5th September 2012, 15:07 GMT
Sunday race: “We are not running in a fair race here,” said Pistorius immediately after Alan Oliveira took first. He then apologised (we guess) two days later by saying, “That was Alan’s moment and I would like to put on record the respect I have for him. I am a proud Paralympian and believe in the fairness of sport. I am happy to work with the IPC who obviously share these aims.”
Pistorius is happy to “work” with the IPC… because of course, he should have won?
Maybe it was a bad day. Maybe the sun was in his eyes. But Oscar Pistorius took second to the young and really fast Oliveira of Brazil who set a new personal best in the T43/T44 200m this past Sunday – and Pistorius wasn’t having it. He even went as far as to call Alan’s performance “ridiculous”. The ‘fastest man with no-legs’, who competed in this years London Olympics, making history through the act of competing with able-bodied athletes, felt slighted by taking Silver for the first time in 9 years. I guess he assumed that because he competed in the Olympics, these little Paralympic players would be like taking candy from a baby… Well, he learned the hard way, and has damaged his nice-guy reputation.
His outburst, accusing Alan of using blades that gave him an “unfair advantage” challenging his performance because they were 4 inches longer than his own (Pistorius’ blade height is set for him because of his competition in the London Olympics; the height of which can not be altered). Yet, the dynamics for how the blades are designed and which ones are allowed by players is strictly governed by rules coming down from the International Paralympic Committee (IPC), and Oliveira’s blades are regulation. Additionally, if he had replicated his record-breaking time of 21.30secs set just a day before the Sunday heat, he would have left Alan in the wind. And to further weaken any argument Pistorius had about unfair advantage – Pistorius in a replay count, was many steps behind Oliveira, proving he was simply running slower. It seems Oscar had an emotional few months, and second place was too much for him to handle.
Today, the IPC decided not to sanction Pistorius for his outburst. “There will be no disciplinary action,” said Craig Spence, communications director of the IPC. Yet the South African Paralympic committee won’t let the matter drop – they’ve gone as far as to register a formal complaint with the IPC, asking them to investigate whether athletes have been switching the height of their blades mid-competion. To this, Craig Spence replied:
“When we put the allegation to the coaches about different-sized running blades, there was a look of shock because it’s difficult to do. There is no evidence they were competing on different-sized running blades.”
The most endorsed player in the Paralympics by far is turning the sport upside down – all because he isn’t performing at his personal best which is implied to be better than anyone else differently-abled. And this assumption of his dominance in the Parlympics this year can only be linked to the fact he competed in the Olympics. Yet, as a bright side, Pistorius’ attitude is actually kind of great, because it illustrates Femficatio’s exact point about the difference between the Olympics and Paralympics – that one doesn’t exist. Competing in the Paralympics requires focus, dedication and an understanding of your terrain, limitations and strengths, which makes it extremely difficult. It isn’t easier by far – and the elements are exactly the same as the Olympics. And though Olympic runners beat Paralympic runners in time – if Olympic runners had to wear Blades tomorrow, they would fall and break their bums. Pistorius’ superiority complex has been shattered to bits, and not even for the sake of the 2012 Paralympic games will he let go of his over-sized ego. Pistorius head isn’t in the game – and it isn’t the Blade’s fault, its him.
Tonight, Alan and Oscar will face-off again in the 100m. Another athlete to watch out for British athlete Jonnie Peacock, who undoubtedly is currently the fastest amputee in history as the 19-year-old from Cambridge broke the world record held by USA’s Marlon Shirley in the 100m when running as a guest at the US Paralympic trials.
Hopefully, Oscar won’t have issues with his blade height, and spectators can enjoy the game without anymore controversy from him or the South African Paralympic Committee.