Oscar Pistorius to become first double-amputee Olympian in London
The 25-year-old has been selected in the individual 400 and 4x400m relay
Pistorius had both of his legs amputated when he was 11 months old
He won a silver medal at last year's World Championships in the 4 x 400m relay
Oscar Pistorius, a South African double-amputee nicknamed the “Blade Runner,” made an unprecedented Olympic debut Saturday, finishing second in his 400-meter qualifying heat.
The 25-year-old got to London after jumping through hurdles.
But he looked set to be excluded from the individual event in London after failing to run the Olympic ‘A’ standard qualification mark twice in international competition.
But South African selectors relaxed their qualification rules last month and named him in both events.
“Today is truly one of the proudest days of my life. To have been selected to represent Team South Africa at the London 2012 Olympic Games in the individual 400m and the 4x400m relay is a real honor and I am so pleased that years of hard work, determination and sacrifice have all come together,” he told his official website.
“I have a phenomenal team behind me who have helped get me here and will now put everything we can into the final few weeks of preparations before the Olympic Games where I am aiming to race well, post good times and maybe even a personal best time on the biggest stage of them all.”
Pistorius, whose legs were amputated below the knee when he was 11 months old due to a bone defect, runs on special carbon fiber blades from which his nickname “The Blade Runner” derives.
He will become the first Paralympian to compete in track and field at the able bodied Olympics.
The Johannesburg-born athlete is joined by Caster Semenya in the South African track and field team
Semenya, an 800-meter world champion, was the subject of a gender test by the International Association of Athletics Federations following her victory in Berlin at the world championships three years ago. She has since been cleared to compete.
In other selection news, Team Great Britain have announced cyclist David Millar will be part of its road race team.
The Scot was handed a two-year doping ban in 2004, which prevented him competing for Britain in previous Games.
But earlier this year, the British Olympic Association was forced by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) to overturn its policy of not selecting athletes who have been found guilty of doping.
CAS’s verdict opened the door for 100m sprinter Dwain Chambers to compete at his home Games.