Should Oscar Pistorius be allowed to compete in the Olympics

Discussion in 'Odds & Ends' started by ninman, Aug 9, 2012.

  1. woodrow1029

    woodrow1029 Hall of Fame

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    First of all, he is a normal person.

    Secondly, all of your arguments are dumb. It's amazing. If you were to tell me which posters posted in this thread, I could pick out which would say that he should be able to compete, and which would say that he shouldn't be able to compete.
     
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  2. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    Interestingly, the argument that he had an advantage was the one that led to getting him banned in the first place, and which could have some substance. OP throws out that argument and instead argues he is not normal LOL.
     
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  3. woodrow1029

    woodrow1029 Hall of Fame

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    LOL. You haven't had a reasoned debate yet, so why would you have started now? All I did was point out the obvious that the others have argued with you about, but was more blunt about it.

    You think tennis is being ruined? And it's being ruined by umpires? First of all, that has nothing to do with this thread. Secondly, I would be amused to find out how you think that is?
     
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  4. ninman

    ninman Hall of Fame

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    It's just not a level playing field. Mixing disabled people, with able-bodied people just shouldn't be done. They don't run the same way.

    Also, asking a panel of members from the IOC to try and understand the complicated science that goes into these things, is ridiculous.
     
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  5. ninman

    ninman Hall of Fame

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    I said "umpires like you", not "umpires". That is, people who just spout verbiage, instead of adding something intelligent to the discussion. The fact that you're unable to use basic logic, argumentation and form coherent sentences, suggests that you'd be unfit for the role of umpire.

    If you want to talk about why you think Oscar Pistorius should be allowed to compete with able-bodied athletes then go ahead, but saying things like "your argument is stupid" is not welcome in this thread.
     
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  6. woodrow1029

    woodrow1029 Hall of Fame

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    So, rather than explaining it to the panel of members from the IOC, and getting them to understand the science of it, so that they can have a better understanding of it to make a rational decision based, you would just prefer them to say, "NO! You can't compete. We think it's an advantage, and we are not going to take the time to ask questions and get an explanation and make a decision based on expert opinion?"

    That makes a lot of sense.
     
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  7. ninman

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    Yes, but the other point is that his competitors are relying purely on their bodies to run, he is not.
     
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  8. Dave M

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    I actually think you're wrong, I value your right to an opinion but can't agree with it at all. You made no argument why he shouldn't be allowed to compete against anybody because he achieved the qual' time and was therefore accepted onto his countries squad.
    The blade he has as others have said are designed to mimic natural movement not give him an advantage, they've been looked into and were approved long before he actually achieved the times he needed for selsction.
    The bit i put in bold, comparing like for like, where anywhere does it say that outside of gender and illegal substances? If that were truely the case we'd have lots of different pro tennis circuits, height, weight, arm span would all require different catagories even eye sight would need to be sorted out.If you look at the olympics, it's been a fair while since a skinny white guy has won a sprint event, should they have a seperate one?I think we'd soon be heading towards segregation and it's not somewhere we (well not me anyway) want to go.
    Instead all that is required is you don't have any active assistance devices, you meet the required times set out by the governing body and you don't do drugs.
    So lets all celebrate another remarkable athlete managing to get the chance of representing his country and not pick on somethign he or any of them have no choice on.
     
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  9. ninman

    ninman Hall of Fame

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    I never once said I think it's an advantage. I said it's irrelevant whether it's an advantage or not. It's because he doesn't run in the same way as other athletes, which makes the competition unfair.

    In trying to determine who is the fastest runner, all runners have to have an equal playing field. Introducing a man who needs something artificial attached to his body in order to run is not an equal playing field. It is not a fair comparison.
     
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  10. woodrow1029

    woodrow1029 Hall of Fame

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    So, like Sureshs said, you completely took out pretty much the ONLY argument that could maybe have some substance to it, and made your argument that he's not running like a normal person. Just solidifies that your point makes no sense.
     
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  11. ninman

    ninman Hall of Fame

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    Why does that not make any sense? The competition is about who is the fastest runner. Everybody else is relying entirely on their bodies to run. He is relying on an artificial aid. That automatically makes the competition unfair.
     
