“Fastest Man”

An interesting article noticed by Mr Barry Francis “The Foot Surgeon” as he travelled to the Fyfield Clinic, Enfield on the tube a few days ago on the 9/8/11 issue of Metro Free paper where there is an article by Tariq Tahir on the activities of Oscar Pistorius.  He has been described as the “fastest man on no legs”, who has fought to be allowed to race on artificial limbs as an able bodied athlete.  He hopes to be on track for London 2012.

Oscar is a 24 year old South African who took the International Association of Athletic Federations to appeal and then to the Court of Arbitration for Sport so that he could compete as an able bodied athlete on his carbon fibre legs, known as cheetahs.  He qualified for this year’s World Championships in South Korea after clocking 45.07 on  a 400m run. Pistorius was born without fibulas (the thinner bone in the leg below
the knee).  As a result of this he eventually had his legs and feet amputated below the knee.  He has completed in the past in rugby, water polo, tennis and wrestling, but after a rugby injury he took up running, using the specially made artificial legs with which he won gold in the 2004 Athens Paralympics, breaking the 200m world record. He is also known as the “blade runner”.

Carbon fibre cheetahs are about half the weight of an able bodied sprinter’s lower leg.
Oscar can swing his lower leg through the air between strides 15.7% more quickly than a 100m world record holder. He actually spends 34% less time in the air between steps.  His “foot” is in contact with the ground 14% longer on each sprinting step.

Until the next time Barry Francis.

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