Monday, September 3, 2012

London Calling: Alan's Golden Sprint

On Saturday and Sunday numerous Latin American athletes including Argentine judo competitor Jorge Lencina and Mexican weightlifter Amalia PĂ©rez captured medals at the London Paralympics.  But the most noteworthy result from the weekend took place in front of 80,000 spectators at the Olympic Stadium.

Brazilian sprinter Alan Oliveira won the gold medal T43/44 men's 200-meter event with a blistering time of 21.45 seconds.  His victory was by a razor-thin 0.07 seconds ahead of South Africa’s Oscar Pistorius who last month became the first amputee runner to compete at the Olympics:
Sadly, Olivera’s win came under controversy after the race when a disappointed Pistorius criticized the length of the Brazilian’s artificial legs or blades.

“You can't compete on stride length. You saw how far (Alan) came back so, you know what, we're not racing a fair race here, but I gave my best on a great night,” said Pistorius on Sunday night.

Oliveira to his immense credit took the comments by his “idol” in stride:

"He was hotheaded," said a remarkably composed Oliveira, who was surrounded by a scrum of Brazilian media at an impromptu press conference at the gates to the athletes' village. "I was upset with the comments and disappointed. But he apologized afterwards through the press and I felt better. He remains an idol to me."
Pistorius on Monday issued a written apology “for the timing of my comments but I do believe there is an issue here.”  Yet several experts according to Reuters and The Guardian rejected Pistorius’ claims of unfair advantage against him.

After six days of competition Brazil continues to lead the Latin American medals table with fourteen medals and is eight on the overall medals list.  Cuba has the second-highest count on the Latin American medals table with ten, then Mexico (seven medals), Argentina (four medals), and Venezuela (one medal).

Video Source– YouTube via user ParalympicSportTV

Online Sources – Official London 2012 website,,, CNN, BBC Sport, The Guardian, Yahoo! Eurosport

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