Double Amputee Competes in "Regular" Olympics- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Good job! Double Amputee Competes in "Regular" Olympics

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    i thought those guys were banned because those fake legs can give you an advantage.

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    Quote Originally Posted by b-kul View Post
    i thought those guys were banned because those fake legs can give you an advantage.
    used to be. I've been following Oscar Pistorius for awhile now (my father is also an amputee) and this guy had a rather lengthy case with CAS and he was able to prove that they do not give him an advantage over other runners.

    I saw his heat earlier today. He did well and qualified for the next round, but would hardly call his run demonstrative of an advantage. I hope he medals, but he has no chance of earning gold, IMO.

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    he had a really nice and easy stride. almost looked like he was just gliding along.

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    no advantage

    Quote Originally Posted by b-kul View Post
    i thought those guys were banned because those fake legs can give you an advantage.
    The loss of the leg muscles and plantar flexion negates any leverage advantage from the prosthetics.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dave54 View Post
    The loss of the leg muscles and plantar flexion negates any leverage advantage from the prosthetics.
    he's not just missing leg muscles. he's missing fibulas.

    the only people he has an advantage over are people wearing standard prostheses. my father is trying to run in his and it's NOT pretty. he somehow thinks he's going to do some 5k mud race with it. I think it's a good way to ruin the ankle joint on his $15,000 prosthetic.

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    I'm over simplifying the science somewhat, but as I understand it, research submitted to CAS shows that he is able to run at a slightly faster cadence than a normal runner, however he's not able to push off with as much force.

    Nate, are you familiar with Hugh Herr, the double amputee rock climber? Good article here:
    Hugh Herr - 'The Double-Amputee Who Designs Better Limbs' : NPR

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    Regardless, he's an inspiration to others!

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    His prosthetic lever, aka foot/Achilles/tibia/fibula was created longer than a normal leg for someone previously his height. As his prosthetics have gotten lighter and longer through the years he has also gotten much faster. Next year he may get an even longer lever and history of his progression shows us that he will run even faster.

    In an event like the 400m, the anaerobic/aerobic ceiling is such that there is a tremendous amount of lactic acid buildup in the legs. It is a reason why the 400m, the longest sprint event, is deemed by many as the hardest event on the track. Pistorious does not have the lactic acid buildup in the legs that other 400m runners do.

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    Oscar has overcome tremendous odds, has opened doors for many other athletes, and earned the respect of his peers. I thought the symbolism of the number exchange was very moving.



    This was much better to see than the sheer arrogance McKayla Maroney demonstrated as she "won" the silver in the vault.
    Last edited by heyyall; 08-06-2012 at 11:02 AM. Reason: found a better image

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    Quote Originally Posted by dave54 View Post
    The loss of the leg muscles and plantar flexion negates any leverage advantage from the prosthetics.
    Not exactly. There's a kinetic energy return and spring factor of his prosthetics, as well as the weight advantage and aerodynamic efficiencies.


    I've heard mixed reports about it from both sides of the camp - one from physiologists thinking he has a mechanical advantage, and others from people who think he doesn't. I don't think people with prostheses should be allowed to compete unless it applies to all prostheses for all sports. There's too much subjective analysis from unqualified officials to make the system universal.

    He's still a great athlete, nothing against the guy. It's just hard to make sure "all else is equal."

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    Quote Originally Posted by b-kul View Post
    i thought those guys were banned because those fake legs can give you an advantage.
    I thought so too but he came in dead last, so I guess there goes that theory.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nubster View Post
    I thought so too but he came in dead last, so I guess there goes that theory.
    Not necessarily. He could just be a lot slower in general. Think about it this way - with regular legs, he's 60% as fast as the top 3 runners. With his prosthetic legs, that bumps him up to 75% (just for illustration purposes.) The legs may give him some advantage, but not enough for him to keep up with the best in the world.


    There's a lot of theory and speculation out there, which is the primary reason why it shouldn't be allowed.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jtmartino View Post
    Not necessarily. He could just be a lot slower in general. Think about it this way - with regular legs, he's 60% as fast as the top 3 runners. With his prosthetic legs, that bumps him up to 75% (just for illustration purposes.) The legs may give him some advantage, but not enough for him to keep up with the best in the world.


    There's a lot of theory and speculation out there, which is the primary reason why it shouldn't be allowed.
    I guess the only way to truly test this is to cut off Usain Bolt's legs and install prosthetic legs and see how fast he is then.
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    Quote Originally Posted by jtmartino View Post
    Not necessarily. He could just be a lot slower in general. Think about it this way - with regular legs, he's 60% as fast as the top 3 runners. With his prosthetic legs, that bumps him up to 75% (just for illustration purposes.) The legs may give him some advantage, but not enough for him to keep up with the best in the world.


    There's a lot of theory and speculation out there, which is the primary reason why it shouldn't be allowed.
    It was cool to see him there, and that he has accomplished more than most of us 'able-bodied' people do with our, well, able bodies. Hopefully he inspired many people, and it was good to see that the other runners did not begrudge his participation (some of them, at least), so in the end, I am happy that he was allowed to participate -- turned out better than I thought it would.

