I knew about Oscar Pistorius before these current Olympic games because his story fascinates me. Born without both of his fibulas, doctors (and his parents) decided to amputate his legs before he was a year old. Oscar is an elite athlete from South Africa and running is his specialty.
When Oscar was a small boy his mother said something seemingly insignificant, but yet life changing one morning. She said, “You, put your shoes on. And you, put your legs on and that’s the last I want to hear about it.”
Oscar’s mother would die a few years later, but that memory has stayed with him for the duration. Undoubtedly it echoes in his brain saying, “Yes, you have no legs, but Mummy says get over it.” That is a gift when your most formidable role model tells you that – yes – you have a disadvantage, but if you dwell on it, you will drown. So, it’s best to acknowledge it, but then forget about it entirely.
Which brings me to the disadvantage question…many fellow runners and the Olympic committee that oversees fairness within the competition have questioned whether Pistorius has a disadvantage at all. There are sects within the sport that say, in fact, what his has is an advantage. Oscar runs on carbon prosthetic legs, known as blades, which has led to the nickname, “Bladerunner” for the very man in question.
The advantage faction say that the blades are lighter than a human leg (which they are) and that makes him faster. They also say that Oscar can “replace” his leg in the running position at a faster rate than a runner with legs, which also gives him an advantage.
The disadvantage camp says that because the legs are prosthetics, Oscar can not explode out of the starting blocks at the same rate as the other runners, which is true, and gives him a disadvantage. They also say that Oscar can not lean forward and run as aerodynamically as the other runners due to the fact that the legs force him to stand more upright. This is also true.
Oscar has had to compensate massively for the lack of his human legs (and I’m talking solely in the realm of sport here). For example, he possesses none of the lower leg muscles that a typical runner has, so he has to make up for that with hip and core strength. The hip, it seems, is far more crucial in the mechanics of propelling Oscar forward than it is for other runners.
The entire Oscar Pistorius issue intrigues me in a number of ways. For one, it reminds me of a high school assembly that I attended years ago. The assembly was to discourage us young people against drunk driving. The main speaker was a world class athlete in soccer. He lost his leg playing a drunk game of get-out-of-the-car and get-back-in on a freeway. He recovered from his injury and began running in the paralympics. He basically told us a cautionary tale with a redemption angle. It was the true stuff of good drama, much like the Oscar story is today. When the question and answer portion of the assembly began, I raised my hand. I asked the athlete if his new, super-leg, prosthetic gave him any advantage. I was practically laughed out of the room. The students laughed and the athlete laughed. He said something to the effect of, “A prosthetic leg will never be as good as a human leg.”
But, oh, look at the debate today. It looks like my question was a good one, only it was several decades too early.
The other place my brain goes when I think of the Oscar Pistorius is to that of transexuals. Yep, that’s right, that’s where I go. Apparently, I’m not the only one. The IOC tests female athletes in regards to their testosterone level to make sure that they are “female enough.” The current school of thought is that once a trans-sexual is “post op” enough – at a certain point after their surgery and hormone treatments – they lose all of their physical advantages. So, things – theoretically – should be equal for men born male, but who become women to compete in the women’s division and vice-versa for the men’s side.
Yet, to put it plainly, as a woman born a woman, I have a problem with a man born a man who becomes a woman competing in the female category. It just bothers me somehow. It bothers me in a deep, instinctual way that I can not quite put a finger on.
So, who am I to judge the runners and the theorists who think Oscar has an advantage?
Maybe if all things are to be equal, than all things MUST be equal.
However, when I think of Oscar beating an “able-bodied” runner (Is Oscar really UN-able-bodied at this point? I don’t think anyone would say so.)…better said, when Oscar beats a runner with legs, it makes me think of one thing – the Boston-NY AIDS ride that I completed years ago.
The ride is a three-day event of approximately 100 miles per day where you ride from Boston to New York. When I was dead-dog-tired during that ride, I remember seeing riders without legs next to me. They were going up enormous hills with arm bikes. They were using nothing, but their arms to bike up crushing hills and I remember thinking, “I will not be beaten by a person with no legs.” I draw the line there.
Perhaps, that’s what has happened to the most elite runners of the 400m in the world. A man with no legs has made them feel average. His very presence makes them feel a touch inadequate because whatever they have done, the truth is, he has done more.
It’s just a thought. What do you think about the Oscar issue? Fair or unfair?
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119 thoughts on “How Oscar Pistorius Makes You Feel Inadequate”
Fair. It’s great how the world is finally not seeing disabilities as that. There’s a new tv show featuring women in wheelchairs. We need to “see” people as normal. Same goes for Trans.
