Amputees in Races

Please don't flame me on this. I'm feeling very mixed, but I'm struggling to decide if I think amputees and able bodied people should compete against each other in races.

I feel incredibly inspired by Pistorius, but am not sure if using the 'blade runner' prosthesus means that he's competing on a level playing field.

 

 

Comments

  • i think we have had this debate before.........and i agree it isn't straight forward..............the experts have decided that he isn't unfairly advantaged.............i'm not too sure............my worry is if trchknowledgy advances and the new level of blades get even better...where is the line drawn.........

    it certqinly isn't a ckear cut area.........

    but ads he has been let in I WISH HIM WELL,,,,

  • I remember the time I was having a particularly bad day at a 10K race, and I was oevrtaken by a guy with a prosthetic leg. Pissed off and embarrassed as I was, it didn't occur to me at the time to mutter 'Cheating bastard!' at him...

    We'll be able to tell when blades have advancd sufficiently to confer a definite advantage on their users when athletes start undergoing elective amputations in order to wear them and win!

  • I agree with Seren. It's been discussed. When I saw him today he definitely looked to be disadvantaged at the start but if they've agreed that he can be there - then good on him!
  • Playing Devil's advocate - Specialist training, in terms of big improvements in athletic performance seems to have hit the buffers in the last 20 years, and it's a fair bet that improvements made by science and technology over the next 100 years will advance much quicker. So there is the possibility that Prosthetic limbs could be faster than human ones in this period, maybe not having the flexibility and range but it's likely to happen, what will we do then, having allowed it now. 

    Regarding Oscar Pistorius, you just have to admire the man

  • The ruling from the arbitration body which overruled the initial IAAF ban was very specific in stating that Pistorius could only compete on the blades he is using at the moment, and that any athlete looking to do the same thing would be judged individually.  So they're well aware of the ''slippery slope'' of technology.

     
    Emmy_bug wrote (see)
    When I saw him today he definitely looked to be disadvantaged at the start

    ...and yet he's caught up by the end.  He has a clear advantage over the closing stages. It was demonstrated in the initial test that he uses significantly less oxygen at maximal effort than able-bodied athletes.  But due to the burden of proof, this demonstration wasn't enough for the IAAF's decision to be upheld.

    IMO it's just not a level playing field. He doesn't have to train his calves to withstand fatigue or lactic build-up, because he doesn't have any. Maybe that sounds harsh but it's beside the point; what he's doing is just different.

    On balance, is the fact that he is in the same races as able-bodied athletes and raising the profile of paralympic sport a good thing, and worth pissing off a few aggrieved 400m runners he beats along the way, or deprives of an Olympic qualification?  Probably.  He seems like a nice bloke, obviously works really hard - not necessarily any harder than the next elite athlete, mind - and is a great role model.  It doesn't make the decision correct though.

     

  • Phil said what I was going to - it should be a fair playing field, and with one athlete using a prosthetic, it just isn't. Not for anyone involved. 

  • sarah the bookworm wrote (see)

    Phil said what I was going to - it should be a fair playing field, and with one athlete using a prosthetic, it just isn't. Not for anyone involved. 


    That's pretty much the opinion I'm coming to. I'm just not sure how it can be a proper race when different competitors use such difference technology. What would happen if an able bodied runner wanted to use blade runners instead of shoes ?

     

  • Considering the chap has no nerve receptors at the point of ground contact like the rest of us, I consider it a miracle he can even remain upright.

  • there won't be a problem until he wins a medal. Then they might have to look at it.

    It'd be faintly ridiculous if he went back to the paralympics though..he'd win the lot.

  • +1 for what Phil said. I did read up on the background. As has been said, it's fine until he starts to win races. (world and olympics), though I have to add that I don't think he ever will. I don't think that he's that calibre of sprinter.

    RicF - my partner has nerve damage and can't feel his legs. He stood on a tac and didn't know it was there until it caught on his trouser leg. He remains upright and walks a lot. He's not a runner but apparently running would be very good for him.

  • Well said Phil!

