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UM Professor’s Support Helped Double Amputee Runner Compete In London

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LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 05: Oscar Pistorius of South Africa and Jonathan Borlee of Belgium competes in the Men's 400m Semi Final on Day 9 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium on August 5, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images)

LONDON, ENGLAND – AUGUST 05: Oscar Pistorius of South Africa and Jonathan Borlee of Belgium competes in the Men’s 400m Semi Final on Day 9 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium on August 5, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images)

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CORAL GABLES (CBS4) – South African sprinter Oscar Pistorius made history at the 2012 Olympics as the first double amputee runner to compete in the Olympic Games.

Pistorius did it, in part, with the help of a University of Miami Professor after athletes with wheels or springs were initially banned from competing in the Olympics. Critics believe the prosthetic legs gave an unfair advantage.

“My primary role was to help write the defense for him to be able to compete in the Olympics,” said University of Miami Professor Robert Gailey.

Gailey works with the UM Miller School of Medicine’s Physical Therapy Department.

“The concern was he’d have a longer stride length, a higher energy return and so what we described how he doesn’t have an advantage,” said Gailey. “In fact he’s at a disadvantage!”

But it’s a disadvantage Pistorius takes in stride. Prosthetic legs are all he’s ever known. Pistorius was born with a deformity in his legs and had to have both amputated before his first birthday.

Pistorius’ performance was one of the magical moments of the 2012 Olympic Games, one Gailey believes will exponentially inspire.

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