Blade Runner Oscar Pistorius Makes Olympic History As The First Double Amputee To Compete. Find Out Why Some Say He Shouldn’t Be There…

22 Feb

The term “handicapped” became politically incorrect quite a few years ago.  Now, with the help of modern technology (and a ton of hard work), the label “handicapped” is certainly a misnomer for Oscar Pistorius.

The South African sprinter is known as the “Blade Runner” and “the fastest man on no legs.” After having both his legs amputated when he was 11 months old, it was a long, hard road to become the first double amputee to compete in the Olympics.

Pistorius, who has a double amputation, is the world record holder for sport class T44 in the 100, 200 and 400 meter events and runs with the aid of Cheetah Flex-Foot carbon fibre transtibial artificial limbs.

Pistorius participated in his first international competition against “able-bodied” athletes in 2007, but things didn’t work out as planned…

The International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) changed its rules and banned the use of “any technical device that incorporates springs, wheels or any other element that provides a user with an advantage over another athlete not using such a device.”

Some scientists say that his prosthesis is not a handicap but instead, an unfair advantage.

One such scientist is respected sports doctor Ross Tucker.  According to Dr. Tucker, “In science, you start with theory, then you come up with hypotheses, and then test them. This was done for Pistorius, and every finding suggests advantage, with no exceptions.”

There are three theories for the advantage, the reduced weight of the limbs, their spring effect and the absence of fatigue. According to research, the above factors result in some startling performance-enhancing advantages.

His carbon-fiber prostheses are so much lighter that Pistorius is able to re-position his legs 11 percent faster than the next fastest runner ever measured. This is crucial, because the speed of human sprinters is determined by how fast they can move their legs. This also means his muscles have to work less to exert force on the ground and to re-position his legs. This saves energy, a crucial element of any event longer than 200m.

Finally, the energy returns from the springy carbon-fiber is 92 percent compared to a 59 percent return for muscles. Simply put, the carbon fiber does a better job of providing energy than muscles and tendons do.

Others beg to differ.  Testing done with Pistorius by Prof Peter Weyand suggests that he does not gain an advantage from his carbon-fiber prosthesis.

On January 14, 2008, the IAAF ruled Pistorius ineligible for their competitions, including the 2008 Summer Olympics.  The decision was reversed in May of 2008.  Pistorius did not qualify for the South African team in 2008 but he did for the 2012 London games.

He will compete in the 400m and the 4 x 400m relay races.  No matter what side of “science” you are on, this is an incredible story.  Oscar Pistorius is a true Olympic hero.  He is a hero to everyone, with or without a “handicap.”  After seeing what Pistorius has done, all your excuses for not eating right, exercising and living the life you really want are pretty much null and void, don’t you think?

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(Names And Details Have Been Changed To Protect Privacy)

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