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  12. woodrow1029

    woodrow1029 Hall of Fame

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    But you still haven't made a valid argument as to why it's not fair. Do you have any kind of scientific evidence to contradict what was brought to the IOC and officials when they made their decision to allow him to compete? Or is it just your opinion that nobody is going to be able to change ever?
     
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  13. ninman

    ninman Hall of Fame

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    Scientific evidence is not required in this case. Why do you think we have the paralympics? If we're going to let him compete, why not other disabled athletes? Not only that, I believe he wants to run in the paralympics. Do you think Usain Bolt can run in the paralympics?
     
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  14. LuckyR

    LuckyR Legend

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    The reason the IOC reversed themselves and allowed it was that science showed that the prostheses did not confer any additional "thrust" or energy to the running motion.

    This is, of course , true. However there are a lot of other issues that makes the decision controversial.

    1) Likely the prosthetic legs are way lighter than real legs

    2) Oscar actually made the decision to improve his times by using longer prostheses thereby giving himself a longer stride. Of course he still has to move the legs himself, but it is an option that everyone else does not have, for better or worse.

    3) There have been double amputee weight lifters who use their actual weight (without legs) as the weight class they compete in. Naturally they are competing against able bodied athletes with way, way less muscular arms and guess what? They dominate the bench press. Of course they need a belt to attach themselves to the weight bench (since they don't have legs to balance themselves).
     
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  15. woodrow1029

    woodrow1029 Hall of Fame

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    Now you are making another completely irrelevant argument. If you have a copy of the regulations for the Olympics and Paralympics, I am quite certain you would find the exact wording of the rules as to why Usain Bolt cannot run in the Paralympics. I am also sure that there are probably rules as to assistive devices in the Olympics rules and regulations, but probably not quite clear which is why the IOC and officials would seek outside opinions as to whether the blades qualify under those rules, or not.
     
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  16. ninman

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    Just the mere fact that his body does not operate the same as other people's should be enough. His running motion is not completely identical to other people's running motion.

    The idea is that it's supposed to be about who can push their bodies to the limit, and run the fastest. Having an artificial aid no longer makes that applicable.
     
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  17. ninman

    ninman Hall of Fame

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    If he wants to say that he's the same as an able-bodied athlete, then that should disqualify him from the paralympics. You're argument is based purely on emotions, not logic. I'm surprised you can't see why mixing disabled athletes with able-bodied athletes is wrong.
     
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  18. woodrow1029

    woodrow1029 Hall of Fame

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    My argument is not based purely on emotions. My argument is based on the fact that it was proven to the IOC that his blades did not violate the rules regarding assistive devices (for the reasons that LuckyR and several others have posted).

    If it was thought by doctors and other experts that the blades did provide an unfair advantage to the rest of the field, and the IOC only allowed him to compete based on a politically correct argument, then I would completely agree with you that he shouldn't be competing in the Olympics.

    That is not the case. It is you who has an opinion based on personal feelings and emotions.
     
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  19. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    What about contact lenses and glasses in tennis?
     
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  20. ninman

    ninman Hall of Fame

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    Wearing corrective lenses lets you see like someone who doesn't need them. It doesn't help you swing your racquet.

    We have paralympics for a reason.
     
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  21. ninman

    ninman Hall of Fame

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    Not at all. If he won the gold would you say he's the fastest runner? I wouldn't. Every able-bodied athlete has the same biological make-up, so when they compete it's "the best man wins". He does not have the same biological make-up as an able-bodied person. So it's no longer "best man wins".

    Smart people are very good at justifying things they came to believe in, for non-smart reasons. This is a case-in-point. The scientists could put forth an awesome argument to the IOC committee, but because they are not experts, they would have no way of countering what they were saying.
     
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  22. woodrow1029

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    Are you trolling, or are you serious? I'm really starting to wonder. Nobody could legitimately come up with arguments like this could they?
     
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  23. woodrow1029

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    If you had used any of LuckyR's examples of why the decision is controversial, you would have had a much more solid argument. But you didn't use anything like that. You concentrate on the fact that he's not "normal".
     
