Double amputee makes Olympic history
South Africa’s Oscar Pistorius made history Saturday morning when he became the first double amputee to participate in an athletic event at the Olympics. But Pistorius didn’t come to London just to participate, he came to compete. He made history again as he qualified for the semi-finals of the 400m, coming up second in his heat with a season’s best time of 45.44 seconds, according to a report from Yahoo News.
Pistorius had both legs amputed below the knee as an infant due to a congenital condition that caused him to be born without fibulas. He runs on carbon fiber blades, which were the talk of many during studies to prove the blades gave him no competitive advantage. When studies showed he had no edge, years of battling to convince authorities of his ability paid off.
He competed in both the 2004 and 2008 Paralympics, but said making it to the Olympics put on a whole new level of pressure. His personal best is 45.07 seconds in the 400m, but wants to break the 45-second barrier while in London.
Known as the ‘Blade Runner’, Pistorius will also compete in the 4×400 relay where he will likely be less nervous than he was for his Olympic debut Saturday.
“I was so nervous this morning,” he said. “I didn’t know whether to cry. I had a mixture of emotions. It was the most amazing experience, the crowd was amazing. I saw the South African flag.”