South African sprinter Oscar Pistorius

The resiliency of South African sprinter Oscar Pistorius is unquestionable. After seeing what he has been through, some might even call it almost impossible. Pistorius was born in November 1986, and 11 months later doctors discovered he was missing bones in both of his lower legs. His legs were amputated below the knee, ending any hope of competing as a professional athlete for all but a select few. Pistorius is one of those few.

Now a decorated Paralympic sprinter, Pistorius has his eyes set on the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London. While in the midst of qualifying events for the 2008 Beijing Games, Pistorius received a ban from the IAAF, track and field’s world governing body, saying he was forbidden to compete in able-bodied competitions. The IAAF said the carbon blades he runs on give him an advantage over able-bodied runners. Pistorius won an appeal with the Court of Arbitration for Sport, but his preparation time had been taken away. He ran the 400 meters in 46.25 seconds in Switzerland, failing to beat the Olympic qualifying time of 45.55 seconds. After not qualifying for the 400 meters for the Beijing Games, “The Blade Runner” is prepared to beat the Olympic qualifying mark this time.

Pistorius competed in the 2011 Adidas Grand Prix, a premier qualifying event that was held in New York on June 11th. Although he finished 5th in the 400, he ran a personal best 45.69, very close to the Olympic qualifying mark. With about a year to go until the start of the London Games, Pistorius is still defying odds, and is closer than ever to achieving his Olympic dream. With the opportunity to reach his full potential this time around, the hopes are high for South Africa’s “Blade Runner.”

This blog post written by VOA intern Nicholas Berault.