South African Olympic sprinter Oscar Pistorius, nicknamed the “Blade Runner” for the carbon fiber blades on which he runs, did not win gold in this summer’s Olympics but on Wednesday he beat a horse.
Pistorius, who made history at the London Games as the first amputee track athlete to participate in the Olympics, out raced a champion Arabian horse in a match held in Doha, Qatar, to raise awareness of what people with disabilities can do.
Though Pistorius, 26, and a Paralympic gold medal winner, got a slight head start in front of the horse, which also stumbled out of the gates, he managed to beat the four-legged animal by a few seconds.
“It wasn’t about who won today,” Pistorius, a double amputee, told reporters after the race. “It was just about coming out here, really just showing people that those with disabilities are not to be stereotyped against.”
The race was held as part of the “Definitely Able” campaign launched earlier this month by the Qatar Olympic and Paralympic Committees, among others, to show that “being disabled does not have to hinder ones dreams,” according to the Qatar Olympic Committee’s website.
“Having the Arab horse out here, which is a symbolization of strength and power in this region, to be able to do a showcase event like this, is a lot of fun,” Pistorius said. “Hopefully that will do a lot to change the perceptions of people with disabilities in this region.”
According to his website, Pistorius took up running to rehabilitated from a rugby injury at the advice of his doctor when he was 16. He competed in his first Paralympic Games in Athens in 2004 and won a gold medal in the T44 200-meter race, breaking the existing world record in the event where single below-knee amputees and other athletes with equivalent impairments compete.
He runs on prosthetic legs called Flex-Foot Cheetahs and, besides “Blade Runner,” his running achievements have led to another nickname, “the fastest man on no legs.”
ABC News’ Alexis Shaw contributed reporting.