Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Kayla Montgomery

("For Runner with M.S., No Pain While Racing, No Feeling at Finish")

Overcoming a disability to compete at elite levels is an incredible accomplishment to be greatly applauded. But in some of the discussion of Kayla Montgomery's feat, there are alarming parallels to allegations made against other disabled athletes.

When there is question raised as to whether Montgomery's M.S. provides her with a competitive advantage, it brings to mind the travails endured by both Casey Martin and Oscar Pistorius (who is now facing problems in a wholly different arena).

Martin, severely hobbled by a birth defect in one leg, had to fight all the way to the Supreme Court for the right to compete (with the "aid" of a golf cart) at the highest level of his sport. And Pistorious was forced to push back against adverse rulings and compelled to undergo rigorous testing before his carbon fibre prosthetics were permitted in able body events.

It is hoped that Ms. Montgomery will be applauded for her bravery and her athletic prowess in the coming months and years and any discussion of competitive advantage from a numbness in her lower limbs will quickly fade away.

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