Oscar Pistorius is a South African sprinter who finished seventh in an eight-man field in the 400 meters at the Norwich Union British Grand Prix over the weekend. This is a story that reeks of being a non-story except that Pistorius has no legs; he runs using carbon fiber “blades.” He’s also the special olympics world-record holder in the 400, 200, and 100 meters, all of which he set this year.
On Sunday, he fulfilled his goal of running against the world’s greatest sprinters. His goal is to compete for South Africa at the Olympic Games in Beijing next summer. To do that, he needs to run a 46.3 400 meters before July of next year. His time this past Sunday was nearly a second slower than that. However, his blades/legs/whatever also must be approved by the IAAF even if he runs the qualifying time.
This is, or could be, a really inspiring story. Guy battling the international governing body just for the chance to achieve his dreams, possibly winning an Olympic medal, etc etc. However, it would be a lot more inspiring if Pistorius wasn’t attacking the IAAF (who is in charge of allowing him to compete) in the press and coming off as a tiny bit bitter in the process. Also, he is at least a full-second slower in all of his times in the 100, 200, and 400 than what would have won the gold medal at the last Olympics. In the rainy conditions on Sunday in Sheffield, England, he was 2.5 seconds slower than the winner of the 400. Let’s just say things aren’t looking good.
Still, we’re rooting for him to quality for the Beijing Olympics. Not because we want every sportswriter ever to write some schmaltzy piece about his “struggle,” which you know would happen, but because we want the field to be that much weaker so the American runners can dominate again. That’s right, we said it. Help out Jeremy Wariner, the U.S. Track and Field team, and the American television coverage of the games most of all because they need the story to make another one of those schlocky, piano music-backed video essays that take us away from actually watching the Games. When Oscar Pistorius qualifies, we all win.