Oscar "Blade Runner" Pistorius made Olympics history today as the first double amputee runner to compete. He also advanced to the semifinals, so take that, two-legged runners.
Seriously, this guy is great. The South African runner had both of his legs amputated when he was 11 months old. He runs on carbon-fiber devices called Cheetahs, and he displays the kind of grace and persistence that make fans swoon.
A loser isn't the person that gets involved and comes last, but it's the person that doesn't get involved in the first place. It's a mentality we've always had. When you start something, you do it properly. The passion you start something with, you finish it off with.
I mean, honestly. Just give him all the endorsement deals.
Pistorius' Cheetahs have received plenty of attention, with debate raging over whether or not the devices give him an unfair advantage against runners using their legs. The I.A.A.F., which is the governing body of track and field, originally said he could not compete, but that ban was later struck down by the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
The argument against Pistorius competing is that he uses less energy to achieve greater results: a 2009 study claimed he was able to take strides faster and with more power. Runners like Michael Johnson have argued that the Cheetahs do create an unfair contest.
But other experts suggest the opposite. According to Robert Gailey, a professor of physical therapy, Blade Runner is actually working harder than his competitors.
His ability to compete is a testament to what a great athlete he is, not because of any technological advantage. Literally, he has a disadvantage throughout much of the race, but he's been able to overcome it. He's an elite athlete. He just happens not to have feet.
As Gailey explains, Pistorius has to generate power using only his hips, as opposed to other athletes who can also use their ankles and calves. Gailey's testimony is part of what allowed Blade Runner to compete.
In fact, the human foot produces more energy than Pistorius' carbon-fiber devices do. So yeah, he's really just making everyone else look bad.
[Image via AP]