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Monday, January 14, 2008

Oscar Pistorius announcement: Banned

Two posts today:

  1. The IAAF report on Oscar Pistorius is released, with the finding that Pistorius has a "clear mechanical advantage" over able-bodied athletes.
  2. Discussion, insight and review into the history of this debate, as well consideration of Pistorius' intention of challenging the IAAF ruling (this post can be found further down the page)
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Oscar Pistorius banned by IAAF - carbon fibre blades offer "Clear mechanical advantages"

After two postponements, the IAAF have today released the report based on their testing of Paralympic athlete Oscar Pistorius. The details of the report, which we'll do our best to get hold of, are enough for the IAAF to prohibit Pistorius from competing in the able-bodied Olympic Games later this year.

You can find a copy of the IAAF press release here. If any more information or data emerges, we'll do our best to make it available. But briefly, our analysis of the IAAF results is found below. There is obviously a lot more to the theory behind these results and the discussion, but honestly, it's all been said before - about 6 months ago. So the results of this testing merely confirm what was being said back in June 2006. Therefore, we won't go into massive detail in this post, but rather redirect you to this post, where the scientific theories were evaluated.

1. Energy consumption: 25% lower with Cheetahs

The first important finding of the IAAF study is that during running at a given speed, Pistorius uses 25% less energy than the runners he was compared to.

Why is this significant?

It suggests that the Cheetahs are far more efficient than the human limb. In fact, that point was argued extensively last year, and the theory is that running on the Cheetahs will save energy investment. They reduce the demand for muscular work, and this in turn, enables Pistorius to run faster before potentially detrimental physiological changes occur and force him to slow down. In fact, this was EXACTLY what would be predicted.

Having said that, the magnitude of the difference is enormous. I had thought perhaps a 5 to 10% difference (which is still massive), but to have a 25% reduction is quite astonishing in terms of the advantage it would confer.

2. Energy return: Never seen before levels of energy return

Secondly, the research found that the carbon-fibre Cheetahs returned energy during running at levels never seen before in the human ankle. That is, the Cheetahs were able to store and release far more energy than a human leg ever has been measured to do. In fact, in a related finding, it is reported that the returned energy from the prosthetic blade is close to three times higher than with the human ankle joint in maximum sprinting.

Why is this signficant?

This is part of the mechanism for the first finding of lower energy use in Pistorius. In other words, Pistorius is investing less energy, and having to work less hard than able-bodied runners to sprint, because his legs are providing greater returns. So not only is he investing less energy, he is getting more out. Once again, the consequence of this is that he can run at the same speed with less energy, and hence is able to run faster than his physiology would allow him to.

3. Less vertical motion during running

The third key finding is that Pistorius, running with the Cheetahs, displayed a much lower vertical oscillation than the able-bodied runners during sprinting. Also, the vertical impact forces were lower in Pistorius compared to able-bodied runners.

Why is this important?

As with the first finding, the lower vertical movements means less energy is lost during landing and less used during the push-off phase of running. It has long been believed in the scientific literature that when you are running, a more economical runner will have a reduced vertical oscillation compared to an uneconomical runner. The Cheetahs provide this economy, and this contributes to improved performances.

4. Energy loss is much lower in the Cheetahs than the human leg

The fourth key finding is that the amount of energy lost during the stance phase of running was only 9.3% with the Cheetahs, but was 41.4% in the human ankle/leg. This difference, greater than 30%, is responsible for a large mechanical advantage compared to the human leg.

Why is this important?

Once again, it means that the physiological and metabolic work that is required of Pistorius is much lower than that of able-bodied runners, because he's losing far less energy. In order to run at the 400m speed, kinetic energy must be "created" through muscle contraction in all runners - the burden on the able-bodied runners is far higher, since they lose more energy. And, as seen in Finding Number 2, they also recover far less energy (three fold difference), adding up to a massive advantage for Pistorius - this is again part of the mechanism for the lower energy cost of running.

The sum of the findings

The sum of all these findings is that the Cheetahs contravene IAAF rule 144.2, which is that a technical device may not be used if it aids performance. As a result, Pistorius has been prohibited from using them, which ends (for now) his chances of competing in the able-bodied Olympics.

Pistorius has however already said he'll challenge the ruling and has come out in a hostile attack on the IAAF and researchers for leaked comments. In addition, he has suggested that they have not assessed enough variables to make their decision.

The problem with this is that even if they do test another variable or two where he does not have an advantage, he now has to overcome a 30% advantage regarding energy storage, and 25% advantage regarding energy use during sprinting.