    That said, I agree that he should not have been allowed to participate. To me, the question is, did the blades improve the performance of his natural body or allow him to be faster than he would have been in his 'natural' form? The clear answer is, yes, and therefore, he should not be allowed to use them in competition. Just like if someone invented some shoes or other apparatus that improved performance -- the swim suits from 2008, for example.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nubster View Post
    I guess the only way to truly test this is to cut off Usain Bolt's legs and install prosthetic legs and see how fast he is then.
    Truth!

    Quote Originally Posted by Tystevens View Post
    Just like if someone invented some shoes or other apparatus that improved performance -- the swim suits from 2008, for example.
    More Truth!

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    Quote Originally Posted by heyyall View Post
    Oscar has overcome tremendous odds, has opened doors for many other athletes, and earned the respect of his peers. I thought the symbolism of the number exchange was very moving.



    This was much better to see than the sheer arrogance McKayla Maroney demonstrated as she "won" the silver in the vault.
    Oscar IS an inspiring figure and has achieved amazing results on the track but .... he shouldn't be competing against able-bodied runners, plain and simple. I was ambivalent about it until I heard that after the Olympics he will swoop the Paralympics 100, 200 and 400. WTF? While technically not illegal (I mean, his IS a double amputee) it does strike me as not in the spirit of the Olympics or the Paralympics. You're running in the Olympics? You shouldn't be running in the Paralympics.

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    I see your points, but what if a person ran with an artificial heart valve? Or a transplanted heart? What about having titanium screws to fix a broken bone? What about a hip replacement? Or a new titanium bone to add a few inches to each stride? Medical science can create a bionic body at this time. In 50 years, who knows what will be possible.

    The challenge sports will face is the grey zone of doping and the even greyer zone for physical modification.
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    I was once state champ in the 440, 880, and mile runs. The lactic acid that builds up in your legs is not concentrated in your lower legs. It mostly affects your quad muscles and your ability to lift you legs quickly. Oscar still has his quad muscles. If you watch him run the 400, you'll notice he falls behind the other runners right away. It isn't until the 200 that he begins to close the gap on some of the slower runners.

    But seriously, while these type of discussions are going on all over the internet, a large number of track athletes earned medals while using performance drugs. Does anyone really believe that the little country of Jamaica can win gold, silver, and bronze in the mens 200 with clean runners? Or that Carmalita Jeter is not juicing just like Flo-Jo did to set the world records in the womens 100 and 200?

    We have entered a new era. Chemist can engineer undetectable drugs to improve performance. Ask Marion Jones. She never tested positive, despite admitting to doping throughout her track career. It still requires a good athlete to begin with, but with the drugs, athletes can make the finals and set new records. Until one of them decides to retire and write a book detailing how they cheated, we may not see many getting caught.

    As a former sprinter, I don't think Oscar got any advantage at all. A world class runner has the strength in his calf muscles and foot muscles and toe muscles to spring upward over a foot without using his quad muscles. We do lots of lifting while standing on our toes and working the calf muscles. Oscar can't spring upward like that. It might explain why he accelerates so slowly.

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    There's already talk about Oscar getting even longer prosthetics next year, with an even lighter carbon composite lever/spring. He's hoping that the new device will allow him to cut a further 1-2 seconds off his already fast 400m time. If they let him compete at the Track World championships next year he would have to be considered one of the favorites to win, not just make the semifinal Ike he did in the Olympics.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bee View Post
    There's already talk about Oscar getting even longer prosthetics next year, with an even lighter carbon composite lever/spring. He's hoping that the new device will allow him to cut a further 1-2 seconds off his already fast 400m time. If they let him compete at the Track World championships next year he would have to be considered one of the favorites to win, not just make the semifinal Ike he did in the Olympics.
    Two seconds faster and he would be a favorite. Can they really make them longer and lighter? It's one thing for him to hope it will make a big difference, and another for the concept to work and provide greater performance.

    I just watched my DVR recording of the womens 4x400 relay. They said Allyson Felix ran a split of 48.1! I've always felt she was missing out on an easy gold medal by skipping the open 400. Also watched the mens 5000. A 3.1 mile race and Mo Farah ran the final mile in 3:57! But by far, the men's 800 was my favorite. I was fairly fast at that event but David Rudisha would have beaten me by ten seconds. Next up, the men's 4x100. Who will get the silver? Roll tape...

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    Quote Originally Posted by campisi View Post
    Oscar IS an inspiring figure and has achieved amazing results on the track but .... he shouldn't be competing against able-bodied runners, plain and simple. I was ambivalent about it until I heard that after the Olympics he will swoop the Paralympics 100, 200 and 400. WTF? While technically not illegal (I mean, his IS a double amputee) it does strike me as not in the spirit of the Olympics or the Paralympics. You're running in the Olympics? You shouldn't be running in the Paralympics.
    feels slimy.

