Random Oscar Pistorius Question

(153 Posts)
YoullLaughAboutItOneDay Fri 31-Aug-12 13:59:39

I have a question about Oscar Pistorius I am hoping someone can answer. All my Google search terms just return general articles and I am going a bit Paralympics crazy with all my background questions about the events, classifications and athletes so I am desperate to know!

He competes as T44 (single amputee) even though he is classified T43 (double amputee). Is this because the single amputee category is faster and more competitive?

Also, he had a big legal battle to compete in the Olympics over whether his carbon fibre legs gave him an advantage. Was there ever any similar controversy over him competing as T44?

Knowsabitabouteducation Fri 31-Aug-12 17:03:37

I think the categories are about what an athlete can do rather than their disability.

Don't they combine events for different levels. For example I saw the men's shot putt and it was something like T42/44 their distances were then converted to points depending on their grading, so the person who putted the farthest didn't necessarily win.

Maybe it's different for the running.

YoullLaughAboutItOneDay Fri 31-Aug-12 18:05:50

Maybe they do combine categories. But what i read suggested it was Oscar's choice.

I realise categories are about what athletes can do, but my point was that he chooses to compete in a category that is for less severe categories than his disability- and the only reason i could think of foe that was wantingore intense competition, pushing himself further.

YoullLaughAboutItOneDay Fri 31-Aug-12 18:06:41

Less severe disabilities
sorry for typo.

heyannie Sat 01-Sep-12 15:48:48

I've just read his book and the reason for him competing in T44 is that his qualifying times were way ahead of those that other double amputees were hitting. I don't think there was as much controversy over that as there was for him competing in non disabled events.

YoullLaughAboutItOneDay Sat 01-Sep-12 16:42:16

Thank you! So was it his choice (ie being competitive) or was he reclassified because his times were so good?

I have a wee crush on Oscar. Cannot believe i did not know he had a book!

Nancy66 Sat 01-Sep-12 17:32:35

He's running tonight isn't he?

YoullLaughAboutItOneDay Sat 01-Sep-12 17:45:29

Yup. 7.44pm. Am hoping for lots of background from the channel four commentary team.

Is Clare Balding doing it tonight I wonder. I just love her as a broadcaster. Soooo knowledgeable - certainly put Linekar to shame in the Olympics interviews!

YoullLaughAboutItOneDay Sat 01-Sep-12 17:46:42

Sorry heyannie - I was on my phone earlier and just re-read your post. So it was his choice (otherwise your comment on controversy wouldn't make sense - obviously nothing an athlete can do if they are reclassified).

heyannie Sat 01-Sep-12 18:12:36

His book is a nice easy read and gives an interesting insight into disabled sport as well as why he chose to compete in able bodied events. I think essentially in the T43 he would have blown everyone else out of the water and it wasn't really much competition for him. I'm not sure who made the decision but I think it was a bit of a no-brainer between him, his people and the powers that be in organising the races.

I have a crush on him too blush

heyannie Sat 01-Sep-12 18:14:17

The book also has some nice pictures of hi handsomness. I have been to Stratford a lot in the last week and have been casually carrying it around in the hope I bump into him and can ask him to sign my copy. Alas, no such luck sad

YoullLaughAboutItOneDay Sat 01-Sep-12 20:39:41


heyannie Sat 01-Sep-12 20:42:47

He got a record! Come on lovely Oscar

mellen Sat 01-Sep-12 20:44:49

He is very attractive might need to buy that book blush

theliverpoolone Sat 01-Sep-12 21:53:30

I thought they said tonight that there werent enough double amputees to make a category, so thats why he has to compete with the single amputees?

heyannie Sat 01-Sep-12 22:17:09

You're right, theliverpoolone. There weren't enough and he was one of the few that was fast enough to qualify among T44s instead, but there has been a surge of strong T43s. I think that's what they said...

Kewcumber Sat 01-Sep-12 22:18:42

Channel 4 commentary said there were enough double amputees to make a race but competitors always have the option of going up a more difficult class.

Kewcumber Sat 01-Sep-12 22:19:16

Oops, been said!

peeriebear Sun 02-Sep-12 00:30:32

I have a 'slight' crush on him.
I want to lick him when he's all sweaty from running grin

YoullLaughAboutItOneDay Sun 02-Sep-12 21:02:11

Oscar mini-doc on now before the race. Swoooooon.

Is it wrong to appreciate an athlete for their good looks. No, surely not, look at all those men and Jessica Ennis.

heyannie Sun 02-Sep-12 21:04:00

It's not just appreciation for his good looks, it's his hard work, dedication, and obvious talent. and sexy accent.

