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Should challenged athletes be banned from Olylmpics?

Old 02-28-08, 10:35 AM
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Should challenged athletes be banned from Olylmpics?

If she qualified, challenged triathletes such as O.C. cyclist Jill Hodges would not be allowed to participate in the Olympic Games following a recent decision by the IAAF, which makes the rules. The ruling is now under appeal. The prosthetic in question is made in Orange County, but is used world-wide. To read more, comment, vote, and see an info graphic, please go to: https://www.ocregister.com/news/reine...-pistorius-leg
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Old 02-28-08, 10:59 AM
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I never tire of reading articles about people overcoming barriers, whether they are physcial, mental, economic, political, or otherwise. Thanks for writing the article and highlighting a couple more of those people.

However, I believe most arguments for allowing special exemptions for challenged athletes usually boil down to argumentum ad misericordiam (appeal to pity), rather than objective analysis of the case. In this case (and in the Casey Martin case), it is up to the ruling body to determine if the special equipment sufficiently changes the playing field.

It will never be black and white, of course. There is clearly an enormous gray area (contact lenses), and a reductio ad absurdum to issues like economic and social disadvantages. But it seems in this case that the difference between legs and blades is a qualitative difference (regardless of whether the blades are less, or more, efficient), and I agree with the IAAF that it's a different enough set of circumstances that it would necessitate different events.
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Old 02-28-08, 11:18 AM
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IIRC, the IAAF found that Oscar Pistorius, with the prosthetic leg, was a more efficient runner than his full-bodied counter parts, and that the prosthetic leg gave him an unfair advantage.
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Old 02-28-08, 12:01 PM
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In middle school, there was a kid on a local swim team with prosthetic feet. When it was time to swim, he'd wear these flipper like feet that seemed to be a major advantage. Nobody said anything b/c of the level of competition, but it seemed odd.

Oh, and in college, I played intramural soccer - one of the guys in my league had one leg and used crutches. He'd swat the ball with crutches all the time. What do you call that?? I mean, if it's on the ground, sure, but when it's 10 ft up?
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Old 02-28-08, 12:08 PM
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I thought they had Olympics for people with handicaps and prostehtics. As much as I want everyone to have equal and fair chances at everything, life doesn't play out that way. Since it could be argued that prosthetics are and advantage, the ruling is understandable.
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Old 02-28-08, 01:32 PM
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As an aside, the risk of injury and the rate of recovery is different as well - say, if part of my CF leg was broken, it can most likely be replaced in a timely manner. Tear my ACL? Looking at 6+ months. Not to mention soreness, recovery, etc.
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Old 02-28-08, 01:33 PM
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Good point.
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Old 02-28-08, 02:07 PM
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I've been reading about this debate for quite a while. The info-graphic that you have is somewhat interesting as it's the first I've seen that contradicts the study that concluded that the prosthetics actually provided an advantage to the sprinter in question. It would be nice to get to the bottom of this but I suspect that won't happen as every individual is different.

I've had the pleasure of meeting Sarah Reinersten a few times. I was only a few feet from her when they told her she missed the bike cutoff in Kona (heart-breaking) and I've ridden alongside of her through Santiago Canyon. I can tell you for sure that her prosthetic does not make her a better cyclist. By the way, she has one of the greatest attitudes of anyone I've ever met.

I think the problem here is where you draw the line. I suspect in a few years Science will come up with artificial limbs that really are stronger and faster than human limbs. So, will athletes resort to amputations to get the new edge? You'd like to think not but as we've seen from cycling, major league baseball, etc... some people will do anything for an advantage. Then what will we do.

Unfortunately, things can't always be "fair" and I think the IAAF is doing what they think is right. Sometimes that's all we can ask.
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Old 03-03-08, 09:41 AM
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Thought I'd mention a number of challenged athletes have contacted me, saying they don't support "Blade Runner's" efforts. That he should only support the Paralympics. Others disagree. Hmmm.
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Old 03-03-08, 10:16 AM
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Originally Posted by VanceMac
I never tire of reading articles about people overcoming barriers, whether they are physcial, mental, economic, political, or otherwise. Thanks for writing the article and highlighting a couple more of those people.

However, I believe most arguments for allowing special exemptions for challenged athletes usually boil down to argumentum ad misericordiam (appeal to pity), rather than objective analysis of the case. In this case (and in the Casey Martin case), it is up to the ruling body to determine if the special equipment sufficiently changes the playing field.

It will never be black and white, of course. There is clearly an enormous gray area (contact lenses), and a reductio ad absurdum to issues like economic and social disadvantages. But it seems in this case that the difference between legs and blades is a qualitative difference (regardless of whether the blades are less, or more, efficient), and I agree with the IAAF that it's a different enough set of circumstances that it would necessitate different events.
That is the best response I have seen to this question.
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Old 03-03-08, 03:27 PM
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I don't have an real opinion yet, just a few questions (and then my sarcastic opinion):

What about the weight factor? Do the prosthetic limbs offer a better chance to succeed because they are lighter then a real human limb?

Does the design of the prosthetic limb offer increased spring power (that is automatic and never gets tired) over a real human lower leg?

At what point did being a medal earner at the Special Olympics stop being an Olympian? Everyone that competes at that level is a truly magnificent person that deserves full kudos for their efforts.


and on to the sarcasm:
I say we should allow challenged athletes to compete in the Olympics, and anyone caught doping should be required to perform in the Special Olympics, while wearing a device that will weigh them down so that every Special Olympian will beat the snot out of them in competition.
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Old 03-10-08, 08:42 AM
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Just an fyi - think you might mean the Paralympics? Special Olympics are different...those for people with special needs, Down's, etc.
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Old 03-10-08, 02:17 PM
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Originally Posted by DavidWhiting
Just an fyi - think you might mean the Paralympics? Special Olympics are different...those for people with special needs, Down's, etc.
In regards to the athletes that are openly doping, they need to be involved with the Special Olympics... because the people in those Olympics are possibly on drugs as well (although theirs are prescribed and administered by professionals with the hope that the drugs will downplay the significance of the malady in their lives) The people with truly special needs should be able to kick the snot out of the dopers! People with special needs deserve any amount of joy that the rest of us can provide to them...

That is, of course, unless those participants think it would be beneath them to compete against the worthless dopers...

Medal winners at the Olympics (Special, Para, or regular) are exceptional athletes worthy of respect... but dopers in organized sports are on par with sacks of doggy doo-doo left flaming on a doorstep.
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Old 03-10-08, 02:25 PM
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Originally Posted by DavidWhiting
If she qualified, challenged triathletes such as O.C. cyclist Jill Hodges would not be allowed to participate in the Olympic Games following a recent decision by the IAAF, which makes the rules. The ruling is now under appeal. The prosthetic in question is made in Orange County, but is used world-wide. To read more, comment, vote, and see an info graphic, please go to: https://www.ocregister.com/news/reine...-pistorius-leg
To me, an athlete with that kind of prosthetic could be called "enhanced".
It provides flexing and propulsion movements like muscles do. Letting athletes
with them participate against those who don't have them is like saying a man vs. machine
competition is on a level field.
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