Feb 14, 2012 7:34 PM GMT
Oscar Leonard Carl Pistorius (born 22 November 1986) is a South African sprint runner. Known as the "Blade Runner" and "the fastest man on no legs", Pistorius, who has a double amputation, is the world record holder in the 100, 200 and 400 metres (sport class T44) events and runs with the aid of Cheetah Flex-Foot carbon fibre transtibial artificial limbs by Ossur.
In 2007, Pistorius took part in his first international competitions for able-bodied athletes. However, his artificial lower legs, while enabling him to compete, have generated claims that he has an unfair advantage over able-bodied runners. The same year, the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) amended its competition rules to ban the use of "any technical device that incorporates springs, wheels or any other element that provides a user with an advantage over another athlete not using such a device". The federation claimed that the amendment was not specifically aimed at Pistorius. After monitoring his track performances and carrying out tests, scientists took the view that Pistorius enjoyed considerable advantages over athletes without prosthetic limbs. On the strength of these findings, on 14 January 2008 the IAAF ruled him ineligible for competitions conducted under its rules, including the 2008 Summer Olympics. This decision was reversed by the Court of Arbitration for Sport on 16 May 2008, the Court ruling overall there was no evidence that Pistorius had any net advantage over able-bodied athletes.
Although eligible to compete in the 2008 Summer Olympic Games in Beijing, Pistorius did not qualify for the South African team. Despite achieving third place and a personal best time of 46.25 seconds in the 400 metres in Lucerne, Switzerland, on 16 July 2008, this was short of the Olympic qualification time of 45.55 seconds. He was also not selected by the South African Olympic Committee for the 4 x 400 metres relay team as there were four other runners who had achieved better times. At the 2008 Summer Paralympics, he took the gold medals in the 100, 200 and 400 metres (T44) sprints.
With his 400 m time of 45.07 on July 19, 2011, he achieved the "A" qualifying standard for the 2011 World Championships and 2012 Olympics. He participated in the 400m sprint and 4x400m relay, being eliminated in the semi-final of the 400m sprint (finishing last with a time of 46.19secs) and being part of South Africa's silver medal winning relay team, making him the first amputee to win an able-bodied world track medal, although he was not selected for the final.