I watch them perform, running on the track and jumping in the field, and I cannot help but think ‘I can do better.’
But I cannot.
When I asked the coach if I could perform, he blinked at my proposal and then barked a short laugh. His face was incredulous until he saw I was serious. He coughed uncomfortably, humming and haring as he tried to explain himself.
“The Olympics is about human performance at its peak.” He said weakly, eyes darting left and right.
“So I’m not human, is that it?” I hissed, drawing myself up with arms crossed over my chest. I could feel the bunches of synthetic muscle fibres in my arms and legs tightening up, anger in my mind flooding the microprocessors that controlled my limbs with rapidly cancelled commands to lash out.
His face fell, cheeks losing colour as the blood retreated away from the possibility of being spilt. “I- I didn’t mean that, I mean that… well, you couldn’t compete in the paralympics you know. That’s for the disabled. And the Olympics are for the able-bodied. And you? Well…”
I stared with hard eyes at him, watching sweat bead on his forehead, a nervous trickle fleeing down the side of his face. His Adam’s apple bobbed in his throat as he gulped air in to fuel the next sentence.
“You’re super-able. I mean, the cybernetic legs you have would easily smash the world record, but that puts you at a huge advantage over the other, non-enhanced athletes.” The coach said apologetically, words accompanied by a weak shrug of his shoulders.
He was right, of course. I’d done the events in practice at the lab where my new limbs were developed. One hundred meters in five seconds. My legs carried me at forty-five miles per hour, my reinforced spine holding my pose perfect and my computer-linked brain sending corrections to the co-processors that regulated my gait and stride. I didn’t even break a sweat.
“I know you want to do your country proud, but… maybe in a few years, when there are more like you able to compete, and you can have your own games.” The coach smiled, perhaps even a little sincerely. “Until then, all I can say is watch and practice hard.”
Maybe one day, I’ll be able to compete. The nations of the world will see me perform at levels above and beyond that of non-cyborgs. Until then, my audience is the technicians and scientists that rebuilt me to be something more than human, watching with proud eyes as I run faster, leap higher and throw further than ever seen.