YoullLaughAboutItOneDay Sun 02-Sep-12 21:07:52

Yes, all those things. But let's face it, if he was hard working, dedicated, talented and looked like the back end of a bus, I might admire him, but I probably wouldn't be coming over all unnecessary and I don't think Peeriebear would be threatening to lick his sweat grin

heyannie Sun 02-Sep-12 21:10:15

Indeed. He took his Olympic duvet. I wonder if he would share it with us.

bisjaralympics Sun 02-Sep-12 21:13:11

It's also his humility. He is 25, gorgeous, supremely talented, recognised throughout the world and yet very very conscious of the role model that he is to the younger generation. His comment in a previous interview about wanting people to look at disabled athletes and see their ability rather than their disability was incredibly thought provoking. We have just spent the last three days at Paralympic events and we ended up forgetting about the disabilities in the sportsmen and women we saw. Instead my overwhelming memory of the weekend is complete awe of how many talented people we were lucky enough to see at the peak of their abilities.

YoullLaughAboutItOneDay Sun 02-Sep-12 21:14:06

Horses. Pah. You are not a patch on Oscar, interesting as you are. Get a move on Stadium!

mellen Sun 02-Sep-12 21:14:40

I dont think it is ever wrong to admire outstanding natural beauty grin

And here are some nice pictures. The man can make a raincoat look good. Maybe not quite as hard as breaking the 200m WR, but still an achievement grin

bisjaralympics Sun 02-Sep-12 21:14:53

heyannie grin

I'd be happy to help him steal his Paralympic duvet!

heyannie Sun 02-Sep-12 21:18:19

Great post bisjaralympics. I'm going to the athletics on Thursday and can't wait! It's about what people can do than what they can't.

ceebeegeebies Sun 02-Sep-12 21:20:12

Mmm, Oscar is yummy grin I don't think there is anything wrong in appreciating his natural beauty - and he seems such a lovely guy aswell.

Don't want to watch swimming - whizzed through last night's X-Factor tonight so we were finished by 9.15 and he is not on yet!!

TheTermagantToaster Sun 02-Sep-12 21:20:31

He is delicious. Mmm.

YoullLaughAboutItOneDay Sun 02-Sep-12 21:21:36

Oh my goodness Mellon <bookmarks site>

heyannie Sun 02-Sep-12 21:21:59

Ha I am sure he'd appreciate the help with duvet theft. Maybe we could help him with other things too. I'd be there on Thursday, might take a towel just in case he needs a rub down after running. I am in the top row of the top tier but sure I could run down in time.

bisjaralympics Sun 02-Sep-12 21:27:45

You could suggest a spectator race - the 100m downhill sprint grin

YoullLaughAboutItOneDay Sun 02-Sep-12 21:42:26

Go Oscar.

Rather attractive line up overall isn't it?

heyannie Sun 02-Sep-12 21:43:42

Yes, no shortage of totty in the 200m blush

Oh silver sad

YoullLaughAboutItOneDay Sun 02-Sep-12 21:43:51


heyannie Sun 02-Sep-12 21:44:39

But well done Oliveira

YoullLaughAboutItOneDay Sun 02-Sep-12 21:45:33

Yes, well done Oliveira. Rising star.

OodHousekeeping Sun 02-Sep-12 21:46:10

Wow, what a race!

YoullLaughAboutItOneDay Sun 02-Sep-12 21:46:17

Oh no Oscar. Don't go down that route...

DottyDot Sun 02-Sep-12 21:47:22

Oh no! Such a shame - can understand as he's so gutted but it's a shame.

bisjaralympics Sun 02-Sep-12 21:47:47

Interesting comment about the blade length. Longer blades mean longer stride pattern. I thought Oliveira's blades seemed very upright/longer by comparision to the others in the race.

ceebeegeebies Sun 02-Sep-12 21:48:02

Can't believe he is saying that - now is not the time sad

Just when I thought the man was perfect wink

What did he say, I missed it?

DottyDot Sun 02-Sep-12 21:48:56

Shows he's passionate...wink

YoullLaughAboutItOneDay Sun 02-Sep-12 21:49:00

Basically that Oliveria had blades that were too long, gave him a stride pattern that was unfairly long and that there was no way of competing with that.

bisjaralympics Sun 02-Sep-12 21:49:06

He implied that Oliveira's blades are longer than they should legally be, giving him a longer stride pattern than he would have naturally.

mellen Sun 02-Sep-12 21:50:02

He must have been totally gutted. He'll probably be cringing when he thinks back to that interview.

YoullLaughAboutItOneDay Sun 02-Sep-12 21:50:22

I wasn't quite clear whether he was saying the rules were too weak, or that Oliveira's blades had actually been extended beyond the legal length. If it is the latter, surely they would test him like they do anti doping?

Oh dear- thanks.

MrsRobertDuvallHasRosacea Sun 02-Sep-12 21:51:24

Sour grapes methinks.

Apparently he could have the longer ones but was happy with his own.

Ah well....but well done to Oliveira.

OodHousekeeping Sun 02-Sep-12 21:51:43

I thought it was that rules should be tightened up as people are pushing the limits with blade length.