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  24. ninman

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    Or maybe you could explain why you're the arbiter of what is or isn't a good argument. Since you're clearly such an expert on argumentation, perhaps you could enlighten me as why my argument is not "valid".
     
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  25. woodrow1029

    woodrow1029 Hall of Fame

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    I have told you that my argument is based on what was presented to the IOC, and that they determined that it was acceptable. Obviously there was evidence presented.

    You are just saying you don't think it's normal, so it should not be allowed. Show us all something to justify why it shouldn't be allowed?
     
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  26. ninman

    ninman Hall of Fame

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    Precisely. His body, and his running technique are not the same as everybody else. That's not through training, that's through circumstance.

    I also did some checking online, and he uses about 20% less oxygen to run. Not only that, the blades are not so good at accelerating, but once they get up to speed, he can run much faster than an ordinary athlete, and keep going for longer. That's why he doesn't run in the 100m, or 200m, but the middle to long distance events.
     
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  27. ninman

    ninman Hall of Fame

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    It's a sports competition. In sport we compare like with like. That's why we have different categories for things, e.g. different weight levels for boxing, different events for men and women, and so on.

    The competition has to be exactly the same for everybody who participates. So everybody who is running has to have exactly the same biological, and physical make up. In other words, what a "normal" human being would have, 2 legs, 2 arms, a head, and so on.

    The winner can then say that they are the best in that category. So Usain Bolt is the fastest runner over 100, and 200m. Andy Murray was the best tennis player, Chris Hoy was the best cyclist and so on.

    You cannot possibly say that running 400m on blades, and running 400m with normal legs are exactly the same. So it's not a fair competition. That is why we separate the normal olympics, and the paralympics. That way all the people who need blades to run, can compete with each other, and all the people who are able-bodied can compete with each other.

    It's what's been happening in sport since sport was invented. I'm not saying he shouldn't compete, but he should compete with other people that require blades to run. That way it's fair, everybody has exactly the same circumstances to deal with, and it's best man wins.
     
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  28. Timbo's hopeless slice

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    Stupidest argument ever, and on this forum that is saying something.
    The guy has less than half the leg muscles of his competition!

    Go for a quick sprint (not you, Sureshs), then ask yourself 'how would I go if I couldn't use my calf muscles for this, just my quads and hamstrings?'

    idiots (not you, Woodrow!)
     
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2012
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  29. ninman

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    Irrelevant. He is not running in exactly the same manner as other people. So he should be in a category for people who need blades to run, i.e. the paralympics.
     
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  30. connico

    connico Rookie

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    lol...

    One question. The blades, do they give him any additional advantage over all other runners? And the answer is no...

    What we are discussing here is discrimination; and to question his legitimacy in being able to run in the olympics is just so wrong.

    Next up, black athletes should not be allowed to run because they are so much faster, got something to with genetics.. idiots...
     
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  31. ninman

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    So we shouldn't have the paralympics then? Just let them all compete together? Makes sense. You can't have it both ways, either disabled compete in the paralympics, or they all compete in the normal olympics.

    That's like saying not allowed Usain Bolt to run the 100, 200m in the paralympics is discrimination.
     
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  32. connico

    connico Rookie

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    Is Usain Bolt disabled? lol No; paralympics are games for athletes that have disabilities.

    The olympics are for all athletes; it doesnt exclude disabled people. If they can compete with medical aids that does not disadvantage fellow competitors its not a problem.

    There are rules and guidelines; go read about them and stop discriminating others because of ignorance.
     
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  33. Timbo's hopeless slice

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    Yeah, Bolt isn't 'running in the same manner as other people', either, do we ban him too? (he takes significantly less strides over 200m than his competition, clearly an unfair advantage)

    Your argument regarding physiology is ludicrous, by the way, Pistorios does have the same number of heads, legs and arms as everyone else, his legs just end at the knee.

    As for the blades, do you think everyone should run in bare feet? or perhaps in some sort of 'control shoe' to take out the variables?

    How are the blades different in their application (ie, allowing an athlete to run on the track) to a set of Nike spikes?
     
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2012
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  34. jmverdugo

    jmverdugo Hall of Fame

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    It is not the same, and if you cannot see it then there is not point on discussing with you because you have reached your level of understanding ... there I said it...
     
