This single still is from the widescreen version of ?World Record?, one of the Animatrix animated shorts. It has been considerably scaled back from the original material.
It shows the ?residual self image? avatar of athlete Dan Davis at the Olympic sprint where he is attempting to break his own world record, and where he is attempting mostly subconsciously to break free of the world. The way he goes about doing that is interesting, because it is possible it may have implications outside the fiction.
As the race goes on, Dan pushes his avatar body further and further pasty its limits. Whilst at this point, he doesn?t realise its just an avatar, the freedom, the goal is far more important than the body, so to him it is just a visage albeit in a metaphorical sense rather than a literal.
He pushes it harder and faster than any physical body can take. Now, because it is an avatar, and because as has been established in other films, the virtual body?s psychological responses are simply what the brain expects them to be. It is all too easy to picture a VR set up in exactly this way, as the Matrix universe as a whole is.
Thus, when Dan stops caring about what his psychological responses should be, they stop occurring. He is able to push the body faster, harder than a physical one could be, and when it begins to break down as the local physics laws say it should, he is able to keep going, purely because the base constructs ? the bones and joints ? are still in place. If the muscles fell away entirely, along with the skin and blood, the limb would probably still work, since the skeletal boning structure is literally all that is being used. The sweat, and pain but an illusion.
Now of course the simulation does not have to be set up this way, and it would be computationally more expensive nut perfectly feasible to encode that the muscles drive the leg, rather than the boning structure. The question is if you would desire to do this. After all, leaving it the other way round offers true freedom even when it denies any reality in Olympic sprints in cyberspace.
Link: Animatrix: World Record