StillSquiffy Sun 02-Sep-12 21:54:55

I know it's all by the by now, but I was at the stadium yesterday and the official compere explained that the only reason he was in T44 was because there were not enough athletes in the world competing at the T43 level, so he is forced to compete with people with less severe disability.

msrisotto Sun 02-Sep-12 21:59:27

Cripes it wasn't very sportsmanly to criticise his competitor on TV straight after the race! I've no idea how right he is, the blades to look long under the knee but that was not the time or place.

Meglet Sun 02-Sep-12 21:59:57

They looked longer and skinnier than his.

SoupDragon Sun 02-Sep-12 22:00:43

I thought it was more about tightening the rules than an accusation of cheating.

YoullLaughAboutItOneDay Sun 02-Sep-12 22:01:34

To women. Go Steph!

msrisotto Sun 02-Sep-12 22:04:10

Apparently if Oscar had run the world record breaking time he's capable of then he would have won. Sour grapes.

heyannie Sun 02-Sep-12 22:23:27

He reminded me a bit of Victoria Pendleton in that interview. But I love her too :D

bisjaralympics Sun 02-Sep-12 23:06:22

They said on C4 that someone had watched the race and counted number of strides - OP 46, AO 49 so stride length can't be the answer.

peeriebear Mon 03-Sep-12 00:10:15

I think his argument was that though the longer blades do pass the regulations, they shouldn't as any runner can make themselves taller and hence give themselves a longer stride and an advantage. I assume that as he doesn't take advantage of this he considers it cheating- the outburst was very unlike him! I hope he gives a calmer interview tomorrow or he's going to look like a very sore loser, especially as his stride count was lower.
When is the medal ceremony? I have visions of a scrum for the gold podium (sure Pistorius is too much of a sportsman for that but all eyes will be on his conduct- will he shake hands etc!)

bisjaralympics Mon 03-Sep-12 00:14:01

But if AO took more strides than OP then stride length cannot be the issue. It must be that AO simply ran faster. If stride length was an issue then AO would have needed to take less or same strides as OP.

Medal ceremony was tonight but C4 didn't show it. Not at all impressed by the paucity of C4 coverage.

peeriebear Mon 03-Sep-12 00:32:31

That's why I hope he reviews the footage with his team and gives another interview with a clear head. His stride count was lower, therefore his argument about stride length doesn't stand.
You know there are three more channels showing back to back coverage, bar a few intervals? We had 555 on all evening until I realised I actually wanted to see this race on Ch4 so I'd get the studio commentary too.

mellen Mon 03-Sep-12 06:38:25

He made a comment on twitter last night:
Congratulating Alan of Brazil for his 200m win.. The fastest last 80m I have ever seen to take it on the line. pic! pic.twitter.com/duS98A3K
So it sounds like he might have reconsidered a bit.

LeeCoakley Mon 03-Sep-12 11:30:23

I was there last night! Magical! David Weir - you rock!

I think Pistorius will reconsider his outburst. He can't have it all ways. He competes in the able-bodied Olympics stressing that blades don't give him an advantage so can't really accuse Olivera of the same thing.

titchy Mon 03-Sep-12 11:40:20

Squiffy - he has to compete with people with a more severe disability not less! T43 (Oscar) is a more severely disabled category than T44 which he runs in. (Although surely double amputees have an advantage as they're more balanced than athletes with one leg and one blade?)

Kewcumber Mon 03-Sep-12 11:47:13

"Although surely double amputees have an advantage as they're more balanced than athletes with one leg and one blade?" - thats debateable and double amputees get a slower start than single and find dealing with the bends harder therefore tend to do better at the longer distances.

(armchair expert here)

floatingquoter Mon 03-Sep-12 12:01:02

I have sympathy to the extent that it seems almost impossible to work out FAIR gradings for disabled. (Some think Oscars grade is wrong)

manicinsomniac Mon 03-Sep-12 12:36:45

It must be so hard to work out what's fair when you're dealing with adjustments to the narutal human body.

I have a (pretty knowledgeable) friend who says it's unfair that Pistorius was allowed to compete in the regular olympics because his blades were more advantageous than legs (can't cramp, faster etc). My argument was that, if it was such an advantage, why didn't he win? But then there's natural human variation to consider as well.

But yeah, he shouldn't complain about a perceived advantage in blade length if if is true that he has an advantage by having the blades at all.

CaroleService Mon 03-Sep-12 13:00:02


He has more or less apologised today though.

PercyFilth Mon 03-Sep-12 13:02:59

It's not "sour grapes". Sour grapes is when you don't get something, and then pretend that you didn't want it anyway.

He's just a bad loser.

EmmananaOrangeandGold Mon 03-Sep-12 13:45:04

I thought Pistorious was allowed to compete in able-bodied games because he argued that his blades didn't give an advantage?  If so, I can't see how he can protest about Oliveira's legs that look the same total length but a lighter design.  If he'd run as fast in the final as he had in the semi, he would have won easily.

