Oscar Pistorius: First Track and Field Amputee to Compete in the Olympics
Oscar Pistorious, a double-amputee, will become the first amputee to compete in track and field at any Olympic Games. According to the Associated Press, the South African Olympic Committee has selected PIstorius to run both the 4 x 400 meter relay and the 400 meters. This decision comes after the SAOC announced Pistorius would not compete in the Olympics because he missed the 400 m Olympic A standard of 45.30 by less than a quarter of a second.
The South African "Blade Runner", who had both his legs amputated at age 11, uses two prosthetic, carbon-fiber Cheetah legs to run. On Twitter, Pistorius confirmed the decision, tweeting "Today is really on of the happiest days of my life! Will be in @London2012 for both the Olympic and Paralympic Games!"
Before the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Pistorius challenged the IAAF for the right to compete against able-bodied athletes. He had already qualified for the 2008 Beijing Paralympic games, and was running in Olympic Qualifiers against his able-bodied counterparts, but both the International Olympic Committee and the IAAF, despite inconclusive scientific research, said his artificial, carbon J-shaped Cheetah legs gave him a physical advantage over his competitors. The ruling by the international sports body banned the use of “any technical device that incorporates springs, wheels or any other element that provides the user with an advantage over another athlete not using such a device.”
In 2011, the 25-year old became the first Paralympian to win a medal at an able-bodied World Championship.
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