Friday, May 25

The fastest man on no legs

I just read an Ellen Goodman column about Oscar Pistorius, who calls himself "the fastest man on no legs."

Here's an excerpt:
This racing phenom recently won the 100- and 200-meter races in an international competition for disabled athletes. He won on a pair of J-shaped carbon fiber blades known as Cheetahs.

Pistorius calls himself "the fastest man on no legs." He was born with defects in his feet and his lower legs were amputated when he was 11 months old. Nevertheless, he says, "I don't see myself as disabled." He wants to be allowed to race for the Olympic gold on his own two Cheetahs.

This is one of those stories tailor-made for the Olympic coverage: A great athlete overcomes enormous adversity to pursue his dream. But it's also one of the other stories now stalking sports: Exactly what kind of technology, training or performance enhancements should we applaud? And what kind should we reject?

...Those who oppose Pistorius compare his Cheetahs to "techno-doping." But it is also true that technology has been used to enhance performance since the first runner put on a shoe...

It's an interesting column on ethics. Goodman talks about how some athletes choose to go train at high altitudes and that's fair. But then some cry foul when other athletes sleep in special tents simulating high altitude conditions.

She also talks about Barry Bonds and the Tour de France. Personally, I have trouble imagining Bonds riding a bicycle through the Alps.

Anyway, that's the trivia for today. South African runner Oscar Pistorius is the fastest man on no legs. Impress someone at a party this weekend and debate whether or not he should get to run in the Olympics.


Blogger Jim Evans said...

Is a sport a test of our intellect and tool making ability or a test of our physical ability?

This is an interesting post. We have stroller competition and wheelchair competition. What next; bouncy-legs competition?

May 27, 2007 5:02 PM  

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