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2012
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  35. Benhur

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    Woodrow, your arguments seem based exclusively on appeal to authority, and those arguments are never very convincing. In this case it amounts to saying: it’s okay he is allowed to run with those devices because the authorities in charge said it’s okay.

    The initial decision not to let him run was reversed on appeal. In the reversal, they acknowledged that he does enjoy an advantage at full speed, as had been previously determined, but they thought that this advantage can be considered sufficiently offset by the disadvantage in the acceleration phase.

    Doesn’t sound to me like very serious grounds for reversal, in part because of the impossibility of measuring the advantages relative to the disadvantages, but mainly because the rules are clear in this respect: No mechanical devices that provide an advantage are allowed. Period. The decision to allow it on the grounds that the advantage is offset during parts of the race is a joke. Your demand for proofs and demonstrations is unreasonable. The use of those devices clearly violates the basic rules of the game.

    Also, the decision to let South Africa go to the final round of the 4x400 after their second man, Mogawane, fell down (supposedly obstructed) is a totally unprecedented, make-it-up-as-you-go-along outrage. The guy was next to last when he fell, but even if he had been first, there is no way you can do this. From now on, if you are not doing so good on the 4x400, just find a way to get yourself obstructed, fall down, and presto your team will be moved to the next round. I have to assume it was done only because Pistorious is in the team. Amazing stuff.
     
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  36. ninman

    ninman Hall of Fame

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    Exactly. The only possible way to measure any advantage or disadvantage would be to measure his time with legs, then measure his time without. It's a totally unmeasurable quantity. But like you said, that doesn't even matter, using those things in the ordinary olympics is against the rules.
     
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  37. jmverdugo

    jmverdugo Hall of Fame

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    ok, this is going to be my last post for today because I am on my second Foster and my ability to type is going down by the sip ...

    1. It is possible to measure EVERYTHING relating the blades and Pistorious running style, you can measure (and I mean with real sensors and monitoring systems) any type of advantage he may have, and they know what they have to change in the blade's design to make them perform within the limits of human capabilities, more over (and as I already wrote), the human body cannot tolerate something super human, Pistorious could not handle something that would give him extraordinary abilities because his body cannot handle the extraordinary stress.

    2. Rules change all the time, that is how we evolve, the Olympic committee is smart enough to try new things, if you cannot see that then probably you have bigger problems ...
     
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  38. ninman

    ninman Hall of Fame

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    1. No it is not. They are not measuring how he specifically would run with normal legs, compared to artificial ones. Comparing him to how others run is flawed, because it's impossible to know how he would run if he had legs.
     
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  39. Benhur

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    From the wikipedia article (sorry if this has been pointed out before, I haven't read the entire thread)
    In November 2007, Pistorius was invited to take part in a series of scientific tests at the Cologne Sports University under the guidance of Professor of Biomechanics Dr Peter Brüggemann in conjunction with Mr Elio Locatelli, who was responsible with the IAAF of all technical issues. After two days of tests Brüggemann reported on his findings on behalf of the IAAF. The report claimed that Pistorius's limbs used 25% less energy than runners with complete natural legs to run at the same speed, and that they led to less vertical motion combined with 30% less mechanical work for lifting the body.[34] In December, Brüggemann told Die Welt newspaper that Pistorius "has considerable advantages over athletes without prosthetic limbs who were tested by us. It was more than just a few percentage points. I did not expect it to be so clear.
    [...]
    Pistorius subsequently appealed against the adverse decision to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Lausanne, Switzerland, and appeared before the tribunal at the end of April 2008.[38] After a two-day hearing, on 16 May 2008 the Court of Arbitration for Sport upheld Pistorius's appeal and the IAAF council decision was revoked with immediate effect. The CAS panel unanimously determined that Dr. Brüggemann only tested Pistorius's biomechanics at full-speed when he was running in a straight line (unlike a real 400-metre race), that the report did not consider the disadvantages that Pistorius suffers at the start and acceleration phases of the race, and that overall there was no evidence that he had any net advantage over able-bodied athletes.


