Bladerunners: A Question of Sport

Oscar Pistorius

Watching  Olympic bladerunners was glimpsing grace and power.  But what happens, asks RICHARD LUTZ,  when athletes using the latest technology outstrip  abled bodied athletes? Who takes gold then at The Olympics?

If there was a moment that grabbed my attention at this summer’s Games, it was Londoner Jonnie Peacock blazing away on his blades in the Paralympic 100m sprint.

It was elegance on steel, driven by a need to win, fuelled by strength, talent and iron discipline.

It was a memory grab for me.

Seeing the Bladerunner gang (including Oscar Pistorias, Alan Oliveira and dozens of other athletes), it will come as no surprise that by the end of the decade, an enormous issue will emerge:

What happens when these bladerunners, these bladecyclists and bladerowers smash the times and records of the non-blade crowd?

A friend of mine who has a missing limb says the real test will be when a leg or arm can be grafted on sinew and bone- not simply attached. Then real power and speed will emerge. Then records will be gobbled up.

So, let’s zoom ahead three, four or five years. How will the sports bodies react when a world record holder, say a 400m sprinter with mega-bladerunners wants to run in the Olympics? Will he or she be excluded?  ‘Sorry, you’re just too fast for us now.’

How could they be banned  if Pistorius has already broken through the barrier by running in the Olympics?

What happens when every running record is held by a disabled athlete  with metal legs? When every weightlifting record is held by lads and lasses with blade arms? When cyclists with blade legs rule the velodromes of the world?

Will non-disabled athletes refuse to compete against them? Will it be discrimination to stop the Paralympic athletes from competing en masse?

What happens when an ‘abled body’ runner sues the Olympic Commission saying it is unfair that a disabled athlete has artificial mechanics on his or her side? Or what happens if a blade-athlete sues the Olympic establishment because he or she has been banned because they are too fast, too strong, too good?

And whoops, what happens when some monomanic athlete wants to chop off his legs and replace them with world beating technoblades so he  can win?

Rummaging through some previous articles on the Paralympics, I came across this: In a story filed 18 months ago, a survey found that two thirds of disabled people want the Paralympics scrapped and merged with the main event. This is according to findings by the charity Scope.

Maybe somewhere, someone knows something. Interesting times indeed.