What a poor loser. Time will tell if his name will become synonymous as the first guy to enter boh the Olympics and Paralympics, or as the petulant bad loser who took the shine off the winners moment of glory.

Nancy66 Mon 03-Sep-12 13:46:23

yeah, i agree. Shame he wasn't more gracious.

I expect he'll win in the 400 and it will all be forgotten

ceebeegeebies Mon 03-Sep-12 14:00:02

I agree - it seems such a shame that he appears to have undone all the good work he has put in over the last few years to become such a positive role-model sad

Am sure he is sorry now but no apology can take back what he did last night.

I really hope that he does still get remembered for the positive stuff he has done smile

And, on a much more trivial note, did anyone see the medal ceremony? Mmmm, Oscar in spectacles (I have a bit of a thing for hot men in glasses grin)

LulaTheOneAndOnlyMrsPistorius Mon 03-Sep-12 14:17:04


ceebeegeebies Mon 03-Sep-12 14:25:51

Are you willing to share? wink

foofooyeah Mon 03-Sep-12 15:36:43

You lot just had me googling pics of him ... and yes, he was looking hot in the specs grin

Oscar Pistorius Showed his true colors by whinging when he did not win, poor sportsmanship if ever I saw it and I hope he is remembered this way. I hate a sore looser and this was what happened. I didn't win so I will throw my toys out of the pram, poor me, look at me I didn't win but I still want it to be all about me me me.

I hope he is beaten many more times so that he comes to learn that to be a true sportsman you have to be humble when ahead and dignified in defeat. (I am stepping off my soapbox now)

ArielThePiraticalMermaid Mon 03-Sep-12 15:55:30

Thank you for that yummy hmm.

I think one thing Oscar has learned over the years is how to be a sportsman. I think what he may be driving at is that the manner of the Brazilian guy's victory may suggest that he has an advantage with the blades he has.

However he is opening up rather a can of worms there. Unless you can get to the stage where every single athlete there is using the same type of chair or the same blades, then there will always be debate about victories. However if you go down that road, then maybe ALL the cyclists should be using the same bikes. And ALL the rowers the same boats and all the F1 teams the same cars. Where does it end?

Pinot Mon 03-Sep-12 16:02:07

He's allowed to make a mistake, I hope everyone forgives him.

He is human, and fallable, just like you or I. Being a sportsman doesn't make you a machine, immune to emotions and actually if he uses this opportunity to right his wrong, that will (IMO) be a great example to kids that everyone gets it wrong sometimes but what matters is how you deal with it afterwards.

Of course he is human but to me there is a time and a place and if he had won or there had been a photo finish would he have complained I think not. All the blades were checked and legal for the race so that was an invalid comment about blade length.

Being a sportsman should mean that the best man won which in this race was another competitor (all equipment was checked, so the race was fair) he should have conceded defeat with dignity and accepted the decision as final. By doing what he did is saying to children that it is the winning that matters more than the taking part.

Beanbagz Mon 03-Sep-12 16:12:50

Just out of interest - is he running the 400m too? Just realised it's one of the events i'll see on Saturday night!

Pinot Mon 03-Sep-12 16:19:54

He is, Beanbagz, yep

mollymole Mon 03-Sep-12 16:26:26

What Pistoruis said, in the heat of the moment, was not at the right time. However, the Brazilian guy was not the only one who had blades that looked disproportionate to his body size, and I say this as some one has has worked in both first and final call at international disability athletics meets. I would have expected this to have been queried by the track referee/tech guys before any one got as far as the track and would have to assume that this was done.
Perhaps a statement is due from whoever checked the blades

SoupDragon Mon 03-Sep-12 16:31:03

I think they did make a statement to the effect that they were within legal limits.

Myliferocks Mon 03-Sep-12 16:37:05

Sorry if this has been said already but Oscar Pistorius can have longer blades if he wants for the paralympicsas the calculations that are used means he can but he chooses not to because then he wouldn't have been able to compete at the olympic as the iaaf have said he can't compete with the longer blades.

LeeCoakley Mon 03-Sep-12 16:46:05

They were debating the length of the blades on the TV a little while ago and made the comment that his blades have to be suited to where his own legs stop. Also watching the replay and don't understand Oscar's comment that Olivera's stride was increased because it looks like Olivera takes a lot of smaller strides compared to Oscar. (Maybe I have the wrong end of the stick)

Quodlibet Mon 03-Sep-12 16:50:36

Isn't there also an issue with blade length if double amputees are competing against people who are on one blade? The people on single blades obviously have to match their blade length to their existing leg so can't choose whether they would like longer or shorter ones. It seems strange therefore that the T43s have a degree of choice in the matter from what I understand...

LeeCoakley Mon 03-Sep-12 16:55:23

Yes, won't double blades always outrun singles? The races that I saw that was always the case anyway.

LadyBeagleEyes Mon 03-Sep-12 17:18:32

Yummymummy, it's sore loser, not looser.
Sorry for being a pedant, but that spelling mistake really annoys me.

