The wonderous legs of Oscar Pistorius  MAY 20 2008

Over at Stingy Kids, Adriana has a thoughtful and link-filled post about South African sprinter Oscar Pistorius. Pistorius is a double-amputee who runs on carbon fiber blades in place of his lower legs; here's a video of him running in a 400m race. Last week, the Court of Arbitration for Sport ruled that Pistorius can compete for a spot in the Beijing Olympics against "able-bodied" athletes, which overturned a previous ruling that he could not compete because his blades give him a mechanical advantage.

What's clear is that the seemingly politically correct replacement of "disabled" with "differently abled" is not only warranted but perhaps doesn't go far enough. How about "super abled" or "superbly abled"? Lengthen or add a bit more spring to those blades and Pistorius may win every race handily and take first in the high jump to boot.

Pistorius is not the first athlete with super abilities. Steroids and HGH are outlawed in most sports because it's felt they give too much advantage. Baseball pitchers routinely opt for something called Tommy John surgery, many athletes get laser eye surgery to improve their vision, and many more potential augmentation schemes are right around the corner. And lest you think this is just about sports, maybe the guy in the next cubicle over is regularly taking Provigil to improve his memory, concentration, and his chances at that promotion you wanted.

Read more posts on kottke.org about:
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