Much has been said and written about South Africa’s Oscar Pistorious. He participated in the 2012 London Olympics as a sprinter along with many others. What sets him apart from the rest is that both his legs were amputated due to a deformity shortly after he was born. In 2004 he donned his blades and took up running, soon he was one of the fastest in the Paralympics, so much so that he qualified for the 2012 London Olympics.
At this point, his blades do not give him an advantage. In fact, he has to depend on his hamstrings to carry him across the tracks. The strength that most runners gain from their calves, knees and thighs is absent, and that could be a reason why Pistorious did not make it to the medals stand.
The prosthetic blades are made to function at high speed, but they do not aid the runner in any way. That however, can change. In a recent article published in The Toronto Star, several engineers stated that technology is advancing at a fast pace and very soon prosthetics can be made which will provide significant energy to runners. The results are speculated to be extraordinary, with strong chances of such athletes outperforming normal athletes.
The technological advancements made in prosthetics are not limited to running. Prosthetics are being developed for all kinds of disabilities, and every Paralympics event is more technologically advanced than the last.
The rate at which technology is advancing, it can be speculated that soon athletes with prosthetics will be outperforming normal athletes. The Toronto Star reported that it is not impossible for engineers to make prosthetic legs which can make Pistorious run faster than Usain Bolt.
At this point it can be speculated that the Paralympics will be full of surprises, inspirational stories and technological wonders. However, international sports bodies will have to determine some rules and regulations in this regard and will have to ensure that natural ability comes first.
The Paralympics should not be about who has the better gadgets, it should be about skill, determination and hard work. We predict a lot of pleasant surprises in this Paralympics, with more success stories and new and better gadgets. Imagine a shooter with a bionic eye, and a shot-putter with a bionic arm. With more involvement of technology, the Paralympics are well on their way to becoming super Olympics.
What is your opinion on the matter? Leave your comments below.
[Image via abcnews]