Oscar Pistorius: Blade Runner's Feel-Good Story Will Spark Global Inspiration
The 25-year-old has been without both of his legs for most of his life, and despite this setback, Pistorius will race for his home country of South Africa in both the individual 400-meter dash and the 4x400-meter relay.
He will become the first amputee track athlete to compete in the Olympic Games, after a long battle with the international governing body of track and field, who declared Pistorius ineligible in 2007 because of his prosthetics.
They overturned their decision in 2008, when Pistorius took his case to the Court of Arbitration.
Now he looks to fulfill his dream of competing in the 2012 Olympic Games.
Pistorius was born without fibula bones and had both of his legs amputated before he was even a year old.
Despite his defect, Pistorius was a natural athlete growing up in Johannesburg. He played water polo, tennis and rugby in his younger years.
A serious knee injury in 2003 sidelined Pistorius, but during rehab is when he found his true calling. He started running and never looked back.
Pistorius began his track career with a bang, and won a bronze and gold medal during his first Paralympic Games in 2004. He got even better during the 2008 Paralympics in Beijing, when he won gold in three events, including the 100, 200 and 400 meters.
After that small speed bump, Pistorius got a taste of how close an Olympic berth was and how big of deal his ordeal had become, and he talked about it in an interview with zap2it.com.
I tried to qualify for the '08 Olympics and missed it by a quarter of a second, which was extremely frustrating at the time. And that opportunity gave me a taste, I really don't want to let it go and slip between my fingers again.
Now, Pistorius will get his chance in the grandest stage of them all. He already has proven he can compete with the world's best in the 2011 World Championships in Daegu, winning a silver medal.
The Cheetah Flex-Foot blades that he now wears on both legs were the source of the ire from competitors and media pundits, and some argued that the 16-inch J-shaped limbs on both of his legs gave Pistorius an unfair advantage over others.
You can count former track star Michael Johnson as one who thinks that Pistorius shouldn't be allowed to race against able-bodied runners. Johnson shared his sentiment in an interview with the London Telegraph
I consider Oscar a friend of mine, but he knows I am against him running. Because, this is not about Oscar; it's not about him as an individual, it is about the rules you will make and put in place for the sport which will apply to anyone, and not just Oscar.
The argument over whether the blades give him any type of advantage will likely be ignited again, if Pistorius were to medal in these Games.
His chances of getting a medal may be slim against the best runners in the world, but Pistorius has defied odds greater than this before.
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