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World's First Cybernetic Athlete To Compete 199

Tufriast writes "The world's first mechanically augmented athlete, Oscar Pistorius, will now compete against unaugmented peers on behalf of South Africa. He'll be running in the 400m and 4x400m relay at the World Athletics 2011 Championships. Pistorius, a double leg amputee, has had special leg blades crafted for him that allow him to compete against his peers. He's fought hard to prove they provide no advantage, and according to IAAF they do not. This should be a very interesting race to watch. His nickname: The Blade Runner."
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World's First Cybernetic Athlete To Compete

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  • by Assmasher ( 456699 ) on Tuesday August 09, 2011 @07:47AM (#37031140) Journal

    ...runners with natural ankles and feet.

    I admire the guy's tenacity (double amputee at 11 months and still played rugby growing up) but I recall seeing him competing a few years ago in Europe (some track meet in Rome iirc) and he was no where near the fitness level of the other atheletes and yet was qualifying for heats (in other words - he was 'heavy' at the time.)

    Now unless this is an unfortunate coincidence between the potentially fastest human ever having his legs amputated as a baby, it is an unfair advantage. The IAAF, contrary to the OP's assertion, claim that it provides him a clear and obvious advantage mechanically and say they have the data to back it up...

  • by delinear ( 991444 ) on Tuesday August 09, 2011 @08:12AM (#37031268)
    Indeed, although I wonder why that's so. If Nike or Adidas create a new sports shoe that gives a competitive advantage, and only certain athletes have access to it, do the sports bodies get their panties in a twist? The whole idea of the Olympics in particular (where he was prevented from running) is that it's meant to bring people together - here's someone who is trying to take a pretty crappy hand life's dealt them and turn it into a positive.
  • Re:A strange game... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by fuzzyfuzzyfungus ( 1223518 ) on Tuesday August 09, 2011 @08:13AM (#37031292) Journal
    A great many athletes end up horribly unhealthy. Some of the more adventurous doping can chew you up quickly and unpleasantly; but high-level athletic performance will grind you down good and hard in the long run.

    The one where even "what you were born with" seems to break down into pure handwaving is Women's high-level stuff. All the really weird phenotypes show up there: XYYs, Chimeras, burly intersex specimens of various flavors, all sorts of obscure genetic and phenotypic curiosities that definitely aren't XY males; but really, really rub people the wrong way as "women"...
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 09, 2011 @08:22AM (#37031344)

    advantage.. cyberman.

    for fuck sakes, they're just carbon fiber, they arent robotic, and being maimed by a tractor certainly wasnt a fucking "augmentation". the fact is that I can probably outrun most people reading this, as they are fat, and I am not.

    the best prosthetics designed for such things (like this guys), will give back somewhere about 80% of a normal foots energy in a stride, according to marketing literature, real life is less.

    the poster above me thinks the special olympians are all augmented, they should all stay where "they belong". Nope, cant compete with all the doped up muscleheads. What a douchebag.

    I was told I was not allowed to compete, or take part in things my whole childhood, especially at things I'm good at. The excuse was usually some bullshit about how "our insurance wont cover it", but I always felt the truth was people just couldnt stand to see their kids lose to a cripple. At anything. I'm talking the fucking chess club in middle school. No joke. Somehow an amputee playing chess after hours was an unacceptable risk (when he checkmated the teachers prodigee genius son in 6 moves and made him cry)

    Haters gonna hate. I'm still better than you at most things.

  • Re:A strange game... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by itsdapead ( 734413 ) on Tuesday August 09, 2011 @09:24AM (#37031896)

    I've never understood the nigh-jesuitical levels of logic chopping(with not infrequent descent into mere hand-waving) that go on surrounding "fair" and "unfair" advantages in high level sports.

    The underlying problem is the idea of "high level sports", "professional athletes", massive sponsorship deals and huge capital pork projects to host athletics events. If it was just a case of the misty-eyed wholesome self-improvement aspect of sport for sport's sake then it would be petty to argue about such things and there would be less incentive to cheat. As it is, though, these are professionals (highly paid in some cases) trying to defend their livelihood against "unfair competition".

    "Oh, no! We have to set a good example for the kids! Professional athletes are just regular folks who get a good night's rest and eat their wheaties!".

    Of course there's nothing particularly natural about regular folks who eat their wheaties (or anything else that doesn't grow on trees in the Rift Valley), had their childhood diseases cured and can expect to live 40 years beyond the MTBF of the original homo sapiens. Should we stop worrying and embrace the PharmaLympics, and treat anybody who wrecks their health with performance-enhancing drugs the same way we treat those of us who have wrecked our health by sitting behind a desk all day and living on pizza and coffee for the sake of our career?

    That'd be Wheaties(tm) - fortified with iron and vitamins, official breakfast cereal of the BigSportsTornament(r)(tm)(c) by the way.

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