The sheer size of these PHYSIOLOGICAL differences is staggering and one can only speculate as to what sort of performance advantage that gives him in a 400m race. 5 seconds? 10 seconds? It's very difficult to relate performance to physiology, because so many factors are integrated to produce a 45 second 400m race. But one thing that is for sure - we're not talking milliseconds here, it's a "considerable" advantage, to quote Prof Brueggemann.

But Pistorius has promised to challenge, and we discuss the history of the debate and Pistorius' possible challenge in a separate post, which you can read here.

We'll get more insight on these results as soon as we can!

Ross

23 Comments:

Anonymous said...

Surely if the artificial limb is made to weigh more than human limbs, that will cancel out any advantages? With a different pair of artificial limbs compatible in energy consumption then Pistorius can run in the Olympics.

Ross Tucker and Jonathan Dugas said...

Hey anonymous

Thanks for the comment - fair point. I would say there are a couple of problems with this though.

Firstly, increasing the mass of the limb is likely to alter the mechanical properties as well, which means you are not looking at a "one dimensional" change in limb mass only. It's like you alter mass and elastic properties, and you would definitely change the running mechanics, so that introduces a whole level of complexity - in other words, it's not as simple as increasing mass.

Secondly, if you did this, then you'd be setting a precedent which would allow any assistive device provided you offset an advantage with a disadvantage. The opportunities this creates for cheating are enormous, because just as you have anti-doping controls, you'd now need controls for technical devices. So practically, it can't be done.

And then finally, perhaps most importantly, the problem with this, scientifically speaking, is that you can never know at what point the disadvantages exactly cancel out the advantages. That is, you can measure things like economy and mechanical energy, and find differences, but they are proxies for performance anyway. it's not possible to study performance directly, because we'll never know whether Pistorius, on human legs, would be the same runner. So the testing that's been done is about as good as it gets, but it doesn't necessarily equal performance. Point is, if you could weigh the legs down (which I don't think is possible), you'd have to measure economy and mechanical factors for every single case (not feasible) and you'd still not really know whether there is a performance advantage or not, only a physiological advantage.

Thanks
Ross

Anonymous said...

Obviously the prosthetic was lighter, but what was the weight of Oscar's thighs compared to the able-bodied runners?

Ross Tucker and Jonathan Dugas said...

Hi there

I'm not sure - didn't see that data anywhere, not even sure it was measured in the study (though they did do anthropometrical measurements, just not sure of the level of detail they went into).

I'm not sure of the relevance though? I suspect that his upper legs are no different. On one side, there is the theory that his quads must work harder to balance out the body during running (a theory I don't fully subscribe to, given that he learned to walk on prosthetics), while the other is that his quads would need to do less work due to the lower mass of the lower limbs. I suspect that is more likely the case. But more to the point, as a runner, he can't develop huge quads anyway (look at Jeremy Wariner - not a massive guy by any stretch), so simply looking at his dimensions would not reveal anything significant, I don't think.

Is there a reason you ask?

Thanks a lot!
Ross

Anonymous said...

Great Blog

www.alexander-politics101.com

Maurizio Morabito said...

Ross

Could you please clarify one point.

You state "perhaps most importantly, the problem with this, scientifically speaking, is that you can never know at what point the disadvantages exactly cancel out the advantages".

But Prof Brueggemann was reported in a German newspaper as saying that Pistorius "has considerable advantages over athletes without prosthetic limbs who were tested by us."

Are you saying that Prof Brueggemann has found advantages, but we're not sure how much of them (only, that they are "considerable")?

If that's the case, then we would not need to find the exact point where advantages and disadvantages equate each other.

All we would need is to reduce the advantages to the point where they are not "considerable" any longer.

And that should be measurable of course with the same techniques Prof Brueggemann used to identify their "considerableness" so to speak.

Ross Tucker and Jonathan Dugas said...

Hi Maurizio

Thanks for the email. Just to try to respond.

The issue is that the "perfect" scientific study would involve a "cross-over" design where an able-bodied runner is tested first running normally and then running in a pair of Cheetahs. This would be compared to Pistorius running first with Cheetahs, then with normal legs.

Of course, this is conceptual only, so it is not possible to design the perfect control for this study. However, what the IAAF have done is make numerous indirect measurements of physiology. These measurements were chosen based on the various theories for why he would have had the advantage.

So if you refer back to the debates from July last year, you see that a number of predictions were made - energy saving, elastic recoil advantage, lower vertical oscillation thanks to the blade design etc. The IAAF chose to do their testing because of these existing theories.

