Before Oscar Pistorius ever set foot inside London’s Olympic Stadium, before he prepared for the 400-meter race by connecting two carbon fiber blades to the stumps of his legs, he had to move heaven and earth just to be allowed to compete. Pistorius, a South African sprinter who was born without fibulas and had both legs amputated just below the knee when he was 11 months old, had tried to enter the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, only to be rebuffed by track’s international governing body. His prosthetic legs allegedly gave him a biomechanical advantage. […]
Even as the 25-year-old South African pushed his body beyond reasonable physical limits and ultimately made it to London, scientists debated whether Pistorius’ Flex-Foot Cheetahs—the J-shaped carbon blades that he runs on—give him a competitive advantage over able-bodied runners.
To the man who has designed Pistorius’ prosthetics for more than 10 years, there is no debate.