View Full Version : Do unnatural sports (such as race-walking) cause permanentinjuries?

06-08-2006, 02:44 PM
In the Sydney 2000 Olympics all three of the leaders in the women's
speed-walk (Hongyu Liu of China, Elisabetta Perrone of Italy and Jane
Saville of Australia) were disqualified in the last kilometre of the 20K

Horror of horrors; some of them slipped into a natural mode of
ambulation such as jogging or running! They were disqualified because in
race walking some part of the foot must be in contact with the ground at
all times.

There are a number of sports where unnatural movements are not merely
permitted but are actually compulsory. For instance in horse racing
there is a sport known as "harness-racing" or "trotting" where the
horses are not allowed to break into a gallop.

In the past dangerous events like the "equestrian high jump" were
eventually banned from the Olympics. Cricket also ceased to be an
Olympic sport (is bowling too unnatural when compared to shot putting?).
Does anyone know what the criteria for the bans were? Was it because of
the risks involved or was it sheer lack of interest?

At the time of the Sydney 2000 Olympics there was talk of the fact that
race walking ("speed walking") can damage the hips. I have often
wondered how severe these alleged injuries can be; do they cause
permanent damage?

Has anyone published a review of the injurious effects of sports that
permit or encourage unnatural movements and actions?


David McFarlane
Ergonomist, WorkCover Authority
New South Wales, Australia

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