The Notorious Pistorius
Elio Locatelli, the director of development for the I.A.A.F. has been widely quoted in saying that
“It affects the purity of sport. Next will be another device where people can fly with something on their back.”Which begs the question, if sport might be sullied by the presence of technology, does paralympic sport, where prosthetics, wheelchairs and other technology are commonplace, simply not count? And what about cycling, where a new lighter and more stream-lined type of bicycle might make all the difference?
Disability Bloggers have been writing about this. Elizabeth at Screw Bronze! takes up this theme of sport and purity in an in-depth post which compares the anxiety about Pistorius with other historical sporting dillemnas, such as the initial ban on boxer Jack Johnson being able to compete in for the Heavyweight Championship - because he was black.
"This seems to be the essential argument and it is also the most familiar. While the rhetoric of society is that disabled people are equal, there is an obvious fear of even the possibility of a man with prosthetic legs lining up with able bodied men and winning."Having read a fair amount of coverage of this story, I know I have been struck by the number of sporting commentators who - whilst keen to sing his praises as disabled hero overcoming diversity - are absolutely adamant that Pistorius' blades give him an advantage, even though there is, as yet, no solid proof about this.
Marmiteboy also suspects a degree of disablism is at work;
"In my view, the reason there is so much opposition to Oscar's participation is that they couldn't bear it if he actually won. What a terrible thing that would be for the non-crip world an uppity crip beating them in a running race."Other mentions have been made at Wheelie Catholic and Wheelchair Dancer. There is a debate to be found on the BBC Five Live 606 pages.
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