Open letter to Oscar.

Hey Oscar – you are just The Man!!

Rolling Inspiration magazine and all its readers - are extremely proud of you. When we watch you on TV, and when we see a 40-metre billboard near Sandton City of you striding out on those flashing blades, we realise the impact and the spread of awareness you bring to our sector. It’s a wonderful inspiration.

There you are, proving at every track meet that there can be integration of people with disabilities into athletics, and other sports. We CAN compete on an equal footing (if you don’t mind the pun!) against everybody. We are sure you get the attention of many, many people all over the world, who then want to go out there and try; meeting the challenges (like you have) and succeeding!

Good luck in your bid to compete in the Olympic Games. Good luck, Oscar, from all of us!

Kind regards

Ari Seirlis


PS: We’ve been having some lively debate here on the magazine. Apart from your inspirational effect, there are other impacts too. We are sure, for instance, that some (or even many?) able-bodied athletes have been watching you perform with more than just a cursory interest. For instance:

Is there not an opportunity, perhaps, for other athletes to somehow fit blades to the bottom of their sprinting shoes, and take part in a “blade race”? Wonder what the times would be – Faster? Slower? About the same?

Perhaps Nike and Addidas should be looking at the high-tech aspects of your prosthetic manufacturer with keen interest. Could this be the future way-to-go for all athletes?

Has any group of athletes or the physiology people, properly examined the role of the Achilles’ Tendon in running; you seems to do very well without them!

Like you, a double amputee who aspires to racing against able-bodied people, should we not encourage the opposite – able-bodied people competing against people with disabilities in wheel chairs, say. Or imagine a hand-cycle marathon with a mixed field at the next Paralympics! There’s no doubt in my mind that Ernst van Dyk would be leading!!

Also (and this might be more obscure): perhaps some able-bodied athletes who have just missed gold medals at the highest level might consult with specialists about having one leg amputated below the knee - of course, with a hi-tech prosthetic equipment manufacturer standing by. If you are anything to go by, it could improve the newly amputated runner’s chances in able-bodied competition. And – think about it – he would have the option of competing in the Paralympics as well!

And if this did happen, would others follow suit?

Lots of things to ponder, hey? Why don’t you drop me a line and tell me what YOU think. Meanwhile, keep winning, Oscar!

Columnist Photos