By Eric Zanzucchi (@ericzanzucchi)
I was at a bar with fellow blog writer Michael Baker watching the monitors with no sound and we were very confused by what we saw. There was a man with fake legs running in a competition. We thought this can’t be the Olympics, can it?
Indeed it was. Oscar Pistorius is a South African runner who had both his legs amputated (The link includes a picture.). However, he’s been allowed to compete in the 400m with prosthetic legs. He’s become this feel good story that everyone is rooting for, but I haven’t heard much discussion behind the ethics of this decision.
Do these fake legs give him a competitive advantage?
I don’t know whether they help or hinder him, but if he’s capable of qualifying for the Olympics if anything they likely give him a competitive advantage. I have no proof of this but if they do, how can he possibly be allowed to compete in the Olympics? There wouldn’t be a level playing field. I know that plenty of other things give certain people competitive advantages but were talking about the most important part of a runner’s body being fake.
He didn’t win a medal which leads me down another line of speculation. Is it possible that the Olympic decision makers allowed him to compete solely for a compelling storyline? They really have to force some of their storylines with some of their athletes (I’ve already discussed this with Michael Phelps.). By allowing him to compete they have this very positive and compelling storyline. They may have known he did not possess the ability to win and there was little potential for controversy. They just had their cake and ate it too, whether it was intentional or not.