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In the Arbitration Between: Oscar Pistorius and the International Association of Athletics Federations

CAS 2008/A/1480 (2008)

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In the Arbitration Between: Oscar Pistorius and the International Association of Athletics Federations

Court of Arbitration for Sport

CAS 2008/A/1480 (2008)

Facts

South African citizen Oscar Pistorius (defendant) was a professional sprinter in 100-, 200-, and 400-meter races. Pistorius was a double amputee, and he used “Flex-Foot” prosthetic legs in competitions. Pistorius was a world-record holder in the Paralympics and at one point began competing against able-bodied athletes in events sanctioned by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) (plaintiff). In 2007, the IAAF adopted a new rule that prohibited athletes from using any “technical device . . . that provides the user with an advantage over another athlete not using such a device.” Subsequently, Pistorius’s performance in a 400-meter race was videotaped. The video showed that Pistorius started slower than other sprinters but caught up mid-race, whereas able-bodied sprinters were faster in the first and second 100 meters. Experts were asked to determine whether Pistorius had an advantage over other athletes. IAAF experts found that a Flex-Foot runner used less of a “vertical movement” to raise the body and lost less energy than was lost by a runner using his own ankle. The IAAF declared Pistorius ineligible to compete in further events. In comparison, Pistorius’s experts found that Pistorius used oxygen and fatigued in the same manner as able-bodied runners and thus had no metabolic advantage. Pistorius’s experts also indicated that able-bodied runners generated positive energy in their tendons and legs, which an amputated athlete could not do. Pistorius challenged the IAAF’s decision before the international arbitral panel.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Per curiam)

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