    So the whole thing is based on the inability to measure the extent of the disadvantage during the acceleration phase. Since he specializes in 400 metres, the acceleration phase is probably no more than 60 metres or 15% of the race. The remaining 85% he is running with the advantages described by Dr Peter Brüggemann above, which seem very considerable and, to my knowledge, were not disputed. The whole thing hinges on inability to measure the exact net advantage. Doesn't seem very serious to me at all as grounds for allowing it. Maybe it has some media value, I don't know. In any case, normal running is done on legs. Skating is done on skates, blading on blades, and so on. Whatever it is that he is doing, he is not running in the same sense the others are running.
     
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2012
    #89
  40. ninman

    ninman Hall of Fame

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    Yeah, I read something like that before. That's why he does 400m, he can't accelerate quickly enough for the 100m. But when he gets up to speed, then he's got the advantage.

    But I just think this whole think about advantage or not is missing the point. Like you said, it isn't running, because everybody else has to do differently to him.
     
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  41. JohnnyCracker

    JohnnyCracker Semi-Pro

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    he's competing in the wrong event then
    he should be dominating the 800m and 1500m
    is he?
     
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  42. hollywood9826

    hollywood9826 Semi-Pro

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    Thats what I was thinking. If the Blades are that godly when you get up to speed he should be breaking WR every other week in the 800m. Why not go all out and run marathons. Heck he probably dont even have to move once he gets going the blades will just bounce him all along on the downhills.
     
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  43. -RF-

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    Yeah. He works as hard as anyone else, why not?
     
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  44. Benhur

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    I agree that the “advantage vs disadvantage” way of looking at it is probably beside the point, because the only precise way to measure the balance would be to compare his racing with the racing he would do if he had not lost his legs as a child. Absent that, the fact that an advantage does exist, as has been pointed out by those who looked into it, should be plenty to make a decision against it. But then there is the whole media aspect of it. It’s a good story. And those who write about it in the mainstream press have to mince their words very carefully. Here is a SI article on it, where you can see the author prudently remains very ambiguous, in spite of the unambiguous information scattered throughout:

    http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/20...03/oscar-pistorius-london-olympics/index.html

    [excerpts]
    Among track aficionados, certain statistical comparisons have raised eyebrows: Pistorius's 100- and 200-meter bests are similar to those of U.S. sprinter Allyson Felix, but he is 4.5 seconds faster than her in the 400. As Pistorius progressed to where he could compete for a spot on South Africa's national team, another South African 400 runner who was also fighting for a spot, Sibusiso Sishi, gave his opinion: "I don't mind racing [Pistorius], but I'm still a bit skeptical about his legs because they are man-made. They are carbon fiber, which means they are nice and light. I would just like him to do the tests so at least we know where we stand."
    […]
    In May of 2008, based on Kram and Herr's testimony and the data the team collected in Weyand's lab, Pistorius was reinstated. The CAS ruling explicitly noted that though the prostheses give no energetic advantage relevant to sprinting, future scientific findings could still show that the Cheetah Flex-Feet give Pistorius a mechanical advantage. Eighteen months later, Weyand and Matthew Bundle, a biomechanist at Montana and one of the other scientists who did the testing that got Pistorius reinstated, came out and said that the Cheetahs do just that.

    "It was dead obvious as soon as [Bundle and I] saw the data that Oscar has an advantage," says Peter Weyand, who now directs the SMU Locomotor Performance Laboratory. "We haven't wavered from that interpretation since."
    Because the CAS hearing examined specifically -- and only -- the IAAF's previous claims regarding Pistorius, it was not until the following year, when the scientific team published its full findings in the Journal of Applied Physiology, that the researchers who helped Pistorius earn the right to compete split into groups, with Weyand and Bundle contending that Pistorius has a massive advantage. To understand Weyand's reasoning, it helps to know a bit about the mechanics of sprinting.

    […]
    Full article: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/20...03/oscar-pistorius-london-olympics/index.html
     
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  45. jmverdugo

    jmverdugo Hall of Fame

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    I do not why this thread reminded me of this one:

    [​IMG]
     
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  46. Benhur

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    Maybe because he is a sprinter, not a marathon runner?

