Pistorius allowed to compete at Beijing Olys

Pistorius allowed to compete at Beijing Olys

Post by kc » Sun, 18 May 2008 03:53:05



http://SportToday.org/

On the one hand, he absolutely should not be allowed to compete, on the
principle that his prosthetic legs are springs which without doubt offer
him advantages over regular athletes: they can be optimized to perform
better than human tissue at the desired running speed, they are lighter
than a similar human shank+foot, they don't fatigue, he'll never have to
deal with a sprained ankle or strained Achilles' tendon, shin splints,
etc., ...

On the other hand, I might be able to make some money if I can design
some "shoes" for "regular" athletes which offer the same or similar
benefits.  I'll use Pistorius' case as precedent.

IMO this is a sad day for sport, and a great day for sensationalism of
sport by the media and governing bodies.

With the way athletes are willing to poison their bodies with
performance enhancing ***, I wouldn't be surprised if some day a
sprinter is willing to undergo voluntary amputation so he can use
performance enhancing prosthetics.

Call me an insensitive jerk, whatever.  I fully know how much Mr.
Pistorius wants to compete.  I completely understand.  I also have
empathy for him, as I'm sure he'd rather still have his legs intact than
be in this situation.  I've read up on him, and I know his is an amazing
athlete, and that not just any amputee can learn to run with prosthetics
as well as he.  He deserves all the fame and awards and prizes he's
already won.  He does not deserve to compete in the Olympics with the
aide of his prosthetic legs.

-KC

 
 
 

Pistorius allowed to compete at Beijing Olys

Post by kc » Sun, 18 May 2008 03:56:48

Quote:

> Pistorius wants to compete.  I completely understand.  I also have
> empathy for him, as I'm sure he'd rather still have his legs intact than
> be in this situation.  

It occured to me that this was poorly phrased.  He never HAD "normal"
legs, as he was born with defective legs.  I should have written, "...
I'm sure he'd rather have normal legs than ..."

Although maybe I'm wrong.

-KC

 
 
 

Pistorius allowed to compete at Beijing Olys

Post by Mike Sulliva » Sun, 18 May 2008 04:30:24


Quote:

> http://sports.espn.go.com/oly/trackandfield/news/story?id=3398915

> On the one hand, he absolutely should not be allowed to compete, on the
> principle that his prosthetic legs are springs which without doubt offer
> him advantages over regular athletes: they can be optimized to perform
> better than human tissue at the desired running speed, they are lighter
> than a similar human shank+foot, they don't fatigue, he'll never have to
> deal with a sprained ankle or strained Achilles' tendon, shin splints,

kc,  if you can get some time in between being a busy daddy,
the school work you are doing, see if you can review the work
that Hugh Herr did at MIT.     I'm very skeptical of 'independent tests'
that are presented in a court of law.

I looked at youtube of him a couple months back and watching him run
looks like one of those special effects things in the TV commercials where
a guy in a canoe with a beer beats Olympic champion rowers.

 
 
 

Pistorius allowed to compete at Beijing Olys

Post by kc » Sun, 18 May 2008 04:48:06

Quote:




>> http://sports.espn.go.com/oly/trackandfield/news/story?id=3398915

>> On the one hand, he absolutely should not be allowed to compete, on the
>> principle that his prosthetic legs are springs which without doubt offer
>> him advantages over regular athletes: they can be optimized to perform
>> better than human tissue at the desired running speed, they are lighter
>> than a similar human shank+foot, they don't fatigue, he'll never have to
>> deal with a sprained ankle or strained Achilles' tendon, shin splints,

> kc,  if you can get some time in between being a busy daddy,
> the school work you are doing, see if you can review the work
> that Hugh Herr did at MIT.     I'm very skeptical of 'independent tests'
> that are presented in a court of law.

