Should this double-amputee be permitted to compete with "normal, natural-two-legged" sprinters?

Here is one link. I’m sure there are more. Indeed.

In brief, Oscar Pistorius has been a double-amputee since shortly after birth. He uses specially designed prostheses (according to Wikpedia, they are Cheetah Flex-Foot carbon fibre transtibial artificial limbs) to walk and run.

Some have argued that his prostheses give Pistorius an unfair advantage over “normal runners” due to the device’s ostensible spring-like properties. The reader comments from the first link provide lots of examples of such criticisms. In response, Pistorius notes that if the prostheses truly did give an advantage, then why had no one before him even approached world-class sprinting times while using them, i.e. it is Pistorius’s athleticism and skill that makes him run so well, not his artificial limbs.

Me? I think that any theoretical advantage they might provide would seem to pale in comparison to the disadvantage they’d cause with respect to things like balance, muscle synchrony, etc. And, the normal human foot and ankle (at least in younger people) also have spring-like properties (similar to a pitcher’s elbow).

I’m all ears. Thanks!

ETA: Damn! In the title I meant to add “at the Olympics”. Maybe a mod could fix that, please?

Regardless of whether he, specifically, has an advantage or not, he is not competing on the same “level ground” as it were, with other competitors. Allowing him introduces questions of unknown complexity, with unknown ramifications, with an unknown end point. The wise and reasonable course of action is to disallow him from formal competition, because we cannot, and never will, be able to measure his ability fairly.

This article touches on both sides. Does it well, too.

He should not be able to compete. NO way. It’s comparing apples and oranges. Right now, let’s say that the science of prosthetics makes things about equal. What’s to say the next generation gives a 20% improvement. Thing about the triple long jump, imagine a prothesis designed specifically for the event that is basically a simplified spring. “Wow the record was just beat by 43.2 feet!”

If the Paralympics didn’t exist, I’d be all for it. Since the Paralympics do exist, he should be competing against like competition.

He did, all the other competitors complained because he trounced every other person thoroughly and shattered the world record. I’m not sure if he literally got kicked out of it, but the article runner pat linked seemed to imply that he wasn’t allowed in it anymore.

Yes, he absolutely should be allowed to enter. He is an incredibly good athlete and his only competition are the top runners in the world.

Are you nuts? He’s got an advantage over the other runners. They don’t get to use technology to compensate for their weaknesses.

I hate to say it, because he is a great athlete and a brave guy. But he’s not running the same race as his competitors. It doesn’t really matter “how much” advantage is involved, against how much disadvantage. People without feet can’t run foot races.

What is this I don’t even

That has to be the most idiotic argument I’ve ever heard. And I’ve heard plenty. Are the other guys running barefoot and naked? No. They train with the best technology available and they get high tech medical care.

Ok smart guy, why aren’t they allowed to use performance enhancing drugs then? What’s the difference. If you want to start allowing the use of mechanical devices, then every runner should get to use them. What chance does he have against runners with their entire legs intacts who use the same devices he does?

Well maybe they should be allowed to do that. He may not get the gold medal then, but at least he could compete.

That might be a valid response to a different question, but it’s not the current situation. In the event as it is, he is being given an advantage the other competitors don’t have. Yes, he has a disadvantage the other runners don’t have, but this solution is not equalizing all things.

Well, what if the other competitors don’t object? Put an asterisk next to his name if he wins.

I don’t object to that in principle. But it can’t be used as a precedent. I think it unlikely you’d get unanimous consent now, and if he does win, some who didn’t protest before will change their minds and create a controversy which overshadows his victory. And I guarantee someone will object in the next event that he gets to run in.

I don’t care. I think the sport and the world are better off with him running in the Olympics.

Yeah, there’s a well reasoned argument. :rolleyes:

I agree with TriPolar on this

Which one?