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449 Leg Length Discrepancy



Eugene is located in the State of Oregon in the US. The place has a unique nickname, the Tracktown. The best track and field coaches, as well as the best track and field athletes, were born there. It was also the birthplace of the world's largest sports brand, Nike, and even the Diamond League of the IAAF specifically set up a race in Eugene.

As the city of track and field, the number of races held each year in Eugene was always the highest in the US. These races include world-class races such as the Diamond League of the IAAF as well as amateur competitions organized for sports enthusiasts.

Today, the competition organized in Eugene was a small track and field competition. Every event of the competition was a track race, and there were only four. The 100m, 400m, 1500m, and the 5000m. Adding the male and female races together, there was a total of eight races.

It was also Justin Alexander's first race after his comeback!

  ...

Oregon was north of California, not far from Los Angeles, so Dai Li followed Alexander to arrive at Eugene.

"This competition doesn't seem very big. Why did you choose this place as your first race after coming back?" Dai Li asked, slightly puzzled.

"I was criticized a lot for using performance enhancers, and it could even be said that I was universally condemned. I didn't want my first comeback race to be stressful or high profile. That is why I chose this sort of competition."

Alexander paused briefly before continuing with his explanation, "Don't look down on the competition just because it doesn't have a huge scale; a lot of strong competitors take part as well. This is, after all, Eugene. The only thing that Eugene doesn't lack is track and field experts. So even if the scale of the competition isn't big, the competition atmosphere is still pretty good. I can also find a feel for the race here. You should know, it's been four years since I participated in any race. I've almost forgotten the feel of competitions already."

As soon as Alexander finished his sentence, he lowered his voice and said, "There is another reason. The organizer of this competition promised to give me a 20,000 dollar appearance fee."

Dai Li smiled in good faith. In truth, Dai Li knew that when Alexander was at his peak, his appearance fee was ten times that. It was only after the suspension that Alexander's value dropped so much. It was fortunate that Kittel had retired. Alexander had a massive opportunity to become the fastest man in the world, and once he obtained that title, recovering his previous value wouldn't be difficult.

Alexander then continued, "I have to run three races today; the preliminaries at 11 o'clock, the semi-finals at half past two, and the final at six o'clock. It's been a while since I ran three races in a day… Eh? Isn't that Shawn Ford? He's also here for this competition."

Following Alexander's gaze, Dai Li saw a black man with a mustache.


"Shawn Ford. I remember him. He was the World Championship winner for the 200m sprint. But I haven't heard of him since." Dai Li only remembered this man after hearing his name.

Alexander nodded. "Yup, that's him. He won the world championship for the 200m sprint in a dramatic way. He was initially placed fourth in the trials and had no chance of joining the world championship, but one of the contestants got injured, so he replaced him and participated, and ended up as the champion. After that, he never reached the same kind of result ever again. It was even hard for him to qualify for the US domestic trial competitions."

"Why? A person who could win the world championship shouldn't be that weak. Were his opponents weak during that world championship?" Dai Li asked.

"How could the opponents of the world championship be weak! Actually, Shawn Ford's time when he won the championship was perfect. He finished in 20 seconds, but no one would have thought that the result was his peak. A lot of people felt that his championship was obtained due to extraordinary form, or said that he used something he shouldn't have used. His actual ability could never reach the level of a world champion," Alexander explained.

"There aren't any 200m sprints today. Looks like he's entering the 100m sprint. He's going to be your opponent in the race." Dai Li used the motion detector on Shawn Ford as he spoke. Later, when Dai Li saw the result of the detection, his expression relaxed.

"You don't have to worry about him, he can't beat you," Dai Li said.

Shawn Ford had the talent potential grade of A+ in sprinting, but his personal ability value only just passed the 700 mark. Such a level was sufficient for one to represent a nation in Asia. However, in a country like the US with tons of track and field talents everywhere, in a popular event like the 100m sprint, a personal ability value of around 700 was perhaps sufficient for the preliminaries of the domestic trials of the US. Qualifying for the semi-finals was a difficult task. A level like that wasn't enough to pose a threat to Alexander.

Dai Li continued reviewing the results of Shawn Ford's detection, and parts of the description made Dai Li fairly happy.

A talent potential of grade A+, easily a world champion level, but he actually has a defect on his body. Congenital scoliosis. It makes his right leg shorter than his left leg by not more than half an inch. This sort of leg length discrepancy won't affect a person's daily life, but for a sprinter, it's not good news.

There are many causes for leg length discrepancy, such as a traumatic fracture, polio, or nerve damage that leads to the uneven growth of both the legs. Medically speaking, treatments for leg length discrepancy are much more conservative, and include the use of an insole, custom-made shoes, and long-term rehabilitative sports treatment among other things. Few people would use surgery as a treatment method.

