Saturday, May 17, 2008

Pistorius can compete in Olympics

South African Oscar Pistorius, who runs on prosthetic blades, has been ruled eligible to compete against able-bodied athletes in the Beijing Olympics, according to CNN.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), sport's highest court, backed Pistorius' appeal against a ban imposed by athletics authorities, which had argued that his prosthetic blades give him an unfair advantage over able-bodied athletes.

In a statement, the CAS said that its panel had "not been persuaded that there was sufficient evidence of any metabolic advantage in favor of a double-amputee" using Pistorius' blades.

"Pistorius, a Paralympic Games champion and world record holder, had lobbied the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) to allow him to compete at the Olympics this August, but after extensive tests the IAAF ruled in January that his J-shaped prosthetics qualify as technical aids, which are banned in IAAF-governed sports," CNN said.

Scientists found that "Pistorius was able to run with his prosthetic blades at the same speed as able-bodied sprinters with about 25 percent less energy expenditure. Pistorius' blades gave him an energy return nearly three times higher than the human ankle joint offers in maximum sprinting, scientists reported, according to CNN.

The CNN story also wonders whether this may impact the future of the Paralympics, if more disabled athletes are allowed to compete in the Olympics instead of the Paralympics, which is specifically for athletes with disabilities.