I am amazed at what a human body can do and I admire those who push their bodies to the limits of endurance. Through continual conditioning, the way these athletes excel in their chosen field is beautiful to watch. World records are set because these people keep pushing the boundaries of what is known to be the extent of human endurance.
I do not consider them ‘heroes’ for their ability to do so. But, I do think they are put into a limelight that they will struggle to stay in and almost always that light will become tarnished when their humanity is finally seen.
Oscar Pistorius is a hero though and because of him, I was watching the Olympics avidly. I got angry in the process of researching “the Blade Runner,” and reading various cruel comments about a man that in my eyes was the epitome of what an Olympic athlete is suppose to be. I do not know Pistorius, though I’d like to shake his hand.
Why do I consider a man who runs to be a hero? When I just said that to me athletes shouldn’t be considered heroes? Because he is fighting for a cause.
Oscar Pistorius of South Africa has a passion. That passion is to run. That passion to run has also placed him in a very bright light, where numerous committees are debating his continual right to run in the very public arena of the Olympics.
What is the big deal? The guy wants to run!
It’s because he has no lower legs. He has prosthetic lower legs that attach to his knees. The Flex-Foot Cheetah Blades are what allows him to run the way he wants.
The Olympic committee (IAAF) has hemmed and hawed over allowing Pistorius to run, as well as even attempting to place in the possibility of running in the Olympics. Pistorius has ran in numerous races, has ran in the Paralympics (the disabled athletes equivalent to the Olympics) numerous times where he has proven that he can run the distances in the times required to place in the Olympics. But, still. IAAF through various tests decreed that Pistorius had an ‘unfair advantage (in regards to the technology of the Cheetah Blades)’ against able-bodied athletes and was banned from further able-body competitions in 2007.
Pistorius fought that ruling as biased and unfair, which he eventually won in May of 2008, where the Court of Arbitration for Sport ruled in his favor, saying that the technology did not offer any advantage against able-bodied runners.
Numerous reasons were sited in regards of not allowing Pistorius to run.
“He is a liability to other runners if he falls”–Invalid: All runners are a liability to other athletes if they fall in the midst of a race!
“He’ll never place, so what’s the use?” — Invalid: He did place, and has continually improved his race times.
But, one of the kickers that got me was from an official who was quoted in a commentary as saying, “If we allow him to race, we’ll have to revisit what makes a true athlete.”—WHAT?! I was under the impression that the Olympics was all about people excelling despite restraints. About people pushing past the known limits of the human body? About going beyond the pain? This IS what Oscar Pistorius is doing!
To me, this Olympic season was about watching my Disability and Theology paper play out in a public arena. The complaints that some people have about allowing the ‘disabled’ to have an active role within the church are similar to what various committees are afraid about in regards to allowing Pistorius the right to chase his dreams.
It amazes me the lengths that people will go to put someone else down. The cruelty that humans can embody baffles me. In a nation that believes in “Equality for All” are some of the most prejudiced people who have no filter. They spew hatred for the sake of hatred.
Sorrow for what Pistorius continually has to fight against just for the sake of running, is thick when I read various commentaries on his right to run.
This man didn’t set out to change rulings. He just set out to run. Oscar Pistorius is hero for the fact that despite numerous adversities he hasn’t backed down. He is creating change for those who follow. He is opening doors that have previously been closed to some amazing athletes. Those who have continually received scores in the Paralympics that are equal to those of the Olympics might finally get the chance to show their passion in a bigger arena.
And just for a ironic twist: this 2012 Summer Olympics when Oscar Pistorius finally got to run? The worries that the IAAF cited didn’t come into fruition because of Pistorius- but because of the able-bodied runners. In the 4x400m Relay, Kenya smacked into South Africa causing injuries before the baton ever got to Pistorius.
I wonder if the committee caught the irony? Because I’m sure Pistorius did.
I will continually be rooting for Pistorius and can’t wait to see him run in the Paraolympics.
Oscar Pistorius’ official website http://www.oscarpistorius.com/
- Oscar Pistorius makes Olympic history, advances to 400 semifinal (washingtonpost.com)
- Back to business for Oscar Pistorius (techlabs.co.za)
- How Oscar Pistorius Makes You Feel Inadequate (sweetmotherlover.wordpress.com)
- Oscar Pistorius Will Compete In London As World’s First Amputee Olympic Runner (sbnation.com)
- Purdy: Pistorius a human triumph, not a science project (mercurynews.com)