Calling it one of the proudest days of his life, Oscar Pistorius was selected Wednesday for South Africa’s Olympic team for the upcoming London Games. The 25-year-old Pistorius, nicknamed “The Blade Runner” for his carbon fiber, artificial legs, will become the first amputee to compete in an Olympic track event. South Africa’s Olympic Committee says Pistorius will run in the individual men’s 400 meters event and the 4X400-meter relay competition.
Pistorius won a silver medal at last week’s African Championships in Benin, where he clocked 45.52 seconds in the 400 meters. His time was just
outside the official Olympic “A” qualification standard of 45.30 seconds. However, Pistorius met the Olympic qualifying standard in March, and South African Olympic officials decided to waive their requirement of meeting the qualifying mark twice in international competition.
Pistorius has not always been welcomed to compete against able-bodied athletes. Some critics say his carbon fiber blades, known as “Cheetahs,” give him an unfair advantage. Early in 2008, the International Association of Athletics Federations ruled the blades could not be used in IAAF competitions. Pistorius appealed the decision and took his case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, which ruled in his favor.
The South African athlete will be very busy in the British capital. Pistorius says he’s also extremely excited about the Paralympic Games in London, which begin August 29th, 17 days after the Olympics end. He will be defending his Paralympic titles in the 100 meters, 200 meters and 400 meters, and Pistorius says he will also be part of the South African team competing for a world record in the 4X100-meter relay.
Pistorius’s sporting motto is: “You’re not disabled by the disabilities you have, you are able by the abilities you have.” And those abilities will be on full display at both the 2012 Olympics and the 2012 Paralympics in London.