pistorius: wrong time to criticize
LONDON — After years as the poster boy of the Paralympics, a chastened Oscar Pistorius moved Monday to defuse the row that threatens to blemish the image he forged during a protracted struggle for acceptance within his sport.
His bid for a third straight gold in the 200 meters was thwarted Sunday night by another double amputee on carbon fiber prosthesis.
Victory seemed certain for Pistorius when he reached the bend on the London track, but Alan Oliveira of Brazil came storming down the home straight to overtake the defending champion.
Rather than hailing his rival, Pistorius accused Oliveira, 20, of gaining an unfair edge by using lengthened blades. To many, he sounded like a sore loser by launching his tirade within minutes of his first Paralympic loss in the 200.
"I would never want to detract from another athlete's moment of triumph," he said in a statement. "And I want to apologize for the timing of my comments."
However, Pistorius was unwavering in his determination to ensure the International Paralympic Committee tightens the formula used to calculate the acceptable length of blades.
"I do believe that there is an issue here and I welcome the opportunity to discuss it with the IPC, but I accept that raising these concerns immediately as I stepped off the track was wrong," Pistorius said.
The IPC insists the length of Oliveira's blades were proportional to his body. The formula that determines the length of blades allowed calculates the predicted height of an athlete, plus 3.5 percent to account for the on-toes running position.
Pistorius' maximum allowable height is 6 feet, 4 inches, yet he opts to stand at about 6 feet in blades that were subjected to stringent testing in 2008 to show they provide no advantage when competing alongside able-bodied rivals.
Oliveira, whose limit is about 6 feet, claimed Monday his blades gave him a race height of about 5-11 the previous night.
Obituary: William Tortorella, father of Rangers and former Lightning coach John Tortorella, died Sunday in Boston, the Rangers announced. No other details were available. Contributions in lieu of flowers can be sent to Massachusetts General Hospital, Patient Care Service, Attention Development Office, Neuroscience, 55 Fruit St., Boston, Mass., 02114
autos: NHRA officials postponed the final two days of the U.S. Nationals in Clermont, Ind., until Saturday-Sunday. The final two rounds of qualifying, rained out Sunday, will be held Saturday. Final eliminations will be Sunday.
Damian Cristodero, Times staff writer; Times wires