So about three weeks ago (June 3), we featured an article on Oscar Pistorius, a South African double-amputee who has aspirations of running in the able-bodied Olympic Games.
I wrote at the time that until it could be proven conclusively that the limbs he wears do not give him a biomechanical advantage, he should not be allowed to compete. My gut feeling, based on a few observations and physiological principles, is that the limbs do give an advantage (see the post on the 3rd of June). The problem is that for every argument one way, there is a counter argument for the other point of view. But, it's not proven either way, and so this post was basically a call for research - let's first see what the science shows and then we can decide, based on facts rather than emotive opinions.
Well, it now seems as though this MIGHT happen (fingers crossed), with the IAAF announcing that they would work with Pistorius to do research on the limbs. I would be fascinated to see what they propose to do - the practicalities of doing sprint research on an amputee are enormous. IAAF, if you guys read my blog, drop me an email, I'd like to know!!!
In any event, let's hope we find some answers soon. I have seen Pistorius on TV often, and he beats the same drum about how the don't give and advantage and that they are passive and actually hamper him - these are of course expected statements (what else can he say, really? He can't give credence to the opposing view). His coach is similar, and seems to me to be shooting from hip, without too much thought. There is a danger here of the Pistorius camp adopting a slightly self-indulgent position, a victim mentality, so hopefully the issue will be resolved soon The same could be said for some of the statements coming from the IAAF, though they have, understandably, been less vocal. I for one would prefer some circumspection and prudence, and let's see what the research says. Then start making claims. But hopefully, the journey has begun...watch this space!