No one likes a sore loser, Oscar Pistorius knows this now. His outburst after finishing second in the T44 200m final to Brazilian Alan Oliveira has tarnished his image, barely a month after becoming the first Paralympian to compete with able bodied athletes at the Olympics.
London must be a lonely place right now for Oskido (if I can call him that); no one will listen to him, he got a silver medal instead of the gold he promised spectators through his record-breaking semifinal and no will let this thing go despite his apology.
I want to say to Oskido, I understand. The hardest thing to do is to convince people that you’re not crazy because the harder you try, the crazier you seem.
The early 1990′s were not only a time for political reconciliation in our country but were a time that saw a boom in street cricket in the townships (something which I seldom see any more).
In the section of Bhisho, where I lived, we used to play cricket under lights at night – before mom called us in for dinner – with a variety of (let’s call them) tools. Two black garbage bins were the stumps, a tennis ball was the cricket ball and a wide plank was the bat.
To cut this biography short, my dad saw our misery and bought me one of those Bakers Mini Cricket kits that came equipped with a real cricket bat, stumps and a (maroon) tennis ball made to look like a cricket ball.
One night my friends and I were playing and I was unfairly dismissed for an edge behind when it was clear that I had hit the ground and not the ball. Unfortunately, we didn’t have the DRS (decision review system) back then, or even an umpire for that matter, so to settle the disagreement, I took back my Bakers Mini Cricket kit and went home.
My friends thought I was a doos. I ended the fun for everyone. I went to my dad to explain that the fellas had given me out unfairly but my dad said I won the argument by taking the equipment away, and now I have no friends.
The point I’m trying to make is that Oscar was the darling of the Olympic world a month ago. ‘Fastest Man On No Legs’ headlines would repeat.
But he ruined it with one silly comment about: “Oliveira’s blades are longer than mine”. Boo effin hoo. It was sour grapes at its worst.
I have no doubt that Oscar’s complaints could have an ounce of merit. But why raise them after you’ve been smoked by a faster runner on the day? And why tarnish such an heroic image over one gold medal when you have a chance to get your own back against Oliveira in the 100m tomorrow or 400m on Saturday? If you lose to Oliveira again, which is a definite possibility, will you whine about … ehhem … difference in length again?
I am no sports scientist so I cannot comment on the details of Oscar’s claims but, thankfully, Dr. Ross Tucker is and a widely respected one.
Tucker looked at each stride during last Sunday’s race and says Oscar is wrong about Oliveira having superior stride length.
He wrote in the Guardian: “So, since Oscar Pistorius has made a point to emphasise how long his rivals’ strides are I rewatched the race and did the obvious thing: I counted the strides.
It turns out that Pistorius took 92 steps during the race (2.2m per stride), and Oliveira took 98 steps to win gold (2m per stride). To break it down further: in the first 100m, Pistorius took 49 steps (2.0m per stride), with 43 steps in the straight (2.3m per stride).
Oliveira, on the other hand, took shorter strides: 52 in the first 100m (1.92m each) and 46 in the second 100m (2.2m each).
So, a simple count shows that Pistorius has longer strides than Alan, and they are consistently longer – on the bend, and in the straight, for those who are wondering. It’s Oliveira who ‘can’t compete with Oscar’s stride length’. His faster speed, then, is the result of faster leg movement, because speed, as you will appreciate, is the result of stride length and stride rate.”
I am not one to jump at a chance to criticise when a person makes a mistake and remain silent when they do something right. People who do that are the real dooses of this world.
I like Oscar. (Heck, we went to same school. I’m a year ahead of you lad. You probably waitered at my matric dance). I think he’s an inspirational young lad. He has put the funk in disabled sports. He didn’t make Time magazine’s annual list of 100 most influential people by a stroke of luck.
That said, I expect that sort of repugnant behaviour from footballer Joey Barton, not you, not the South African flag-bearer. Now go out there and get us more medals, we’re losing ground.