In brief, Oscar Pistorius has been a double-amputee since shortly after birth. He uses specially designed prostheses (according to Wikpedia, they are Cheetah Flex-Foot carbon fibre transtibial artificial limbs) to walk and run.
Some have argued that his prostheses give Pistorius an unfair advantage over “normal runners” due to the device’s ostensible spring-like properties. The reader comments from the first link provide lots of examples of such criticisms. In response, Pistorius notes that if the prostheses truly did give an advantage, then why had no one before him even approached world-class sprinting times while using them, i.e. it is Pistorius’s athleticism and skill that makes him run so well, not his artificial limbs.
Me? I think that any theoretical advantage they might provide would seem to pale in comparison to the disadvantage they’d cause with respect to things like balance, muscle synchrony, etc. And, the normal human foot and ankle (at least in younger people) also have spring-like properties (similar to a pitcher’s elbow).
I’m all ears. Thanks!
ETA: Damn! In the title I meant to add “at the Olympics”. Maybe a mod could fix that, please?