“Blade Runner” Oscar Pistorius, of South Africa, will make history when he enters the Olympic Stadium. . .as both an Olympian and Paralympian. The double-amputee was born without his fibulas and had both legs removed at 11 months, but was raised no differently than his able-bodied older brother. After suffering injury in a rugby game, he turned to track for rehabilitation. He ran all the way to world records in the 100m, 200m, and 400m and the title of the “fastest man with no legs.”
Pistorius has been running with able-bodied athletes his whole career, but it wasn’t until 2008 that he won the right to compete against them. Early that year, the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) banned the use of “technical aids” and determined that Pistorius had an unfair advantage over legged competitors. He took his appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, submitted to further testing, and won the right to run.
But after posting two Olympic qualifying times under the “A” standard 45.30 seconds in the 400m, Pistorius still needed to prove to the South African athletics federation and Olympic committee that he has staying power; they require one more qualifying race. In an interesting turn of events only weeks before the start of London 2012, Pistorius was named to the 4x400m relay team (ranked No. 2) alongside teammates Willem de Beer, Ofentse Mogawane and Shaun de Jager. This means he is officially representing South Africa as a member of their Olympic delegation and he will be able to compete in the 400m individual race as well.
Competing in two Olympics in one summer is a feat in itself—a silver medal at last year’s world championships and impressive times in this year’s sprint to the Olympics in London only add to the aura that will surround a true and worthy contender as he bounds onto the world's stage, ready and willing to take on anyone fast enough to dare.