Olympics. Is the blade runners disability an advantage?

by Jack Gardner
London Marathon, Marathon Runners

In which case the word disability is wrong.



Oscar Pistorius is the athlete with springs, to replace his lower legs, who caused controversy by wanting to compete in the able bodied Olympic games. That’s an idea. Let’s call the Para Olympics just Olympics and the Olympics the Able Bodied Olympics. Daft you think, well read on. The press constantly call Oscar ‘blade runner.’ Well, I suppose it’s better than ‘stumpy,’ although only marginally. Not to be confused with ‘swampy,’ who is an environmental activist/Eco-warrior who kept tunneling under proposed building sites he thought would damage the environment. He appears to have gone quiet of late and is living in a Yurt in Wales. Although he so annoyed the establishment that they might have taken him out with a drone. Swampy, not blade runner.

The controversy centers on a simple issue. Do his artificial legs give him an unfair advantage when competing? Well, this is not the first time this issue has been in the public eye. The last time concerned Zebadee, off the Magic Roundabout who got around on a spring. No one back then seemed to think it was an issue and allowed Zebadee to go about his business unhindered. I am uncertain of the injury that Zebadee sustained that necessitated him using a spring but I’m sure that he was not prevented from entering anything because he was disabled. Although his spring does look decidedly low tech up against Oscar’s blades.

However I think in our lifetimes Nifties we have seen a distinct evolution of opinions concerning disability. I mean the first thing that struck me was that when I was at school no one accused kiddies, going around in calipers, because they’d had polio, of having an unfair advantage. In fact they didn’t, you could always easily catch them and push them over. I mean BR, as I shall now call him, has turned rotten luck into an advantage. Psychology, all part of competing.

But of course it has swung violently in the other direction with the erection of a statue of a pregnant, disabled woman called, Alison Lapper, in Trafalgar Square. Female, disabled, pregnant and on benefits. The woman is untouchable. She could burst into Parliament, strangle John Bercow and run away and no one would stop her. Actually that’s unfair, anyone could do that and not get stopped. But there’s something else going on here Nifties. Instead of Alison how about a statue of a brain damaged child with long strands of beautifully scalped dribble? Well, they’ve done as much to deserve a statue of themselves in Trafagler Square as Alison. What exactly has Alison done to deserve her place with Nelson? Win a battle, invent a cure for something, bring down apartheid? No, the statue of her is there because she is disabled. She is the acceptable face of disability. I mean if they found the missing arms of the Venus DeMilo in a field tomorrow do you think they’d be two stumps ending just above her elbows?

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