“Regarding the news of a tragic shooting accident involving athlete Oscar Pistorius in South Africa this morning, Össur would like to offer sincere condolences to the family of the deceased, Reeva Steenkamp. As we await the outcome of the police investigation, our thoughts are with all affected parties during this difficult time.”
Statement issued by Össur on February 14th 2013
You are not disabled by your disabilities, but able by your abilities.
|Amputation||Bilateral, Below the Knee|
|Main Events||100m, 200m, 400 m|
Paralympic Games, London, UK
IAAF World Championships, Daegu, South Korea
London Aviva Grand Prix
Oscar Pistorius - Blade Runner on the track
Born without a fibula in both legs, Pistorius was only 11 months old when his parents made the heart-wrenching decision to have his limbs amputated below the knee. He says he never really knew anything different. As a child, he announced to his father that one day he would play in the Super 8 rugby event, a sign of the ambition and determination that would characterize his future approach to life. He did indeed play rugby, water polo and tennis as a schoolboy. Then, in January 2004, Pistorius shattered his right knee on the rugby field. Doctors recommended he switch to track events.
At just 17 years of age, after training for only two months, Pistorius took on the 100m sprint in an open competition at the Pilditch stadium in his hometown of Pretoria. He ran it in an astounding 11.51 seconds; the world record was 12.20.
A mere eight months later, Pistorius raced alongside Marlon Shirley and Brian Frasure at the 2004 Paralympics Games in Athens. Creating a sensation in the athletics world, he took the silver medal behind Shirley in the 100m. He also won gold in the 200m, breaking the world record with a time of 21.97 seconds. This made him the first amputee ever to run the 200m in under 22 seconds. He went home with four world records and the determination to do it again.
At the South African Championships in March 2005, Pistorius ran the 400m in the Open/Able-Bodied category and achieved 6th place in the final competition. That same year, he also won the gold in both the 100m and 200m while representing South Africa in the Paralympic World Cup in Manchester, England. Subsequently, the IAAF invited him to run in a Grand Prix meeting in Helsinki and at the World Championship in Manchester, making him the first disabled athlete ever invited to such events; a huge honor.
Oscar managed to shave a further 0.3 seconds off his 200m record at the 2008 Paralympic Games in Beijing, bringing it to 21.67. Also taking first place in the 100m and 400m events, Oscar secured himself a place in the history books by becoming the first ever Paralympian to win gold in all three events.
In 2011, a slimmer, trimmer Pistorius took two the world by storm, securing a new 400m championship record at the IPC Athletic World Championships in New Zealand and a new world record for the event at the Paralympic World Cup in the UK in May. The latter event also saw him secure Gold for the 100m, with a time of 11.04 seconds, a personal best.
In July 2011, Oscar achieved his best time yet for the 400m – 45.07seconds – a time which ensured his selection for the South African squad as it headed to South Korea and the IAAF World Championships in August. Greeted by a wildly enthusiastic crowd, it was here that he competed on a world platform alongside non-disabled athletes, getting as far as the semi-finals.
The Blade Runner, as he is widely nicknamed, has no plans to stop running at the Paralympics, which helped shape the competitive athlete he is today. However, Pistorius has never hidden his dual ambition to become the first Paralympic athlete to compete at the Olympic Games. In August 2012, he realized that ambition, taking center stage as the first ever ‘differently abled’ athlete with prosthetic running blades to compete in the Olympic stadium, securing himself a place in both the history books and the Men’s 400m finals.
As part of the celebrations to mark some outstanding performances in Beijing and an incredible haul of 30 medals for the South African Paralympic team as a whole, Pistorius was delighted to meet former President Nelson Mandela.
As a bilateral amputee, Pistorius has always competed in both T43 (double limb loss, below-knee) and T44 events (single limb loss, below-knee). His T43 world records in the 100m, 200m and 400m races are all faster than the T44 world records. He credits his running blades – the Flex-Foot® Cheetah® design from Össur - with enabling him to run at his fastest and accomplish his unique achievements. Off the track, he finds it comfortable to walk and stay active in a different kind of blade - his Modular 111 He also finds comfortable walking and the ability to remain active in his Modular III™ feet from Össur (part of the Flex-Foot range).
