Oscar Pistorius, courtesy of the AP.
One year from today, the 2012 Summer Paralympic Games will kick off in London. It is fitting, then, that double-amputee sprinter Oscar Pistorius gave us a preview of the kind of eye-popping performances the Games are sure to provide.
Representing South Africa, Pistorius is the first double-amputee runner to compete in an able-bodied world championship, held this year in Daegu, South Korea. Pistorius met his goal of qualifying for the semifinal race in the 400 meters, but fell short of making the finals. His time in the semis was a full 0.8 seconds off his qualifying time a day earlier, but Pistorius was still in good spirits when he spoke to the AP. “I would have liked to perform better tonight,” he said. “My goal was to make the semifinal and I did it. … Even if I would have ran faster tonight, I wouldn’t have made the final. It was a great opportunity and I’ve learned a lot from the experience.”
Pistorius has had to overcome a lot to get to this point, including a recently overturned ban from the IAAF. The governing body of track and field ruled that his prostheses gave him an unfair advantage over able-bodied sprinters. Fortunately, the Court of Arbitration for Sport ruled otherwise, allowing him to compete in Daegu. He is expected to run on the South African 4×400 meter relay team later this week.
Great job and good luck, Oscar! We’re hoping to see you competing in London one year from now in the Paralympics and the Olympics.