Remember Oscar Pistorius? He's the South African double amputee who has been trying to prove he can compete with able-bodied athletes for years now. Well, consider me convinced.
The 24-year-old, who runs on carbon-fiber legs known as blades, blazed to a time of 45.07 seconds in a 400 meter race in Italy on Tuesday. That puts him inside the "A" standard time set forth by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF). As it stands now, Pistorius will most likely be selected by South Africa's team for the 2012 Olympics.
His previous best time was 45.61 seconds, which put him inside the "B" standard, but meant he was unlikely to be picked, because that time only made him the fourth-fastest South African. He now stands as the second-fastest.
How good was Pistorius' time on Tuesday? Consider that the current world record in the 400 is Michael Johnson's mark of 43.18. Additionally, Pistorius' time from Tuesday would would have placed him fifth at the Beijing Olympics. He referred to his performance as "a dream race."
Know as Blade Runner, Pistorius has won four gold medals at the Paralympics, and currently holds world records in the 100, 200 and 400 meters for disabled athletes.
Pistorius won a legal battle in 2008 that allowed him to compete at the highest levels of track and field. The Court of Arbitration for Sport overturned a previous ruling by the IAAF that said Pistorius' prosthetic blades gave him an advantage. The CAS decided that the evidence was inconclusive, and that he actually might be at a disadvantage because he has less blood in his body and no calf muscles.
Born without fibulae, a decision was made to amputate both of Pistorius' legs below the knee when he was just 11 months old.
I don't really understand why anyone would complain about Pistorius possibly competing at the Olympics. It would be a great story and, frankly, I think the guy deserves a shot.
H/T to Sports Girl