- May 15, 2007 at 1:15 am #6297
MANCHESTER: As Oscar Pistorius of South Africa crouched in the starting blocks for the 200 meters, the small crowd turned its attention to the sprinter who calls himself the fastest man on no legs.
He wants to be the first amputee runner to compete in the Olympics. And he is forcing international track officials to confront whether the technology of his prosthetics gives him an unfair advantage over sprinters using their natural legs.
Pistorius's time of 46.56 seconds in the 400 brought a stunning second-place finish in March against able-bodied runners at the South African national championships. This seemingly makes him a candidate for the Olympic 4 x 400-meter relay should South Africa qualify as one of the world's 16 fastest teams.
I could definitely see some controversy over this. While his prosthetic legs would seem to disqualify him by IAAF rules, as noted below, some are going to say he should have a shot because the prosthetics only make up for an obvious disadvantage.
Still, the question persists: Do prosthetic legs simply level the playing field for Pistorius, compensating for his disability, or do they give him an inequitable edge via what some call techno-doping?
At what point does technology used to make up for a disability become an unfair advantage? And where do we draw the line to make sure this doesn't happen?
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