ok, so i spent 7 minutes trying to look around SB nation for a place to have this dicussion, and i couldn't find a "behind the O-rings" blog... anyway, i figure i'd rather have this discussion with the intelligent readers of BtSC rather than open up to browns fans, lakers fans, and (gasp!!) soccer fans! haha! jk.
oscar pistorius is an amazing human being. due to a congenital disorder, before he was a year old, both his legs were amputed below the knees. but to call oscar disabled is to be so ignorant of his life. i want oscar to run this summer under the global lights of the Olympics because i want my daughter to see that because you might look different, you can still achieve the highest goals you can dream.
but i'm here to talk about an article that came out in the telegraph that interviewed michael johnson who said that:
my position is that because we don’t know for sure whether he gets an advantage from the prosthetics that he wears it is unfair to the able-bodied competitors.
it's unfair to just give this one quote, so go and read the article (it's short). michael and oscar are friends and johnson has a ton of respect for oscar.
and like michael johnson says, let's not make this discussion about oscar, but about this idea of using prosthetics.
fundamentally, what's society's beef with PED's in general? it comes down to the fact that some athletes are willing to take a health risk in order to gain an advantage, and we don't want to put athletes in that decision mode. isn't that the essential problem?
many/most PED's have long term health risks. many of the effects of banned PED's can cause palpitations, liver damage, testical shrinkage (which is the only risk i need to know), strokes, and the list goes on and on.
so as a society, and a governing body, we don't want to put athletes into a position where they think they need to take these to be better - we want to tell everyone that it's not worth the risk.
ok, so now let's take michael johnson's thought and fast forward 30 years. MD-PHd's in the mayo clinic have studied human kinesiology and have come up with a pair of prosthetics that truly are more effiecient than a human at running. really, this is not that far fetched - in 2010 swimming outlawed those full body swim suits because they made the swimmers too fast. however, unlike swim suits, the prosthetics obviously require your to have a missing limb.
related to why we currently ban PED's - a college kid from texas is a national champion, but he's PR is still 2 second off the WR and he's not even the fastest in his own country. he has a decision to make - amputate his legs and be a world champion, or go with his best effort and finish 4th in the world.
does that seem stupid? well think of how much more money and endorsements he would get, not just for being a world champion but being without two legs? all just by staging a car accident that crushes his front two legs...
i think oscar is the true champion of this summer olympics, even if he doesn't get past his first heat. but what are the effects of prosthetics - and should they be considered PED's? has sport become so vast in the riches of the monetary rewards that we now will be drowned by litigation instead of basking in the glory of human effort?