Disability Sports: Cheating or Support?

When I wrote the post about technology in sports last week I found myself thinking about my position regarding the conflict I wrote about. Up to which point should we allow and use technology in sports? And then an interesting thought came up to my mind: What about the disabled, who compete for example in the Paralympics? They use exceptional technology but not only to increase their performance but primarily to be able to do the sport in the first place. So I asked myself, is this then an exception that we should not include in the discussion mentioned earlier? Should they be allowed to use any technology they want?When I wrote the post about technology in sports last week I found myself thinking about my position regarding the conflict I wrote about. Up to which point should we allow and use technology in sports? And then an interesting thought came up to my mind: What about the disabled, who compete for example in the Paralympics? They use exceptional technology but not only to increase their performance but primarily to be able to do the sport in the first place. So I asked myself, is this then an exception that we should not include in the discussion mentioned earlier? Should they be allowed to use any technology they want?

The Rise and Rise of Disability Sport 

While researching I found an interesting blog, that describes the use of Chetaah blades in track. Researchers did find out, that those running specific prostheses do not give an unfair advantage to the disabled athletes compared to the non-disabled athletes. But they have the potential to challenge the accepted norms in sport and this makes people feel anxious.  At the moment the technology that disabled use is unable to match the performance of conventional bones and muscle, but the blogger fears that when the point of equal performance is reached, the use of that technology will be limited although it gives a great opportunity to the disabled.

The Trouble with Oscar

 The blogger, I just talked about, also mentioned Oscar Pistorius, who is a very famous, disabled runner, who already run against non-disabled athletes. In a blog that he wrote two years after the one I cited above, he describes the troubling development of his achievements. The question is now, if those Chetaah blades enhance his performance or merely overcome his disability. Of course people will see this as a great step for disabled people, for Oscar can hardly be described as such, but the rules of the sport have to be respected.

There has been a long court battle between the IAAF and the lawyer of Oscar, including several tests measuring the amount of energy used by the disabled athlete and the non-disabled. First it was proven that Oscar uses 25% less energy, for he uses less muscles and then another study stated that he uses a comparable amount. Now he can participate in the Olympics 2012, if he runs the 400m in less then 45.25 seconds.

Overcoming a Disability

I think it is just great to see a disabled man, who has such great self-confidence and success that he no longer sees himself as disabled. I believe that those technologies should be supported so that sport is not only for the non-disabled but for everyone who has the ambition. And as long as the research proves that there is no advantage gained from that technology, I think there is no reason why disabled people cannot compete against non-disabled.

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8 Comments

  1. Hey Anne! Thanks for this nice post! It’s very nicely written and really interesting. I recently show a documentation on TV about this topic and I came up with pretty much the same opinion like you 🙂

    Reply
  2. Larissa

     /  2011/12/01

    Hi,
    very interesting topic! I especially like the way you let us be part of your train of thoughts. That makes your conclusion is even more convincing! And speaking of the personal aspect, it’s great that you posted a video…and then continued with “I think it is just great to SEE a disabled man..”

    Reply
  3. I do agree with all of the ideas you’ve presented in your post. They are very convincing and will certainly work. Still, the posts are very short for novices. Could you please extend them a bit from next time? Thanks for the post.

    Reply
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  5. You can certainly see your skills in the work you write. The world hopes for even more passionate writers like you who are not afraid to say how they believe. Always go after your heart.

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  7. I was suggested this blog by my cousin. I am not sure whether this post is written by him as nobody else know such detailed about my trouble. You’re wonderful! Thanks!

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  8. I appreciate, cause I found just what I was looking for. You’ve ended my 4 day long hunt! God Bless you man. Have a great day. Bye

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