SoupDragon Mon 03-Sep-12 18:06:29

Don't you think that the experts on Paralympic events have thought through the way they categorise runners and whether it is as fair as possible?

amothersplaceisinthewrong Mon 03-Sep-12 18:08:18

I think personally that it is impossible to get a level playing field at the Paralympics. that's why I don't like them.

SoupDragon Mon 03-Sep-12 18:12:32

I think it is as level as it can be.

Having just seen a reply of the end of the race, the winners legs are moving faster, his strides aren't longer.

SoupDragon Mon 03-Sep-12 18:14:21

Nothing is a level playing field when you take into account the quality of equipment, support and training facilities.

cardibach Mon 03-Sep-12 18:16:51

He did say at the time that he didn;t want to take away from the winner's performance and that he waqs a great athlete, so not so very sore. And actually, he made a complaint about the blades after the heats, when he broke the world record, so it wasn;t about that as far as I can see. It was an unfortunate time to speak, though.

RuleBritannia Mon 03-Sep-12 19:20:30

LadyBeagleEyes I'll back you there. I don't like 'loose' when it should read 'lose' either. (Or losing and loosing)

Gilberte Mon 03-Sep-12 20:20:00

IMO he was just completely devastated by his loss and shocked by the nature of his defeat (being beaten on the line having led comfortably over the last 100 metres).

Yes he shouldn't have said what he did when he did but a journalist had just stuck a microphone in his face before he'd had time to process his emotions. Then pushed him a bit when she knew he'd implied something about his opponents.

I'm sure we've all had moments when we've said the wrong thing in the heat of the moment and regretted it afterwards- we don't have to do it on camera though.

TiggyD Mon 03-Sep-12 20:28:02

Bad loser. He didn't run his best. He should have picked the right legs for the event. The Brazilian did nothing wrong and could have chosen legs an inch longer if he had wanted. Stride length my arse. The Brazilian took more strides.

iismum Mon 03-Sep-12 20:33:16

I think Pistorius is in the right about this. As far as I understand it, the IOC worked out very carefully how long the blades should be so that they would give him the same height he would have had if he had legs (based on the length of the tibia, I think). The IPC (paralympics) have looser rules which allow longer blades, giving you a height greater than you would naturally have. So arguments based on him trying to have it both ways, by claiming blades give an unfair advantage but then wanting to compete on an equal footing in the able-bodies olympics are not valid - blades do not give an advantage if they give you your natural height, but they do if they give you a greater height (and hence stride length) than you would normally have.

He could also use longer blades in the paralympics, but this would leave him unable to compete in the olympics - something which the IPC should surely be encouraging. So this is unfair and should be tightened up.

Obviously, he chose a terrible time to bring it up - though I think it is a bit unfair to insist on interviewing people right after a devastating loss. It's also not clear what difference it would have made in this particular race, given the stride length observed and so on. But in principle I think he is right that the policy should be the same between the two games, and that blade length should not increase natural height.

iismum Mon 03-Sep-12 20:35:47

By the way, it was pretty rough on the Brazilian guy, and the BBC interview was terrible - right into 'so what do you think about these accusations' without even bothering to congratulate him on winning. The Brazilian guy did do nothing wrong, and Pistorius wasn't claiming that he did - just that the regulations should have been tighter. But obviously it really took the shine off his victory.

NigellasGuest Mon 03-Sep-12 20:36:32

How do you know YummyMummy is not dyslexic? I hate to say it but I used to look down on people who spelt certain words wrong, until it turned out my DD was dyslexic and then I became a little less quick to judge. Just saying.

ceebeegeebies Mon 03-Sep-12 20:38:49

Great post iismum smile

I guess he could have different legs for each games but that would make his training impossible so he has had to choose.

It was also interesting that when the medallists were stood at the back of the podium waiting to collect their medals with what are presumably their everyday legs on, Oscar was noticeably taller than the Brazilian (although, it was distracting watching Oscar and his glasses...definintely a touch of Clark Kent about it <swoon>)

Thank you NigellasGuest I do indeed have dyslexia and I do on occasions mis-spell certain words as a result. Thank you again.

mcmooncup Mon 03-Sep-12 22:33:30

If you look at this video from last year you can see that Alan Oliviera was at least 3-4 inches shorter than OP. Then if you look to a replay of the race from last night........well AO is taller than Oscar. hmm


YoullLaughAboutItOneDay Mon 03-Sep-12 22:48:41

This Guardian article is interesting. Oscar could legally be 9cm taller by IPC rules, but chooses to use shorter blades to be legal for IOC competition. I'm impressed by that.

Also very noticeable at the medal ceremony that Oliviera was noticeably shorter than Oscar on his 'day' legs.