I do agree. I’m not sure about trans competing in the women’s competition if it can’t be proven that they are ‘fully’ women. in other words, same hormone levels, etc. because think about it – they will have height and strength advantages from birth that will not change…as far as oscar, i say, ‘get over it.’ what he is doing is amazing and he should be allowed to compete. but, that’s just my two cents. thanks for reading and commenting, cyclinggran, you always have great thoughts to share. much love, sm
I just blogged about the same issue, or at least similar. I too am fascinated by Pistorius. I love to watch him run.
I considered transgendered individuals competing, and I believe one who was male and is now female may be a little better, but that doesn’t mean she has an advantage because she was born male. Either way the body is hers and as a woman should have every right to compete.
well, i would say that the women – born women – have fought very hard to get to the olympics and if they have to compete against someone who is physically male than that is a disadvantage and unfair, in my book. if they prove that they are completely female – post-op – then so be it. but, there will always be things you can’t change, for example, height, hand size, etc. believe me, i am VERY open minded and a BIG supporter of the trans community, but i’m not 100% convinced of that one… but, oscar, let him run… again, just my two cents. thanks for commenting, apple. i need to read your piece on oscar too. xoxo, sm
I’m still on the fence about the trans issue, because I do agree that someone born male but has transgendered will still probably have some innate male physiologic characteristics that put them at an advantage over a person who was born female. I guess I haven’t given much thought to the issue of people using prosthetics. The mix of advantages and disadvantages is interesting, though. But I’m an overt non-athlete so they’re all still better than I’ll ever be!
i used to be an athlete and now i’m a laptop exerciser meaning i tap tap the keys and that’s about all i do! so i hear you. my totally armchair quarterback opinion is – oscar should be able to race, the trans-athletes, i’m not sure. they’d – unfortunately – have to prove they’re not of the other gender… xo, sm
Tough call, but I go with fair. My guess is Oscar had to work a heck of a lot harder to get to the point that he could compete on an equal level with the leggy people. The leggy people in turn will just have to work harder to compete with him.
On another note, I hope he knows how blessed he was to have the Mom he did.
i love the term “leggy people.” it’s perfect! lol. yeah, i’m with you. i think fair too. and if the carbon blades give him even a small advantage in one thing, there are many other things where he is SO disadvantaged. regardless, he is clearly a superior athlete and if he can keep up with them, which clearly he can, he should be able to race. xo, sm
its difficult to answer..but i would say its fair…
i mean he might have super blades to run but he doesnt has the will one gets from real legs…at the end when he doesn’t do good in a race he wont tell himself its okay…he would blame his not-real legs..
Sweet Mom i think everyone deserves to feel as normal as possible…but yes..being a man and competing against women is unfair… i mean its unfair to me…
it’s an interesting and yet, difficult question to answer, isn’t it, lil miss? i agree with you on all points tho! much love, sm
Sweet Mom just saw your post on Freshly Pressed… yay..congratulations…
Taking about testing women to see if they are female enough to compete, did you see the Caster Semenya debacle also here in SA. Some idiot took one look at her physique and cried hermaphrodite. She was caught up in one of the messiest gender testing media circuses which nearly put an end to her sporting career. She has yet to reach the peak form she was in before everything happened.
Oscar is amazing! He really does make me proudly South African. I wish I had even a tenth of the commitment and drive that he has.
PS Oscar is running any minute now. I’m watching twitter to see how he does. (We don’t have TV at the moment, our brand new 40″ flatscreen is still in the box…a month after we bought it. *lame*)
yes! i did! i totally saw that, completely sad if you ask me. you can’t just go — alright girls, you look manly, let’s test you… or sh*t, maybe they can! i thought about adding it to this piece, but it would’ve taken it into an entirely different direction. as for oscar, i think he’s pretty amazing. and i heard he raced again, but we’re getting things much later over here in sunny-landia…so, i’ll be watching on the old dvr. xoxo, sm
There’s a fairly significant difference, at the moment anyway, between amputees and transexuals. Amputees are not usually given much of a choice in whether or not they get to keep their limbs. The cancer, birth defect or motorcycle accident takes care of the decision for them. Transexuals, by contrast, go to great lengths to have their gender reassignment surgery (I have a tasteless joke which will not be inserted here).
As for Oscar’s advantage or disadvantage, no one can really say definitively. While his blades may be longer than an anatomical leg, with a never-ending spring of carbon fiber, he has no sensation in his missing feet and ankles. Anyone who’s ever sat on a toilet for too long can attest to the difficulty of walking without sensation, let alone sprinting.
A few years ago, I recall reading an article on an argument in para-sport community, as people with non-functioning legs were at a disadvantage compared to those with no legs, since they had to essentially carry “dead weight”. Comparing apples and oranges will never give a simple answer, even within the para-athlete community itself.
