Last month saw the inaugural World Cup Para Bobsleigh and Skeleton races held at Igls (Innsbruck, Austria) on January 23rd with the second round held in St Moritz on the 31st of January. Team GB have shown a strong presence with Corie Mapp (see photo) winning Gold medal in the Monobob at Igls and Matthew Richardson getting Silver medal in the Skeleton at Igls and St Moritz. There has been other interesting news in the world of Para sliding sports with Jon-Allan Butterworth and Heather Mills both competing in Channel 4’s Celebrity Winter Sports program The Jump. Jon-Allan, using prosthetic attachments adapted to fit the skeleton, clocked the fastest time out of all the male celebrities.
A TED talk from MIT’s Dr Hugh Herr on his labs latest Bionic limb technology has got us, at the RTSIC, thinking about the role that more active prosthetics play in the world of disability Sports. The general ruling from the IPC is that equipment that results in athletic performance being generated by machines, engines or robotic mechanisms, the IPC monitor the use of technology within events to ensure that no athlete gains an unrealistic advantage. There are inevitably some disagreements as to what constitutes an advantage, examples such as Heather Mills prosthetic leg being deemed ineligible for use at the Paralympic Winter Games or Oscar Pistorius’ claims that Alan Oliviera’s blades were too long and gave an unfair advantage in the men’s T44 200m in London 2012.
While we are bracing ourselves for another onslaught of wind and rain, Team GB’s Winter Olympic hopefuls in the sub-tropical climate of Sochi are gearing up for action as the first events have begun today.
First news from Sochi is that GB’s Jamie Nicholls has qualified for the Slopestyle (snowboarding) finals on Saturday and his team mate Billy Morgan has a second chance to make the finals through the semi-finals on Saturday.
Keeping the winter sports theme, check out this great cartoon from George Washington University. It’s a really nice way of demonstrating the great work that goes on within the Bioengineering Sector and trying to attract the next generation of young Bioengineers.