Oscar Pistorius of South Africa just qualified for the 400-meter and the 4×400-meter relay races at this year’s World Championships, his first trip there. That’s an amazing feat in itself, but made more amazing as Pistorius is a double amputee, using two carbon-fiber Cheetah prosthetic legs to run. He’ll be the first-ever amputee athlete to perform at the event.
Pistorius, at 24 years old, has had his share of difficulties in competing with able-bodied athletes. His prosthetics were at one time declared to represent an unfair advantage over the athletes using the flesh-and-blood legs they were born with, rather than the space-age sproing-y Cheetah legs Pistorus uses, though he was eventually cleared for Olympic competition.
Pistorius isn’t a favorite at the World Championships–his qualifying time, a personal-best 45.07 seconds, was just barely fast enough to earn him a ticket to the games in Daegu, South Korea–but he calls it “the highest-profile and most prestigious able-bodied event which I have ever competed in.”
We’ve previously called for a league of exclusively performance-enhanced athletes, but it sounds like Pistorius is thrilled just to compete with the best able-bodied sprinters in the world.