Oct 1, 2016


In 2001, Alessandro Zanardi, behind the wheel of a Reynard-Honda at Formula 1, suffered a major accident which amputated both his legs. Zanardi refused to give up life, and redefined the concept of "sportsman", as he won two gold medals and one silver medal in the London Paralympics in 2012, and won medals again in Rio de Janeiro, in 2016.

We are not here to talk about Alessandro Leone Zanardi, not even about Oscar Leonard Carl Pistorius, who won three gold medals in Beijing, 2008. We will talk about Ottobock, a company that provides products and services of high quality and technological excellence in the field of medical technology, with the aim of giving mobility back to people with motor disability, as well as to protect the functions that are still preserved.

Technology in sport

When, in 2007, Oscar Pistorius set the new world record for the 100m race, the eyes of the world where set on those carbon leg prosthesis, which looked more like a pair of skis. This hydraulic system for the knee joint, called 3S80, but better known as "J-Shape", provides a cushioning in the balance of every stride, and also allows for much greater control in intensive step cadences.

Ottobock also has available several options for flexibility and cushioning, different replaceable soles, in order to adapt to each pavement type, manual controls for the hydraulic system, and the whole range is adaptable to each individual's weight, making it adequate for any age, from children to seniors.

The wheel chairs for practicing basketball are also versatile, and adaptable to each athlete and his position at the game. From body inclination, to the maneuverability and the mobility of each carbon chair, all of these items can be easily personalized.

The "Invader" model, destined to play rugby, fully takes into account the specifics of the required sport. It bears a reinforced construction has more resistance to the biggest clashes and, still, preserves the agility needed to achieve a touchdown. The defensive model has a much bigger axis, and a solid and stable structure, as well as adjustable body inclination, for each player's weight.


This German manufacturer is the oldest partner in organizing the Paralympics and, since 1988, in the edition at Seoul, they have provided technical support services during the games. Their teams function, in every way, much like the mechanical teams in auto sports.

The technicians are exposed to a major stress working capacity, working under pressure and at the same time applying all their knowledge and techniques. During the 2012 games only, in London, there were about 100 Ottobock qualified specialists and technicians, from several countries, who worked over 10.000 hours, and made more than 3000 repairs, for over 1600 athletes from 123 countries.

The company

Ottobock was founded in Berlin, 1919, and it was meant to supply prostheses and orthopedic resources to the victims of World War I (1914-1918). Due to the major tribulations in Central Europe during the first half of the XX century, the company had to change location several times. The importance that today this company has in this market, was established in the mid 1960s, with the development of the myoelectric arm prosthesis (which is controlled by muscular impulse), and the leg modular prosthesis which set revolutionary patterns in the industry.

It was in 1997, with the presentation of the "C-Leg" that the company took its position in the conception of complete treatment systems for disabled people. The "C-Leg" is the first leg prosthesis that is totally controlled through microprocessor. More recently, the "C-Leg" was furthermore developed, and generated "Genium", a prosthesis which guarantees much more reliability in the execution of usual daily tasks, and has an ergonomic design much closer to the image of the human body.

Otto Bock HealthCare GmbH

Max-Näder-Str. 15
37115 Duderstadt, Germany
Tel.: + 49 5527 848-0

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