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Oscar Pistorius Becomes First Amputee to Compete in Track for the Olympics

Oscar Pistorius
Julia Vynokurova, Getty Images

2012 Olympic runner Oscar Pistorius from South Africa is breaking barriers this year in London. Just this Saturday, the man known as “Blade Runner” competed in the 400-meter run and finished in second to move on to the semifinals this Sunday. And he did all this with two prosthetic racing legs.

The now 25-year-old was born without fibulas, the smaller and most outer bones in the legs, which resulted in amputation before his first birthday. But Pistorius will now be remembered as the first amputee to compete in the Olympic Games, though progressing to the next heat this year was a long-awaited moment for him.

“I’ve worked for six years… to get my chance,” he said.”To be out here and to know you sacrificed ‘X’ amount to achieve this is just really mind-blowing.”

However, this moment almost didn’t come for Pistorius. In 2007, the International Association of Athletics Federation passed a ruling that stated any technical equipment, including springs, could not be used in competitive sports as they were seen as giving athletes an unfair advantage. It forced Pistorius to endure his fair share of legal battles, but in the end he was finally able to try out for the Olympic team.

He finished the run on Saturday with a time of 45.44 seconds and, upon seeing the “Q” for “qualifier” next to his name on the scoreboard, buried his face in his hands. “Couldn’t have hoped for anything better.”

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