FanDuel - WFBC

March 28, 2007

Blade Runner: Oscar Pistorius is on pace to run the 200- and 400-meter sprints fast enough to earn a spot on South Africa’s Olympic team. He’d be the first amputee runner to cross over. Question is, do his prosthetic legs represent a disadvantage, or could they give him an unfair advantage?

posted by SummersEve to culture at 06:27 AM - 14 comments

He needs to drop 2 seconds so "on pace" might be a stretch. But even if it isn't this guy, it's going to come up in the future. Someone will eventually cross over with prosthetics, and it will make for quite an interesting debate.

posted by SummersEve at 06:37 AM on March 28

Here is a graphical representation I made last year of Pistorius' position amongst the world's best 400m runners (click the photo to enlarge).

posted by Amateur at 08:01 AM on March 28

That's awesome, Amateur. Very cool idea.

posted by SummersEve at 08:43 AM on March 28

Seems like it could go two ways doesn't it. Once it does become a competitive advantage, and it's no guarantee that it will, I doubt anyone will prevent an otherwise normal athlete from mutilating himself in order to acquire it if they are "dedicated" enough. The Pistorius' of the world will dominate, and the "normal" runners will adapt or perish. If you like your legs, you won't be a sprinter. Or, we decide it isn't "pure", and we ban the use of "performance-enhancing" medical advances. The line is already a bit blurry here, since quite a bit of money goes into clothes, shoes, "legal" drugs, hell even psychology, in order to enhance "natural" performance. I'm not putting a best case for this scenario forward I know, but I just think it's untenable.

posted by chmurray at 10:31 AM on March 28

Let the bionic man run, I say. Consequences be damned. It's interesting, could attract attention to the wobegone sport that is track and field that might actually be, you know, positive - thank you decades of steriod cheats. And if it leads to more people tearing their legs off to run faster. Well, I think if it comes to that - so be it. Nothing like a little voluntary mutilation to spur some debate about what the fuck we're doing as a species. Bring it.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 10:48 AM on March 28

"I'm not disabled, I just don't have any legs." What a great quote from this kid. Thanks for this story, SummersEve.

posted by qbert72 at 01:00 PM on March 28

This was fanstastic. I'm pulling for Pistorius to make the Olympics. Thanks for the link, SE. Also, if you are so inclined, have a peek at this bit about Microsoft's blogging initiative, which includes a dossier compiled by the Evil Empire on Wired's reporter and then inadvertantly sent to him. Great stuff.

posted by wfrazerjr at 02:46 PM on March 28

To be honest, there's one thing wrong with the whole piece: the goddamn music in the video. The article opens with a description of the sound of his running, it has a video, and we can't hear it?

posted by qbert72 at 03:05 PM on March 28

My nomination for Quote of the Week: Nothing like a little voluntary mutilation to spur some debate about what the fuck we're doing as a species. Bring it.

posted by SummersEve at 06:33 AM on March 29

I'm not even sure mutilation would be necessary. This photo seems to indicate that there is enough room for legs and feet in front of the Cheetahs, provided they raise the runner a couple of inches. I'm pretty sure they could fit those to able-bodied athletes. Let's see them try if they give such an advantage.

posted by qbert72 at 06:53 AM on March 29

You could at least duel with the chick in Grindhouse for a couple of seconds. That machine gun leg snuffed out many a man and at least one man's interest in seeing the film.

posted by yerfatma at 09:18 AM on March 29

That machine gun leg Not to nitpick or anything, but it was actually a machine gun/grenade launcher leg. I'm just sayin'.

posted by The_Black_Hand at 04:18 PM on March 29

Yeah, I noticed that tonight. Still not convincing me.

posted by yerfatma at 07:39 PM on March 29

This photo seems to indicate that there is enough room for legs and feet in front of the Cheetahs, provided they raise the runner a couple of inches. When they were talking in the article about the cheetahs flexing some, they were not kidding. Click on the first picture at the top of qbert72's link. Those things really flex alot.

posted by jojomfd1 at 01:55 AM on March 30

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