I know lots of amputees, thanks to my profession, and I marvel at their resilience and strength. By the same token, it would be unfair of me to not be impressed by the spectrum of other people in my life who have challenges, which may not necessarily be as conspicuous as a missing leg or two.
So there you have it, 4 paragraphs worth of me typing and no answer whatosever. I’m inspired by Oscar, but anyone who’s made it to the Olympics should be inspirational to us. Hell! Anyone who made it out of bed and met the day head-on should get a ribbon!
1point, i always enjoy reading your commentary. all well said. and yeah, i think this guy is pretty admirable and should be able to race. it’s very interesting what you’re saying about the paralyzed limbs vs. the amputees, something i never would’ve thought of. there is also a theory about oscar and his blades. because oscar lost his legs so young, before he was even a year old, they have theorized that his brain built different neural pathways to use the prosthetics. this wouldn’t happen to someone who loses their legs later in life, which is most often the case. as a result, he uses them better than anyone who has ever worn them. literally. well, regardless, interesting stuff. and i agree with you about the getting out of bed thing, today alone, i deserve a goddermned award. lol. xo, sm
Oscar has been a regular sport news (and even main news) item in the UK for a number of years now, and I wish him every success.
As to the whole debate regarding whether prosthetic legs do or do not give an athlete an advantage I would say the jury is still out. Perhaps we will get a definitive answer in about 10 years or so.
Worth noting though that Oscar’s times only make him a comparatively moderate athlete at the top level, as proven by his 8th place in tonight’s semi-final. How much difference improvements in prosthetic design make over the next few years will help to answer the overall question.
aaaaaahhhhhh, mee!!! spoiler alert! we get olympics much later here. almost a day later, so i hadn’t known about the loss in the semis yet. but, will watch today on my dvr. regardless of the win or lose element, he’s fun to watch. i’m with you – we haven’t reached bionic man levels yet, but, man, it’s looking like that’s not too far off! bottom line – he’s an amazing athlete and if he can keep up, he should be able to race. as far as how he can do – i’ve seen him finish top 3 and i’ve seen him finish dead last. so, i’m not sure what his chances are (or were) overall… xo, sm
I don’t think we’re there yet but some time in the future the whole question of ‘what constitutes a cyborg’ is going to have to be answered. Technology will not remain where it is and I think the point of no-return with prosthetics is approaching. Perhaps then there will have to be two kinds of Olympics – for the enhanced and for the unenhanced.
With regard to Oscar himself I think the only advantage he possesses is his own will. In ten years time though? Who knows.
“two kinds of olympics — for the enhanced and the unenhanced.” imagine that, meeks, that’s some serious terminator-style-thinking. i love it. there’s a screenplay or a novel or something similar in that idea, i’m telling you. if i can muster up the energy i’d pen something up about it, but i don’t have oscar’s will, so it’s unlikely. lol. anyway, as always, great commentary. much love, sm
-grin- Terminators 1 and 2 were amongst my favourite movies so I’ll take that as a compliment! If you ever get around to writing up that idea maybe you could title it ‘Rise of the 400 metre Cyborgs’. -hugs- Meeks
He has just as many disadvantages as he does advantages. I think it’s fair that he compete and that each case should be looked at individually. 🙂
fair point, wends. a case by case basis would be a very good way to look at it. i’m not sure the ioc does it that way tho, but i am no expert, just a writer who is intrigued. ;0 xo, sm
I can’t even compare the debate of trans over the debate over amputees. What Oscar has accomplished is amazing and inspiring. I watched his race last night, he lost but the fact he made it to the semi-finals was so awesome it was worth it.
aaaaahhhhhh, i haven’t watched it yet, but it’s taped on my dvr and i’m looking forward to it. bummer that he didn’t go further, but truly amazing what he has done. i think his case definitely brings up trans and all the other cases, but you’re right, it’s hard to compare them. there’s also this fascinating story/ court case that came out about the east german athletes, pre the wall coming down, and how they roiled the sh*t out of them. literally, turning some of their female athletes into dudes. sad, but also feckin’ fascinating as hell. much love, sm
I sat with tears as Kirani James of Grenada, the winner hugged him and exchanged name bids with him at the end of the race. Huge, just huge.
These and others this year epitomize the meaning of the games. The trans issue has to be taken on at some point. I say if they are women hormonally they are by damned women. Look at some of the born women competitors today, the Williams sisters are great examples. We have to get out of our boxes.
I suspect though, we that is us in the US will be one of the last.
