Monday, January 14, 2008

Amputee Sprinter Disqualified From Olympics

IAAF Rules He Has a Clear Advantage

Oh, how quickly the world is changing before our eyes:

All his life, Oscar Pistorius has confronted obstacles. The double-amputee sprinter from South Africa now faces another one -- a decision barring him from the Olympics.

Track and field's governing body ruled Monday he is ineligible to compete this summer in Beijing -- or any other sanctioned able-bodied competitions -- because his "Cheetah" racing blades are "technical aids" that give him a clear advantage...

Brueggemann found that Pistorius was able to run at the same speed as able-bodied runners on about a quarter less energy. The professor said that once the runners hit a certain stride, athletes with artificial limbs needed less additional energy than other athletes.

The professor determined that the returned energy from the prosthetic blade is "close to three times higher than with the human ankle joint in maximum sprinting." The IAAF adopted a rule last summer prohibiting "technical aids" deemed to give an athlete an advantage.

How long before some prosthetics engineer develops artificial legs that do perfectly mimic the human leg -- at least with regard to performance? When that happens, we might see an amputee gold medalist.

Will he look like this guy?

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