Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Oscar Pistorius: A Call for Fair Play

It is the stance of the Center for the Study of Sport in Society at Northeastern University that the International Association of Athletics Federations' decision to deny Oscar Pistorius, a double amputee sprinter from South Africa, the right to compete in the Olympics was premature. The IAAF concluded that his state-of-the-art carbon fiber prosthetics give him an unfair advantage over able-bodied sprinters. However, there has not been enough in-depth and substantial independent testing to reach a fair decision. With additional sport science research the IAAF would be better equipped to make a fully informed and the fairest decision. All persons with and without disabilities should come together to support fair, comprehensive, and open assessments of Pistorius and other athletes with similar disabilities. The essence of sport is to strive for fair play on and off the field. We must ensure that this principle is realized in this and future cases.

8 comments:

Ross Tucker and Jonathan Dugas said...

Hi there,

We are two sports scientists who have written about Oscar Pistorius in depth since last July on our blog The Science of Sport.

It is our scientific opinion that the IAAF has performed an exhaustive battery of tests on Mr. Pistorius and his prosthetics, and that their decision to ban him from able-bodied competition was based on sound scientific and objective evidence.

You mention in this post that "with additional sport science research the IAAF would be better equipped to make a fully informed and the fairest decision." If that is the case, then please tell us what further research should be performed? In our opinion as sports scientists the battery of tests was more than sufficient based on the physiological nature and requirements of sprinting 400 m.

If you feel more tests are needed, then you must propose these tests, for simply to suggest that more needs to be done does not advance the debate any further.

Finally, we encourage you to read all of our posts on this case as they represent perhaps the only complete set of evidence and analysis on Mr. Pistorius.

Kindest Regards,
Jonathan Dugas
Ross Tucker

Sport in Society said...

Friends - Here are two articles that share various perspectives:

New issues for disabled athletes
http://www.lohud.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080117/NEWS03/801170398/-1/opinion

Fast-Moving Technology
http://ohionewsnow2.com/sports-story.php?story=dispatch/2008/02/03/20080203-C11-00.html

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