I remember when Lance Armstrong won the Tour (the 1st time) and people were saying that having cancer gave him an unfair advantage. I thought it was hysterical. Of course it looks like he was doping so he did have an unfair advantage, but it wasn’t the cancer.
SOMEONE SAID CANCER WAS AN UNFAIR ADVANTAGE??!! what a slew of ron-rons, which is my cutesy way of saying morons! what is wrong with people? lol. thanks for reading, follies. momma appreciates it. much love, sm
Admittedly, I’m still on the fence on both issues. I feel badly not being sure, but I see both sides and feel some conflict. His mom rocked and he rocks harder… so in the end, my opinion matters little. 🙂 Nice post.
thanks, second mother. it’s always nice to see you here. on my end, i think oscar should be allowed to race on the trans-athlete issue, i’m on the fence, but the whole debate is endlessly fascinating to me. much love, mother
You can’t always see me, but I drop in each day. 😉 It IS all very fascinating and I think has captured the minds of many. Drop by and check out my Peru adventures… I’ve missed you. Summer is a strange place in blog land. xoxo other mother :-0
strange, indeed. i will, for sure, stop by. much love, sm
You busy, busy bee… with your funny punctuation and sharp wit. Have a good one. 🙂
Oscar? Fair! His mom is the kind of mom we all should have! I don’t know what to think on the trans issue…
i’m with you on both points, bold. as per usual. 😉 sm
My reaction is more about the trans issue you brought up. I think you very eloquently brought up the massive problem that comes from the gender binary that so much of society is built around. Exactly how much testosterone is too much for a woman to have? Where the hell do they draw the line? And, the more important question I like to ask is, why does it matter?
you know, it shouldn’t matter. and i think (or maybe hope) that for 99.9% of the things, occupations, etc, in the world, it just shouldn’t hold any water at all. but, when it comes to female athletes who have fought long and hard to get to the olympics and then someone who is born male and may keep some of those male advantages… well, that gives me pause. my door is not shut, but it gives me pause. keep in mind, i have friends who are trans. one is a famous bassist who went from male to female and i consider her very much female… come to think of it, i should ask her opinion on it… much love, sm
Thanks for your thoughtful response. I’d be interested to hear your friend’s opinion.
Pressed Again! Sweet Moms, you’re magnificent!!
ooops, you called me a ‘le clowny’ thing. yaaaaay! i love that, yay! and thanks for the congrats, mr. mike. i really appreciate it. much love, mother
Uh oh, I was just reading his blog the other day…
tee hee…;) sm
Moms! One more time Freshly Pressed! Lawdy lawdy you’re on fire! 😀
funny how it was right after our ‘chin up’ ‘own your talents’ comment conversation, huh? too funny. much love, sm
I know! I’m learning lessons all over the place! I should get my own after school special.
bwwwaaaahhhhaaa, you said, ‘after school special.’ 😉 sm
Pressed! Congrats! And yes, Oscar should be allowed to do what he does best: run! As for trans, if we allow them the same rights as everyone else, why not when competing as well? I do see your point about having an advantage (muscle, strength) but if a trans gender person can compete for Miss America, can use the new gender bathroom, and get married, why not give ALL rights? Rainey
i think trans people should have all rights in all areas, since they are people and hello, people should be given rights. lol. but, i do feel like, ‘eeek’ i don’t know if they’d still have any physical advantages or is there a way to test it. and let me tell you, it’s going to happen. two trans-athletes tried out for the olympics from what i’ve read. they didn’t make the teams… but, if they had… their – unfortunately – needs to be some level of measurement and then the super-duper downside is these poor women who someone deems as too manly and then they get tested to see if they are female enough. it’s cray-cray. it seems like their needs to be something in place, but there is NO easy answer. i’ll tell you that. much love, rainey, much love. mother
People with guns are people, people who drive drunk are people, people who cheat are people (not comparing to trans gender or prostheses limbs)- society has no real basis for governing much of anything. There’s ick factor, that’s not fair (to me or my kin and those I like) factor, or that’s not the way it used to be factor. There is no universal standard in place for answering most. The donkey, the father and the boy going to market parable illustrates the unending lack of ability to please the public as a whole.
true, you can never please everyone. however, we do need some kind of adjudicator for fairness in sport. otherwise, i’d ride a unicycle, under a long pair of pants, past the fastest kenyan marathon runners to say that i’d won the marathon. ;0 it’s happened before. there was a woman in ny, who had never placed in an international run before, and came in with the top elite runners. turns out, she had taken the subway. seriously. thanks for reading and all the best, sweet mo
Only read the Oscar Pistorius part of the blog and agree with the above comment that his mum is the kind of mum we should all have. We should all be more like her and blind to “differences”.
awwwww, why’d you stop there? 😉 either way, glad you’ve read at least that much. and i agree, we should all have moms like that. i know i’m one. in the ‘mother of the world’ sense. lol. much love, sweet mo
I don’t have an answer to the transgender question. Having a pre-op or post-op tg might make a difference based on how much testosterone is left. But I had never thought of that, honestly.
