Blade Runner: South African Double Amputee Sprinter Oscar Pistorius Fails to Make Olympic Team by A Split Second … A True Hero
The world is always looking for heros. Inspirational people that far and away leave a lasting mark and touch people’s hearts. South Africa and the Olympics actually have one … its too bad they do not recognize it or we will see him compete. Oscar Pistorius, you are an Olympic athlete in my book. Actually you are much more than that. One does not need a medal around their neck to be special. Oscar Pistorius, you are a champion and an inspiration.
Remember when the Olympics used to stand for something? Remember when they used to represent the best of amature athletic competition and some of the greatest stories came from virtual unknowns overcoming amazing obstacles to shock the sports world? Remember when it was about the trill of athletic competition and that one moment in time that for many athletes was making the Olympics and not necessarily winning a medal? Not any more …
South African double amputee athlete Oscar Pistorius rests after competing in the men’s 400 metres… South African double amputee athlete Oscar Pistorius rests after competing in the men’s 400 metres at the Athletics International Meeting “Notturna di Milano” in Milan July 2 2008. Pistorius failed in his first bid to reach the Olympic 400 metres qualification time at an athletics meeting on Wednesday.
(Alessandro Garofalo/Reuters )
Oscar Pistorius, the South African double amputee has failed to make the 1,600-meter relay team Friday by mere 0.70 seconds. However, sometimes true Olympic athletes are not the ones who win the gold. They are the one’s that win much more. Oscar Pistorius may not win a gold, silver or bronze medal in Beijing. Hell, he isn’t even going to be allowed to go. However, he has done much more … he has won the admiration of all and has inspired many in the way he has conducted himself with class, dignity and sportsmanship trying to make the South African sprint team. It was not Pistorius’ physical handicap that kept him out of the Olympics, it was the mental handicap of South African decision makers that did so.
“I said at the start of the season that I’d be extremely happy just to be running times I was comfortable with, whether I made it to the Olympics or not,” Pistorius said after soaking up loud applause from the Swiss crowd.
“Tonight was certainly one of those times.”
Unfortunately, Oscar Pistorius could not hit the 400-meter qualifying time of 45.55 seconds, despite running a personal best 46.25 on his prosthetic blades at a meet in Lucerne, Switzerland. If Oscar Pitorious had qualified for the Beijing Olympics it would have been one of the most inspirational and feel good stories of the games. However, make no mistake about it, Pistorius’ efforts to make his Olympic dream come true are an inspiration to many. Even if there were those that would take this special athlete to court stating that his “blades” represented an unfair advantage.
Pistorius, a.k.a. “the Blade Runner,” races on crescent blades called “Cheetah Flex-Feet.” Despite the obvious difficulty of balancing on the blades, as Pistorius continued to improve, some other sprinters questioned whether he was not disabled, but rather “too-abled.”
In 2007, with the blessing of the International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF), Pistorius competed in a Golden League meet in Rome, his first international, able-bodied event. It was a resounding triumph, as he finished second in his heat, besting seven other pros. But the way Pistorius ran the race intensified the questions — he had already faced concerns from Paralympic competitors that his blades exaggerated what his actual leg length should be — about the fairness of his prosthetics.
How could anyone think that this was an unfair athletic advantage?
Other athletes and International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) actually questioned whether the “blades” that Oscar Pistorius ran with as he is a double-amputee was an unfair advantage and was taken to court to prevent him from running in able-bodied events.
WHAT PART ABOUT BEING A DOUBLE AMPUTEE IS AN ADVANTAGE!!! These people should be absolutely ashamed of themselves. In the end, all these people did was end an inspirational dream and affect the training of a special athlete in his pursuit of a dream. The rules state that a specific qualifying time must be met to participate However, sometimes rules are made to be broken. Preferential treatment should not be given just because the athlete is a double-amputee; however, what should be considered is the fact that Pistorius not only had to battle a disability, other athletes and the clock. He had the distraction of battling the courts. Anyone who is or was an athlete, especially a top Olympic athlete knows that one needs total focus on the task at hand. Something that Oscar Pistorius was not allowed to do.
The 21-year-old Pistorius has said the court fight kept him from focusing on training, and acknowledged it might be more realistic to aim for the 2012 London Olympics. Athletics South Africa president Leonard Chuene said four other runners had faster times, and two others were chosen as alternates.
Pistorius plans to run at the Sept. 6-17 Paralympic Games in Beijing. He holds the Paralympic world record of 46.56 in the 400.
“From the beginning, we knew that he had to qualify,” Van Zyl said. “We didn’t expect him to be granted any special opportunity or anything. The rules are the rules.”
The International Olympic Committee said it was South Africa’s decision to make. (Yahoo Sports)
One really has to wonder what the mentality is of the president of Athletics South African, Leonard Chuene. What are you afraid of? The fact that a disabled athlete may actually be able to compete with able-bodied ones. South Africa will not be winning any sprinting medals in Beijing. I think everyone realizes that there was a standard to meet’ however, the language from Leonard Chuene seems to have nothing but bias and utter contempt against Oscar Pistorius.
The president of Athletics South Africa, Leonard Chuene, defended the 21-year-old’s exclusion from both the individual event and the relay, saying: “He did not qualify in any way because the athletes that have been selected have all run faster than him.”
Chuene also confirmed that Pistorius would not be considered as a potential stand-by should injuries hit the squad. “There is no chance that he will make it even if someone pulls out. We allowed him to run on the 16th for the final time, where he did not qualify and that was the end.
“The team was selected on merit and nothing else. The ones with the fastest times are in the team. It was not selected under special terms or treatment. The standards are obviously IAAF and Olympic standards so it’s not us that determines these standards.”