the same races as able-bodied athletes and raising the profile of paralympic sport a good thing, and worth pissing off a few aggrieved 400m runners he beats along the way, or deprives of an Olympic qualification?  Probably.  He seems like a nice bloke, obviously works really hard - not necessarily any harder than the next elite athlete, mind - and is a great role model.  It doesn't make the decision correct though.

 

Edited: 05/08/2012 at 09:48
05/08/2012 at 09:49

Phil said what I was going to - it should be a fair playing field, and with one athlete using a prosthetic, it just isn't. Not for anyone involved. 

05/08/2012 at 13:36
sarah the bookworm wrote (see)

Phil said what I was going to - it should be a fair playing field, and with one athlete using a prosthetic, it just isn't. Not for anyone involved. 


That's pretty much the opinion I'm coming to. I'm just not sure how it can be a proper race when different competitors use such difference technology. What would happen if an able bodied runner wanted to use blade runners instead of shoes ?

 

05/08/2012 at 13:43

Considering the chap has no nerve receptors at the point of ground contact like the rest of us, I consider it a miracle he can even remain upright.

05/08/2012 at 14:11

there won't be a problem until he wins a medal. Then they might have to look at it.

It'd be faintly ridiculous if he went back to the paralympics though..he'd win the lot.

05/08/2012 at 14:48

+1 for what Phil said. I did read up on the background. As has been said, it's fine until he starts to win races. (world and olympics), though I have to add that I don't think he ever will. I don't think that he's that calibre of sprinter.

RicF - my partner has nerve damage and can't feel his legs. He stood on a tac and didn't know it was there until it caught on his trouser leg. He remains upright and walks a lot. He's not a runner but apparently running would be very good for him.

05/08/2012 at 15:07

Well said Phil!

05/08/2012 at 20:05

if he's able to keep up with the able bodied athletes then it would be even more unfair for him to run in the paralympics imho

05/08/2012 at 20:08

presumably any other disabled athlete could have similar equipment to him? So I don't really see how it's unfair.

In 32 years when the paralympics are going around in times half those of the "able" bodied athletes then we will know something is a bit wrong.

05/08/2012 at 20:53
RicF wrote (see)

Considering the chap has no nerve receptors at the point of ground contact like the rest of us, I consider it a miracle he can even remain upright.

People on stilts seem to manage OK.

05/08/2012 at 20:54

8th in the semis...so that'll hush the moaners down for a bit

05/08/2012 at 21:16
runs-with-dogs wrote (see)

I remember the time I was having a particularly bad day at a 10K race, and I was oevrtaken by a guy with a prosthetic leg. Pissed off and embarrassed as I was, it didn't occur to me at the time to mutter 'Cheating bastard!' at him...

We'll be able to tell when blades have advancd sufficiently to confer a definite advantage on their users when athletes start undergoing elective amputations in order to wear them and win!


Maybe I've read this wrong but, why embarrassed?

05/08/2012 at 22:08
Crazy Diamond wrote (see)
runs-with-dogs wrote (see)

I remember the time I was having a particularly bad day at a 10K race, and I was oevrtaken by a guy with a prosthetic leg. Pissed off and embarrassed as I was, it didn't occur to me at the time to mutter 'Cheating bastard!' at him...

We'll be able to tell when blades have advancd sufficiently to confer a definite advantage on their users when athletes start undergoing elective amputations in order to wear them and win!


Maybe I've read this wrong but, why embarrassed?

Simply as a runner, you feel fit...so to be beaten by someone who is handicapped isn't a great feeling!

Having said that I lost to Richard Whitehead who has similar blades to Oscar P....I think he's the world half marathon amputee record holder...so i didn't feel embarrasment that day

seren nos yn canu    pirate
06/08/2012 at 07:23

is that the same as being beaten by a female stevie G....females and handicapped are inferior and so should be a cause of embarressment when ever they beat you.........

Bionic Ironwolf    pirate
06/08/2012 at 08:11

He was last in his 400m semi-final - so how can he be judged to have an unfair advantage over able-bodied athletes who all beat him fair and square?

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