In terms of Oscar, I know they ran tests on his legs and what effort it takes to run in them vs. running on “human legs” and it was concluded he’s got more of a disadvantage.
Either way, I think he’s amazing.
agreed, new mommy friend, i think oscar has more of a disadvantage in a sense. in fact, he has to use hip muscles that other runners don’t have to use at all to run. his core strength must be off the charts as a result. he does, in fact, train differently from other runners. i’ve also been told that he is also doing the paralympics – and get this – he’s participating in EVERY event! i think there’s no doubt that he is a superior athlete that should be allowed to compete. as for the trans issue, my jury is out, until convinced one way or the other. i take less of an issue with testosterone levels because there may be women who have naturally high testosterone (though probably never in the realm of a person born male), what concerns me more are other advantages in sport that you couldn’t change – for example, hand size. the women’s basketball is smaller than the male’s basketball. if you put a woman, born male on a female basketball team – take testosterone out of the equation – and that team’s going to have an advantage because – usually – she’ll have naturally bigger hands and more height, plain and simple. thanks for reading and leaving a comment, trois. i really appreciate it. much love, sm
As 1pointperspective mentioned, there is no sensation in Oscar’s prosthetics. That means no muscle memory or feedback. I think any advantage he might have would be balanced out by the fact that it’s much more challenging for him to adapt.
I can see where the issue with trans athletes comes from, but we don’t disqualify male athletes who produce more testosterone than their competitors which could potentially give them more of an advantage. Both the sports world and society need to stop focusing on a gender binary, especially since intersex individuals are technically neither male nor female.
i hear your arguments and they are good ones. still not sure where i stand on the trans issue, though. if it can be proven – much like oscar’s was – that there is, in fact, no advantage, then i’m all for it. i’ll say that. all the best, sm
I don’t think these issues are issues with clear answers. However, we still need to ask the questions even if there aren’t clear cut answers. As technology advances further these questions will become more frequent.
agreed. as stated above, my question was practically laughed out of the room years ago in regards to a prosthetic and now it IS the debate. so interesting. in time, hopefully we can heal some of those spinal injuries. those are doosies. thanks for leaving your comment, barnum. it is much appreciated. mother
Oscar is a champion in my eyes regardless of his loss at the Olympics. Most people would have just gave up on life without both natural legs to get us around. Motivates me to do a TON more just reading this!
i’m with you on that, cash. he is nothing if not a huge inspiration. i’ve heard or read or i think maybe he said it when interviewed that he’s running in the relay team for south africa? is that true? if so, hopefully, we’ll get to see him run once more… all the best, sm
I am transgendered and one of the effects of the oestrogen on the male body is a reduction of about 20% in physical strength. Whether the training required to compete at the Olympic level would offset this, I can’t say, but for most male-to female transsexuals, this is the case.
i have heard this and i think i stated something to that effect, though not as detailed, above. if that is true, it definitely makes a strong case for those who are post-op being able to compete within the category of their new gender. i do have concerns when it comes to physical size though. typically when you are born male, you will be larger than the average female. on average, of course, there are exceptions to every rule. and in sport a bigger hand, the ability to take a bigger step, height, these are all could-be advantages that a male to female transsexual could have even post-op. now, notice i have little concern if a female to male transsexual wants to compete. for them, i say – ‘have at it.’ because i don’t think they’d be born with many advantages and then, of course, they’d be given testosterone, which (one hopes) would level them with the other males in their specific sport. i have no rigid lines here, only a debate i’m engaging in and a fence i am sitting on, if that makes sense. thanks for reading and commenting, cats. it is much appreciated. xo, mother
Truly inspiring. Can’t believe people could call it an advantage. He is incredible and to be admired for his success. I wonder if you would also like to post this on Thinkpinion.com, a new site for anyone to share their opinions or ask for opinions about absolutely anything with everyone. You can also include links back to your blog to drive additional traffic. Please take a look at http://thinkpinion.com/, we welcome your participation 🙂
hey there petrina, thank you for commenting. and of course, when i have a moment, i’ll take a look at the site. all the best, sm
If Oscar’s prosthetics gave him an unfair advantage, it would be replicable- in other words, there would be a less-than-zero number of other double amputees who are full Olympic athletes. He is entirely unique, therefore his abilities are entirely his own. (Imagine how fast he could go if he had muscles all the way to the ground!)