I suspect that, as paralympic athletics evolves, the rules there will get tighter.

mcmooncup Mon 03-Sep-12 22:52:45

Yes, that's why I don't think it is sour grapes/bad loser. As I see it, OP was not criticising the athlete, he was criticising the rules that allow the blades to give you an advantage......when he has fought pretty hard to prove that blades don't give you an advantage. He had complained about to the IPC already, it wasn't something he had just come up with when he lost. I wonder why the race was so delayed last night......whether this was actually being discussed beforehand?

TheFallenMadonna Mon 03-Sep-12 23:09:39

This is why I'm sad about his ill judged words.

It's all about him still, and not Alan Oliveira.

mcmooncup Mon 03-Sep-12 23:30:14

I can see that it could look like it's all about him, but I remain hopeful that it was about fairness. Please don't just be another letdown

He knows due to the testing he had to have for able bodied competition that there is a point where blades do/can give an advantage. And the IPC rules allow this to continue..........which seems a bit ludicrous. It is clear that Alan O has grown..........should they really be allowing this?

wannaBe Tue 04-Sep-12 00:04:27

I don't think OP should be allowed to compete in the paralympics if he is allowed to compete in the Olympics. My reasoning is this:

The ethos around the paralympics is that athletes who are talented but who, by virtue of their disability, have a disadvantage over able-bodied athletes, be given a platform on which they can compete on as level a playing field as possible.

Oscar Pistorius has faught for, and gained the right to compete against able-bodied athletes, and he is therefore considered to be at less of a disadvantage than his counterparts.

IMO if you are able enough to compete with the able-bodied athletes, then you clearly have a greater advantage over the less able-bodied athletes, and to claim that you are competing with them on equal footing seems unfair to me.

The comparison I made earlier when talking about this was with goalball, where all the team members are blindfold so are all at the same disadvantage, even though some of them will have residual vision iyswim. It would be unfair to have some team members with vision and some without, and thus they all have to be without.

The team assistant for the SA athletics team (Neels Matthyser) is a friend of mine (we were at school together), it'll be interesting to see what his take is...

SoupDragon Tue 04-Sep-12 06:56:26

IMO if you are able enough to compete with the able-bodied athletes, then you clearly have a greater advantage over the less able-bodied athletes, and to claim that you are competing with them on equal footing seems unfair to me.

Except he was beaten by another paralympic athelete.

Less newsworthy seems to be the fact that the Polish table tennis gold medalist played in the Olympics too.

SoupDragon Tue 04-Sep-12 06:58:19

I think "disqualifying" a disabled athlete because they are "too good" is wrong though. Do you disqualify the gold medalist every time because they are clearly better than the rest?

Pistorious clearly qualifies for the category he is running in. Should he not be allowed to compete because he is too good?

Is the Paralympics only about mediocrity?

mellen Tue 04-Sep-12 07:17:29

"Oscar Pistorius has faught for, and gained the right to compete against able-bodied athletes, and he is therefore considered to be at less of a disadvantage than his counterparts. "

I dont think that is logical. I understood that he was allowed to compete with able bodied athletes because he wanted to and because he wasnt felt to be advantaged by his blades, rather than because he was considered to be at less of a disadvantage than his counterparts, who I expect would also be able to compete with able bodied athletes of they met the requirements re blade length.

wannaBe Tue 04-Sep-12 08:09:13

it's a very grey area IMO.

ultimately, the paralympics came about in order that athletes with disabilities be able to compete on as equal a playing field as possible, given that as a rule, having a disability does put you at a disadvantage when competing in sporting events.

Oscar Pistorius felt that his disability didn't put him at a disadvantage in comparison to his able-bodied counterparts, and as such opted to compete in the olympics. If he is good enough to compete in the olympics, then surely it can't be argued that his disability puts him at a disadvantage over other athletes, and negates the reasons for being in the paralympics, i.e. that his disability means he can't compete on an equal footing with able-bodied athletes.

Now, there are equally people who argue this shouldn't be allowed, as, given he has blades, he essentially does have an advantage over able-bodied athletes in that his blades can always be adapted/tweeked to make them better, yes in conjunction with guidelines but still, a runner has a pair of legs, he can train to improve his technique, but none of the other athletes can have their legs made lighter/more streamlined/longer in the same way that Oscar Pistorius could do with his blades.

so there is opinion on both sides but IMO he should compete in one or the other - not both.

mellen Tue 04-Sep-12 08:33:08

"Oscar Pistorius felt that his disability didn't put him at a disadvantage in comparison to his able-bodied counterparts, and as such opted to compete in the olympics."

Is that the case? I had assumed that he competed in the olympics because despite his disability he thought that he could compete, not that he was saying that it didn't make a difference.

wannaBe Tue 04-Sep-12 09:03:44

it amounts to the same thing.

If he feels he can compete equally with able-bodied athletes then obviously he doesn't see his disability as disadvantagious to his ability to compete, iyswim otherwise he wouldn't be seeking to compete against able-bodied athletes would he?

