Michael Johnson says it’s tough to judge Oscar Pistorius’s situation as he is a good friend, but ultimately he feels the Bladerunner should not compete at the Olympics
Double-amputee athlete Oscar Pistorius this year competed in his first global able-bodied major event, making it to the semi finals of the IAAF World Championships in Daegu.
Should he wish to do the same at next year’s Olympics, the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee have said that his performances from this year won’t count and that Pistorius must achieve the qualifying standard in the three months leading up to the Games to prove his fitness.
Pistorius’s participation in able-bodied events has long been a contentious issue within the athletics world, going back several years when he first stated his intentions and the IAAF began their research into how much advantage he gains from his prosthesis.
400m world record-holder Michael Johnson, despite being a friend of Pistorius, says that the multiple Paralympic champion should not compete alongside able-bodied athletes at next year’s Olympic Games in London.
“There are two different things you need to look at, and when dealing with an issue like this you need to look at it closely,” said Johnson, a member of the Laureus Academy. “A lot of people make a judgement at 30,000 feet, but you have to delve down into it to understand the history.
“This should not be about Oscar Pistorius,” he added. “I know Oscar and I consider him a friend; we hung out at the World Championships in Daegu and he’s a really good guy. But he knows that I disagree.
“I think that Oscar is an incredible person and an incredible athlete and it’s an inspirational story. But that doesn’t make it right. When you take it outside of the context of Oscar, as I’m able to do, as a friend I want to see him do all that he wants to do. He wants to compete there and I want to see that.
“But at the same time, looking at the larger context – and Roger Black made this comment, which was an incredible point which I thought summed it up perfectly – let’s say that there’s a 44-second 400m runner who then has a horrific accident unfortunately and then is an amputee, and then you put these blades on him and he’s running 40 seconds for 400m. Now all of a sudden the people who are saying “Oh, you should let Oscar run” are saying “but you shouldn’t let him run”. Why would he have different rules? So you have to look at the situation that way.”