From Oscar’s Olympics to Pistorius’ Paralympics
As he left Olympic Stadium, Oscar Pistorius stopped for a moment
and looked back.
The double-amputee runner turned to take in the crowd of 80,000
and reflect on his victory in a four-year fight to compete at the
London Games against the world’s best able-bodied athletes.
EDITOR’S NOTE: AP Sports Writer Gerald Imray, based in
Johannesburg, has been covering double-amputee runner Oscar
Pistorius’ quest to compete against able-bodied athletes at the
Olympics for the last two years. A day after the South African ran
in the 4×400-meter relay final, Pistorius spoke to Imray about his
experiences and what is next.
”It’s something I will definitely remember for the rest of my
life,” Pistorius told The Associated Press on Saturday, thinking
back to his debut on the biggest track stage in the world. ”It’s
been absolutely phenomenal. In a way, I’m glad the pressure’s
But there’s still more business for the ”Blade Runner” in
In a few weeks, the South African will be back at the same
stadium on his carbon-fiber blades for the Paralympics. He won’t be
a sideshow. He’ll be the main attraction.
Pistorius is the defending champion in the 100, 200 and 400
meters – and he’ll be expected to win four gold medals this time.
He also will be on South Africa’s 4×100 relay team.
If he wins them all, he’ll go home with more gold than Usain
”I’ve always wanted to be at the Olympics and Paralympics at
the same games,” Pistorius said, still glowing after running the
anchor leg in the 4×400 final Friday.
That’s soon to come. He also has ”the challenge,” as he calls
it, of defending his 100-meter title. It is going to be a big
challenge, too, because Pistorius probably faces the biggest threat
yet to his dominance of disabled running when he lines up for the
Since the 2008 Paralympics in Beijing, Pistorius has become a
400 specialist in his attempt to compete at the able-bodied
Olympics. He also shed about 25 pounds (12 kilograms) to suit the
Meanwhile, Paralympic sprinting rivals and single amputees
Jerome Singleton of the United States and Jonnie Peacock of Britain
have focused solely on the 100 and unseating Pistorius over the
”The 100 is going to be the tough one,” Pistorius said. ”I’ve
really changed in the last four years. I’ve dropped a lot of weight
to accommodate the efficiency for the 400 meters and the guys have
been training hard for that 100. I’ve got to defend my title there
and it’s going to be a challenge.”
Singleton beat Pistorius at last year’s world championships,
handing the South African his first defeat in the 100 in seven
years. The 19-year-old Peacock broke the world record in the
single-amputee class in June at 10.85 seconds. Pistorius’ world
record for double amputees is 10.91.
A third challenger and another single amputee is South African
teammate Arnu Fourie. He also has run impressive times and beat
Pistorius over 100 meters back home in March.
It’s going to be a challenge, sure, but the 25-year-old
Pistorius has gotten used to them over the years.
Bans, court cases, battles to qualify – and, most recently, a
crash by a teammate in the 4×400 relay semifinals this week that
almost ended Oscar’s Olympics early.
”We won’t hopefully have those (dramas) in the future,” he
said, laughing, outside the athletes village. ”This has been one
of the most special moments of my life and I’m sure the Paralympics
later this month is going to be exactly the same for me.”
Then, it’ll be time to rest and reflect until next season. And
think about what else he can achieve.
”Next year we’ve got the world championships in Moscow,” said
Pistorius, who already has a silver medal with South Africa in the
4×400 relay from last year’s worlds. ”Looking forward to that as
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