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    Quote Originally Posted by heyyall View Post
    I see your points, but what if a person ran with an artificial heart valve? Or a transplanted heart? What about having titanium screws to fix a broken bone? What about a hip replacement? Or a new titanium bone to add a few inches to each stride? Medical science can create a bionic body at this time. In 50 years, who knows what will be possible.

    The challenge sports will face is the grey zone of doping and the even greyer zone for physical modification.
    It is a tough question. I heard them say on TV that one of the American decathaletes (not sure if the Gold or Silver medalist) had Tommy John surgery earlier this year, and apparently threw the longest javelin of his life, which apparently helped put him in position to medal. No surprise, really, since pitchers who get TJ done usually come back throwing harder than they ever did. Or what about Lebron getting lasik or something a few years back. Or for that matter, what about my own contact lenses, which allow me to see better than 20/20?

    For sure, though, I don't think he should be able to run both the Olympics and Paras. That doesn't seem right to me -- should have to choose one or the other.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tystevens View Post

    For sure, though, I don't think he should be able to run both the Olympics and Paras. That doesn't seem right to me -- should have to choose one or the other.

    It's a great story though. You got a guy with no legs beating able bodied runners. Pistorius didn't make the 400m final, but he did well enough in his early heats to advance to the 400m semifinals beating along the way some very, very, highly trained athletes. Actually, some of the best world-class 400m sprinters in the world.

    Pistorius is about to completely destroy the other athletes in the Paralympics. I believ he is doing the 100m, 200m, 400m events. If he is able to beat real Olympic athletes and almost make the Olympic final, then there is no chance any other Paralympic athlete is going to come close to him.

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    Yeah here's a report from the experts on the subject. And they think he has an advantage (from the Journal of American Physiology)

    The fastest runner on artificial legs: different limbs, similar function?

    Here's a layman summary of the journal article:

    Rami Hashish: Oscar Pistorius' Prosthetic Legs: Do They Give Him an Advantage Over Other Olympic Runners?

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    Oscar isn't the only one with prosthetics like that, but he's the only one fast enough to qualify for the olympics. He made it because he's a fast runner. If the prosthetics was giving him such advantage why wasn't there more disabled people in the race? It's the same old story, it's not the bike that make the rider fast but the rider that make the bike fast..

    If there is so much worry about whether or not the prosthetics gives an advantage, why not test it out with a regular, non-disabled runner? Build a pair of stiff boots that locks the lower leg of the runner, strap gadgets similar to Oscar's prosthetics to the side of the boot so the sole of the boot is like an inch off the ground. It gives the runner a slightly longer stride, that can't be helped, then let the runner get used to the "prosthetic boots" and compare his times to his regular times in ordinary running shoes.Fiddle with the springyness of the gadget until the runner clocks the same time running regularly in running shoes and running with the "prosthetic boots" and you have a model for how to build a fair prosthetic for disabled runners.

    Hell, we might even allow regular, non-disabled athletes to choose having they lower legs locked and add a "prosthetic" on the side if they believe it to be an advantage..

    The Danish touring car championship was one year won by a guy in a wheelchair. He was always a very fast driver, on his way to Formula One when he crashed his motorcycle and lost the use of his legs. Now he races touring cars modified to be hand operated. The year he won the championship one of the runner ups complained that the customized car gave an unfair advantage, the driver had to use one hand for braking in the corners, one hand on the steering and didn't have a hand free to downshift the gearbox, so he was allowed a button on the steering wheel for hydraulic downshifting and apparently that rubbed the runner up the wrong way. The new champion shot the complaint down with a "Heck, if he thinks it's such an advantage, lets modify his car the same way and tie up his legs every race, fine with me"..

    I think it's cool that the disabled are able to compete in non-disabled events, if the other athletes start to whine about it, let them strap on "prosthetics" too that locks up their lower legs..

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    ^its not about just locking the legs, its about weight, areodynamics, and leverage.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sandrenseren View Post

    I think it's cool that the disabled are able to compete in non-disabled events, if the other athletes start to whine about it, let them strap on "prosthetics" too that locks up their lower legs..
    I'm with you! Next, let's get a guy with carbon flippers instead of feet to compete in some swimming events and see how he stacks up!



    I think b-kul's response is more accurate, but seriously. Read the journal article, or at least the news article in the link I posted.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jtmartino View Post
    Yeah here's a report from the experts on the subject. And they think he has an advantage (from the Journal of American Physiology)

    The fastest runner on artificial legs: different limbs, similar function?

    Here's a layman summary of the journal article:

    Rami Hashish: Oscar Pistorius' Prosthetic Legs: Do They Give Him an Advantage Over Other Olympic Runners?

    Fantastic articles. It puts real data and scientific evidence to the equation of the speed Pistorius gets on his prosthetic levers. Pistorius is disadvantaged by not having normal legs. He is also advantaged by having these special prosthetics. Does the advantages outweigh the disadvantages? The scientists in those articles thinks they do. Are there any real scientific data out there that would refute this? I have not seen any.

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