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Olympian Runner Will Make History

UM physical therapist Bob Gailey explains how the Olympian will be able to compete in the London Games



    Olympian Runner Will Make History
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    Oscar Pistorius of South Africa on his way to victory in the men's T42/43/44 200m during day one of the BT Paralympic World Cup at Sportcity on May 22, 2012 in Manchester, England.

    This weekend Oscar Pistorius of South Africa, known as the Blade Runner, will make history.

    "Seventy-five percent of the top paralympians use the same prosthetic leg that I use, and I haven't changed my prosthetic leg since 2004 when I started,” Pistorius said.

    Allowing Pistorius to compete required convincing the Olympic Committee he did not have an edge over able bodied runners.

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    University of Miami physical therapist Bob Gailey was directly involved in making that happen.

    “We went through the scientific evidence, submitted it to the committee in arbitration along with a team of other experts, pleaded Oscar’s case and it was decided unanimously is that Oscar did not have an advantage by using these prosthetic feet,” Gailey said.

    Gailey was involved in the early design of these famous feet.

    “It's quite simple, it's a spring. The athlete comes down on to the toe and it stores the energy then releases the energy to allow him to be able to run,” Gailey said. “This is glued directly onto the blade and then they'll put the spikes just like the other track athletes would use with their shoes.”
    The differences are astounding, running in the men’s 400 meter, Gaily explains, is more difficult for Pistorius.

    “All the other athletes are going to push off with their feet or use their calves to come out of the blocks. Oscar can't push off. The others are going to start low for the first 30 meters so that they don't have wind resistance, Oscar has to come straight up in order to balance,” he said.

    But even before he takes his first competitive steps inside London’s Olympic stadium, Pistorius has already scored a huge victory.

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    “It wasn't all about winning, but about being the best that you can possibly be, you know, about pushing your boundaries,” Pistorius said.

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