I'd like to, but I'm sure it hasn't been published.  This is the problem
with science in the courts: the final step of the scientific process
(peer review) is ignored.  The only "peers" you have to convince of your
"science" are those in the jury, who usually are peers in species only.

While the label "MIT" goes a long way, and I'm not accusing the MIT team
of faulty science, I would hope that even they would admit that their
findings are not valid until confirmed by the peer review process.  I'll
tell you this, there are many biomechanists out there (the listserv
discussion was pretty spirited last time Pistorius was in the news) who
would love to review the work.

Quote:
> I looked at youtube of him a couple months back and watching him run
> looks like one of those special effects things in the TV commercials where
> a guy in a canoe with a beer beats Olympic champion rowers.

He definitely has raced against and beaten able-bodied competitors.  The
videos I've seen are legit as far as I can tell.  Heck, he could beat me
in almost any foot race, but that's not saying much!  ;-)

-KC

 
 
 

Pistorius allowed to compete at Beijing Olys

Post by Mike Sulliva » Sun, 18 May 2008 05:05:11


Quote:




>>> http://sports.espn.go.com/oly/trackandfield/news/story?id=3398915

snip

absolutely right about the 'science' presented in court.

Quote:
> He definitely has raced against and beaten able-bodied competitors.  The
> videos I've seen are legit as far as I can tell.  Heck, he could beat me
> in almost any foot race, but that's not saying much!  ;-)

The fact is he's beaten very able bodied runners, 46 is blazing!   But I'm
an old
time track runner that remembers very well what it feels like in 1/4 mile
between the last turn and the finish.  His body doesn't appear to match
his speed.

If he had my feet, he'd be running 52s.

Mike

 
 
 

Pistorius allowed to compete at Beijing Olys

Post by paul_v_sm.. » Sun, 18 May 2008 07:45:14



Quote:






> >>>http://SportToday.org/

> snip

> absolutely right about the 'science' presented in court.

> > He definitely has raced against and beaten able-bodied competitors. ?The
> > videos I've seen are legit as far as I can tell. ?Heck, he could beat me
> > in almost any foot race, but that's not saying much! ?;-)

> The fact is he's beaten very able bodied runners, 46 is blazing! ? But I'm
> an old
> time track runner that remembers very well what it feels like in 1/4 mile
> between the last turn and the finish. ?His body doesn't appear to match
> his speed.

> If he had my feet, he'd be running 52s.

> Mike

This seems that it would open the competition to even "able bodied"
competitors coming up with some sort of exoskeleton that could
increase efficiency as long as they could get a Dr.'s note saying that
they "needed it".  Much like the medical waivers obtained for ***
that would normally be banned by WADA.

I can easily envision such a device being very beneficial to
highjumpers.

Higher, faster, farther... Indeed!

- Paul Smith

 
 
 

Pistorius allowed to compete at Beijing Olys

Post by Mike Sulliva » Sun, 18 May 2008 07:54:10




Quote:






> >>>http://SportToday.org/

snip

Quote:
> This seems that it would open the competition to even "able bodied"
> competitors coming up with some sort of exoskeleton that could
> increase efficiency as long as they could get a Dr.'s note saying that
> they "needed it".  Much like the medical waivers obtained for ***
> that would normally be banned by WADA.

Indeed, kc makes good point.    Is it worth amputating your feet if
by learning to use those feet you could make Oly team?
 
 
 

Pistorius allowed to compete at Beijing Olys

Post by Christopher Anto » Sun, 18 May 2008 07:54:01


Higher, faster, farther... Indeed!

I agree with all the posters here, but just to bring some rowing into it, if
the IAAF is like FISA then this ruling in incapable of being appealed
against - so it looks like he'll be competing

 
 
 

Pistorius allowed to compete at Beijing Olys

Post by paul_v_sm.. » Sun, 18 May 2008 08:03:43



Quote:










> > >>>http://SportToday.org/

> snip

> > This seems that it would open the competition to even "able bodied"
> > competitors coming up with some sort of exoskeleton that could
> > increase efficiency as long as they could get a Dr.'s note saying that
> > they "needed it". ?Much like the medical waivers obtained for ***
> > that would normally be banned by WADA.

