There's no denying that Oscar Pistorius is an amazing sportsman and deserves all the accolades and the adulation he gets. I can't even begin to imagine what life would be like if I didn't have my limbs. Yet he and his fellow Olympians are showing us that disabled people can put their bodies through the physical strain and the discipline that is required - just as their able bodied colleagues did a few weeks ago - to produce sporting spectacle that is currently gracing the East End of London.
Having said that, his behaviour in the immediate aftermath of losing the 200m men's race to Brazil's Alan Oliveira was shameful to say the least. Maybe the guy's legs were longer than he felt appropriate and he should voice his displeasure but that was hardly the place to do it. My suspicions that even he knew that were confirmed this morning when he issued an apology for the timing of his outburst. But what is shocking is the sheer lack of condemnation for his antics. I don't watch TV, listen to the radio or read tree murdering newspapers on magazines but I read newspapers online and none of them have criticised him. I follow a couple of sports reporters on twitter, some of whom are currently covering the Paralympics in London, and I have yet to hear a dissenting word about Pistorius. The only mildly critical tweet that came into my timeline was from a journalist bemoaning being snubbed for an interview:
Oscar Pistorius snubs both SABC & Supersport @ the stadium last night but speaks to international media.So much for a Proudly South African!
— Velile Mbuli (@Veli_Mbuli) September 3, 2012
I wonder why that is Veli. Maybe he wanted to deal with real journalists first and maybe talk to brown nosers afterwards, if he feels like it. He can afford to do this safe in the knowledge that he can do no wrong in your eyes. That's my understanding of that Proudly South African nonsense.
If he was an able bodied athlete, there'd be no end of people lining up to (excuse the pun) stick the boot in. The only reason he's treated with kid's gloves by the media is because he's disabled. This goes against the doctrine that disabled people should be treated the same way as everyone else. This, unfortunately, involves rebuking them when they do wrong. Pretending otherwise is to do everyone a disservice and very patronising.
Even Oscar would agree with that. I wouldn't hold my breath for it, because nobody will put it to him.
UPDATE: 05/09/2012: If you interested in the science of the technology involved, Dr Ross Tucker elaborates here