Oscar Pistorius: Olympic Amputee

May 18, 2008

Meet Oscar Pistorius, a South African Paralympic champion. See photos, video and a biography of Oscar below.

Oscar Pistorius is in the news after he won his appeal against the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), who in January banned him from being able to compete against other athletes who are “able-bodied” because he uses prosthetics that are carbon fiber blades, due to the fact that he was a double amputee below the knee when he was 11 months old. See pictures of the blades below.

He was overwhelmed by the decision, as he told the Star newspaper:

“I was just blown away when I found out. When they told me, I cried. It is a battle that has been going on for far too long. It’s a great day for sport. I think this day is going to go down in history for the equality of disabled people.”

As a biography, Oscar Pistorius was born on November 22, 1986 in Sandton, Gauteng, South Africa. He is 21 years old. He was born without a fibula in both of his legs, thus having both of his legs amputated below the knees.

This certainly did not hinder Pistorius, as growing up he participated in several sports – rugby, water polo and tennis. After a rugby knee injury sidelined him, he was introduced to running as part of his rehab and has been running ever since.

Pistorius is known as the “Blade Runner” and competed in the 2004 Summer Paralympics in Athens. He received a bronze medal in the 100 m and gold in the 200 m. He would go on to win several gold medals in different Paralympic events.

His prosthetics have come under fire, and he uses J-shaped carbon fiber prosthetics that look like blades. They are otherwise known as the “Cheetah Flex-Foot” and many have claimed that the blades are longer than deemed necessary, thus allowing Pistorius to cover more ground. Studies were done on the blades and a German professor told a newspaper that Pistorius has “considerable advantages” over athletes who do not have prosthetic limbs. It was because of this study that the IAAF banned him from competition under their rules, including the 2008 Summer Olympics. He appealed the decision to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS). They subsequently reversed the IAAF ban and Pistorius can now try to qualify for the Beijing Olympics.

Pistorius would become the first leg amputee runner to compete in the Olympic Games if he succeeds in his quest to participate in the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games this summer.

See more photos and video of Oscar Pistorius below.

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