We’ve all had those moments, ones when we finish a race or get off a sports field and our instant reaction is an outburst of anger and complaint, generally because we know deep down WE are to blame. This of course is never instantly understood. Fortunately for most of us this ended during our teen years (then again I’ve never competed in global competitive sports so maybe I’m out of my depth here)
The long and short of it is Oscar Pistorius, global hero and icon after this year’s able bodied Olympics, fought his way through two years of courtrooms and committees to declare that his blades give him no advantage over anyone and therefor he should be allowed to compete in the Olympics. To his absolute credit he won the fights and he won over the fans, all over the world.
After a magical appearance at the able bodied games he turned his attention to medal hunting in the Para-Olympics (where he is the ‘Usain Bolt’), he stormed through the 200m heat setting a world record in the process. Moved into the final and as he coasted ahead with 80 odd meters to go, I’m pretty sure he took his foot off the gas and tried to soak it all in. What happens next however is unscripted, a Brazilian kid called Alan Oliviera, who no on has ever heard of, burns his way down the track and pips Pistorius at the finish.
Cut to what SHOULD HAVE HAPPENED . . .
Pistorius, hands hiding his face in bitter disappointment, tears streaming down his Olympic-dream-broken-face walks over to Oliviera, hugs him and congratulates him on his win! The world celebrates an underdog triumph and a superhuman performance to take gold – all the good and gushy stuff that the Olympics is always about! They both then take the podium and emotionally accept their medals proud to have achieved all they have!
What actually happened was a disgrace, Pistorius refused to congratulate the winner, stormed off to an interview and basically blamed Oliviera’s blades for giving him an advantage (slightly ironic, no?). In his view this is the only way Oliviera could have managed to achieve this time, was to have cheated, disgraceful, disrespectful and astonishingly bad form on the global stage!
When you lose, and ESPECIALLY if you know deep down it’s your fault, you don’t look for someone or something to blame, you don’t use the closest scapegoat to whinge and whine at. That’s not what champion’s do, that’s not what role models do and that right there was the defining moment of Oscar Pistorius’ s character for me sadly.
As a hero sometimes you need to learn to accept defeat as well as you embrace victory and especially for someone who has overcome so much in their life, to see them react like that is not only horribly disappointing for me but I think marred one of the greatest Olympic underdog victories.
Congratulations to Alan Oliviera, he ran a stellar race and he deserved to have his moments of glory! He deserved to smile and be congratulated by those he defeated instead of demeaned by a spoiled child.
I can only imagine the thrill of winning an Olympic gold medal and to do so by beating a global icon must be even more rewarding, in some way to topple your personal hero must be the pinnacle of every sportsman’s dreams, no one deserves their hero to turn around and say they cheated!