Kewcumber Tue 04-Sep-12 09:18:59

"he doesn't see his disability as disadvantagious to his ability to compete" maybe he does - who knows how good he could have been with two legs? I thought in order to compete in the Olympics his blades were assessed and deemed not to give him an advantage (hence being allowed to compete at all) in fact he cannot accelerate away from the blocks as fast as athletes with either one or two legs.

If any athlete with a disability is so good that they have reached teh standard of athletes with no disability it would be a travesty not to allow them to compete against whomever they choose. No-one says to Usain Bolt - I'm sorry you've got too good so you can't compete any more.

Pistorious isnt the only paralympian who competes/has competed in the Olympics , I haven't heard any arguments about the others (though perhaps their events are not as sexy as track).

SoupDragon Tue 04-Sep-12 09:28:17

"ultimately, the paralympics came about in order that athletes with disabilities be able to compete on as equal a playing field as possible"

I disagree. They came about in order that athletes with disabilities can compete.

SoupDragon Tue 04-Sep-12 09:30:12

Where does it state that a Paralympic athlete must feel disadvantaged because of their disability?

NigellasGuest Tue 04-Sep-12 09:30:30

yummymummy no problem - perhaps people will start to think twice before they post about the spelling/grammar of others.

this thread is - let's face it - about disability and tolerance is it not?

Gilberte Tue 04-Sep-12 09:46:15

There is something tactical about racing against people all season at one height and then whipping out your trump card 3 weeks before the paralympic final and taking your opponents by surprise.

Having said that it is perfectly legal and similar to something the British cyclists do.

Apparently after Bejing they put away their carbon fibre/ titanium or whatever they are bikes and practice and race in between on less technically sophisticated models. This trains the cyclists to work harder and then when are they are just peaking they start using their competition bikes again which gives them an advantage when it matters (akin the Roger Federer using a wooden raquet all season then whipping out his championship raquet at a grand slam).

Kewcumber Tue 04-Sep-12 09:48:30
OrangeandGoldMrsDeVere Tue 04-Sep-12 10:01:06

Did you hear the interview on R4 re OP's remark about the winner having an unfair advantage due to stride length.

Except OP completed in 92 and AO in 98

So OP still has a longer stride

wannaBe Tue 04-Sep-12 10:10:42

"No-one says to Usain Bolt - I'm sorry you've got too good so you can't compete any more." That's not comparrible though, is it? Because if it is then Usain Bolt should be allowed to compete in the paralympics, and he's not. why not?

It's not about paralympic athletes having to feel disadvantaged - it's about the fact that as a rule, their disabilities mean that it's not possible to compete on the same level as non disabled athletes. A runner with VI needs a guide for instance; amputees cannot maintain a similar running speed; field athletics has to be adapted according to the disability and as such techniques and thus distances are not comparrible.

If a VI athlete can maintain a similar running time without a guide there's no reason they shouldn't compete in the olympics and the rules shouldn't preclude them from doing so. But then it's not beyond reason to question why they should be able to compete against other athletes in the paralympics, all of whom have to run with guides and thus are unlikely to meet similar times.

Equally Oscar pistorious has the skill (or the technology, that is IMO unknown) to compete against able-bodied athletes. he has been recategorised into a higher category in the paralympics precisely because there is no competition in his actual category. so yes, that is akin to saying "you're too good, you can't compete in that category any more,"

I think TBH his attitude doesn't help. He competed in the olympics and didn't win - fair enough. But there is then the risk that someone like him who feels he can compete against able-bodied athletes should automatically win once competing against disabled ones, because he is better than them, as he is able to compete where most don't even dare to dream. And then when he didn't win he had a temper tantrum and showed himself up as a bad loser and started to blame the very technology that put him up there with the olympians in the first place.

You can't have it both ways.

peeriebear Tue 04-Sep-12 10:14:40

Yes that was raised on The Last Leg that night MrsDV.
I can see his frustration; he raised the point weeks before about the longer blades, and then was beaten by a runner on the longer blades exactly as he'd feared. The way they point a mike in their faces before they can get their breath back and ask "So how do you feel?" I'm not surprised he said what he did. He's apologised, bent down and hugged the winner on the podium and will have talks with the IPC in private.
Anyway if you've all gone off him I can have him come and live in my shed according to my plans. smile

peeriebear Tue 04-Sep-12 10:19:03

Surely if he was moved up because he was too good to compete against other T44s, he'd be the only T44 in the T43 race? But there were roughly equal numbers of each in the race.

LadyBeagleEyes Tue 04-Sep-12 10:19:48

Very sneaky peerie grin
But I still love him so you still have competition.

SoupDragon Tue 04-Sep-12 10:50:44

Not all visually impaired athletes run with a guide in the Paralympics.

Usain Bold cannot run in the Paralympics because it is specifically for disabled athletes - what a really daft thing to say. The Olympics, however, does not specify able bodied athletes only.

The Paralympics are for disabled athletes full stop. Why should some be excluded for being too good?

But there is then the risk that someone like him who feels he can compete against able-bodied athletes should automatically win once competing against disabled ones, because he is better than them, as he is able to compete where most don't even dare to dream.

