With the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics rapidly approaching, we should be hearing stories about the athletes representing our country and what to expect. Often times the U.S.A basketball team gets the most media coverage because they are the biggest names competing in the Olympic games. All of the athletes deserve all of the attention they can get. The basketball team is important, but they aren't the only team over there.
Thus far, the build up to the games hasn't been good. There is a lot of political tension surrounding the games and safety is a huge concern. There are very few positive stories surrounding the games and that's something we need desperately, a feel-good story.
The feel-good story of the Olympics hasn't come without much debate and controversy. South African Oscar Pistorius will begin his quest of representing South Africa in the summer games on July 2. His best chance to qualify for the games is in the 400 meter run. He runs the 400 in 46.33 seconds. To qualify for the games, he'll have to run 45.55 seconds.
Why is he so special, why is his story one that we should pay attention to? He is a double amputee. He was born with a condition that cost him to lose his legs at a very young age. The now 21-year-old, recently won an appeal on May 16 allowing him to run against "able-bodied" athletes.
The Court of Arbitration for Sport ruled that the South African is eligible to race against able-bodied athletes, overturning a ban imposed by the International Association of Athletics Federations.
CAS said the unanimous ruling goes into effect immediately.
Pistorius holds the 400-meter Paralympic world record of 46.56 seconds, but that time is outside the Olympic qualifying standard of 45.55. He has said the appeal process has deterred his training.
It's about time that the IAAF got it right. Pistorius shouldn't be held out of the games because his carbon-fiber prosthetics that he runs on. The prosthetics don't give him an advantage at all. If anything, they are a disadvantage. If the track is slippery or there are adverse conditions, they could cause him to fall.
He has gone through enough in his life. The fact that he is able to compete against the so-called able-bodied athletes shows how he has worked to be a premier sprinter, regardless of his disability.
These are the types of stories we need to hear about. With all of the protests and political issues surrounding the games, we need something to take our minds off of the negative publicity. Its time that we get to know the athletes better, no matter what country they're from.
Pistorius' story is one of the few out there for this summer. Hopefully we can learn more about other athletes. I'm sure there are other stories that can touch our hearts. There are a few more underdogs out there that we can pull for. He is just one of them.