Oscar Pistorius-the Blade Runner
A double amputee who inspired a nation.
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By now you probably have heard something about Oscar Pistorius even if you haven’t been following the Olympics in London he has been all over the news. And whether you agree that he should be able to compete in the Olympics or not his story is very inspirational.
Oscar Pistorius was born in Johannesburg, South Africa in 1986 without fibula bone in either leg. The Fibula is the long slender bone running along the outside of the leg from below the knee joint and down to the ankle. Oscar’s parents had to make the devastating decision to amputate prior to Oscar being able to walk. The doctors felt that this would be less traumatic for Oscar and it would also improve his mobility. Within 13 months Oscar was already fitted with his first prosthetics.
His family never treated him differently than his siblings. In the mornings his brother put on his shoes and Oscar put on his legs. They encouraged him to play in many sports. He participated in water polo, rugby, cricket, tennis, took part in triathlons, Olympic club wrestling and was also a boxer.
Oscar shattered his knee playing rugby in 2003 and he feared his sporting career was over at age 16. Doctor’s advised Oscar to start running to help with his recovery. Here is where he found his love for racing.
In 2004 Oscar received his first pair of Flex foot Cheetah’s. This started his nickname of The Blade Runner. Later that year Oscar would go on to win the 200m gold medal at the Athens Paralympics breaking a world record. He would go on to break many records after that which would lead him to set sights on competing against able-bodied athletes.
Oscar would compete in his first race with able-bodied athletes in 2007and finishes in a break through time in the 400m. In December that year the IAAF sent a report to Oscar stating he could not compete in the Olympics with able-bodied athletes because his Flex Foot Cheetahs gave him unfair advantage. Oscar responded to the IAAF that the test was unfair and biased. The IAAF responded back by disbanding Oscar from all able-bodied competition.
In Feb 2008 Oscar appealed the IAAF’s decision and then went through scientific testing to prove that he did not have unfair advantage. In May of 2008 the court of arbitration for sports ruled in favor of Oscar.
Oscar suffered serious head and facial injuries in a boat accident where he had to be air lifted and was in intensive care for 5 days. After recovery Oscar continued to compete in Paralympics and work on qualifying for the London 2012 Olympics.
Oscar became the first double amputee to run with able-bodied athletes August 5, 2012 In the London Olympics. Though he finished last in the 400m semifinals he inspired the world and his presence was always likely to be more significant than his achievements on the track. He will be back in a few weeks to add to his haul of Paralympic titles, but the impact of the 95 seconds or so he spent in competitive action will reverberate longer in the sport than anything he achieves next month.
The notion that a man without legs could have an edge over his able-bodied rivals seems like an affront to common sense, but Pistorius challenges preconceptions on many levels.
He has long been accepted by his rivals. Kirani James of Grenada, the reigning world 400m champion who finished first ahead of Pistorius, demonstrated his respect for the South African by making a point of swapping numbers with him after the race
“He’s an inspiration for all of us. What he does … takes a lot of courage, just a lot of confidence,” James said. “He’s very special to our sport. He’s a great individual and it’s time we see him like that and not anything else.”