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Enhanced Human Performance

2008 May 17
by Robert Macdonald

There has been quite a bit of discussion about drug taking, gene doping and what we mean by ‘artificial’ enhancements to human performance at The Sports Economist in the past year.

Here are two examples of opening pandora’s box and finding a can of worms.

Of greatest significance is the ruling fom the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), allowing South African 400m sprinter Oscar Pistorius attempt to qualify for the 2008 olympics. Oscar has been dealt some harsh cards in his life as a double amputee below his knees, but he has developed an impressive athletics career with the assistance of ‘cheetah’ racing blade prosthetic devices.

After being initially denied the right to qualify and compete at Beijing by the IAAF, the CAS ruling provides Pistorius with the opportunity to qualify.

Some South African sports scientists have a pretty interesting blog The Science of Sports that covers this matter and others quite well (as some of us blogging here at TSE have noted of late, some of these issues require the input of scientists, lest we economists end up talking through our hats). Plus, here are a couple of links to print news from USA Today and Fox Sports Australia and video on the US ABC News website to bring you up to speed on the history of the matter. The CAS website press release section has temporarily gone haywire and won’t work.

From The Age (Melbourne) – Sydney Swans player Nick Malceski returns to the Australian Football League today:

Just 13 weeks after rupturing his anterior cruciate ligament, and only 86 days after undergoing surgery to correct what is normally a season-ending injury, Malceski will run onto ANZ Stadium [Sydney Olympic Stadium] and resume a season that not long ago appeared over. On February 22, Malceski underwent the revolutionary procedure of French surgeon JP Laboureau – conducted by Australian surgeon Danny Biggs – known as LARS (ligament augmentation and reconstruction system), to repair his torn ligament with a durable industrial-strength synthetic fibre.

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