Does a runner with no legs have an advantage over other runners?
Runner with no legs?
Isn’t that an oxymoron?
But if you do happen to be Oscar Pistorius, don’t expect everyone to cheer you on. And don’t count on prosthetics to be your saving grace in the 2012 London games. Those life-altering prosthetics may turn out to be your downfall.
Says Rick Morrissey of the Chicago Sun Times, “I think those blades give the South African runner a competitive advantage, and that he shouldn’t have been allowed to participate in the Olympics.”
Morrissey is not alone in his criticism of the use of prosthetics in the Olympics.
In 2007, the International Association of Athletics Federations re-wrote the rules of Olympic competition, banning “any technical device that incorporates springs, wheels, or any other element that provides the user with an advantage over another athlete not using such a device.”
But Sports Page Magazine reports other amputee runners arguing that “it takes more than just carbon fiber blades to be fast.”
Single amputee triathlete Sarah Reinertsen poses the question, “How is it an advantage not to have two legs?”
She points out that Olympic athlete Oscar Pistorius cannot walk, run or function in daily life without his prosthetic legs.
“Do we tell someone, you can’t [compete in] those glasses because it makes you see better?” asks Reinersten.
Moreover Reinersten asserts that, “It’s hard enough to be an athlete with one missing leg, much less be told I have an advantage because of my prosthetic. Really? It takes an athlete with a prosthetic leg more energy and more oxygen than a non-amputee athlete to do any sport. I love competing and my prostheses allow me to compete. I say, isn’t that great?”
What do you say?
Do prosthetics give Olympic athletes an unfair advantage?
Or should we support amputee athletes rather than penalize them?