Now known as ‘The fastest runner on no legs’ and ‘Blade Runner’, South African sprinter Oscar Pistorius was born without fibulas (long bone between the ankle and the knee), in both legs and so had a double amputation at 11 months old.
“You’re not disabled by the disabilities you have, you are able by the abilities you have”
With this life motto Pistorius' disability was of no setback for him. So with the aid of carbon Cheetah blades (artificial limbs), Pistorius competed in a variety of sports including water polo, tennis and rugby union until he suffered a serious knee injury from rugby and was introduced to running in January 2004.
Pistorius was deeply inspired by the words of 1 Corinthians 9:26-27: "Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize." These two verses proved of great importance for him as he had it tattooed across his the length of his back.
It was perseverance through hard training, motivation and his trust in God that led Blade Runner to compete in the 2004 Paralympics held in Athens just later that year. He came third in the T44 100-meter event and won the 200-meter event, triumphing over American runners with a single amputation.
After setting a world record in the 100 and 200-meter events at the Nedbank Championships for the Physically Disabled in 2007, Pistorius was determined to compete alongside the South African team in the 2008 Summer Olympics. However there was controversy over the fact that his artificial limbs created an unfair advantage for him over other able-bodied runners. This claim was scientifically tested and proven correct which led to him being regarded ineligible to compete in the 2008 Summer Olympics - a decision which the Court for Arbitration for Sport later reversed allowing the athlete the chance prove himself on the track.
However overcoming the hurdle and being allowed to compete didn’t promise position. Pistorius was 0.7 milliseconds short of the Olympic qualification time of 45.55 seconds for the 400-meter event and couldn’t qualify for the South African team. Not disheartened, Pistorius went on to compete in the 2008 Paralympics, becoming world record holder in the 100, 200 and 400-meter sprint events.
By 2011 Blade Runner achieved a 400-meter time of 45.07 and qualified for the 2011 World Champions winning a silver medal in the 4x400-meter relay event. This made him the first amputee to win an able-bodied world track medal.
In order to be selected to compete in the 2012 Olympics at London as part of the South African team, Pistorius must achieve the 400m ‘A’ standard of 45.25 seconds before June 30, a time he has achieved twice so far and a time he is determined to reach again.