Every Olympic season brings new scientific innovations that help athletes earn the gold and break world records. This year’s London Games, for example, will see South African double-amputee runner Oscar Pistorius make his debut on the 400-meter-dash while donning cutting edge, lightweight prosthetics. At the same time, Olympic officials will be cracking down on another innovation: new drugs that help athletes outcompete their rivals. Do prosthetic limbs offer an unfair advantage? What is being done to keep steroids and blood doping out of the games? And has scientific innovation become as important a player in the Olympics as the athletes themselves?
Join us for a live chat at 3 p.m. EDT on Thursday, 18 July, when we’ll ask biomedical engineers and blood doping experts for their views on these issues. You can leave your questions in the comment box below before the chat starts. The full text of the chat will be archived on this page.
Peter Weyand is an Associate Professor of Applied Physiology and Biomechanics at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas. His research integrates musculoskeletal mechanics, physiology and locomotor performance.
Don Catlin is a physician, chemist and sports drug expert and professor emeritus at UCLA. He founded the UCLA Olympic sport testing laboratory which is a national testing laboratory used by the NCAA, NFL, Baseball, the United States Olympic Committee and many others.
Dr. Jill McNitt-Gray is a Professor in the Departments of Biological Sciences and Biomedical Engineering at the University of Southern California. Her research focuses on the neuromuscular control and dynamics of human movements and aims to identify risk factors and develop effective methods for performance enhancement for individuals with various ability levels (clinical populations as well as elite athletes).