Oscar Pistorius is part of South Africa's national track and field team. He will make Olympics history as the first athlete to compete with a prosthetic limb. He will be competing in the 400 meter race on Saturday using two high performance carbon fiber artificial legs.
But is this fair? Not because he has a disadvantage, in fact, it's the complete opposite. Pistorius, known as "Blade Runner" because of his sleek prosthetics has an unfair advantage over athletes competing with biological limbs. Pistorius is the only one in the world with prosthetic legs that can run 400 meters in under 50 seconds.
“It’s not that I don’t want to run Paralympic or disabled races, or races for those athletes who are handicapped, or amputees,” he told NPR. “But this is just a challenge for me, and any good sportsman that wants to be better has to face up to challenges that aren’t always as easy as some of the others.”
Pistorius was barred from play during the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing by the International Track Federation. He challenged the decision at the Court of Arbitration of Sport, which ruled that he had no advantage and could compete if he had qualifying race times.
The court made their decision based on research from the University of Colorado. Researchers measured Pistorius' oxygen consumption in comparison to other athletes. He uses the same metabolic energy as his elite athlete peers.
The South African sprinter’s prosthetics were created by Össur, called Cheetah, which are custom-built from high performance carbon fiber specifically for athletes. The company says they are optimal for both transtibial (through the shin) and transfemoral (through the thigh) amputees.
Do you think he has an unfair advantage? What do you think?