Double Amputee Oscar Pistorius to Run at London Olympics
Oscar Pistorius will be one athlete to watch at the London Olympics.
In a surprise turnaround by South African sports officials on Wednesday, the double-amputee runner, known as the "Blade Runner," was cleared to compete in the individual 400m and the 4x400m relay at the games.
The Associated Press reports the decision has made Pistorius, 25, the first amputee track athlete to compete in the games. He missed the Olympic qualifying time to earn a spot in the 400 last Saturday by less than a quarter of a second at the African Championships. Pistorius did, however, run two Olympic 'A' standard times over the past year.
"Since he's going to be there [in London], our decision is he can run both," Olympic committee chief executive Tubby Reddy told The Associated Press. "There's no reason why he can't. Our decision is he can."
Pistorius had both of his legs amputated below the knee at 11 months old, after being born with congenital absence of the fibulae. On Independence Day, he tweeted, "Feel really blessed today! Thank you to everyone for the supportive message! Got me trending worldwide! I'm so humbled!"
"Still on cloud 9, but need to keep at what got me here so off to the Gym," the Olympic athlete added. "Thank you all who shared today with me, I really appreciate it!"
According to The Los Angeles Times, the Blade Runner gets his name because he wears carbon-fiber prosthetic blades while he runs. The blades have caused some debate among officials about whether it gives Pistorius an advantage. He was banned five years ago from competing, but the Court of Arbitration for Sport overturned it a year later.
Pistorius, who will be running for South Africa, tweeted, "Looking forward to London 2012 as an Olympian and Paralympian!"