Oscar Pistorius — The Fastest Man With No Legs [VIDEO]
In every Olympics, there is one athlete whose inspirational story will come to represent the spirit of the Games. This year, South African sprinter Oscar Pistorius is the underdog that people will be rooting for across the globe.
The double-amputee known as “blade runner” is making an effort to compete against able-bodied runners at the 2012 London Olympics proving that “you are not disabled by your disabilities but rather, abled by your abilities.”
“When people ask me what it’s like having artificial legs, I reply, ‘I don’t know. What’s it like having real legs?'”
After an injury that shattered his knee in 2003, Oscar began running track to rehabilitate. At a school event one year later, he won the 100 meter race with a time of 11.72 seconds. Curious, his father looked up Oscar’s time to see how he compared to professionals. He found out was that his son’s time beat the existing Paralympic record of 12.20 seconds.
At 17-years old, wavy hair, braces, and his first pair of signature Össur manufactured Flex-Foot Cheetahs, Pistorius stepped onto the track at the 2004 Athens Paralympics. He broke the world record with a time of 21.97 seconds, winning a gold medal for the T44 (double amputee athletes) 200 meter.
Three years later, Oscar began competing in international competitions with able-bodied athletes. His artificial legs became a topic of controversy, generating claims that he had an unfair advantage over other runners.
“If the legs did provide such an advantage that some of the people are claiming they did, then there would be a lot more amputees using the exact same prosthetic legs I have, running the exact same times I have — and that’s not the case,” says Oscar.
With a desire greater than ever to succeed, he participated in the 2008 Paralympics in Beijing where he became the first athlete in history to win gold in the 100m, 200m, and 400m events in the T43/T44 sport category. He also set a new Paralympic Games record of 47.49s.
Oscar set a brand new record last summer for the 400m in 2011 at the Paralympic World Cup in Manchester, UK. Two months later, he made history in Italy running the 400m against able-bodied competitors with a personal best of 45.07 seconds.
People all over the world are hoping to see this inspirational story come to life at the 2012 London Olympics, but this is no fairytale and Pistorius has not yet qualified for the South African team. He needs to run the 400m in 45.30 seconds or faster in an international race before June 30. If he succeeds, Oscar will become the first amputee athlete to compete at both Paralympic and Olympic Games.
“I view challenges, not as barriers, but as boundaries that can and will be pushed.” –Pistorius.