Sunday, August 05, 2012

Olympic Inspiration - Oscar Pistorius

photo by REUTERS
Have you heard of South African Oscar Pistorius?  He is a 26 year old Olympic athlete.  And while the news is inundated with Olympic athletes, Pistorius has his own amazing story.
Pistorius is the first double amputee to compete in the 400 meter foot race.  Now, you might expect him to compete in the Paralympics, a competition for athletes with physical disabilities, and he does. But, Pistorius qualified to compete in the Olympics.
He ran in the 400 meters and advanced as far as the semi-finals, where he ran a time of 45.44 seconds and finishing second.
Pistorius suffered from a congenital condition and had the bottom of his legs amputated before he was one year old.  He credits his mother with his determination, as she would tell his brother to put on his shoes and Oscar to 'put on his legs' and let's go.... Oscars mother was adamant that he not consider himself handicapped.  
He uses a pair of carbon fibre blades.  His road to the Olympics was not an easy one.  In addition to the momentous task of training, he had to convince officials that his blades gave him no advantage. 
After years of pleading his case, the Olympics determined that blades used in the 1996 Paralympics were adequate without enhancing his performance.  Pistorius got the green light to attempt to compete in the 2012 Olympics, he just had to qualify.
Pistorius ran a 46.54 in the semi-finals, finishing 23rd out of 24 competitors.  The top finisher had a time of 44.58.
While Pistorius's race is over, he is still set to compete in the 4x400 relay with the South African team!
"The whole experience is mind-blowing," Pistorius said. "My aim was to make the semifinals. It's a dream come true. Thanks to everyone for their support."

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