> Indeed, kc makes good point. ? ?Is it worth amputating your feet if
> by learning to use those feet you could make Oly team?

Should be no need for amputation, just keep the "defective" parts you
were born with to attach the device.  You have implied that you have
sizable feet to work with and that would be a good thing for a longer
lever, and you would be accustomed to making use of the larger
dimensions right from the start.

If you've seen the movie "Summer Catch" (worth it for Jessica Biel
alone), there is a character that has a line referring to mainming
himself to get into the Special Olympics since he'd "really like to
get a gold medal".  Of course his friend tells him to "go sit over
there and think about what you just said for awhile."

 
 
 

Pistorius allowed to compete at Beijing Olys

Post by Mike Sulliva » Sun, 18 May 2008 08:15:04




Quote:










> > >>>http://sports.espn.go.com/oly/trackandfield/news/story?id=3398915
snip
> Indeed, kc makes good point. Is it worth amputating your feet if
> by learning to use those feet you could make Oly team?
> Should be no need for amputation, just keep the "defective" parts you
> were born with to attach the device.  You have implied that you have
> sizable feet to work with and that would be a good thing for a longer
> lever, and you would be accustomed to making use of the larger
> dimensions right from the start.

sure, current rules don't approve those aids for the able bodied
though, I want to go to Beijing!!

Of course the current ruling applies only to Pistorius anyway.  This
would present a twilight zone episode where the guy cuts off
his feet, learns to use the springs, then finds out he forgot to read
the fine print......

ouch, I didn't know who Jessica Biel was.    ouch.

 
 
 

Pistorius allowed to compete at Beijing Olys

Post by Mike Sulliva » Sun, 18 May 2008 08:25:48




Quote:










> > >>>http://sports.espn.go.com/oly/trackandfield/news/story?id=3398915

snip

Quote:
> If you've seen the movie "Summer Catch" (worth it for Jessica Biel
> alone), there is a character that has a line referring to mainming
> himself to get into the Special Olympics since he'd "really like to
> get a gold medal".  Of course his friend tells him to "go sit over
> there and think about what you just said for awhile."

When I used to take my kids out to go learn to
swim, practice throwing a ball, whatever, I'd say
call the kids in a bad german accent  "time to go
to verk,  Goldine!"

Nobody EVER got it,  but I was Dr Serafin from
Goldengirl, who genetically alters his daughter, then
dopes and trains her to win a bunch of Gold medals.

 
 
 

Pistorius allowed to compete at Beijing Olys

Post by Carl Dougla » Sun, 18 May 2008 08:45:08

Quote:



> Higher, faster, farther... Indeed!

> I agree with all the posters here, but just to bring some rowing into it, if
> the IAAF is like FISA then this ruling in incapable of being appealed
> against - so it looks like he'll be competing

Oscar Pistorius is missing the use of all of the musculature & structure
from just below the knee, AIUI.  On sprinters that part becomes heavily
muscled & is critical to their performance.  Pistorius is by all
standards very significantly disabled _&_ this results from deprivation
of levers & musculature.  Yet people here are calling him, in effect, a
cheat.  That seems incredibly harsh to me.

I note also the comment in his build.  It's not hard to imagine that
someone running only with their thighs & upwards, & so having to run in
a rather different fashion, must need to pack in a lot of extra muscle,
etc., in places unusual to a non-disabled athlete & doubtless less
efficient for limb movement if he is to generate sufficient power,
especially for a high-powered sport like sprinting.

What any adjudication ought to take into account, I would suppose, is
the balance in effectiveness between the lower leg & foot musculature
available only to the normal athlete & the possibly higher coefficient
of restitution of the "blades" on which Pistorius runs.

