Aug 15, 2012

You Must NOT be Inspired by Oscar Pistorious

The masses of people live their day-to-day lives feeling that they’re mundane and repetitive must NOT be inspired by Olympic athlete Oscar Pistorius.  Why should they be?  Just because he was born with malformed legs and had them amputated at a young age.  They must NOT find inspiration.  You see, his mother was the one that told him that he couldn’t feel sorry for himself.  She told him that he was no different from his brother, who had normal legs, or anyone else.  She told little Pistorius that he would have to participate in the same endeavors as his brother and wasn’t to use the fact that he had prosthetic legs as an excuse.  You also can’t find inspiration from Pistorius because of his soccer coach.  His soccer coach started training Pistorious for Track and Field without him knowing it.  he trained and nurture young Pistorius to the point that he holds  the double-amputee world records for the 100-, 200- and 400-meter dashes AND qualified for the finals in the Olympic’s 400 meter dash for able-bodied athletes.   When you watch this video clip, you’ll see further reasons why people should NOT be inspired by him: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g6nr8Sm_kqE

So, the next time that you hear someone complain that they just can’t accomplish a goal, or get the job done, or whatever other excuse or reason they want to give for not putting forth the effort to make their lives better, tell them that they’re right.  Tell them that no one has ever overcome seemingly insurmountable challenges.  And, most of all, tell them NOT to be inspired by Oscar Pistorius!

Creating a life in forward motion,

Edward Lewellen

One Response to “You Must NOT be Inspired by Oscar Pistorious”

  1. Ramzy says:

    I like the article, it bngirs up some good points. But I’m going to have to disagree.First, comparing wheelchair racing to running with prosthetics strikes me as an apples to oranges comparison. Yes, wheelchair technology has improved over 30 years. But look at the improvements in running times during the first 30 years of organized competition and you see much greater improvements than in the last 30 years. People have been running competitively much longer than they’ve been wheelchair racing competitively. The next 30 years probably won’t see nearly the improvements of the first 30 years.Second, improving wheelchair technology is functionally different from improving prosthetics. Let me explain. Wheelchairs today are capable of rocketing downhill at great speeds due to aerodynamic advancements. Translation: improved times with decreased effort. That will never be the case with prosthetics. Prosthetics aren’t roller skates. You can’t just strap them on and go fast. Think about what it would take to make prosthetics that much faster.You would have to either increase an athele’s stride rate, or increase the distance they cover in the same amount of time. Great runners run at a very high stride rate. I’m not sure how a prosthetic would greatly increase an athlete’s stride rate, as that is determine primarily in the hips.The distance covered in each stride, however, is central to the springiness of the prosthetics. If the prosthetics can increase his stride length, then he could be faster.I can’t imagine what that would be like, though. Have you ever tried to run fast while bounding. Every step is more awkward and the force with which you land makes maintaining balance and flow very difficult. And that is with ankle muscles. Maybe this is where technology can be improved. Even if that’s so, it’s not clear that it would be an advantage to have, say, a stride length twice as long as an average sprinter’s. With stride length comes the challenge of balance.There’s another concern, however, that simply isn’t mentioned that is much more central to the discussion.Namely, the IAAF has a say in the matter. If they test his prosthetics and determine they are too springy, they can just not let him use them. If companies come out with new materials that the IAAF feels create an unfair advantage to the disabled athlete, they can ban the materials. It’s like baseball and aluminum bats, or football players and stickum.The whole premise of the slippery slope argument is that there are no barriers in place to stop the momentum of technological improvement. But there are. A large, bureaucratic governing body is a huge barrier, as are the numerous athletes with a vested interest in not seeing athletes like Oscar get an advantage. I would bet he’d be the most heavily studied and monitored athlete on the circuit. If nothing else, he’d more likely be assured a disadvantage than an advantage as a result.Last but not least, there is another huge difference between Oscar and most disabled athletes that can’t be forgotten. He’s different from them because he’s been using his legs from birth. Most amputees are not amputees to begin with. They have to learn how to use a “new leg”. Oscar has grown up on these, and has trained on them his whole life. That, combined with the very real possibility that he is, like all able-bodied Olympic athletes, a very unique combination of drive and talent, lead me to believe that he is a very unique case.Allowing athletes to use prosthetics is not going to open the “flood gates” to athletes sporting prosthetics. Not unless you believe Oscar is just an average guy doing above average things because of his prosthetics. Personally, I believe he’s successful not because of some technological advantage, but because he outworks most people and, quite frankly, has a ton of sprinting talent.Anyway, great article and I’m glad to read your perspective on it. I disagree with you, and I’m happy they are letting Oscar run in able-bodied events, but completely understand your position on the matter.

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