View Full Version : Re: Oscar Pistorius

Richard Baker
05-19-2008, 12:19 PM
Dear all,

I agree with Chris and Ton that the issues here are not biomechanical. They
are about what constitutes fair competition and hence the issues are about
the ethics of sport.

Can I remind readers of the e-mail Chris sent to the list last year
http://flyingjumper.com/homeflash.html. Here are a pair of devices that are
not all that dissimilar from modern energy returning prostheses but designed
to be worn by an able bodied person. How would the IAAF react to an able
bodied athlete turning up for competition wearing these? From the video
there is a distinct suggestion that high jump records might be at stake (or
maybe not if you subtract the height of the device from the height of the

To my mind if you want to introduce aids whether they be prostheses or
wheelchairs into sport you have a different competition (not necessarily
superior or inferior, just different). The simplest example of this is that
if you allow a crutch during a high jump competition then you will end up
with the pole vault.

Which brings us back to the new Speedo swimwear - should all athletes be
required to perform naked?


Richard Baker PhD CEng CSci
Director Gait CCRE/Gait Analysis Service manager
Murdoch Childrens Research Institute
Royal Childrens Hospital
Parkville 3052, Victoria, Australia

Tel (+613) 9345 5354, Fax (+613) 9345 5447

-----Original Message-----
From: * Biomechanics and Movement Science listserver
[mailto:BIOMCH-L@NIC.SURFNET.NL] On Behalf Of Alena Grabowski
Sent: Tuesday, 20 May 2008 10:47 AM
Subject: [BIOMCH-L] Oscar Pistorius

We, the scientific group that has refuted the claims of the IAAF,
believe that it is relevant to make the following points based on
recent commentary from the Biomch-L list regarding the CAS's ruling
to overturn the IAAF's decision that banned Oscar Pistorius from
international able-bodied competition:

1. The work conducted by our group was done pro bono. None of us
received compensation for our research or participation in the
hearing. The legal team selected our group from many other willing
scientists. All of us were screened and cleared for any potential
conflicts of interest by the lawyers. In addition, Rodger Kram and
Hugh Herr were judged to not have any conflict of interest by the CAS
2. Our group of scientists was asked to evaluate the scientific
claims made by the IAAF that resulted in the banning of Oscar Pistorius.
3. We evaluated the claims by using data from the literature, as well
as our own data collected at Rice University.
4. As Ton has stated, this ruling applies only to Oscar and to the
Cheetah prosthetics, thus any new prosthetic running technology will
have to be re-evaluated before being allowed in IAAF competition.
5. We plan to publish the data that we have collected in a peer-
reviewed journal as soon as possible.
6. We hope that the interest in the Oscar Pistorius case will result
in a number of further studies into questions regarding the
biomechanical and energetic effects of prosthetics on human walking
and running.

Our group includes Drs. Hugh Herr, Peter Weyand, Rodger Kram, Matthew
Bundle, Craig McGowan, and Alena Grabowski.

Alena Grabowski, PhD
Postdoctoral Associate
Biomechatronics Laboratory
MIT Media Lab