The key concept is “unfair” – not “does he have an advantage over other people,” but is that advantage UNFAIR. Obviously he’d have a heck of an advantage in a footrace against my middle-class, out-of-shape, asthmatic self, but it’s an advantage he’s worked hard to earn. Human bodies come in all sorts of shapes and sizes – I was watching the women’s indoor volleyball tournament the other night, and one player is head-and-shoulders taller than most everyone else on the court, teammates and opponents alike. Obviously that gives her a considerable advantage as a blocker – but nobody’s suggesting that her natural height is UNFAIR. There’s a female gymnast who can do a routine that only men have done in the past, and no one suggests that it’s due to anything but her hard work and dedication. There’s a female swimmer who’s pushing hard against lap times that have previously only been achieved by men. Not every man is stronger, or taller, or bigger, than every woman. Perhaps the gender binary isn’t quite as impermeable as we think. A transwoman IS a woman, and a transwoman athlete IS a woman athlete, and she should be able to compete with all the other women. (And vice versa for transmen, but somehow I can’t imagine people suggesting that a transman athlete has some kind of “unfair advantage” because he was born in a female body.) Anything else smacks of transphobia.
this is great commentary, amber. you make great points. however, as a woman born a woman, i was ONLY allowed to play in college because of title 9. in other words, my sport was cut and the university was forced to bring it back due to title 9. in a world, where women fight to play sport AT ALL…(keep in mind, this is the first time EVER that every competing nation has had a female athlete in attendance and it’s the year 2012!!!), then YEP i’m going to be protective of other female athletes. and if someone is born male, unfortunately, i think they should have to prove that they don’t have an “unfair” advantage. i don’t see that as transfobia, i see it as common sense. now, understand, women (who are born women) are going to come down on the wrong side of that. as discussed above, a woman who was born female was already “gender tested” for presenting – what someone deemed – too male. so, is it a lose-lose situation, in some ways? most probably. now, let’s be clear, i’m not saying that trans-athletes should not be allowed to compete. what i am saying is that i am on the fence. and i am on the fence for a good reason – the protection of female athletes who have fought long and hard to play at all. now, do i see transwoman as women in everyday life and in every other sense? yes. and i question why some kind of ‘gender advantage’ testing (let’s call it) would be any different then testing for any other advantage – say blood doping / steroid use. all the best, sweet mother
I’m going with Fair. He’s got his carbon legs and that’s just what he uses to propel along with. He’s obviously a gifted athlete.
I find his story amazing and loved the background you include about his mother.
Congrats on the FP.
i’m really glad you liked it, irun. that means a lot to me. i find his story amazing and inspiring too. all the best, sm
I was born without a left hand, so watching Oscar has been particularly touching for me. Every time I watch him race I can’t help but just smile from ear to ear, and I find it kind of hilarious that some are saying he has an unfair advantage. I mean seriously? Considering that he does not have the same calf muscles leggy people do (Haha I love that term too!) to power his run, he has to work twice as hard to give himself propulsion. Like someone else said, no prosthetic limb in production today is better or more powerful than the real thing. Unfortunately we do not yet live in the world of the $6,000,000 Man, and we do not have the technology, lol. The arms I’ve used are actually pretty dishearteningly un-futuristic; not much more than a glorified claw. I stopped using them years ago because they were just so bulky, and hot, and ultimately pretty useless. I type like, 110 wpm without any prosthetic help, so I think I do pretty okay. xD
The story about Oscar’s mom really resonates with me, because my mom had exactly the same attitude. I learned to tie my shoes before any of the other kids in my class, I played sports, and I never really had a concept in my head of being any different from the other kids. I think my own confidence in myself made the other kids not really think twice about me, too. I was never bullied, and I never really felt all that different from the other kids. At the end of the day, I don’t really even believe in the term “disabled” anymore. Each human being is unique and has their own set of abilities. That’s it.
Anyway, I think Oscar is wonderful. The world needs more examples of differently abled people out there, doing the things they love, just the same as everyone else.
As far as the trans issue goes, I kind of agree that some regulation is appropriate. Trans people who began life as male will always have some amount of carryover male traits that give them a strength advantage over individuals who are born female. But the dude who called out that female athelete just because she was bulky? Omg that is some bsssss……
laura, i’m not going to comment much on your commentary because it is quite simply fantastic and other people should read it, as is. i will say, you have an amazing story. oscar inspires me too. and we are likeminded on the trans issue, including the bulky call-out. from this “leggy” person, you seem to be pretty feckin’ awesome. anyhoo, thanks for reading and leaving this brilliant commentary here. much love, sm
Was this written by Dwight from the Office ?
quite possibly, he is my father…
Reblogged this on Makais Blog and commented:
thanks for the re-blog, friend. it is much appreciated. much love, sm
you are very welcome.