    If you allow me to "run" a marathon on inline skates, against the best marathon runners (running on their feet) I can guarantee you I will not win it. Is that proof that I did not have an advantage? Hardly, because the best marathon inline skaters would beat the best marathon runner by more than one hour.

    The main advantage enjoyed by Pistorius is related to the fact that we cannot bring the current 400 m specialists back to their infancy, amputate their legs, give them 20 years to practice on blades, and see how fast they "run" the 400m. Since this can't happen, there is always some microscopic room for doubts, which, if wisely combined with the mediatic value of the cinderella aspect of the story, is sufficient to allow it.
     
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  47. hollywood9826

    hollywood9826 Semi-Pro

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    People make it seem like the blades run themselves. If South Africa can pull off a medal in the relay crap is going to hit the fan. And since they are letting him run a leg and not start he should already be up to a decent speed. It will be intersting to see how fast his split is.
     
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  48. Benhur

    Benhur Hall of Fame

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    The advantage comes from a significant reduction of leg mass (and especially, I should add, a displacement of the legs center of mass to a point much closer to the body) which allows for much faster swing times. It’s not difficult to imagine the effect of something like this in reverse. Hold in each hand an object such that the weight of your arm is significantly increased by a comparable amount as the difference between a blade and a normal leg. Now swing your arms as fast as you can, and feel how much harder it is to swing them. Or tape some considerable weight to the middle of your calves, or to your shoes, and feel how much this slows down you leg swing.

    From the IE article quoted previously:

    In 2000, Weyand and a team of researchers at Harvard published a study showing that humans, from couch potatoes to pro sprinters, have essentially the same leg-swing times when they achieve their maximum speed. Says Weyand, "The line we use around the lab is, From Usain Bolt to Grandma, they reposition their limbs in virtually the same amount of time."
    But Pistorius's leg-swing times, when measured on a high-speed treadmill, were off the human charts. At top speed, he swings his legs between strides in 0.284 of a second, which is 20 percent faster than intact-limbed sprinters with the same top speed. "His limbs are 20 percent lighter," Weyand says, "and he swings them 20 percent faster."
    […]
    Herr, defending Pistorius, contends that the South African's rapid swing times are merely compensation for the force deficit caused by the Cheetahs and that researchers may never be able to quantify all the advantages and disadvantages of running on carbon-fiber blades. "It's going to take years and years," he says, "and it may not be knowable." To which Bundle says, "The technology is enabling him to do something that nobody else can do. That's the very definition of an advantage."
    […]
    Ralph Mann, a silver medalist in the 400 hurdles in 1972 and USA Track and Field's director of sports science for sprints and hurdles, has likely analyzed high-speed film of more sprinters than any person in the world -- every U.S. championship since 1982, several world championships and five Olympic Games. When he saw the Pistorius data, he says, "I came to the conclusion that he's not using normal human ground time and air time. Air times are basically the same for every sprinter on the planet, whether high school, collegiate or pro."
    SI spoke with eight independent physiologists and biomechanics experts who had no involvement with testing Pistorius, and all eight agreed that Pistorius has abnormally low leg-swing times, stemming from the lightness of his prostheses. Four felt that Pistorius has an advantage over his competitors, while four said that the low swing time is an advantage but that there may be other potential disadvantages to the prostheses that must be studied in more detail before they could say if Pistorius should be allowed to race against intact runners. "It's innocent until proven guilty," Herr says.


    Amazingly, the defense manages to keep things fuzzy by insisting that the disadvantages might perhaps offset the advantages, we just don’t know, it can’t be measured, and therefore he should be allowed. I find this astonishing. Let’s say there is a hunting competition using bow and arrow. But a certain guy (with bad eyesight and only one arm), is allowed to join the competition using a gun. When people suggest this doesn’t make sense, the defenders point out that his lack of an arm and bad eyesight offset the advantage of the gun. It just makes no sense.
     
    #98
  49. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    A gun is so similar in function to a bow and arrow, it is so confusing.
     
    #99
  50. hollywood9826

    hollywood9826 Semi-Pro

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    Blade Runner, McKayla is not impressed.
     

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