|Emus Online - 17th May 2007|
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Good luck to everybody that's going this weekend! This is one of the feature events for the year - without a doubt, some of the best orienteering in Victoria. It would be great if somebody could take some pictures and send over a brief article for the next Emus Online.
Joyce has kindly arranged dinner on Saturday Night at the Empire State Hotel in Inglewood. The booking is at 6:30 pm on Saturday evening - and all are welcome to attend. To allow Joyce to confirm numbers, please RSVP directly to her on 9723 6740.
Nillumbik Emu's Rob Fell was successful in gaining a
place in the recently selected JWOC (Junior World Championship) Team last
weekend. Rob, currently studying at ANU in Canberra - takes his orienteering
quite seriously and has been a member (and Captain) of the Victorian Team in
recent years. Two other Victorian Juniors were selected for the team -
Morton Neve (from Melbourne Forest Racers) and Belinda Lawford (from
That's Rob on the left....but congratulations to all of the Fells - we're all aware just how much effort you guys put into orienteering and street-orienteering (in the Western Suburbs). Rob's selection is a great acknowledgement of both his skills and your family's commitment to orienteering in general.
The folks that have been taking part in the informal Monday Night events - often referred to as training events (but generally good fun and good company) - are running low-key events on Saturday, Sunday and Monday of the long weekend. We will run normal score courses - but with more controls for even more fun - with sections for runners or walkers. The format we've used for weekend events previously is to enjoy the run and then retire to a nearby coffee shop or similar for afternoon tea and course comparison.
Each course will have a maximum score of 100 - allowing us to aggregate scores for the weekend - out of a total of 300. There is no charge for these activities - we provide everything that you would see at a normal street-orienteering event...except the public liability insurance. All we ask participants is that they recognise that they are responsible for their own safety and the result of their own actions. For more information check out the Melbourne Street-Orienteering Home Page at http://street.orienteering.com.au/
Phone: Mob. 0407 998 240 Hm. 9888 8121
Oscar Pistorius is a man happy to be known as the "fastest thing on no legs". In March he won a silver medal at the South African national athletics championships, running the 400 metres in 46.56 seconds. It was an able-bodied race, yet Pistorius is a bilateral amputee who uses carbon fibre "cheetah" legs similar to the ones Aimee Mullins (see below) wears. The International Association of Athletics Federations is now debating whether Pistorius should be allowed to run in able-bodied races at future international meetings. Those who argue against him doing so claim his legs might give him an unfair advantage.
Most prosthetic leg specialists say such concerns are ill-founded, for now at least. The prosthetic legs, which are made by the Icelandic company Ossur, act like springs which store energy as the foot is pushed into the ground, and then return much of it to the runner, just as tendons do in a natural ankle. However, unlike natural legs, the Ossur prosthetics lack the muscles to generate their own power, and so provide much less energy overall than natural legs, the experts say.
That may be about to change. Herr, who has made it his life's work to design improved prosthetic legs, is being funded by the US Department of Veterans Affairs to work on a prosthetic ankle that returns more energy in each stride. Inside each prosthetic are battery-powered motors that do a similar job to muscles. Last week, he wore two of these brand-new ankles for the first time. "It was absolutely amazing," he says. "It's like hitting the moving walkway at the airport." People wearing the new prosthetic have been shown to expend 20 per cent less energy when walking than with a standard prosthetic, and Herr says their gait also looks completely natural.
Advances like these are shifting perceptions of disability. Herr mentions a 17-year-old girl who has decided to go ahead with an operation to amputate a damaged leg because, he says, she thinks a new prosthetic will give her more athletic ability than she has now. For his own part, Herr claims he would not swap his prosthetic legs for natural legs, even if he could. "Would you buy a computer system if you were told you couldn't upgrade it for 50 years?" he says.
His goal is to create an artificial leg that outperforms a natural leg in every way. In the meantime he will focus on specialised designs for particular purposes: one that allows him to run faster than other humans, another that allows him to walk more efficiently and a third that allows him to climb better. "I mean, Aimee and I can just switch legs in a matter of 15 seconds." That's not something able-bodied people can do.
Footnote - The celebrity magazine People ranked fashion model and actress Aimee Mullins among the world's 50 most beautiful people. She is president of the Women's Sports Foundation, whose goal is to advance the lives of girls and women through sport and physical activity, and is a record-breaking athlete. Mullins is also a double amputee, having lost both her legs below the knee as a child.