Saturday, August 4, 2012

Oscar Pistorius Makes Olympic History

I watched "Blade Runner" Oscar Pistorius from South Africa make Olympic history today when he advanced in the 400 meters.

What was so historic about a South African man advancing in track?  Oh, nothing much.  Just the fact that he doesn't have legs.

The 25-year-old double amputee was born without fibulas and his legs were amputated below the knee when he was a year old.  His story is as much about his journey to get here as it is about him advancing today.

In 2008, this Paraplympic Gold Medalist was banned from competing in the Olympics with "able-bodied competitors" because "his artificial limbs gave him a biomechanical advantage".

Uhmmm, are you freaking kidding me?

HE'S A RUNNER AND HE DOESN'T HAVE LEGS.  What kind of advantage does he have?

The committee sited two scientific studies in their decision.  The first one determined that his artificial limbs required less energy to run at the same speed as other runners because artificial limbs are lighter than flesh, bone and blood.  The second study revealed that Pistorius was "psychologically similar, but mechanically dissimilar" to his competitors because he "uses oxygen the same way natural-legged sprinters do, but he moves his body differently."

Nah.  Really?

But here's what the study did not consider: HE'S A RUNNER AND HE DOESN'T HAVE LEGS.

I think it's safe to say that the disadvantages far outweigh the advantages in this case.

And in the end, the committee agreed and allowed Oscar Pistorius to compete in the London Olympics.

When Pistorius walked onto the track, you could hear the roar of 80,000 fans in the stands.  Pistorius looked up and waved.  He smiled a smile which let you know that tears were hiding behind his Oakley sunglasses.

After Pistorius got down in his starting position, I  whispered, "please don't fall, please don't fall."


BAM.  They're off!  Pistorius was noticeably slower off the block, but he had no trouble catching up with his competitors.  He finished the race with a season-best time of 45.44 seconds, advancing in the competition.

Oscar Pistorius personifies the heart of the human spirit.  He was a boy who wanted to be a runner but didn't have any legs.  I'm pretty sure that I would have found myself a new dream if that was me.

Can you imagine the pain and sacrifice required for him to run?  Can you imagine how many people told him that he'd never be able to do it?

But he did anyway.  And that's just cool.

And here I am, not running because I'm too lazy and I'd rather watch American Idol instead.

Oscar Pistorius is an inspiration to all of us.  On days when I feel like the world is stacked against me, I'm going to remember Pistorius' smile when he crossed the finish line.  And maybe then, I'll push a little harder.

"I've worked for six years... to get my chance," Pistorius said after the race.  "It was the most amazing experience; the crowd was amazing.  I saw the South African flag... Just the experience of being here is a dream come true."

No matter how far Oscar Pistorius advances in the Olympics, he's a Gold Medalist in my book.

Now if only I was wearing Oakley sunglasses to hide my tears, too.

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  1. I love the Olympics and I love your post! Ellen

    1. I told Brian tonight that the Olympics theme music is my anti-drug. Makes me feel happy just hearing it. :)

  2. Wow!! Just Wow!! This man is truly an inspiration!!

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