Artificially long legs directly enhance long sprint running performance

Peter G. Weyand, Lance C. Brooks, Sunil Prajapati, Emily L. McClelland, S. K. Hatcher, Quinn M. Callier, Matthew W. Bundle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This comment addresses the incomplete presentation and incorrect conclusion offered in the recent manuscript of Beck et al. (R. Soc. Open Sci. 9, 211799 (doi:10.1098/rsos.211799)). The manuscript introduces biomechanical and performance data on the fastest-ever, bilateral amputee 400 m runner. Using an advantage standard of not faster than the fastest non-amputee runner ever (i.e. performance superior to that of the intact-limb world record-holder), the Beck et al. manuscript concludes that sprint running performance on bilateral, lower-limb prostheses is not unequivocally advantageous compared to the biological limb condition. The manuscript acknowledges the long-standing support of the authors for the numerous eligibility applications of the bilateral-amputee athlete. However, it does not acknowledge that the athlete's anatomically disproportionate prosthetic limb lengths (+15 cm versus the World Para Athletics maximum) are ineligible in both Olympic and Paralympic track competition due to their performance-enhancing properties. Also not acknowledged are the slower sprint performances of the bilateral-amputee athlete on limbs of shorter length that directly refute their manuscript's primary conclusion. Our contribution here provides essential background information and data not included in the Beck et al. manuscript that make the correct empirical conclusion clear: artificially long legs artificially enhance long sprint running performance.

Original languageEnglish
Article number220397
JournalRoyal Society Open Science
Volume9
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 17 2022

Keywords

  • human performance
  • prosthetic limb
  • sprint running

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