Oscar Pistorius has been the standout at the Paralympic Games this year, one of the faces we’ve seen the most in a competition full of strong athletes. When he lost an important race on Sunday, his fans were stunned…and so was he.
The man known as “Blade Runner” had a clear lead in the 200-meter final right up until the end, when Alan Fonteles Oliveira surged ahead to take the medal. Oliveira won by a mere fraction–.07 seconds–and left Pistorius shaking his head at how it happened.
“We are not running a fair race here. I can’t compete with Alan’s stride length,” said Pistorius. “I don’t know how you can come back, watching the replay, from eight meters behind on the 100 to win. It’s absolutely ridiculous.”
Pistorius asserted that Oliveira’s height, coupled with the length of his blades, gave him an unfair advantage. However, game officials insist that all measurements were taken prior to the start of the race to ensure everyone was going in on a level playing field.
“There are rules in place with IPC Athletics whereby we measure the length of the blade prior to competition, check they’re in proportion with the body and all of the athletes last night passed the test, so yes, he (Oliveira) was a legitimate winner,” International Paralympic Committee representative Craig Spence said.
The IPC has agreed to speak with Pistorius to address his concerns, however, and the athlete apologized on Monday for his outburst.
“I do believe that there is an issue here and I welcome the opportunity to discuss with the IPC, but I accept that raising these concerns immediately as I stepped off the track was wrong,” Pistorius said. “That was Alan’s moment and I would like to put on record the respect I have for him. I am a proud Paralympian and believe in the fairness of sport. I am happy to work with the IPC, who obviously share these aims”.