MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - MAY 22: Oscar Pistorius of South Africa on his way to victory in the men's T42/43/44 200m during day one of the BT Paralympic World Cup at Sportcity on May 22, 2012 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)
South African runner Oscar Pistorius will represent his country at the 2012 London Olympics, as the first amputee track athlete to compete in the Olympic Games.
At only 25, South African sprinter Oscar Pistorius has commanded plenty of attention from the sports media world as the "fastest man on no legs." A double amputee who was born with no fibulas, Pistorius will represent his country in the 400-meter and 1,600-meter relay it was announced Wednesday, and will be the first amputee track athlete to compete in the Olympic Games.
Today is really on of the happiest days of my life! Will be in @London2012 for both the Olympic and Paralympic Games!— Oscar Pistorius (@OscarPistorius) July 4, 2012
Pistorius, who originally was ruled ineliglble to particpate in the 2008 Summer Olympics by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) because the governing body deemed that Pistorius's artificial legs gave him an unfair advantage, failed to qualify for the Beijing games after the IAAF's ruling was overturned by the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
South African Olympic qualifying guidelines require a runner to post a 400m race time of 45.30 or better in at least two international meets. Despite failing to do that, Pistorius had the two fastest 400-meter times by any runner from South Africa in 2012, which was enough to secure his ticket to London as the only runner entered in the 400m for the country, and part of the South African 4 x 400 relay team that is ranked No. 2 in the world.
Already a four-time gold medal winner in the Paralympics, Pistorius will be a popular figure in these 2012 Summer Olympics, as an athlete with a great backstory the general public will want to root for and follow. And with a chance to make his performance and not his disability the storyline, Pistorius may become one of the most celebrated stories in Olympic history.