Note that these theories all INFER the performance advantage. They are not themselves the advantage - they merely infer that there will be one, because it's pretty well established in the sciences that if you have those factors in your favour, your performance would be better.

So, what the IAAF did is test the physiology in order to either confirm or refute the hypothesis that is drawn over performance, based on these theories.

And their results confirm a substantial PHYSIOLOGICAL advantage. Note that they did not measure performance - they could not do that in a cross-over design, as I've mentioned. Now, when I write that you don't know at what point the advantages exactly offset the disadvantages, I refer to performance. But Prof Brueggemann is quite right - the data do suggest a considerable advantage. In the interests of scientific prudence, however, you have to adopt the other position.

But as i also wrote, it's clear that in this instance, the difference is seconds, not milliseconds.

So then my next question is:

"How do you know when the advantages and disadvantages are similar to each other?" Do we base it on the energy return and cost. Perhaps that's not a bad idea, in theory. I still have a major problem with this because it means that you now allow athletes to run in technology that has the potential to move the sport forward by an unnatural amount, and also opens the door for cheating, because if you set the bar at A, athletes will try to reach B.

So there's a major implication to doing it. In terms of Pistorius, I hate to suggest it, but if they did force him to run in blades that gave the SAME energy return and used the SAME energy as the human ankle, then his 400m time would in all likelihood climb substantially - difficult to say how much, but it could well be above 50 seconds, and then the question is moot anyway. So in my opinion, that compromise defeats the argument, but could be done in the theory, until an amputee athlete does come along who is capable of running 46 seconds in the "newly designed, fair" Cheetahs. Then there'd be no problem. But again, it would be a nightmare to enforce the design laws.

On that note, to respond to your question from another post (which I'll get to anyway), the shoes are relatively similar, the only design differences these days is in the "upper" - the material part, where they look for tiny differences in lacing systems etc. But since the 1990's, not much has changed. The weight is the big issue, together with the stiffness, so they use what they can to reduce weight and increase stiffness.

Thanks for the question!
Ross

Anonymous said...

You wrote - "Last year, around the time it was featured in the news, some polls revealed that more than half the paralympians DID NOT support Pistorius' efforts."

Can you provide a link to these polls? Thanks!

Maurizio Morabito said...

Ross

Hope you don't mind if we continue the discussion.

I am developing the feeling that it would have been next-to-impossible for Pistorius to pass the Brueggemann test.

As you seem to suggest, the issue may be more about avoiding any "opening of the gates" for fear of a flood of technologically-enhanced athletes. If that's the case, no blades will be allowed, ever.

Regarding having a "cross-over" test though, there are enough runners in the world and very sadly there are enough accidents, that it should not be difficult to identify former runners who lost their legs and perhaps are willing to try on the Cheetahs, if only to supply more solid comparative data.

Presumably, though, that should all be at the initiative of the makers of the blades.

But in our particular case, I still do not understand why would Brueggemann be capable of finding a "substantial PHYSIOLOGICAL advantage" but not capable of not finding any advantage with a differently-designed set of blades.

If we can tell when the advantages and disadvantages are dissimilar to each other, then we can also tell when they are not. Sounds like simple logic? Where and why do you disagree with the above?

The shoes analogy also is not easy to dismiss. If they have been similar since the 1990's, what was the situation before and why would it have been different than with Pistorius'? Analogously for corrective glasses and contact lenses, swimsuits, etc etc.

Perhaps now we know why ancient Olympians competed "in the buff" 8-)

Ross Tucker and Jonathan Dugas said...

Hi Maurizio

No problem, good discussion anyway!

In terms of the first statement, that it would "be impossible to pass the Brueggemann test", from the point of view of the facts, then yes, it would have been possible. Of course, had Brueggemann found no differences in energy return, no differences in mechanics, and no difference in energy use, then there would be no reasons to suggest a performance benefit and we would likely have seen Pistorius run.

Of course, this was never going to happen because almost ALL the physiology was pointing towards this finding - it was, in this sense, destined to be found. But that is distinct from suggesting that the testing was rigged or designed to find these effects - it was not. But there was always going to be one finding, unless all the physiologists last year were completely wrong...

As to the second point, I do think that it is feasible that a set of blades could be designed to give no advantage. I would not rule that out. As I said, that invention would kill off this particular discussion, because Pistorius would suddenly slow down by a substantial amount - he might well find himself 70m behind the best all of a sudden.

