Call him whatever you like, but call Oscar Pistorius one
of the biggest stars of the Beijing Paralympics and you won't go far
Born in Sandton, Johannesburg in South Africa in 1986,
Oscar Leonard Carl Pistorius has made his fair share of headlines in the past
The double leg amputee is the world champion for his
T44 classification in the 100 metres, 200m and 400m events, but it was a race he
failed to win last year that really grabbed people's attention.
When Pistorius ran second in the 400m at the South
African National Championships in 2007, he raised the amazing possibility that
he could be selected to represent his country at the Olympics against
This prospect galvanised sporting authorities to
outlaw any devices that might tend to give athletes an unfair advantage,
including prosthetic limbs.
However after a protracted argument the Court of
Arbitration for Sport ruled that athletics organisers had not proved that
Pistorius gained an unfair advantage from Flex Feet - the carbon fibre and
titanium "legs'' he runs on in competition.
Unfortunately for the South African, he was unable to
produce the required qualifying time of 45.55 seconds - his best was 46.25
seconds - to make it to the Olympics, but he will still get to Beijing in any
Pistorius will definitely compete at the Paralympics,
defending the 200m title he won in Athens, and also running in the 100 and 400m
In an interview earlier this year for the University
of Pretoria website, Pistorius gave an insight into the mental strength that
accompanies his physical skills which have taken him so far in
"Growing up with a disability was quite normal,'' he
"It's all in the mind. If you put your mind to
something and believe that you can do it, you've already overcome one major
obstacle. Never doubt yourself. "
Pistorius was born without the fibula in both legs,
and before he was a year old his legs had been amputated between the knee and
He had competed in high school rugby, water polo and
tennis, but after a serious knee injury playing rugby, he got involved in track
during his rehabilitation. Pistorius never looked back.
In the interview Pistorius also gave an indication
that not much changes in the hobbies of top sprinters, whether they are Olympic
or Paralympic athletes.
"God, my family, my friends, my girlfriend and fast
cars make me happy!'' he said.
Watch for him flashing by on a TV screen near you very