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.
It has been an exciting couple of weeks in Sochi for Team GB’s Paralympians. Although there may be some disappointment for Anna Turney, and frustration from Kelly Gallagher (following several crashes) there has been the elation of three silvers and a bronze of Jade Etherington (and her guide Caroline Powell) as well as a bronze for the Wheelchair Curling Team and of course the historic gold medal for Kelly Gallagher.
With 6 medals to bring home this has been an overwhelming success for Team GB, finishing 10th on the medal table above countries better known for their Winter Sports prowess (Norway and Switzerland to name but two).
Jade Etherington and her guide Caroline Powell have won another Silver medal in Sochi, this time in the Slalom event. This raises Jade’s tally up to 3 medals (2 silver, 1 bronze) with the giant slalom and super-G still to come.
In the same event Millie Knight and her guide Rachael Ferrier came in a fine fifth place, while gold medal winner Kelly Gallagher suffered a fall in her last run.
Team GB’s wheelchair curling team have suffered another of loss, this time to Russia. They currently stand at having won 2 games and lost 2 games in the round robin event.
Kelly Gallagher and Charlotte Evans have won the women’s Super-G (visually impaired) to become GB’s first ever Gold Medal winners at a Paralympic Winter Games. This was coupled with a Bronze medal for Jade Etherington and Caroline Powell in the same event, which will sit well alongside Jade and Caroline’s Silver medal from the visually impaired women’s downhill race on Saturday.
Team GB’s Anna Turney was unfortunate to come fourth in the Super-G (sitting) having suffered quite a large fall in the downhill event on Saturday. Mick Brennan put in a solid performance to finish 10th in the men’s Super-G (sitting) on Sunday.
News just in, Britain’s youngest ever Winter Paralympic athlete, Millie Knight, is going to be the flag bearer for Team GB in the opening ceremony at the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games.
Congratulations Millie, and all the best from everyone at the Rio Tinto Sports Innovation Challenge.
You can follow Millie on twitter @knight_millie and join in with her Paralympic experience.
Ice Sledge Hockey was developed in Sweden in the 1960’s by two ice hockey fans who did not want their disability to stop them from playing their favourite sport. It first featured at the Lillehammer 1994 Paralympic Winter Games and has quickly become one of the most popular attractions for spectators at the Winter Games. It was not until 2009 that it was determined that female athletes would be allowed to compete. The rules are largely similar to those of conventional ice hockey rules with the major difference being those relating to the sledge.
The sledge consists of a bucket seat mounted on metal frame which runs on two skate blades under the seat and a skid at the front of the frame.
Saturday night saw the lighting of the Paralympic Heritage at the Stoke Mandeville Stadium in Aylesbury. The grounds around the stadium were a hive of activity on Saturday afternoon as we took a stroll round, and the area went into security lock-down at 3pm in preparation for the arrival of key members of the Paralympic movement who would be taking part in the ceremony. The event itself was shown (very briefly) on the Channel 4 news and featured Paralympic and featured double gold world and Paralympic champion Hannah Cockroft ignite the Paralympic flame as part of a tribute to the Paralympic motto of ‘Spirit in Motion’.
There is a great article on Paralympics.org about the scale of the workshop program Ottobock have setup in Sochi 2014 to help maintain and repair athletes equipment during the Paralympic Winter Games in Sochi which are due to begin next week.
Paralympic Heritage Flame Lighting Ceremony
In Stoke Mandeville tomorrow (1st March) there will be a ceremony to light the first ever Paralympic Heritage Flame, to celebrate the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games . The event will be broadcast live on Channel 4 at 18:30. Stoke Mandeville is of course famous as the birthplace of the Paralympic movement. It was in 1948 that Sir Ludwig Guttmann, a German spinal injuries doctor, created the Stoke Mandeville Games, an event that was the forerunner for the Paralympic Games that were first held in Rome, Italy, in 1960.
The sit-ski is a device for athletes with more severe lower limb impairments (spinal cord injuries or double amputations) designed to enable wheelchair users to take part in skiing as both a leisure and competitive activity. Sit-skiing is used to great effect by charities such as Back-Up to assist wheelchair users building their fitness and confidence levels and to encourage a greater level of independence.
A sit-ski consists of a moulded seat mounted on a metal frame with a suspension system beneath the seat to maximise ski-snow contact. Sit-skis can be mounted on a single ski (called a mono-ski) or on two skis (a dual-ski).
As the Winter Olympic Games came to a close yesterday it was a chance to reflect on what an event it has been. there have been highs, Jenny Jones bronze medal in the Snowboard Slopestyle, Lizzy Yernold’s gold in the skeleton bob. There have been lows, Elise Christie penalised out of the medals in the short track speed skating. There have been thrills, the GB men’s and women’s teams picking up silver and bronze in the curling. And there have been spills, Rowan Cheshire suffering concussion in a training crash, preventing her from competing.
GB Winter sports is set to receive a funding boost from UK Sport as a result of Team GB’s record equaling performance over the last two weeks, this coincides with a popularity boost in Winter sports fueled by the games.