At five years old, after a series of operations had failed to repair his deformed legs, Rudy Garcia-Tolson chose to have them amputated rather than spend the rest of his life in a wheelchair. Now 19, Garcia-Tolson has set paralympic world records in swimming, and he competed in a half Ironman triathlon last year. For walking, he wears the Rheo Knee (below, bottom image), an innovative prosthesis designed by Hugh Herr that adapts to the wearer. An embedded computer chip constantly modifies the resistance of the artificial joint according to its position and load, allowing it to adjust to changes in terrain and speed. Garcia-Tolson uses a pair of lightweight knees (below, top image) for biking and special sprinting knees for running.
Photographed by Jason Dewey