Oscar Pistorius is a South African who has had the lower half of both his legs amputated, and participates in atheletic events with the use of artificial limbs. He has been banned from this year’s Olympic Games because the International Association of Atheletic Federations has rules that his artificial legs give him a ‘significant advantage’ over his able-bodied rivals. He uses carbon fibre blades to race.
A study, carried out by Professor Peter Bruggeman at the German Sport University in Cologne, compared Pistorius with five able-bodied athletes of similar ability.
“Pistorius was able to run with his prosthetic blades at the same speed as the able-bodied sprinters with about 25 percent less energy expenditure,” the report concluded.
This is a small but significant point where an athelete using artificial limbs now has an advantage over normal-bodied atheletes. I doubt that his artificial limbs give him an advantage in day to day life, but in this narrow field, Pistorius does seem to get an edge. I think this is going to be the start of a wider trend.