  • if he's able to keep up with the able bodied athletes then it would be even more unfair for him to run in the paralympics imho

  • presumably any other disabled athlete could have similar equipment to him? So I don't really see how it's unfair.

    In 32 years when the paralympics are going around in times half those of the "able" bodied athletes then we will know something is a bit wrong.

  • RicF wrote (see)

    Considering the chap has no nerve receptors at the point of ground contact like the rest of us, I consider it a miracle he can even remain upright.

    People on stilts seem to manage OK. image

  • 8th in the semis...so that'll hush the moaners down for a bit

  • runs-with-dogs wrote (see)

    I remember the time I was having a particularly bad day at a 10K race, and I was oevrtaken by a guy with a prosthetic leg. Pissed off and embarrassed as I was, it didn't occur to me at the time to mutter 'Cheating bastard!' at him...

    We'll be able to tell when blades have advancd sufficiently to confer a definite advantage on their users when athletes start undergoing elective amputations in order to wear them and win!


    Maybe I've read this wrong but, why embarrassed?

  • Crazy Diamond wrote (see)
    runs-with-dogs wrote (see)
    I remember the time I was having a particularly bad day at a 10K race, and I was oevrtaken by a guy with a prosthetic leg. Pissed off and embarrassed as I was, it didn't occur to me at the time to mutter 'Cheating bastard!' at him... We'll be able to tell when blades have advancd sufficiently to confer a definite advantage on their users when athletes start undergoing elective amputations in order to wear them and win!


    Maybe I've read this wrong but, why embarrassed?

    Simply as a runner, you feel fit...so to be beaten by someone who is handicapped isn't a great feeling!

    Having said that I lost to Richard Whitehead who has similar blades to Oscar P....I think he's the world half marathon amputee record holder...so i didn't feel embarrasment that day

  • is that the same as being beaten by a female stevie G....females and handicapped are inferior and so should be a cause of embarressment when ever they beat you.........imageimage

  • Behave Seren, it all depends on level..... i was often beaten by 43/44year old lady a couple of years back, she was a powerhouse,  1hr 15 for half , running for Britain at either half or marathon.

    Really disappointly I've heard she's just packed it all in now! But I suppose the training must have been epic and sh not unreasonably wants to do other things now.

  • @seren nos - experts have shown that he has a 25-30% advantage in a straight line.

  • Bionic Ironwolf wrote (see)

    He was last in his 400m semi-final - so how can he be judged to have an unfair advantage over able-bodied athletes who all beat him fair and square?

    In fairness, this doesn't really prove anything as we don't know what difference the blades made to his speed. It's not about whether he wins or looses, it's about it being a level playing field.

  • imho the guy has lost the lower part of his legs and has managed to overcome running on prosthetics and be successful at it. I dont' suppose for one minute this has been easy and I would imagine the toll taken on his stumps is quite considerable. I would imagine there are considerable disadvanges, such as cornering, starting from the blocks etc. Until it's proven that a prosthetic is on the market that actually considerably improves natural running ability to the point where it is significantly faster than able bodied runners, I don't see a problem at all with people with prosthetics on their legs competing against able bodied athletes. 

    Prosthetics that enable someone to actually run equivalently to an able bodied athlete derserves applaud, why should someone who has a disability remain at a disadvantage if there is equipment out there that can raise their ability to bring them more in line with able bodied. they still have to train to become acustomed to the prosthetics and I would imagine the journey isn't an easy one. 

  • IMHO I think he's done a fantastic job getting to where he is but I feel a little uneasy about him being allowed in the non paralympics. He is a paralympic competitor for me and as such I think he should compete with his peers.  If he beats the lot of them then so what? He's the best of people comparible to him and rightly deserves his medals.

    To me this has elements of positive discrimination and I am against discrimination in any form.

     

  • booktrunk wrote (see)

    In 32 years when the paralympics are going around in times half those of the "able" bodied athletes then we will know something is a bit wrong.

    Umm... It already happens in the marathon. The wheelchair WR is something like 1hr18...

  • True image I didn't make it clear but was thinking more along the lines of those running upright with artifical legs.

    Mind you by then we might just be growing new arms / legs in a big vessel of goo. But then could you get better replacement parts... image

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