Oscar Pistorious captured the world’s attention during the first two days of track and field in London, becoming the first double amputee to race in the Olympic Games.
The South African sprinted the 400 meters in 46.54 seconds, falling just short of the finals. But for Pistorious, the first athlete to compete in both the Paraolympic and Olympic games, the opportunity to compete on the Olympic stage was unforgettable.
“To step out on the track was just a mindblowingly experience,” Pistorious told NBC Today. “I think there were 80,000 people and it felt like 180,000 people. I think just coming off the home straight and hearing the roar of the crowd and knowing that that there were so many poeple behind me just made it that much more enjoyable. It definitely was something I will cherish for the rest of my life.”
Pistorious, better known as the “The Blade Runner,” had his legs amputated when he was just 11 months old. Ever since, he has ran on prosthetic legs, becoming a world-class athlete in the process.
He qualified for the 2008 Beijing Olympics but was barred from competing because of concern that his blades, known as Cheetas, gave him an unfair advantage. Though this decision was overturned, it was too late for him to compete.
Pictures of Pistorious’ historic race can be seen here.
Wired Magazine recently ran a feature profiling 11 Olympic athletes who have competed with disabilities.