Oscar Pistorius had both legs amputated below the knee when he was 11 months old, but equipped with Cheetah prosthetics he’s trained to become an extremely accomplished runner who’s in search of an olympic qualifying time. Only problem is that the International Association of Athletics Federations, the governing body for track and field, says the prosthetics give him an advantage over conventional runners.
Clearly, I’m not in a position to assess the validity of a claim like that. But they make a lot of these high-end prosthetics in Iceland, and when I was over there I met a guy who works in that industry and it was certainly his claim that their products exceeded the capabilities of organic limbs. As you see with the HGH and steroid scandals in baseball and Deep Blue‘s success in chess, our ideas about human competition are coming under increasing strain and there’s no sign of that trend ending. Right now all of this exists on such esoteric levels that it doesn’t really impinge on the political realm, but I bet that day is coming soon.