Society on Oscar Pistorius

Monnone, Andrew, Diebor, Robert. “The Fast Life of Oscar Pistorius.” The New York Times, 5

Feb 2012,

91BC114169PQ/3?accountid=14902. Accessed 9 Nov 2016.

This short news clipping appears to be a set of letters to the editor about an article that had been written for The New York Times. The letters include a trio of differing opinions on Pistorius’ participation in The Olympics. The first writer, Andrew Monnone of Brooklyn questions why critics don’t request that Pistorius use heavier legs to avoid him gaining an advantage through lighter lower limbs. He also states the difference in weight, researchers claim that Pistorius’ prosthetics weigh about five and a half pounds while the average human leg weighs twelve and a half pounds. Monnone points out that a heavier leg would take away this advantage while still allowing Pistorius to compete. In another letter, Diebor joins the critics in saying that Pistorius should not be allowed to compete. He says that the prosthetics give Pistorius a very obvious advantage and that in any other sport, Pistorius would be an outcast. The third writer, Robert, gives another opinion. He claims that all athletes have anatomical advantages. He claims that Usain Bolt’s long legs give him an advantage and Pistorius’ lack of any legs is his advantage. Pistorius has gone through victory, defeat, and years of constant training just like any other athlete.

This article mirrors the opinions read in the other article detailing Oscar Pistorius’ rights to race in The Olympics. This set of clippings from The New York Times does give context to the perspective of normal members of society during the time. It is interesting that these people believe that living with prosthetics makes life easier, because in another article that I read, outsiders were appalled that a person would choose to have a more traumatic amputation to increase comfort levels. But certain prosthetics can be designed to make certain tasks easier. For example, a foot can be designed with a pointe shoe on the end to allow dancers to continue to train after the loss of a limb.

This article sparks curiosity on the topic of prosthetics in the field of sports. What kinds of official rules are at play? Do amputee athletes receive special training or treatment because of their bodies? Is there any real research to support either side of the argument?


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