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The Blade Runner
April 15, 2011Posted by on
I first read about Oscar Pistorius back in 2007. The decorated Paralympic athlete was targeting an unprecedented appearance in Olympic athletics competition*.
The double-amputee’s carbon fiber legs attracted much attention – and speculation of an unfair competitive advantage. What ensued was a months-long legal process with Court of Arbitration for Sport. By the time Pistorius was cleared to compete, he only had a couple of months to meet the entry standards for the Beijing Games.
I found the controversy particularly unnerving. Carbon fibers aren’t cybernetic appendages for crying out loud. We’re still few generations away from science fiction becoming reality. Nevertheless, I drew much inspiration from Pistorius. His times in the sprints were particularly impressive, comparing it to Filipino standards. His 2007 PR in the 100m dash is good enough for a UAAP podium finish. His 2007 best in the 200m dash is almost as fast as Ralph Soguilon’s national record.
It is in the quarter-mile where the 24-year old South African is most deadly. Pistorius recently shaved off a big 0.4 seconds from his 400m personal best, stopping the clock in 45.61s. With this new clocking, Pistorius had bettered the Olympic “B” standard. To solidify his slot in the South African Olympic team for 2012, Pistorius would have to move heaven and earth just to meet the new Olympic “A” standard of 45.25s.
Pistorius had a particularly bad-ass Nike advertisement. Many a time had I turned to the video for an adrenaline boost. It’s my favorite advertisement of all-time.
In a country where sports aside from boxing, basketball – much less Paralympic events – take a back seat, it’s amazing to see a differently-abled athlete compete at a much higher level than the best Filipino athletes of today.
It is, in every sense of the word, inspiring.
*- A South African Paralympic swimmer, Natalie Du Toit, competed in the able-bodied games in 2008.