He is known as Blade Runner, as well as “The Fastest Man on No Legs.” His given name is Oscar Leonard Carl Pistorious, known to most as Oz, and he’s very, very fast–a sprinter who is made of carbon-fiber from the knee down.
This South African owns every sprinting record in the realm of Paralympic track events, but his goals have remained larger–qualification and acceptance into the Olympic games. He attempted to make the 2008 South African Olympic team, but was met with more than a challenge from fellow competitors.
The International Association of Athletics Federation seemed determine to keep him out of the mix, putting pressure on the South African team to disallow Pistorious the opportunity to run in the 4×400 meter relay, regardless of his owning one of the four fastest 400m times in South Africa. The reasons given were for safety, and his potential running in a pack following the first 500m of the race.
Disappointed, Pistorious set his sights on London. Being only 21 at the time (25 now), he knew that his peak was coming within the sport. Over the past four years, he has become stronger, leaner and as one would suspect, even faster. He hit the A-standard in the 400m in 2011, running a 45.07. He will compete in the 400m run, as well as the 4x400m relay, running the first leg of the relay, in order to adhere to the only remaining criticism of the IAAF–this will allow him to run alone in a lane for the duration of the first lap.
So. What are his chances? That’s what everyone wants to know, right? Considering the current field of 400m athletes, Pistorious would have to put together multiple rounds of running to his potential, as well as setting a couple new personal records to reach the final. But…who’s going to doubt his potential at this point? Following the Olympic Games, Pistorious will compete in the 2012 Paralympic Games.
While preliminary rounds of many of these events don’t score big time press and media coverage, you can rest assured that will change when the 400m competition begins in just a few weeks.