Dewey & LeBoeuf gifts amputee an Olympic chance

Dewey & LeBoeuf client and Olympic hopeful, sprinter Oscar Pistorius has won his appeal against a decision banning him from competing with able-bodied athletes.

The sensational landmark decision at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Lausanne opens the door to double amputee Pistorius competing at this year’s Olympics in Beijing.

A team of lawyers from Dewey & LeBoeuf represented Pistorius pro bono on his appeal against a 16 January 2008 ruling by the International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) which said the sprinter would no longer be eligible to compete in any IAAF-sanctioned able-bodied competitions.

The decision followed a study initiated by the IAAF which concluded Pistorius received an unfair “advantage” from his j-shaped “Cheetah” prosthetic limbs.

As reported by The Lawyer (6 May), the lead lawyer on the case, Jeffrey Kessler, read about Pistorius disqualification and approached him with an offer of help.

“He will now finally be given a fair chance to compete,” Kessler said in a statement. “We are grateful to the arbitration panel for a landmark ruling that truly embraces the Olympic spirit.”

The decision by the arbitration panel was unanimous. Its timing will allow Pistorius to continue his goal of qualifying for the Olympic Games