2009 Archives

New study finds Pistorius gets boost from blades


The following is from the November 18, 2009, edition of USA Today. Professor Peter Weyand is a physiologist and biomechanist in SMU’s Department of Wellness.

November 18, 2009

By Chris Lehourites, AP Sports Writer

LONDON — The prosthetic legs of double-amputee sprinter Oscar Pistorius give the South African a 10-second advantage over a 400-meter race, according to a new study.

Human performance researchers Peter Weyand of Southern Methodist University and Matthew Bundle of the University of Wyoming found that Pistorius, who has been cleared to compete against able-bodied athletes, runs the distance 10 seconds faster than he would if his prosthetic limbs behaved like normal legs.

Their conclusion will be published Thursday in the Journal of Applied Physiology.

"Pistorius' sprinting mechanics are anomalous, advantageous and directly attributable to how much lighter and springier his artificial limbs are," Weyand said in a statement. "The blades enhance sprint running speeds by 15-30 percent."

Read the full story.

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