From WIRED comes the news that he’s been ruled illegible to compete in this years Olympics because he has an unfair advantage!
According to the Institute, the prosthetics are three times more efficient at conserving energy than a flesh-and-blood ankle; Pistorius, running at the same speed as an able-bodied athlete, uses 25% less energy. As a result, they violate the IAAF’s prohibition on “any technical device that incorporates springs, wheels or any other element that provides the user with an advantage over another athlete not using such a device.”
Pistorius is expected to appeal the decision, telling the Associated Press that “the experts I have spoken with believe that the data that has been collected from the testing considers too few of the variables that need to be examined to make a decision of this magnitude.” Gert-Peter-Bruegmann, the scientist who led the prosthetics testing, also spoke of the results before they were released, causing Pistorius to question his objectivity.
If the IAAF’s testing was accurate and complete, it’s hard to disagree with their decision, a point made eloquently and compassionately by George Vescey in the New York Times. But how good was the testing? We’ll find out soon, but the controversy is unlikely to be settled.
The IAAF should have conducted the tests at multiple labs in the first place; an issue so scientifically complicated and emotionally charged isn’t going to be settled by a single lab. The IAAF also said that though it funded these tests, the financial and scientific burden of future prosthetic analyses would lie with the athletes themselves. That’s unfair to the athletes and makes conflicts of interest even more likely to taint results.