London 2012: Oscar Pistorius, a Double Amputee, Attracts Olympic Buzz
If you don't know the name Oscar Pistorius, then that may change as the Olympics kick off in London this month.
Pistorius, a 25-year-old whose legs were both amputated below the knee when he was 11 months old, will run for South Africa in the individual 400 and the 4x400 relay races as the first amputee track athlete to compete in any Olympic outing. He will also compete in the Paralympic Games.
"Today is truly one of the proudest days of my life," he said, according to The Associated Press.
"To have been selected to represent Team South Africa at the London 2012 Olympic Games in the individual 400m and the 4x400 relay is a real honor and I am so pleased that years of hard work, determination and sacrifice have all come together."
Pistorius got into track as a teen while going through rehabilition because of a rugby injury.
He reached a personal running record at 45.07 seconds in 2011 and began 2012 with a 45.20, both of which qualified him for the London games. He missed another qualifying benchmark (45.30 or better) by practically a millisecond at the African Championships last month. But officials still allowed Pistorius, who won a silver medal during the event, a shot on the Olympic team.
He will run the relay alongside fellow South African track stars Ofentse Mogawane, Willem de Beer and Shaun de Jager.
In 2008, Pistorius was deemed eligible to compete in "able-bodied" races amid arguments that his blades give him an unfair competitive edge and put other runners' safety at risk.