Frankly I think Pistorius is to be admired, I don't see that life has
handed him too many advantages & I become queasy at the rush to belittle
his determination in getting his case accepted & his fine athletic
achievement.  We don't seek to ban exceptionally gifted runners or
particularly lanky & elastic high-jumpers, do we?  What about the size
of Thorpe's feet - should he have had them trimmed down to a more normal
size?  And we don't seek to prevent slinky distance runners from
highlands in Africa from competing on grounds of unfair genetic or
geographical advantage - or are we to bring a form of apartheid into
sport?  I don't suppose Pistorius will win in major able-bodied events,
but his moving out of paralympics will advantage others in his former
events.  Good luck to him!

As for voluntary disablement:  it would be pretty easy to introduce a
precautionary bye-law banning any self-amputee from competition if there
is the slightest evidence that this *** was done to gain
prosthetic performance advantage.  I know we've had the disgusting &
continuing spectacle of thuggish drug-fuelled athletes insisting first
that they're clean & later that they should be allowed back into the
fold, but self-*** as a means of performance enhancement really
would kill the increasingly sickly golden goose.  Please pass the sick
bag....

Carl

--
Carl Douglas Racing Shells        -
     Fine Small-Boats/AeRoWing Low-drag Riggers/Advanced Accessories
Write:   Harris Boatyard, Laleham Reach, Chertsey KT16 8RP, UK
Find:    http://SportToday.org/

URLs:  www.carldouglas.co.uk (boats) & www.aerowing.co.uk (riggers)

 
 
 

Pistorius allowed to compete at Beijing Olys

Post by kc » Sun, 18 May 2008 09:18:03

Quote:




>> Higher, faster, farther... Indeed!

>> I agree with all the posters here, but just to bring some rowing into
>> it, if the IAAF is like FISA then this ruling in incapable of being
>> appealed against - so it looks like he'll be competing

> Oscar Pistorius is missing the use of all of the musculature & structure
> from just below the knee, AIUI.  On sprinters that part becomes heavily
> muscled & is critical to their performance.  Pistorius is by all

But on "normal" sprinters, the human tissue has limits.  It wouldn't be
too hard to design an optimized prosthetic which outperformed human
tissue from the knee down, *for a specific task*.  Indeed it seems to
have been done.  Keep in mind that the beauty of the human machine is
its adaptability.  The human legs are the ultimate in adaptable
suspension (all the rage in modern luxury cars) - Instantly a human can
effectively change the spring and damping ratios of his suspension to
accommodate changing conditions.  But an all out sprint has very little
adaptation necessary - accelerate and maintain speed (and for longer
sprints accommodate a slight turn).

Quote:
> standards very significantly disabled _&_ this results from deprivation
> of levers & musculature.  Yet people here are calling him, in effect, a
> cheat.  That seems incredibly harsh to me.

Calling *Pistorius* a cheat?  Hardly.  Get a grip, Carl.  I'm accusing
adjudicators and officials of diluting the Olympics (further than what
has been done by commercialism already).  I wouldn't be surprised if NBC
had a say in this so that they could get exclusive rights to his
"emotional story".

Quote:

> What any adjudication ought to take into account, I would suppose, is
> the balance in effectiveness between the lower leg & foot musculature
> available only to the normal athlete & the possibly higher coefficient
> of restitution of the "blades" on which Pistorius runs.

Well, that's what they *DID* take into account.  What they *should* take
into account is that the Olympics should be a contest between humans to
test their bodies as evolution or The Creator blessed them.  This is why
there is an attempt (arguably weak) at normalizing (equalizing) any
equipment used by athletes so as to remove any possible advantage (or
disadvantage) gained from said equipment (e.g. guns, archery, rowing,
cycling, etc.)

Quote:
> Frankly I think Pistorius is to be admired, I don't see that life has

I admire him greatly.  I think that what he has done already is greater
than any Olympic gold medal accomplishment.  He is truly an amazing
person.  But he doesn't belong in the Olympics.