But to come back to it - you could do research to discover "the absence of an advantage", absolutely. The problem is that this testing would need to be done on a case to case basis, and would therefore require substantial funding, time and expertise. But even that is not the main problem. The main issue is that once you've allowed the technology into the sport, enforcing it is a massive challenge. A set of blades is more than just elastic energy return and mass. These two things are the obvious ones that could be standardized - they could, for example, fix the elastic energy co-efficient, and the mass, to try to bring the limb closer to the human limb.

But then you suddenly have all sorts of other variables - if you want to do yourself a favour, check out the Ossur website where they give you the technical specs of the limbs. I did that when I was looking at the concept last year July and I was astonished to see the level of detail and planning and technical specificity that goes into the limbs. The IAAF would have to control for all of that, not just the basics like centre of gravity, mass and elastic energy returns.

And that's just for the commercially available limbs. They design and modify these limbs for the elite athletes, so that they "fit better", and compliment each athlete - a custom-modification on the design, if you will. The IAAF would need to enforce all that.

So yes, it's possible, in theory, and even in practice to test and find no physiological advantage. Quite what that means for performance is one thing, but it's the actual implementation of the rule that poses the problems.

Regards
Ross

Anonymous said...

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/main.jhtml?xml=/sport/2008/01/14/soathl114.xml

I know, completely the wrong place but i thought this might be interesting for you to comment on during your next drugs in sport topic....

Ross Tucker and Jonathan Dugas said...

Hey Anonymous

No problem! Thanks for the link, and don't worry about it being out of place, as long as it gets there!

Interesting article. I guess one can't begrudge anyone the chance to come back to their "profession" after serving time off as required by the laws. I suppose any other profession would consider it restraint of trade to try to enforce any kind of barrier to 're-entry' after a ban, for whatever reason. Still, the presence of any known drug cheat is bound to stir the emotions!

Next time we do a news-type post (which should be soon), this will be there!

Thanks
Ross

Brittany said...

Ross and Jonathan, I am reporter for Technology Review magazine and I am working on an article about the Pistorius issue. I have read through your blogs on the issue, which are great, and I would like to interview one or both of you for my article. Could you please contact me (brittany.sauser@technologyreview.com). Thanks!

Suspecting said...

I want to thank you on the great work on this site and directing me to this page from the one you started last year =P It seems I'm a tad late on the news. I blame my work for that!

I'm just curious why the IAAF would fund the testing. Is that common practice for someone who isn't even officially an Olympic contestant? 50,000 Euro is a lot of money! I would think it is the onus of the athlete to provide evidence and their own tests?

As yourself, I'm completely and utterly stunned the sheer difference the Blades confer vs a natural leg. I myself was expecting a much more modest difference of maybe 10% or so. Although to be fair, I think that even with such a signifigant physiological advantage, I would hazard to guess that *some* of that is wasted due to Pistorius having to properly balance himself and exert more control over other muscle groups.

Anyway, I try and put myself in Pistorius' shoes. Having to accept this decision would make me feel like all my achievements were invalidated. Not an easy thing to accept for any person. However, I feel his reaction and subsequent crusade is in bad form seeing as how none of the testing was done by him or his team. It was at someone else' expense and one should never feel a sense of entitlement simply because one is handicapped. It makes me Think of Terry Fox who used his subsequent disability to do a cross country run & rally people around a bigger cause than himself that would benefit everyone with the disease and not as a mechanism to profit his own personal aims.

I hope I don't come across as being too cold-blooded.

Anyway, great blog you have. I came via google and am very glad I found it.

Ross Tucker and Jonathan Dugas said...

Hi Suspecting

No problem. You might consider changing your name to "confirmed" or "Suspected" now that the result of the testing is known, incidentally...

Just to respond, again, we agree on all points.

Firstly, I think the IAAF had its hand forced a little by the aggressive media and public relations campaign in the months leading up to the summer athletics season. Pistorius and his team went on what the media referred to as a "public support gathering" tour in the USA, which basically amounted to a series of public appearances, funded by various sponsors, where they drummed up support.

The extent of that support was becoming so vocal that the IAAF could not simply say "prove to us that the limbs are not advantageous", as they would have been set up as discriminatory. So they consented to the B-race in Rome, where they did some analysis. They then allowed him to run in another race in Sheffield, after which Pistorius blasted them for incompetence and discriminatory attitudes towards him.

