While representing their country in the 2012 London Olympics will be a badge of honor for all the athletes, none will be as proud as Oscar Pistorious - A 26-year old South African who is often called the blade runner or the fastest man on no legs! That's because unlike most runners, Oscar does not compete with his natural legs, but, with carbon-fiber artificial limbs.
Born with no fibula in either of his legs, Oscar's parents had to decide early on between confining him to a wheelchair for his entire life or, amputating his lower legs and replacing them with artificial limbs. Fortunately for him, they chose the latter and, at just 19 months of age, Oscar was walking with his first pair of fiberglass legs.
Perhaps that is why Oscar has never thought of himself as 'disabled'. He grew up playing rugby, water polo and tennis and even, tried wrestling. In 2004, after suffering from a serious rugby injury, he was introduced to running, a sport he fell in love with immediately. Within three years, he became a world-class athlete, winning numerous medals and breaking over 27 records. At the Summer 2008 Paralympics (Olympics for people with disabilities), he made history, by becoming the first competitor to win gold medals in the 100m, 200m and 400m track events.
While Oscar is happy with his achievements, his biggest aspiration is to become the fastest sprinter in the world, by competing with able-bodied athletes. In 2008, the Olympic committee turned down his request to compete in the regular events, not because they thought of him as disabled, but because they believed his carbon legs gave him an unfair advantage over normal athletes!
However, the amazing athlete persevered and was recently given the green light to compete in both the World Championships and the 2012 Olympics. No matter what the outcome, there is very little that will hold back this amazing man whose motto in life is 'You're not disabled by the disabilities you have, you are able by the abilities you have.'
Resources: Time.com, sportsillustrated.cnn.com,telegraph.co.uk