Three quotes that attest to Oscar’s qualities as a human being:
“Oscar is a giant of modern sport. A pioneer. The master not only of the possible but the seemingly impossible.”Jonathon McEvoy, Olympics Correspondent, Daily Mail
“Oscar is an extraordinary athlete who has made a significant impact in international sport. It will be fantastic to see him compete in London this summer – spectators can expect a real treat! He’s been a real inspiration to people around the world so we were thrilled when he decided to join our International Inspiration programme as an ambassador, helping us to inspire young people worldwide.” Lord Sebastian Coe, London 2012
“Nike routinely works with the best athletes in the world, and Oscar Pistorius stands out on that list. Many world-class athletes visit Nike and amaze our community, but the two weeks that Oscar spent on campus last summer went down as some of the most inspirational time we’ve ever spent around an athlete.” Arturo Nunez, Nike Emerging Markets Marketing Director
Oscar Pistorius was born on 22 November 1986 without the fibula, the long, slender bone running along the outside of the leg from below the knee joint and down to the ankle, in each of his legs.
His parents, Henk and Sheila, consulted with some of the leading doctors in the world before making the heart-wrenching decision to have his legs amputated below the knee by South African orthopaedic surgeon Dr Gerry Versveld.
His parents were advised by doctors that having the amputation done before Oscar had learnt to walk would be less traumatic for him and would greatly improve his chances of mobility in later life. Six months later he received his first pair of prosthetic legs and within days he had mastered them.
Supported and encouraged by his sports-mad family, Oscar lived an active life which led to him becoming a keen sportsman during his school years. Whatever the sport, Oscar played it, with his main focus being waterpolo and rugby in secondary school. He also played cricket, tennis, took part in triathlons and Olympic club wrestling and was an enthusiastic boxer.
In June 2003, he shattered his knee playing rugby for Pretoria Boys High School and feared that his sporting career was over at the age of 16. On the advice of Dr Versveld, Oscar took up track running to aid his rehabilitation and began training under the guidance of coach Ampie Louw at the Sports Science Institute at the University of Pretoria.
After a few months in the gym, Oscar took part in his first track session on New Year’s Day, 2004.
Three weeks later he entered a school 100 metres race on the prompting of one of his teachers and won in a time of 11.72 seconds. After the race his father looked up how Oscar’s time compared to the best in the world and Henk discovered that his 17-year-old son’s time was faster than the existing Paralympic world record of 12.20s.
In June 2004, he was given his first pair of Össur manufactured Flex-Foot Cheetahs and eight months after first stepping onto the track, the South African created a sensation in the athletics world by winning the T44 200m gold medal at the Athens Paralympics, breaking the world record with a time of 21.97s. He also returned home with a bronze medal in the 100m and overnight was propelled onto front and back pages around the world.
Oscar is a proud Paralympian and believes that the Paralympic Games in London will be a high watermark for the Paralympic movement. Oscar has ambitions to continue to promote the Paralympic movement and educate and inspire people around the world about the Paralympic Games.
From the Telegraph:
The South African was eliminated from the 400m, finishing last in his semi-final, but his presence was always likely to be more significant than his achievements on the track.
Pistorius secured his place in sporting history by becoming the first double amputee to compete at the Olympics. He will be back in a few weeks to add to his haul of Paralympic titles, but the impact of the 95 seconds or so he spent in competitive action will reverberate longer in the sport than anything he achieves next month.
Pistorius fought for the right to compete against able-bodied athletes, pursuing the IAAF to the Court of Arbitration for Sport after it ruled that his blades offered an advantage over able-bodied rivals.
The notion that a man without legs could have an edge over his able-bodied rivals seems like an affront to common sense, but Pistorius challenges preconceptions on many levels.
He has long been accepted by his rivals. Kirani James of Grenada, the reigning world 400m champion who finished first ahead of Pistorius, demonstrated his respect for the South African by making a point of swapping numbers with him after the race.
Having traded numbers he embraced Pistorius, as did every other member of the field, a public and powerful show of respect.
“Oscar is so special to our sport, and especially to our event it, so this is a memorable moment to be out here competing with him,” James said.
“I really respect and admire the guy, I just see him as another athlete and another competitor, and more importantly I see him as another person,” said. “He is out here making history, and we can all respect and admire that.”