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Germany's 'Blade Jumper' gets gold at Tokyo Paralympics

19 Comments
By Sara HUSSEIN

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Isn't everyone in that competition a "Blade Jumper"?

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Did the blade achieve Para-Olympic gold or Markus Rehm?

Should not the technology that in all rectitude not be front center.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Did the blade achieve Para-Olympic gold or Markus Rehm?

This has actually been debated in depth over the years. Of course a blade is a huge advantage over his natural body i.e. not having a lower right leg, but it's fair because everyone else in the same category is able to use the same kinds of blades. In this sense it's no different to everyone being able to wear lab engineered running spikes.

Whether a blade provides enhanced performance over a normal leg and ankle joint couldn't be agreed on. Rehm tried to qualify for the 'able bodied' Olympics (in London, or Rio), a la Oscar Pistorius, but was rejected because his blade is on his take off leg. I believe the angles or degrees of flexion were outside the expected ranges of a normal ankle (or something like that). This is similar to what happened to Caster Semenya and her hormone levels exceeding an expected range.

The ethics of those cases are slightly different, but the point is trying to maintain a fair 'natural' playing field as much as possible.

But it is without doubt that Markus Rehm achieved the Olympic gold. He's a phenomenal athlete.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Let pose the theoretical enhancement of bio tech limb advancement over the political debate for a moment.

How does the advancement of High-Tech Prostheses aid above and beyond Markus Rehm natural athlete abilities? And to what measurable degree?

In essence how does science measure?

Does the blade, or the natural athletic agility, which comes first?

Blade Runners: Do High-Tech Prostheses Give Runners an Unfair Advantage?

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/blade-runners-do-high-tech-prostheses-give-runners-an-unfair-advantage/

Paralympic long jump champ Markus Rehm’s bid to compete in the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics fell short in July when he could not prove that his carbon-fiber “blade” prosthesis didn’t give him an advantage. His baffling case serves as a reminder that four years after South African sprinter Oscar Pistorius propelled himself into history as the first amputee Olympic athlete to compete using blade prostheses, the technology’s impact on performance remains unclear despite ongoing research.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Respect to Markus and all the other Paralympians....inspiration , one and all.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Rehm had wanted to compete at the Tokyo Olympics this summer and said he had still not received an explanation why he could not.

How does the advancement of High-Tech Prostheses aid above and beyond Markus Rehm natural athlete abilities?

For one, he uses his prosthetic as his jumping leg at launch. So did every other Paralympic jumper I saw.

If he or others want to be put on par with two-legged jumpers, they should at least launch from their natural foot.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Not disputing Markus Rehm abilities as a Olympian.

Had Markus Rehm not been disabled in such a tragic way, would Markus Rehm be able jump 8.18 meters?

I know that is a hypothetical question.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Does the blade, or the natural athletic agility, which comes first?

How many non-athletic people who have a blade can run fast, or jump far? Just having a blade doesn't give you athletic ability, just like having a bicycle doesn't mean you become a competitive keirin rider.

Had Markus Rehm not been disabled in such a tragic way, would Markus Rehm be able jump 8.18 meters?

It's irrelevant. What if he was 20cm taller?

If he had 2 normal legs, maybe he'd be able to jump further than 8.18.

Maybe having 2 normal legs would mean a lower motivation to train hard. I know I tend to work extra hard when I have something to prove.

The fact is without a blade / prosthetic, and in his natural body (missing lower right leg), he wouldn't be able to walk, let alone jump very far. So given the artificial means to walk and jump, he's trained like any other athlete does to jump as far as he can.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

For the International Paralympic Committee, more importantly, Markus Rehm the relevance is a matter of if current future blade/prosthetics enhances his natural human abilities to a state that could be judged as incompatible to fair competition.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

No input from something else than your body to interact with performance should be the only acceptable way.

Otherwise you'll see people one day cut their leg(s) to try to become world recorders, if for long jump.

It is just a matter of time enhancement will be so efficient that disabled persons will break easily standard world records

Moreover, the number of sportsmen and women who are disabled is growing very fast in the world.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Humbly, it is the whole concept of what defines or separates able bodied athleticism from their para Olympian partners and how much next generation prosthetics technology/even robotics takes sports beyond the realms of natural ability.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Humbly, it is the whole concept of what defines or separates able bodied athleticism from their para Olympian partners

Yes, but in most cases this is a fairly easy distinction.

The more difficult decisions come with how to separate the different disabilities into the fairest competitive groups possible.

I don't really know enough about the intricacies of that, but maybe there should be some general rules like:

All jumping events should require athletes to take off using a natural achilles, rather than a prosthetic / blade.

If a competitive group is made up only of athletes requiring 2 blades, then they should be required to use the same blade manufacturer. etc.

This to me would seem to level the playing field somewhat, because you wouldn't have a situation where there was a jumper taking off on a blade vs a jumper taking off on a normal leg.

how much next generation prosthetics technology/even robotics takes sports beyond the realms of natural ability.

This for me isn't an issue. Able bodied sportspeople have benefitted from advancements in running shoes, swimsuits, bicycle design etc. for decades. You could argue that any of these things 'take sports beyond the realms of natural ability'. It'd be a bit harsh to say that para athletes can't do the same.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Blade jumper. Oohhhh, I get it!!!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

This category of jumper becomes more about the technology behind the prosthetic.

Must they jump off of their leg or can they jump-off from the blade?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I think the S-23 category for blade propulsion off the non orthopedic titanium jumping femur should take priority over the T-27 and the H-41! Everything gets so confusing. Have you looked at the categories and how they compare.

My daughter was. B-12 at one point at the City hall here, but they changed her to a A-14 after she kept nodding her head yes and no for every question. The Us government refused to give me a package of under 64 pages and with documents to prove disability for disability payments.

How can one fairly judge all these athletes and participants?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

It really seems cut and dried that if a jumper is taking off on a prosthetic blade, they have an advantage over those who aren’t.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

HBJ, I agree.

The challenge for future International Paralympic Committees is differentiating from the athlete and the speed of prosthetic development.

Not just software, but also Artificial intelligence,

However AE, Artificial Empathy imbedded in the prosthetic limbs that respond to emotion. This could become a challenge.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

It's amazing a discussion is even happening at all that a Paralympian could have an unfair advantage, and goes way beyond sport.

Could it be that children with physical disabilities today will view their future with a lot more optimism knowing that technology is emerging that will greatly improve their options.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Stupendous leap. Congratulations to Germany's "Blade Jumper" Markus Rehm.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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