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SXSW 2019

Adaptive Athletics: The Rise of the Super Athlete

Paralympic athletes are breaking records at an unbelievable pace. At the 2016 Paralympics in Rio, 132 world records were set, and more than 200 records were broken during the first six days of competition.1 Paralympic athletes are using sports-specific prostheses to run faster, jump farther, and lift more weight than ever before. In the age of adaptive athletics, is technology providing an unfair advantage or is it increasing access to sports for a wider range of people with disabilities? Current and former Paralympic athletes will discuss the controversy that is reshaping the landscape of competitive sports with academic and prosthetic experts.
1. “At Rio Paralympics, Athletes Take Record-Breaking to New Level.” The Washington Post, WP Company, 13 Sept. 2016, www.washingtonpost.com.

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  1. Are the lines between adaptive and able-bodied sports beginning to blur? What does this mean for the future of competitive sports?
  2. How does the IAAF decide whether an amputee athlete will be allowed to compete against able-bodied athletes?
  3. Learn how athletes with disabilities are shaping the debate about if and how they should be accommodated in competition with able-bodied athletes.


  • Scout Bassett, Athlete/Motivational Speaker, Self-Employed
  • Brian Frasure, CP, Senior Clinical Specialist, Ottobock
  • Alena Grabowski, Assistant Professor at the University of Colorado Boulder and a Research Scientist with the Department of Veterans Affairs Eastern Colorado Healthcare System in Denver, CO, University of Colorado Boulder
  • Blake Leeper, Track & Field Athlete , Self-employed


Melissa Langley, Marketing Communications Strategy Specialist , Ottobock

Meta Information:

  • Event: SXSW
  • Format: Panel
  • Track: Intelligent Future
  • Level: Beginner
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