London 2012: Why Oscar Pistorius Deserves a Spot on South Africa's Relay Team

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London 2012: Why Oscar Pistorius Deserves a Spot on South Africa's Relay Team
Michael Steele/Getty Images

The Olympic world got a dose of discouraging news Friday when Oscar Pistorius, the man many hoped would become the first amputee runner in Olympic history, failed in his final attempt to earn a London "A" standard time in the 400 meters.

The "Blade Runner"—so called for the carbon-fiber prosthetics that have propelled him to five Paralympic medals—must now wait to hear if he'll earn a spot on South Africa's 4x400 relay team.

Let's hope he does. If any man has earned the title "Olympian," it's Oscar Pistorius.

And when I say "earn," I'm referring to more than just his merit as a runner—although that alone should be enough to punch his ticket.

Pistorius has already run the fastest 400 by a South African runner this year. And although he fell 0.22 seconds shy of the qualifying time needed, Pistorius is trending in the right direction as an athlete. The South Africans won silver in this event at the 2011 World Championships, and Pistorius is plenty capable of helping his nation medal in London.

But let's forget all that. Forget even that Oscar Pistorius is fast.

Instead, consider the entirety of what this man has accomplished.

Pistorius was born without fibulae. Today he makes his living as a runner.

Stop. Run that back in your head a few times.

Advances in technology account for some part of Pistorius' unlikely path to track super-stardom, but the real story lies in the flesh above the blades, in the man who decided to pursue a life passion so wildly at odds with his fate.

What is audacity, if not that?

What is vision, if not that?

What is inspiration, if not that?

So, South African track bureaucrats, I'll make this petition brief.

Put Oscar Pistorious on the Olympic team.

And don't just do it because he'll help you win. Do it because he's bigger than wins, losses and the milliseconds in between.


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