As a care provider to disabled persons, some who have participated in the ParaOlympics, his participation is going to open up requests for participation in the Olympics by other ParaOlympians. It’ll be very interesting.
i know. i know want to watch the paralympics for this guy. now, is it the paralympics or the paraolympics? because i look it up on line and all i could find was paralympics… anyhoo, i want to see this guy compete again. and anyone who can hang with the top competition as he did, should be able to, in my humble opinion. on the trans issue, i only have a slight hesitation, but other than that, i say let the best man or woman, regardless of body parts, win! thanks for the great comment, patty. it is much appreciated. all the best, sweet mo
I love this post, very well written. I also really like the question that you asked when you were younger, shows a lot of insightfulness at an early age 🙂
thank you, pace. i am truly grateful for you saying so. i think as writers we often feel our writing gets sent off into the abyss, so i’m thankful for every kind comment. as for the comment when i was just a kid, sincerely, i thought it was such a good question then and couldn’t understand why it was being scoffed at. and now, well, can’t say i don’t feel a private bit of vindication. 😉 much love, sm
Yea, it’s funny how the smart ones always end up feeling ostracized and like they don’t belong. I guess that’s why they so often become writers 🙂
What a great post. Keep up the great writing. Your blog is amazing.
thank you, easy. i really and truly appreciate that and i hope you come back for more. much love, mother
I sure will. I enjoy reading your blog very much. Have a great day!
thank you and you too… sm
I think Oscar should stick with the paralympics. That’s why the event was created, right? What if he wanted to put wheels on his prosthetics? Would that be OK? Where do you draw the line here? He’s using technology that the other runners don’t get to use. Fair is fair.
I know some runners are taller than others, or weigh more than others, but everyone should basically be equal from the start.
You know what I’m saying?
you know, hipster, you make the same argument that a lot of the elite runners who are in his ‘heats’ or category made. some of them thought he should be allowed to run and the others made the arguments that you did – which were ‘all things should be equal. or at least as equal as possible.’ so, i hear that i argument, i truly do. yet, this guy is so inspiring that it’s hard to say he shouldn’t race, for me, anyway. thanks for commenting and reading. i really appreciate it. all the best, sm
I’m not an athlete and the only time I’ve ever watched track and field was when my classmates in high school played and once every four years during the summer Olympics. That being said, I think that it is fair that he races. I’ve watched a few NBC spots on Pistorious (the same one that quoted his mom talking about his brother putting on his shoes and Oscar putting on his legs). He worked for a long time to scientifically prove that he was not at an advantage. I don’t think it’s bad that they explored the idea of whether or not he was at an advantage (or disadvantage). But, it wasn’t right that he had to go through so much red tape after he prove that he was not at an advantage. But all of that aside, I get this feeling that after these summer games are done, I’m going to still keep my eye on Pistorious. He’s talented, seems very down to earth and wise, and quite the role model.
i’m so with you on that, limit. apparently, he is also doing the paralympics and he’s going to try and do EVERY event. i’d love to see that, so i hope they televise it. and i think simply his appearance in these summer games is incredible pr for the paralympics. hopefully, now, more people will watch because clearly they are gifted athletes. he does what i can barely do in a car, never mind with all my body parts. lol. alright, a bike. but, you get what i mean. and i’m in agreement with the ‘down to earth’ point too. i’m watching all these sprinter athletes right now and they are so cocky and all i can think is…a little humility goes a long way… anyway, great comment, thank you for leaving it here. all the best, sweet mo
Am I in your spam filter? Can you please moderate. I don’t know what happened. Thanks
oddly, you were in my spam filter…but, you are rescued now…;0
Una gran forma de ver la superación humana frente a grandes adversidades.
i could not agree more, pedro. or mejor dicho, estoy de acuerdo contigo. and i’m sure i’ve said that wrong. a veces mi espanol se fue mas rapido q’ oscar corre. jaaaaajjjaaaa. xoxox and thanks for reading, sweet mo
Dear sweet mother,
Excellent post. I think in the future the opportunities for “disabled” people will tend to grow, maybe in the future making them even more capable at physical challenges than “normal” athletes. At that point you might see that the Paralympic athletes set better performances than the regular Olympics. It will of course leave the question whether you are allowed to augment your body voluntarily, or you need a “proper accident”.
Laser technology for eye surgery is already quite advanced, I think soon you can augment your eyes to “eagle vision”. Long distance shooting will never be the same again from that moment onwards.
Would you stab at your eye (accidentely of course) in order to gain such an advantage at the Olympics?
