5/15/2007 Add a comment

What if an athlete running on prosthetics got good enough to make the field in the 100? South Africa's Oscar Pistorius runs the 100 in under 11 seconds, and was the second-fastest in the 400 at the South African national championships.

I say, why not? Technology changes sports irrevocably. If a runner with no legs can compete against able-bodied athletes, even if using composite metal legs, it's all in the name of progress. If he or she could break a record, it would be one of the landmark achievements in sports. William


  1. Blogger ben: I disagree. The point of sports is to be impressed by people doing things you could never do. But if I could buy bionic legs, then I could do it too. Just like if *someone* took enough steroids, they could break Hank Aaron's home run record.

    That said, it's a slippery slope. Why outlaw steroids but not energy drinks, or eating beef that's injected with hormones, and so on and so on. I think the only way that sports survive on a plane above fake wrestling is to triple the list of illegal substances and renew our faith in athletes being superior to us naturally.
  2. Blogger William: Right, but we've already developed superior training techniques since the medicine ball, we've developed new technology in sports like tennis, skiing, and speedskating that have changed the face of their sports, and dealing with records from the past compared to the present is akin to comparing a the value of $1 in the past to the value of $1 in the present.

    We've crossed that bridge and there is no going back. How would you regulate a zillion more variables to ensure that things are equivalent. Can athletes no longer wear moisture-wicking underwear? Can they no longer take advantage of the advances in medicine? Should they go back to eating food with no nutritional information attached to it?
  3. Blogger ben: Wasn't that the point of my second paragraph? Obviously this issue has very few black-or-white definitives, it's mostly shades of gray. I think the solution is to turn back the stuff we can test (steroids), develop tests for the stuff we can't (HGH), broaden our definition of illegal substances and re-create the image of natural athletic talent. I don't want sports to back to the 1950s, I just don't want them to lose their realism. 5/16/2007