For an adult of average height, a one-centimeter leg length discrepancy could not be determined from the outside, and the life of the person would not really be affected. At most, the knee wear of a particular leg would be more than the other, and there would be a higher chance of getting osteoarthritis. For example, some people liked to cross their legs, which could lead to the dislocation of the hip joint, which is likely to cause a one-centimeter leg length discrepancy.

However, for a sprinter, a leg length discrepancy is a fatal shortcoming. Leg length discrepancy would result in an uneven force distribution with the legs, and the time it takes for the feet to touch the ground would also be different, the width of each step was different, and the rhythm of the steps were also unbalanced. There was a 100% chance that it would reduce the speed of the sprinter.

From a time point of view, the effects of the delay were minimal. The delay for a 100m sprint would be around 0.1 seconds, so an ordinary person could completely ignore it. However, when it came to a sprinting competition on the global scale, being 0.1 seconds slower in a 100m sprint meant a difference of several levels. It was like the A standard and B standard of the 100m sprint in the Olympic Games; the A standard was only 0.06 seconds faster than the B standard, yet the 0.06-second difference had obstructed thousands of sprinters from reaching the Olympic stage.

No wonder he hasn't been getting any satisfactory results all these years. The effects of a leg length discrepancy for an athlete of his level is just too great. This Shawn Ford guy sure is unlucky, having a talent potential grade of A+ in sprinting, but he has to be in the US, the country that is strongest in track and field. He has access to the best training atmosphere and conditions, but he has a leg length discrepancy! The athlete's patch should have an effect on this physical defect. An athlete with an A+ grade talent potential, should I scout him over?

As Dai Li thought of that, he suddenly frowned.

This doesn't make any sense. His leg length discrepancy was caused by his congenital scoliosis, which means that when he took part in the world championship back then, he already had the leg length discrepancy. Then how did he become the world champion? If he slowed down 0.1 seconds per 100m, then 200m would mean he lagged behind 0.2 seconds. A gap of 0.2 seconds in the final of a world championship. Nothing can supplement something like that.

Dai Li couldn't help but bring out his phone. He began looking for Shawn Ford's result in the world championship.

19.79 seconds! He won the championship with a time of 19.79 seconds, that result would win any competition as long as he didn't meet with that crazy Kittel. But from this result, Shawn Ford had obviously overcome his leg length discrepancy back then. How did he do it? It can't be that this guy also has a cheat like the system!

The information Dai Li obtained had already exceeded his understanding of sports. So Dai Li lowered his head and went into deep thought.

  ...

Alexander bent his body and stepped firmly on the starting block. He waited for the sound of the gun.

The moment the gunshot was heard, Alexander rushed forward away from the starting line without hesitation and ran towards the finish line.

He was one of the most famous and most influential athletes among all the contestants. And this was also his first race since coming back. It was natural that he garnered a lot of attention. Almost every eye was staring at Alexander.

However, Dai Li did not do that. He did not pay attention to Alexander's race because he knew Alexander's victory was certain.

Dai Li kept stared attentively at Shawn Ford, and at the same time, he also took pictures of Shawn Ford's race.

Ford's performance wasn't great. In total, eight contestants made it into the final, and Ford fell into the seventh place in the middle part of the race. There was not a hint of a world championship winner left.

Alexander was the first to run past the finish line. His lead was pronounced, so, during the final phase, he slowed down slightly. His final result was 10.07 seconds. It wasn't a tremendous 100m sprint result, and it was actually still some distance away from the 10-second barrier. But in this sort of small-scale competition, it was enough to make him the champion.

Alexander was an athlete with an S grade talent potential; even if he didn't use performance enhancers, as long as he trained diligently, he could achieve world-class results. It was unfortunate for him that he had met Kittel, a sprinter who was in a realm of his own. Even when Alexander used performance enhancers, he still couldn't catch up to Kittel.

It wasn't because Alexander was weak, it was because Kittel was just too strong, ridiculously strong.

  ...

Alexander stood on the podium to receive his reward joyously. Although the cash reward for first prize in this sort of small competition wasn't much, for the first competition since his comeback, it was obviously an excellent encouragement for Alexander.

In the stands, the audience was discussing Alexander's comeback. Only Dai Li was immersed in his cell phone, reviewing scenes of Shawn Ford's performance during the race.

I keep feeling that something isn't right. Perhaps I should also watch videos of Shawn Ford when he won the world championship. I should be able to find the video online. Dai Li searched on his phone for a while and finally found a video of Shawn Ford winning the world championship from a few years ago.

So fast! Although it's the 200m sprint, Shawn Ford was much faster than he was today. Especially in the earlier bend, he has already established a clear advantage. But from the size of his lead, he sure doesn't look like an athlete with a leg length discrepancy… Hold on a minute!

It was as if Dai Li had thought of something. He immediately rewound the video and reviewed Ford's race in the final of the world championship. The video of the first 100m bend. He then closed his eyes and thought of Ford's appearance today.

I understand! So it's like that. Ford doesn't even need the athlete's patch, it's just that he hasn't found the correct method to sprint!