How tolerant can we be of self-inflicted bodily changes when those things are possible. And where will that leave the transsexual discussion?
Awesome post, food for thought for sure!
hello tim, thank you for the great commentary. you bring up excellent points. there are even – hold on, i’m looking it up – here it is, Apotemnophilians. i saw a documentary on this. they are people with able bodies who long to be amputees. i’m not kidding. some of them even go so far as having their limbs amputated. believe me, i’m not supporting that idea, but check it out. so, you may have said the above in jest, however, this stuff is all coming out of the science fiction world and into the real one. so, in the future, who knows. regardless, it’s all very, very interesting. i’m really glad you enjoyed the post and thank you for leaving a comment. all the best, sweet mo.
I really dont know whether I find it fair or not. But perhaps fair cause I think he must have trained so hard to be good as well.
i think he’s probably one of the fittest athletes around. it is a hard question. but, regardless, i’m glad he ran, as i think it was truly inspirational. all the best, sm
brilliant read. thanks for sharing. i’ve wanted to write a post on the same or similar issues for a while but i haven’t really found the right angle to approach it with. you did a great job here! i’ve done a couple pieces on gender identity in fashion but in sports…i had honestly never really thought about it! again, great work. thanks!
hey there little city, thank you for the kind words. i truly appreciate them. yep, i am 100% fascinated by oscar and his inclusion made me think about a number of different things, as this post shows. lol. but, i am glad i was at least able to make it sound coherent. thank you for reading and i hope you’ll come back for more. all the best, sweet mother
I think you nailed it with your comparison to your bike ride. On paper, a man with legs *should* beat a man without legs. When that assumption is challenged, I think people assume foul play rather than examining the intangibles: heart, courage and willpower.
“heart, courage, and willpower,” indeed, dear peter. i totally agree, i think it causes a slight chip to the ego for the able bodies runners or the “leggy” runners as some have called them and that makes them go, “NOT FAIR!” when in reality, i think he’s just an incredible athlete… thanks for reading and commenting. i truly appreciate it. sweet mo.
Well done on being Freshly Pressed again SM!
I wonder whether there would have been backlash if he would have won a medal. I also wonder how athletes who compete in the paralympics feel about it; is Oscar opening the way for more athletes to cross over? Has the only thing preventing people been that there hasn’t been a paralympic athlete who can compete at the same level? Interesting times.
In general I have really been fascinated by the politics of these games, like the meltdown over women’s Canada/US soccer results, watching people get kicked out for making racist twitter comments and the hilariously bad badminton game. It truly is a world stage isn’t it?
roller, i owe you like 57 comment replies. my humblest (is that a word?) apologies. anyhoo, as for your oscar comments, all agreed. i also think oscar is going to be giving the paralymics HUGE press and publicity. rumor has it that he’s going to compete in EVERY event. as far as the soccer issue, i’d say canada has a right to be pissed about those soccer results. it’s hard when a game is lost due to a ref call. anyhoot, more importantly, i’m heading over to your blog now. i’d like to see if you want to write for canadica on the week of october 8th specifically… all the best, sweet mo
great …………. stevens johnson syndrome
Is your “discomfort” limited to trans athletes? How do you feel about athletes born with disorders of sexual development, where genetically they might appear male but develop physically as female?
hello amasian, let me be 100% clear. i have NO, ZERO, ZILCH, discomfort with transpeople. the only think i have a discomfort with is a potential advantage. that is it. and i think that debate is important… all the best, sweet mo
I apologize, I should have been more specific. I meant discomfort only in the context of participating in athletic competition.
yeah, i mean, my only interest is in ‘fairness’ and ‘potential advantages’ and making all things equal whenever possible. so, of course, i could careless if someone ‘looks male’ – quite frankly i think society’s view of what is ‘feminine’ is too narrow anyway. but, honestly, the thing that ties oscar and the trans issue in my post is the question of…’are these things fair’ and whatever you believe, it opens up a very interesting debate. thanks for commenting and reading, amasian, it is really appreciated. all the best, mother
Lady! You got Freshly Pressed AGAIN! I’m going to have to write a post about “How Sweet Mother Makes You Feel Inadequate”, because you’re just too awesome.
100% agree!!! i love how people are starting to view the world with different eyes and perspectives! This man really makes you think twice about what you have!
Do you mind checking out my site http://www.candelacouture.com, its new and im posting about everything and would love your opinion
Thanks so much!
hey there candela, thanks for reading and commenting. sure, when i can come up for air, i will definitely check out your site. all the best, sweet mother
thank you for the shout out, my friend. xo, sm
“I will not be beaten by a person with no legs” <- My favorite line in this entire post.
hi, so how about an update story on Oscar now that he stand on trail for murder?