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Science In the Olympics?

Monday, July 23, 2012 by Leo DeGreef

          The "Blade Runner" is what a double amputee running for South Africa has come to be known as. Oscar Pistorius had both of his legs amputated when he was only 11 months old and has gone through many tough trials to finally be able to compete in the 2012 Olympics. Many argue that this is an inspiring story of how a man could overcome such a setback both mentally and physically and actually make it to the Olympics! But as it always has been and always will be, there is another side of the argument.

          "As the athletes explode from their starting blocks, the South African born without fibulas will likely get a slower start. Because he can't flex an ankle or stiffen a leg, it takes slightly longer for Pistorius to start. As the athletes gain an upright position, however, Pistorius will be able to reposition his legs much more quickly than his competitors. It's that repositioning speed that's been the point of contention of much of the debate" (Discovery News).

          So can this repositioning time possibly make all the difference? One can look to Michael Phelps who won 8 gold medals in the last Olympics, one of his medals one by only .01 of a second. We all know every hundredth of a second counts but is it enough to disqualify a man with such an inspiring story? I'm sure the debate won't end here but it's an interesting concept to think about.

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