Wednesday 1 September 2010

Amazing athletes

Did anyone watch "Inside Incredible Athletes" on Channel 4 on Sunday evening? They were all amazing people, but I was particularly interested in the amputees who run in blades. They were discussing the design and mechanics of the blades and this part said it all: "when she [Stefanie Reid, exceptional sprinter] approaches maximum speed...the blade works more actively. It begins to act like a diving board, absorbing the energy of each impact, releasing it as she pushes off. Crucially, THE BLADE HAS NO HEEL, unlike the foot where the impact of the heel deccelerates her, losing 40% of her foot's energy".

Now, the foot they were talking about had a trainer on the end of it. I would have been interested to see them compare the mechanics of both legs without any shoes. Would she heel strike then?

Is this yet more proof that heel striking when running wastes a lot of energy? I think so! Our bodies know this too - that's why, when you take your shoes off and your body can work as it was designed heel strike!

All these athletes were truly inspiring. Another part of the film that stood out for me was something one of the incredible wheelchair rugby athletes, Steve Brown, said: "It shouldn't have taken me the loss of two thirds of my body to make the most of the last third. But it did".

I highly recommend watching this and you can catch it here: until the end of September.