Pistorius, 25, Is First Double-Amputee Sprinter to Compete in Olympic Games

Share
Copy

South Africa's "Blade Runner," Oscar Pistorius, has made good on living up to his other nickname, "the fastest man on no legs."

The four-time Paralympic gold medal winner, 25, qualified for the 400-meter semifinals Saturday, making him the first double-amputee sprinter to compete at the Olympics. He runs on prosthetic legs called Flex-Foot Cheetahs.

Pistorius came in second in his heat, surpassed by Luguelin Santos, 19, of the Dominican Republic. Pistorius ranked 16 in the standings out of the 47 runners who finished their heats Saturday. Twenty-four sprinters advanced to the semi-finals Sunday looking to reach the Monday finals for a chance at Olympic glory.

"Thank you to everyone who has supported me, that was UNBELIEVABLE! Was so amazing to feel the energy from the crowd! Semi-final tomorrow! :)" he tweeted to his followers after the heat.

He ran a seasonal best of 45.44. The 400-meter Olympic record is 43.49, set by American Michael Johnson in 1996 at the Olympic Games in Atlanta.

Pistorius' journey to the top can only be described as miraculous. After he underwent amputation surgery when he was 11 months old, he received his first pair of prosthetic legs at 17 months.

According to his website, Pistorius took up running to bounce back from a rugby injury at the advice of his doctor when he was 16. The next year, 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.

Of his semi-final qualification at the London 2012 Games, Pistorius took to Twitter to say it felt "surreal."

Additional reporting by ABCNews.com's Kevin Dolak.

Join the Discussion
You are using an outdated version of Internet Explorer. Please click here to upgrade your browser in order to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
You Might Also Like...
See It, Share It
PHOTO: U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at the George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston stopped a would be smuggler from bringing nearly 7 ounces of cocaine into the country in tamales, Aug. 22, 2014.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection
Real Housewife Phaedra Parks Lists Home in Suburban Atlanta
Real Housewives of Atlanta star, Phaedra Parks, has listed her 4,000-square-foot home with 5 bedrooms and 6 baths for $340,900.
In this image from video posted on Facebook, courtesy of the George W. Bush Presidential Center, former President George W. Bush participates in the ice bucket challenge with the help of his wife, Laura Bush, in Kennebunkport, Maine.
(Courtesy George W. Bush Presidential Center/AP)