Who introduced the apples and the oranges? Who was first to compare the world record of wheelchair runners to that of able-bodied runners? And just because of that it is supposed that everyone would agree it changes the sport when those wearing prostheses compete against the able-bodied?
First, let's clear up the apples and oranges issue. Back on 9 July, I wrote:
This is, indeed, a fascinating argument, but in some respects it's the old "comparing oranges to apples" argument. On the one hand we have a point of view about the nature of sport ...
And on the other hand, we have an argument about social inclusion
There it is, spelt out in simple, black and white terms: "apples" = "the nature of sport"; oranges = "social inclusion".
These are not the same thing. Arguing one is not the same as arguing the other.
When shaolinTT asked "Should a double amputee be allowed to run in the Olympics?", we had a choice to make: were we going to argue about prejudice, disadvantage, stereotyping, marginalising of disabled athletes, or were we going to discuss whether or not Pistorius's inclusion was fair? If you look back over the entire thread, you will
find a small number of responses that want to talk about "oranges", e.g. the very first comment:
As much as I respect this "blade runner" as a great athlete. I don't think he should be allowed to run in the Olympics.
This says nothing about the "fairness" or otherwise of Pistorius competing, but is purely negative because Pistorius is "different."
But (and it is a massive but) nearly every other comment focusses upon the "apples" issue
: do the blades give an advantage or not, because that is about the fairness or otherwise of including Pistorius. Once it's been determined that it is "fair" then everyone seems perfectly happy to see him run alongside the other able-bodied athletes.
When comparing " the world record of wheelchair runners to that of able-bodied runners" was introduced into the thread it was all about "apples" - the comment was focussing upon the question of mechanical advantage and using wheelchair runners as an explicit example of equipment making a competition between disabled and able-bodied athletes unfair. That was (and still is) a valid point to raise. Since that comment was made, the general consensus seems to be that Pistorius has no mechanical advantage and therefore, as I put it in my last post, 'All of the athletes in the 400m will be expected to perform on the same basis. There will be no "discrimination of any kind". Oscar Pistorius will be subject to exactly the same requirements as all the other runners. That is what is meant by "fair play".'
That is all part of what I call an "apples" discussion.
Then zeio introduces this:
I see this in table tennis as well. At the club I play there is a handful of members who simply can't shake off the idea that long-pips are strictly for those who are inferior in skills. To them double-inverted is the "only" way the game is meant to be played. Anything else changes the game. Anytime they lose, the first excuse you hear is nothing but cheating. They show no intention of understanding the way long-pips work, let alone how to play them. From time to time, some netizens of the Chinese forum Ping Pong Homeland post videos of a renowned or notorious long-pips player against double-inverted players or single-sided penholders. Shallow comments and even racial slurs will inevitably crop up within minutes that center around bashing and demonizing the long-pips.
This is a return to the "oranges" discussion and it is irrelevant to what we are talking about. zeio is discussing the use of equipment in an equipment oriented sport, and the prejudice that some morons have against long pips. The fact that there are morons who hate pips has nothing to do with our general agreement that it is okay for Pistorius to run in the Olympics.
Quite frankly, if someone wants to start a separate thread all about the efforts of international sporting bodies to overcome discrimination, then please do so. I'm very happy to talk about "oranges" in an "oranges" thread.