View Full Version : FW: [BIOMCH-L] amputee sprinters

Adrian Smith
05-25-2007, 12:44 AM
Latest feature article I've seen is in "New Scientist", 26th May 2007
pp.30-31 by Celeste Biever.

"Disability in a different light"


Adrian Smith
Leeds University Library

-----Original Message-----
From: * Biomechanics and Movement Science listserver
[mailto:BIOMCH-L@NIC.SURFNET.NL] On Behalf Of Schulz, Brian W.
Sent: 16 May 2007 22:16
Subject: Re: [BIOMCH-L] amputee sprinter

I'm not an expert on this particular topic, but I am familiar with the

I was wondering when I'd hear a story to this effect. I've heard that
prosthetic feet have gotten so good that bilateral transtibial amputees
would soon be able to run faster than the best non-amputees.

The quote listed in the original message makes Mr. Pistorius sound like
he has a bit of a persecution complex- what would the IAAF have against
him in particular? Their intention is to keep the competition fair, but
they should not ban him from the competition without some kind of proof
that his feet provide an advantage. Their decision should be based on
science rather than supposition, because Oscar Pistorius deserves a
chance and because he will not be the last world-class amputee runner.
If energy storing feet do provide an advantage they could be de-tuned to
physiological levels (adding damping and/or mass) based on the
experimental data in order to allow amputees and non-amputees to compete
on a level playing field.

Does anyone working in running energetics and/or prosthetics have any
insight to add? Is there any pertinent data in existence that the IAAF
could use? Is there any chance of data before the Summer of 2008? Please
post any replies to the Listserv- this could be an interesting

Brian Schulz, Ph.D.
Program Specialist
VISN 8 Patient Safety Research Center (118M) James A. Haley Veterans'
Hospital 11605 North Nebraska Ave. Tampa, FL 33612-5738
Phone: (813) 558-3944
Fax: (813) 558-3990

-----Original Message-----
From: * Biomechanics and Movement Science listserver
[mailto:BIOMCH-L@NIC.SURFNET.NL] On Behalf Of Ton van den Bogert
Sent: Wednesday, May 16, 2007 10:59 AM
Subject: [BIOMCH-L] amputee sprinter

Yesterday's New York Times had an article about a double amputee from
South Africa who runs 100 m in 10.9 seconds and appears to be still

There is debate whether he should be allowed to run in the 2008
Olympics, if he qualifies.

The IAAF says that his energy-storing feet are an unfair advantage.
Others say they are not, since they only return 80% of the energy.
There are calls for further research.

The athlete, Oscar Pistorius, said "I think they're afraid to do the
research. They're afraid of what they're going to find, that I don't
have an advantage and they'll have to let me compete."

What do the Biomch-L subscribers think? I know we have some subscribers
who are experts on this topic.

The full article is here:


Ton van den Bogert, Biomch-L co-moderator http://www.Biomch-L.org