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Oscar Pistorius - Running from Adversity

By Sherry Goldberg


If someone were to ask which athletes are the greatest sports heroes/legends of the 21st century, some typical responses would be Lebron James, Kobe Bryant, Derek Jeter, Tim Tebow, and Michael Phelps. All of these athletes have achieved enormous success and are highly recognized for playing and perfecting the sports in which they participate in. No matter how many rings, championships, or gold metals they have won, no story will trump that of the Blade Runner. His name is Oscar Pistorius and he is the first ever double leg amputee to compete in an Olympics this past summer in London.


Instead of running on two legs, Oscar runs on two metal blades. The first time I heard about this man and actually saw a video of him running, my mouth dropped to the floor. I swore he was floating on air as he was running past all of the other participants. After his 400 meter run is over at the Olympics, you kind of forget that he was even running on metal blades in the first place. All you can focus on is his beaming smile and how grateful he is just to be at the Olympics and competing for South Africa. He was never suppose to be able to walk, let alone be an Olympian nearly 25 years after having both his legs amputated due to a birth defect.


Humble does not even begin to describe Oscar. After his races were over at the Olympics, he thanked all 80,000 fans who cheered for him even though he did not win a metal and the press who had to wait nearly an hour to speak with him because he was changing his legs into his regular prosthetics. Oscar understood that he was most likely never going to win a metal, but dreamed of being part of the Olympics and making his late mother proud. "I thought about my mom today, she was bit of a hard-core person," he says. "She always said, a loser is not a person who gets involved and comes in last, but it's the person who doesn't get involved at all."


Even after the Olympics have ended and Oscar’s 15 minutes of fame are over, he will never be forgotten as a hero and an inspiration to all who want to succeed in life. Oscar Pistorius did not compete in the games for infamy or as a threat to win gold metals, but to be a part of something bigger than himself.  Instead of analyzing his possible advantage over able-bodied athletes with the use of his running blades, we should be celebrating his amazing human achievement. Numerous runners spoke gloriously about him after their meets in the games, even ones he had beat. "We've got guys out here doing drugs; any advantage that Oscar might have is the least of my concerns," says Dominica's Erison Hurtault. "He's amazing. He's inspiring." Oscar Pistorius’ story is truly the most triumphant story of the 2012 Olympic Games and he himself is one of the most awe inspiring athletes of our time.