July 20, 2007

Side–effects of Pretorious (not) being allowed to run with everyone else

Now I did have a completely unrelated blog entry all done, but WB wouldn’t let me sign in and my computer promptly crashed, so that went.

Then I thought about doing an entry on the ongoing saga of the attempts of Paralympic athelte Oscar “Blade Runner” Pretorious to be accepted as an able-bodied runner, but that horse has been sufficiently flogged. So rather than just give a “no because…” entry, I thought I’d come up with some rather silly scenarios should the final decision on his Olympic future go either way.

Intentional Amputation

If Pretorious is allowed to run even though his blades offer an advantage, what is to stop an able-bodied athlete chopping off their own legs and having their own performance-enhancing limbs?

“You need four limbs”

If Pretorious is not allowed to run on the grounds that he doesn’t have four limbs, does this mean that an athlete without an arm isn’t allowed to run even if he’s really good?

Totalitarian trials

Everybody deserves the right to run in the trials. Unfortunately, we are still waiting for 84 year old Fred Brooks to finish the 10000m from last year before we can start this year’s trials. His pacemaker is Eric the Eel.

The end of segregation

Pretorious runs as a “non-disabled” runner, thus forcing all other Paralympians to run with the regular Olympians. At the same time, age and gender divisions are also abolished.

Enhancing leg technology

With Pretorious banned from the Olympics, companies are free to develop the most efficient artificial legs they can manage. The 100m world record is thus reduced to 6.47 seconds by Javier Mbangua, whose springy legs allow him to stride up to 19 metres a time.

I’m sure there are more potential silly ideas I can come up with. It’s an emotional issue, but the key issue here isn’t at all about why he shouldn’t be allowed to run with his non-disabled rivals, but why he should.

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