Alan Oliveira ran a world record 20.66 for 200 meters (see video below at the end of this post).
Before I get to my point, I want to rewind to my post last Friday which poses 2 questions:
(1) At what point does drugs and supplements give an advantage to the athlete?
(2) What is the fine line between legal supplements and banned drugs?
I look at two cases… Tim Montgomery ran 9.92 as a clean athlete back in 1997, but ran 9.78 in 2002.
Dwain Chambers ran 9.97 clean, then ran 9.87 coming behind second to Tim in that same race.
If you do the math, that’s 0.14 and 0.10 seconds respectively. Advantage.
Oscar Pistorius and the Able-Bodied Olympics
So my question to you is:
At what point does technology take over from the natural (drug free) human body?
Exactly two years ago, way before a trigger happy Oscar Pistorius killed an innocent person, I wrote the arguments on if Oscar Pistorius should be allowed to run in the Able-Bodied events, such as IAAF Diamond league meets, World Championships, and the Olympics.
Paralympians do have a disadvantage, which is the start. They can’t accelerate as fast, thus 200 and 400m sprinters are forced to run negative or even splits.
But one of the controversies, which is either an advantage or disadvantage is, do the artificial legs give an extra bounce (or whip) and increase stride length? I don’t know.
But what about advantages? I can name a few:
- He weighs less overall. I feel running the 400m is all about running economy. I am told the carbon fiber Cheetahs are about half the weight (approximately 6.5 pounds) of an able-bodied sprinter’s lower leg
- He has a greater stride rate than the top 100m sprinters (they say ~15%)
- His calves will never fatigue (though we know it’s the hips and posterior chain that are usually the first to suffer Lactate fatigue in a 200 or 400 meters) but calf muscles, both eccentric and concentric actions, DO have an effect on the push off, stabilization and stride, hence possible Achilles tendon problems.
- He will never have an Achilles tendon problem.
- His ankles are stiffer, never tire, thus a longer ground contact time, which means more force can be applied to the ground. More force means a greater stride length. He will cover ground faster.
- You can’t argue that carbon fiber and titanium materials has changed the impact of sports for tennis rackets, golf clubs, and even hockey sticks. Stronger, lighter materials do increase performance.
Sure, 20.66 won’t get you into the semi-finals, but I think there is a cross over point (eventually) where they will be equal. And that is when the able-bodies athletes will start complaining.
Alan Oliveira 20.66 destroys Oscar Pistorius 21.30 200m WR