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Published May 16, 2008

More than handi-capable…

The great thing about sports is, except for the draft which rewards franchises that finish last, it is largely free from a lot of the egalitarian bull-crap that invades the rest of our lives.

As of this writing, the government isn’t spending $300 billion on a program to help more white guys make it in the NBA.

Yes, I know it’s an election year and that could change at any moment.

But at least for now, most sports are about performance under a narrowly delineated set of rules and conditions.

More than a lot of sports events, the Olympics embody many of the best ideals of sports and life. The Olympics rewards long-term, goal-oriented planning. In many instances it represents the overcoming of incredible odds to achieve the opportunity to compete against the best athletes in your sport once every four years.

As usual, you can trust a bureaucracy to screw up a good thing.

Oscar Pistorius is a double-amputee. He was born without bones in his lower leg and both legs were amputated below the knee when he was 11 months old. He holds the Paralympic world record in the 400-meters at 46.56 seconds.

Oscar wanted to compete at the Beijing Olympics. He did not ask for a lower qualifying standard or a head start in the race. All he asked was for the opportunity to try to make his country’s Olympic team.

You might think that type of desire and effort would be applauded and rewarded.

Instead, Oscar was banned from competing by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAFF). The IAFF thought that his carbon-fiber Cheetah Flex-Foot prosthetics gave him an unfair advantage. Maybe it was the “Cheetah” part that threw them because they just kind of overlooked the fact that (hello, McFly!) they were prosthetics.

Unless there’s a 256-horsepower engine attached to them, I think you might want to weigh the unfair advantage of carbon-fiber prosthetics against the unfair advantage of having two legs and call it a draw.

About the only unfair advantage Oscar has is that he’s got bigger cajones than about 99% of the population.

Fortunately, the ban was overturned by The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) and Oscar will get the chance to try to make the South African Olympic squad after spending over six months battling the IAFF bureaucrats.

This week’s Friday Six is dedicated to Oscar Pistorius and his win over the narrow-minded dolts on the IAFF.

Is there a part of me that’s embarrassed that I haven’t accomplished more in my life when I see what Oscar’s gone through?

Sure. But I’m going to be rooting my ass off for him anyway.

You can feel free to cheer this week’s Friday Six, too. As is our custom, the Friday Six is the weekly compendium of six websites, videos or victories over bureaucratic snafus that made us laugh this week.

It has less than half the trans-fats and none of the alliteration of a Friday Five. Bon apetit!

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