He will win if he is better than the competition. That is what competition is all about. confused

TheSmallClanger Tue 04-Sep-12 12:19:56

I think that the T44 category has become more competitive in recent years. When Oscar P first appeared, an American T43 sprinter (can't remember his name) tried to get him removed from T43, as he argued that a double amputee has better balance than a single one.

I was half-expecting a slew of stories from "anonymous athletes" trashing Oscar - "his self-effacing-sweetie act is a millimetre deep, he's really an evil wicked bully who wendys the other athletes, and steals all the best yoghurts at breakfast, leaving everyone with the manky banana ones" - but there have been none. I'm not sure what that means.

SoupDragon Tue 04-Sep-12 12:28:04

I think it means he likes banana yoghurt.

peeriebear Tue 04-Sep-12 12:32:32

Banana yogurt is my favourite. It is hard to find. It's a sign. Or something.

TheSmallClanger Tue 04-Sep-12 12:34:50

If that is true, I've really gone off him. grin

SoupDragon Tue 04-Sep-12 12:36:09

On another note, apparently he stole his Olympic duvet and took it home with him.

TheSmallClanger Tue 04-Sep-12 12:39:43

Everyone nicked the duvets. I think it was allowed.

peeriebear Tue 04-Sep-12 12:41:53

How does one 'wendy' someone? Very curious!

Nancy66 Tue 04-Sep-12 12:43:48

Even those who strongly disagree with his comments have said how out of character it is for him and what a brilliant sportsman he has always been.

I think he was stunned to have lost and said what he did in the heat of the moment. It's a shame but I hope people remember that nobody has done more to not only raise the profile of disabled sport but to make it cool.

My 7 year old son and all his mates are all desperate for bladerunner legs!

I would be very sad if this comment overshadowed all he's achieved.

TheSmallClanger Tue 04-Sep-12 12:51:01
RuleBritannia Tue 04-Sep-12 12:59:56


It is possible to have those blade things attached to your feet or lower legs. I don't know how it works but I've seen a few in the streets round here. I know that the walkers (jumpers) are not amputees because they are far too tall (6-7 feet in the blades).

And were some not dancing around during the torch relays?

peeriebear Tue 04-Sep-12 13:27:29

They are Powerisers or pogo stilts Rule, they are like having individual pogo sticks on your feet and not quite the same though they do look great fun (DH wants some) smile

SoupDragon Tue 04-Sep-12 14:17:09

There were some entertainers with those on when they interviewed the Irish team before they went in during the opening ceremony smile

Another one with boys who want some!

SoupDragon Tue 04-Sep-12 14:18:06
floatingquoter Tue 04-Sep-12 16:02:21

Oscar has raised a real question. I dont think there is an answer

RuleBritannia Tue 04-Sep-12 17:08:59

SoupDragon I'm not sure that that's what I saw but, at that price, it's a Christmas present I will not be buying.

SoupDragon Tue 04-Sep-12 17:13:40

It would be the only present grin apart from a season ticket to park at A&E

ceebeegeebies Tue 04-Sep-12 18:03:44

Oh no it would take more than this to put me off him wink

NurseRatched Tue 04-Sep-12 19:07:18

Ben Rushgrove: Oscar Pistorius shouldn't have run in the Olympics - blades are an advantage. > Ben Rushgrove is a sprinter who has cerebral palsy and competes in T36 classification disability events. He is competing in the 100m and 200m in London

peeriebear Wed 05-Sep-12 11:03:09

But if blades are an advantage he would have won or at least been placed, surely? He's at the peak of his fitness and works bloody hard. They have disadvantages against legs and advantages. I guess the IOC decided that the two balanced out.

SoupDragon Wed 05-Sep-12 11:06:55

I think it is virtually impossible to prove or disprove whether there is an advantage or disadvantage as there is no way of knowing what an athlete would be like with the alternative.

Part of me thinks that if they were such an advantage, running shoes for able bodied athletes would incorporate the technology/design somehow. No idea if this is possible of course smile

msrisotto Wed 05-Sep-12 12:31:38

Hmm, they might not get ankle injuries but they get blisters and bruises from where the prosthetic joins flesh so the bit about them being able to train for longer doesn't hold water.

Nancy66 Wed 05-Sep-12 12:44:19

I also read that (in comparison to an able bodied runner) it is virtually impossible for a blade runner to get a good sprint start from the blocks - which puts Pisotrorius at a distinct disadvantage

peeriebear Wed 05-Sep-12 13:00:17

The blades give them slow starts, are shite in wet conditions and are not good on the bends. However they actually get faster as the race goes on because of the returning tension in the springs, compared to the tiring leg muscles of the 'normal' runner. No build up of lactic acid in the lower legs.

onlymeee Fri 22-Feb-13 01:41:16

Really interesting to look back on these comments now.

pvalemont47 Tue 09-Jul-13 11:53:00

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now