August 19, 2017

Blade Runner at London Olympics

Oscar Pistorius

Double-amputee sprint runner, nicknamed “Blade Runner” after the shape of his carbon-fiber prosthetic limbs, will compete in the London 2012 Olympics. Pistorius, who will represent South Africa in the 400 meter and 4×400 meter relay events, failed to qualify for the Beijing 2008 Olympics. He will also compete in this Summer’s Paralympics.

Setting aside the sheer level of athleticism it takes anybody to make an Olympic team, Pistorius’ achievement is notable for another, more controversial reason: some people, the International Association of Athletics Federations, or IAAF, among them, believe his prostheses give him an unfair competitive advantage because the material caused him to use less energy than naturally limbed athletes. In addition, the mechanics of augmented running are different, with reduced limb repositioning, or “swing,” times.

Watch Pistorius qualify for the 2011 World Championships by running a personal best of 45:07.

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