Quote:
> handed him too many advantages & I become queasy at the rush to belittle
> his determination in getting his case accepted & his fine athletic
> achievement.  We don't seek to ban exceptionally gifted runners or

I don't think any post so far has belittled his fine athletic
accomplishment.

Quote:
> particularly lanky & elastic high-jumpers, do we?  What about the size
> of Thorpe's feet - should he have had them trimmed down to a more normal
> size?  And we don't seek to prevent slinky distance runners from
> highlands in Africa from competing on grounds of unfair genetic or
> geographical advantage - or are we to bring a form of apartheid into

Again, get a grip.  Your examples are exactly why Pistorius should NOT
be allowed to compete.  For each of the persons you listed, and all of
their "genetic advantages" they were born with.  If Pistorius wants to
don a normal pair of track spikes, leaving his blades at the locker
room, and have a go with the equipment he had upon exit from the womb -
so be it.  But he was not born with carbon fiber springs attached to his
lower limbs.  In fact, he was born with legs and feet which were
amputated so that he could wear more functional prosthetics.  Should he
then be disallowed for self-***?

-KC

- Show quoted text -

Quote:
> sport?  I don't suppose Pistorius will win in major able-bodied events,
> but his moving out of paralympics will advantage others in his former
> events.  Good luck to him!

> As for voluntary disablement:  it would be pretty easy to introduce a
> precautionary bye-law banning any self-amputee from competition if there
> is the slightest evidence that this *** was done to gain
> prosthetic performance advantage.  I know we've had the disgusting &
> continuing spectacle of thuggish drug-fuelled athletes insisting first
> that they're clean & later that they should be allowed back into the
> fold, but self-*** as a means of performance enhancement really
> would kill the increasingly sickly golden goose.  Please pass the sick
> bag....

> Carl

 
 
 

Pistorius allowed to compete at Beijing Olys

Post by Mike Sulliva » Sun, 18 May 2008 09:30:01


Quote:



>> Higher, faster, farther... Indeed!

>> I agree with all the posters here, but just to bring some rowing into it,
>> if the IAAF is like FISA then this ruling in incapable of being appealed
>> against - so it looks like he'll be competing

> Oscar Pistorius is missing the use of all of the musculature & structure
> from just below the knee, AIUI.  On sprinters that part becomes heavily
> muscled & is critical to their performance.  Pistorius is by all standards
> very significantly disabled _&_ this results from deprivation of levers &
> musculature.  Yet people here are calling him, in effect, a cheat.  That
> seems incredibly harsh to me.

There either is or isn't an advantage in the cheetah
wheels vs a runner with feet.    In testing requested by the
IAAF they said there was a decided advantage.

They appealed in court and won in court presenting
their own study.

It's a cheat.

Quote:

> I note also the comment in his build.  It's not hard to imagine that
> someone running only with their thighs & upwards, & so having to run in a
> rather different fashion, must need to pack in a lot of extra muscle,
> etc., in places unusual to a non-disabled athlete & doubtless less
> efficient for limb movement if he is to generate sufficient power,
> especially for a high-powered sport like sprinting.

I don't think at a 100 or 200 meters his advantage overwhelms
his disadvantage, it might be a wash, though his acceleration at
the end is remarkable.      At 400 meters,  he does a drastic negative
split which is very difficult to do without extensive training.    I suspect
he'd be faster relatively at 800 or 1500 mechanically, but then he'd
actually have to train his aerobic system much more.

Quote:

> What any adjudication ought to take into account, I would suppose, is the
> balance in effectiveness between the lower leg & foot musculature
> available only to the normal athlete & the possibly higher coefficient of
> restitution of the "blades" on which Pistorius runs.

