After running in the London Olympics (becoming the first disabled person to run in the able-bodied games), it was a foregone conclusion that South Africa’s Oscar Pistorius would dominate the Paralympics. Well it turns out that was an incorrect conclusion.
This past weekend Pistorius entered the 200 meter as the heavy favorite. During qualifying he had set a new world record. But in the final, after leading for most of the race, Pistorius saw something he wasn’t expecting, Brazil’s Alan Fonteles Oliveira passing him.
Oliveira won the race and the gold. Leaving a disappointed Pistorius shocked. The South African, immediately took to his post-race interviews to raise questions about the legality of Oliveira’s “blades.” Pistorius claimed that the Brazilian’s blades were too long, and therefore gave him an unfair advantage in the race, a somewhat ironic stance for Pistorius to take after he faced similar criticism from able-bodied competitors leading up to the Olympics.
Pistorius later apologized in a statement for the timing of his complaint, “I would never want to detract from another athlete’s moment of triumph, and I want to apologize for the timing of my comments.” Pistorius did go on to add, “I do believe that there is an issue here and I welcome the opportunity to discuss it with the IPC, but I accept that raising these concerns immediately as I stepped off the track was wrong. That was Alan’s moment and I would like to put on record the respect I have for him.”
The IPC (International Paralympic Committee) claims that Oliveira’s blades were of a legal length and pointed out that all competitors were measured right before the race.