Give Now

2012 Archives

"Blade Runner" still subject of scientists' debate


The following Reuters story ran in several publications, including the June 27, 2012, edition of the Chicago Tribune. Peter Weyand, an associate professor of applied physiology and biomechanics, provided expertise for this story.

June 28, 2012

By Patrick Lannin

(Reuters) - While South African athlete Oscar Pistorius attempts to become the first amputee runner to compete at the Olympic Games, scientists are still arguing whether his artificial limbs give him a critical advantage or not.

Pistorius, born without fibulas and who had his lower legs amputated when a baby, uses carbon fiber prosthetic running blades and is hoping to qualify for the 400 meters at the Games.

Pistorius beat the Olympic qualifying time of 45.30 in Pretoria in March but must repeat that performance in an international meeting before June 30 to make the team for the London Games which start on July 27.

Pistorius, who has a personal best is 45.07, won the 100, 200 and 400 gold medals at the 2008 Paralympic Games. He also became the first amputee to compete at the athletics world championships when he ran in Daegu, South Korea last year.

"The science is fully clear that ... Mr. Pistorius runs considerably faster with his artificial limbs," said Peter Weyand, associate professor of Applied Physiology and Biomechanics at Southern Methodist University in Dallas.

He said in an email that the findings, with Matthew Bundle, assistant professor at the University of Montana's Department of Health and Human Performance, also showed Pistorius had an advantage over one legged amputees....