Don't forget the lactic acid.   The last 100m of a 400m race
is all pain, heavy legs, training is done to maintain mechanical
effectiveness.    This runner is fastest in the last 50 meters.
This is where I see the drastic advantage,  no large calf muscles
to pump lactates into burning lungs,  and lighter lower legs
to lift.

Quote:

> Frankly I think Pistorius is to be admired, I don't see that life has
> handed him too many advantages & I become queasy at the rush to belittle
> his determination in getting his case accepted & his fine athletic
> achievement.  We don't seek to ban exceptionally gifted runners or
> particularly lanky & elastic high-jumpers, do we?  What about the size of
> Thorpe's feet - should he have had them trimmed down to a more normal
> size?  And we don't seek to prevent slinky distance runners from highlands
> in Africa from competing on grounds of unfair genetic or geographical
> advantage - or are we to bring a form of apartheid into sport?  I don't
> suppose Pistorius will win in major able-bodied events, but his moving out
> of paralympics will advantage others in his former events.  Good luck to
> him!

Good luck to him, may he write his books, make millions off
his movie contracts.    I agree with you that there are murky lines
for what advantages are fair and unfair in sport,  but your argument
is bass-ackwards.   You are comparing him to a gifted athlete
like Ian Thorpe because of what modern technology can craft for
him.     Oscar has grafted modern technology on to his body to
do what he wouldn't be able to do without it.    All good for most
everything, but a cheat for a venue like national and olympic competition.
 
 
 

Pistorius allowed to compete at Beijing Olys

Post by Stephen and Jan » Sun, 18 May 2008 20:52:39

Quote:


>> What any adjudication ought to take into account, I would suppose, is
>> the balance in effectiveness between the lower leg & foot musculature
>> available only to the normal athlete & the possibly higher
>> coefficient of restitution of the "blades" on which Pistorius runs.

> Well, that's what they *DID* take into account.  What they *should*
> take into account is that the Olympics should be a contest between
> humans to test their bodies as evolution or The Creator blessed them.
> This is why there is an attempt (arguably weak) at normalizing
> (equalizing) any equipment used by athletes so as to remove any
> possible advantage (or disadvantage) gained from said equipment (e.g.
> guns, archery, rowing, cycling, etc.)

I personally struggle to find a solution to this dilema that I am
comfortable with.

There is a continuum from a person born with all the right physical and
mental qualities to excel at a particular sport, through those with minor
disadvantages, and ultimately to those with severe disadvantages.

Those with disadvantages can often minimise or eliminate them by specific
conditioning.  Many people mould their body in specific ways to gain an
advantage, and this may be so extreme as to become pathological.

On top of this there are advantages and disadvantages resulting from a
person's upbringing, their usual geographical location, whether they are
rich or poor, access to the best training facilities etc..

In modern day top level sport I don't think it is possible to test human
bodies 'as evolution or The Creator blessed them', i.e. by accident of
birth, as every single body will have been subjected to a myriad of
modifying influences, many of them not accidental but very deliberate.

So on this second continuum of deliberate modification of the body, where do
you draw the line?  Do you say no-one should use any prostheses of any kind
(e.g. springs for legs, clips to keep the nostrils open)?  Do you say no-one
should train to change their body so much that it has become such a peculiar
distortion of 'normal' that it could now be 'abnormal' (e.g. weightlifters).
Do you say no-one should have any kind of plastic surgery which might help
performance (I've no idea if this practice actually exists, but it wouldn't
surprise me)?  Do you say everyone who competes must have trained at the
same altitude for the same length of time before the event?

Wherever you draw the line, it will be arbitrary as far as I can see, but I
absolutely agree it has to be drawn somewhere.

For me, the most exciting thing about sport is the idea that the competitors
are enjoying being skilled at something, and that they have enjoyed the
process of becoming skilled.  There is an added frisson if that process has
involved overcoming difficult odds.  It's great to see people happily
succeed, but I don't think they have to come first to do that (heresy!).

Jane