Pistorius has now broken his own world records some 30 times and is still working toward becoming the fastest sprinter in the world. In 2008 the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) ruled that his prostheses were ineligible for use in IAAF-authorized competitions, but the Court of Arbitration for Sport later reversed that ban, clearing the way for Pistorius to compete in IAAF-sanctioned events. His best time of 45.07 seconds for the 400m at the July 2011 race meeting in Lignano, Italy took him 0.18 seconds inside what’s classed as 'A' standard time and secured his place on the South African national team for the IAAF World Championships (2011) and the Olympic Games (2012).
Össur's Flex-Foot Cheetah blades are a J-shaped, high performance carbon composite prosthetic sprinting feet. The design of this prosthesis aims to mimic the action of the anatomical foot/ankle joint of non-disabled runners and help compensate for the user’s impaired physiology.
Over the past decade, scores of amputee athletes have used the Flex-Foot Cheetah running blades from Össur to compete at international levels of sport. In fact, the Flex-Foot Cheetah is considered the leading choice in prosthetic feet for both elite and recreational amputee athletes.
The technology used in the Flex-Foot Cheetah blades has existed since 1997, and has not experienced any significant updates since that time.
Össur's Flex-Foot Cheetah blades were designed for unilateral/bilateral transtibial and transfemoral (above-the-knee and below-the-knee) amputees who wish to participate in running or sprinting sports at a competitive and/or recreational level.
Össur's Flex-Foot Cheetahs are a uniquely designed prosthetic feet that feature proprietary carbon technology to efficiently store and release energy produced by the user while running. When a user is running, the blade´s "J" curve is compressed at impact, storing energy and absorbing high levels of stress that would otherwise be absorbed by the runner’s ankle, knee, hip, and lower back. At the end of stance phase, the "J" curve returns back to its original shape, releasing the stored energy and propelling the user forward.
The Flex-Foot Cheetah is designed to have more layers of carbon at higher stress points, such as the apex of the "J" curve, and less carbon where more flexibility is needed, such as the toe portion. Importantly, the Flex-Foot Cheetah has no heel component. This ensures that the prosthetic foot’s reaction accurately mimics that of a non-disabled runner replicating both the stance and swing phases of running.
Prosthetic feet, like shoes, are designed for specific activities. Running or participation in other sports with a normal prosthetic foot can cause discomfort and potential injury. It also may cause fatigue, as typically it would require the user to expend disproportionately higher amounts of energy. Össur's Flex-Foot Cheetah blades have been specifically designed for running, allowing amputee athletes to train more effectively and with less risk of injury than if they used prosthetic feet designed for normal daily activities. The smooth reaction and dampening effect of the Flex-Foot Cheetah also allows the user to focus on the task at hand, and not on what the foot is doing.
The “J” curved-shape of the blades somewhat resembles the hind quarter of a Cheetah, the fastest animal on land. The carbon technology featured in the Flex-Foot Cheetah is available in a variety of configurations to meet a user’s individual needs. The thickness of the prosthesis and resulting stiffness of the foot can be varied according to a user’s body weight, residual limb length, and foot alignment in relation to their running style. This can also improve the foot’s durability. A prosthetist may also customize the toe shape and the tread plate attached to the bottom of the foot. Typically, the spike plate of a sprinting shoe or the sole of an athletic shoe are applied to the foot’s carbon toe to assure traction and conformity to the running surface.
No. Bionic limbs typically incorporate artificial intelligence, including sensors, microprocessors, and sometimes even motors to supply assisted movement and real-time adjustments for the user, based on feedback captured throughout their gait cycle.
In comparison, Össur's Flex-Foot Cheetah blades are non-mechanized prosthetic running feet, which return some of the energy stored during the loading phase of running. Studies have shown that the Flex-Foot Cheetah blades can return around 90% of the energy stored in them. This is far less than the typical human foot and leg, which has been shown to return 249% of the stored energy.