Saturday, July 14, 2007

Pistorius racing toward Olympics

This video recaps the story of Oscar Pistorius, a double amputee who is racing to qualify for the Olympics. He discusses the controversy he faces and the situation with officials from the IAAF, who taped him last night in a 400 meter race in Rome at the Golden Leagues where he came in second to determine whether his prosthetic legs give him an advantage over able bodied runners.

According to the BBC:

"He hopes to qualify for the World Athletics Championships next month and run in the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.
He came from last place on the final bend to overtake the field and finish in 46.90 seconds, 0.18 seconds behind the winner Stefano Braciola.
Pistorius needs a time of 45.95 to qualify for the World Athletics Championships in Osaka, Japan, in August.
He will get another chance on Sunday in Sheffield against a field that includes Olympic champion Jeremy Wariner and several other leading runners." Via BBC

Update on July 16, 2007

"The double amputee sprinter competed in the 400m in Sunday's Norwich Union British Grand Prix in Sheffield.

But he trailed in last behind American Angelo Taylor and was disqualified for running out of his lane." Via BBC

Controversy exists in the Paralympic community as well about the effects of the best runners choosing to compete in able bodied events. Polls show that as many as 87% of the public feel that his "blades" give him an advantage. (See The Science of Sport blog, e.g.) However, unless Pistorius reaches a qualifying time, the controversy may die out - until the next time this comes up.

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