That was the first unsavoury moment of the whole thing - the IAAF sent a letter to him in response to calm down - it was reported widely in the media. But the problem then was that they had to build such an air-tight case, necessitating the testing. At least, that's my perception of it, pieced together from the reports, and, I must confess, some other sources I don't wish to disclose...

The next interesting point is the whole issue about the fact that the testing overlooked Oscar's disadvantages. You have asked whether perhaps some of the advantages are wasted because Pistorius has to balance and control stability more. That has been quite a popular topic of discussion, and one of the rebuttals of the IAAF result.

However, here's the facts - the IAAF testing looked at PIstorius AS A WHOLE. They didn't simply test the legs and their energy use and return. So when they report that he uses 25% LESS energy, that is already taking into account the fact that he is doing more work in other areas! It has to, because that measurement is made on Pistorius while he's running. In other words, he is doing this 'extra work' stablising himself, and still, his energy use is 25% lower. Does that make sense?

Point is, his advantage as reported by the IAAF IS THE NET ADVANTAGE, already including those factors that people are arguing would cancel out the benefit. The IAAF didn't just measure the benefit, they measured the END RESULT. Funnily enough, Isuspect that this is what Pistorius is referring to when he says they have not tested as the variables. I think that even his "experts" (who are almost certainly prosthetists - and I have nothing against them, but to ask a prosthetist to comment on exercise physiology and metabolic cost of running is like asking a great piano player to play the guitar - they're both music, right...?) have made this error. They are saying "But what about the extra work to stablize, and what about the absence of calves?"

Well, the answer is that it was still Pistorius running, and he used less energy by 25%, despite these obvious disadvantages. That's quite significant.

As for coming across cold-blooded, that is where things get very hazy. It's impossible to know the real motivation, the real driver for this. But I will say that Pistorius has inspired many people through his efforts. Like you, I am heading towards irritation at the petulant manner with which he has dealt with the IAAF, both last year when he accused them of "spying on him and being incompetent" and now, where he's slated perhaps the world's best scientist in this field as being "subjective".

I hope that he sees the possibility for damage rather than good. But that is easier said than done, and I certainly appreciate his issues.

However, and here's where things do get cold-blooded, but I feel it has to be said: Can you imagine how much endorsement money stands to be made should he run in the Olympic Games in Beijing? There is not a company in the world who would not want to put his image up on their billboards, proclaiming their support for the "human spirit". That reality, that fact, has never been acknowledged. So there is more being lost here than a chance to qualify for SA's Olympic Team...

Thanks for your comments, we'll see how this continues to unfold.

Ross

KaraSwims said...

I am concerned on the financial stakes around this issue, both on and against "Oscar's side". I'm very concerned that this negative experience (as apparently perceived by the IAAF) has switched the bearer of the financial burden to the athlete from the organization because athletes with disabilities simply don't have the same means to profit as their able-bodied counterparts...this is a form of systematic discrimination and this shouldn't prohibit questions like this to be raised in the future because as I hope this story has taught us-individual characteristics of athletes with disabilities must be considered even more closely than than other athletes.

Also to "Suspecting", I appreciated the way you were able to be empahtic for Pistorius without falling in the pit of assuming him "inspirational" simply BECAUSE of his disability....I mean-come on! Give us some credit-we can bend the rules and cheat a bit too;)
In all seriousness though, you're right. Many of the statements would make me feel invalidated if I shared his goal. I actually appreciate his leadership and public statements but just wish he was fighting for a different cause (strengthening the Paralympic movement rather than falling back onto even mentioning our Games only after it looks like he'll be "forced" to compete there by default).

Simon said...

Thanks for the sound analysis, guys.

A couple of observations:

A racing wheelchair is a "device", just like the Cheetah prosthetics, and no one in their right mind, even operating at 100% political correctness, would expect to see wheelchair athletes competing against people on legs. I think Blade Runner's case is kind of the same. Running with blades is not the same as running with legs; the two cannot be compared.

On the argument about whether the prosthetics actually make running "easier"... well, this is doomed to rhetoric and emotion; I recall the mighty Oscar's coach commenting along the lines of "If anyone thinks that blades make you run faster, then let them have their legs amputated and try it".

It's interesting and maybe revealing that Ossur designed the prosthetics in question in the style of a cheetah's ankles/feet -- and even named the model "Cheetah". They didn't design them like "normal" human lower legs, because they were aware of the limitations.

Ossur claim on their website that "scores" of athletes have used the technology in the last ten years and "some of them" have got close to able-bodied world records. Given the small numbers of athletes using blades, that kind of ratio suggests that they confer a huge advantage. Ossur is quite happy to claim an advantage when they are marketing the blades to athletes; they can't now turn round and declare they give no advantage.

