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Double Amputee Oscar Pistorius Made History Yesterday By Running In The Men’s 400m Semifinal In London (Video)
However, even among Olympians, Oscar Pistorius is in a class all by himself.
You see, this 25-year-old South African athlete was born with what they call fibular hemimelia, which means he did not have any fibulas. Thus, when he was just 11 months old, doctors amputated his legs half way between his knees and ankles.
Nevertheless, thanks to prosthetic legs, Oscar Pistorius has became quite an athlete during his teenage years, and after a knee injury sidelined him from his first love (rugby), a coach at his school turned him on to running…which he’s been doing ever since.
After winning 4 gold medals at the Paralympic Games in 2004 and 2008, Pistorius set his heights even higher, as he began competing with able-bodied athletes. But to do so, he had to take the IAFF (the governing body for international athletics) to court, because lot of people believe Pistorius’s artificial legs—his Cheetah Flex-Foot carbon fibre transtibial artificial limbs by Össur—give him an advantage over the field. Thus, after he competed in just a few international track events, he was banned from competing.
However, in 2008, the Court of Arbitration for Sport ruled that the legs gave Pistorius no distinct advantage, thus clearing him for competition with able-bodied athletes. Now all he had to do was make South Africa’s Olympic team, which he did.
Pistorius made South Africa’s 4x400m relay team for the 2012 Summer Olympics, which qualified him automatically for the individual 4x400m race.
Then all the guy did was place second in his first heat to make the semifinals.
Did I mention he doesn’t have any legs?
Okay, good. So check out the video of Pistorius’s first Olympic 4x400m heat:
Unfortunately, Pistorius finished last in the 4x400m semifinal yesterday in London. However, his story isn’t over yet. The 4x400m relay is yet to come. And regardless of the outcome—and regardless of whether or not you think his artificial legs give him an advantage—Pistorius will still be one of the most inspirational Olympic athletes of all time.
So way to go, Oscar.