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All his life, Oscar Pistorius has had to battle adversity. Born 21 years ago in South Africa without fibulas, he was only 11 months old when his legs were amputated below the knee. What he did not lack, however, was tenacity and five years ago he began running competitively using prosthetic racing blades (J-shaped carbon-fibre “Cheetah” extensions, see fig 1). Nine months later he won the 200 metres at the 2004 Paralympic Games in Athens.
Oscar, world record holder in the 100, 200 and 400 m Paralympic events, had a dream—to compete in the Beijing Olympics by qualifying for South Africa. In mid-January, however, his dream was dashed when the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) outlawed his prosthetic racing blades; the International Olympic Committee upheld that decision.
The IAAF decision was based on the statement of German Professor Gert-Peter Brueggemann, who conducted tests on the prosthetic limbs and concluded that the blades might …
Competing interests: None.
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