On track to make a bit of history

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Cheers and Jeers,Sports,Scott Silverstein

Oscar Pistorius will become the first amputee athlete to compete at the world track championships later this month. And that is as it should be.

The South African hit the "A" qualifying standard for worlds in the 400 meters last month in Italy, and his national athletics foundation confirmed Monday he will compete at the meet. Pistorius was born without a fibula in both legs and races on carbon-fiber prosthetics that attach just below his knees, giving him perhaps the coolest nickname in track and field: "Blade Runner."

Pistorius' inclusion again brought up debate: Do the artificial legs give him an advantage? Nothing is conclusive. Studies have shown his rate of fatigue is similar to other world-class sprinters, the power generated by each stride is much less and the frequency of his stride is much more. Even the scientists who helped the runner overturn his IAAF ban in the Court of Arbitration in Sport in 2008 couldn't come to a consensus.

Unless it can be proved that his disadvantage actually is an advantage, he deserves his spot in the starting blocks.

- Scott Silverstein

ssilverstein@washingtonexaminer.com

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