Simon
www.yourrunning.com

Suspecting said...

Hi Kara,

First I'd like to state that I wish I could change my nick to something more consistent to what I normally use for online discussions but I started with "Suspecting" and for the sake of conistency on this blog so people don't get confused who to respond to, I'm sort of stuck using this nick.

I think you brought up a great point about the financial bits of it. I can't help but think though, that there are many other atheletes from very poor countries who are in much worse shape financially. For instance, we used to host the Laotian football team from Laos for the ASEAN games because they relied mostly on small handouts & small donations as well as their own cash for training and international travel to compete (and they are very poor people). Meaning, they came to our house and we fed the whole team because they simply didn't have the finances. They live off of small support like these and other various 2ncd hand gear to keep going.

My point is, where there's a will, there's a way. And finances/sponsorships can be solicited, even in smaller amounts and in less glamorous ways. And in the end, there might not be any profit in it for the individual, but the question really is what the purpose of any person's goals are; profit or glory & achievement (which in itself can bring in profits).

As well, I think this also brings up a point brought up in this blog regarding the "impossibility" of managing the whole process once the floodgates open in this case. Meaning, it's going to be hell making sure individuals are using the proper equipment/gear. I think they're already having problems enough as it is dealing with the various other issues of control in competitive sports.

Looking at the cost of 2 days of testing @ 50,000 Euro, we'd have to multiply that by any number of potential athelete attempting to move from Parlympics to the more mainstream Olympics. Each athelete would have their own set of issues and own set of equipment that would need to be accounted and tested, throwing in many more varibles into the mix. One of those variables would be who is going to foot the bill? Just but one of many. Granted, I think the numbers would be small now, but there's a high possibility in the near future where going Olympic would be the goal of many more Paralympic atheletes. I just think that in all practicality, it's very difficult to make it work well.

I belive that there might be a possibility in the near future where it happens but at this point in time, it's premature as the system isn't ready for it, even if the people are ready. And even after my overly long reply, all I'm really saying is that I mostly agree with you on the question of finance, even if it doesn't come across that way. ;)

Ross Tucker and Jonathan Dugas said...

Hi Simon

A couple of interesting observations you made there, thanks.

just to add, I've seen or heard very little from the Pistorius camp, coach and management included that suggests that they have a grasp on the science here. There was the shameless talk of 240% energy return from the human tendon that they managed to come up with, and subsequently,Ampie Louw made that absolutely stupid comment about people cutting off their own legs - I saw that too, I cringed at the logic.

Then there was also the comments by Pistorius that he had back pain for days after racing due to the lactate that he produced - also complete nonsense. So the science in support of Pistorius, has, to date, been very weak, and I don't see that changing.

I'm really interested to hear Ossur punting their products in that way. Of course, when they now say "there is no benefit", its difficult to believe considering the finances driving this - millions are at stake as I'm sure you can imagine.

As for the name, absolutely - I tried to make this point right back in July - I mean, do they call them Cheetahs because they're not fast?

ANyway,thanks for the comments, you'll see in my latest post some discussion around the prospects for an appeal and more testing. I was actually just sent an email containing the official position of the IPC (the sport's governing body for paralympic competition) and surprise,surprise, they are saying the exact thing prediced in the latest post - energy and contact, which is again, barking up the wrong scientific tree!

Cheers
Ross

Anonymous said...

i say he shouldn't run but... if the able body people think it is an advantage and think it is unfair they can just amputate their legs. then they will to so they should leave it to the IAAF to decide in the end it isant even theeir decision!!

Anonymous said...

the racers are right pistorius is a cheater!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

once again unfair to race their are to many advantages and pistorius might not have real legs but he knows no dif. so is it still fair? well......... i don't know were did you all go is nobody going to get online and talk about this or is their a new place i am not aware of hello anybody there this problem/ controvery is not over yet!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Ross Tucker and Jonathan Dugas said...

Hi anonymous

I'm not sure how you came across this particular post, but yes, I've written a few more about this topic. Go to the following URLs:

http://www.sportsscientists.com/2009/12/2009-news-stories.html

http://www.sportsscientists.com/2008/01/topical-sports-science-and-analysis.html

At both sites, scroll down to the sub-headings relating to Oscar Pistorius, and you'll see a lot of opinion and analysis and discussion, from my posts and from reader's opinions.

Hope that satisfies your quest for discussion!

Regards
Ross