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Oscar Pistorius is an athlete competing in Track & Field at the 2012 London Summer Olympics for South Africa.

Oscar Pistorius will look to make his Olympic debut for South Africa this summer in London, where he would compete in the 400m and run on the 4x400m relay. Pistorius, a double-amputee, won the legal right to compete in the able-bodied Games in 2008 but failed to qualify for Beijing. He made the World Championships standard and competed in Daegu in 2011. Regardless, he will go to London
Oscar Pistorius shirtless
Oscar Pistorius shirtless
to defend his T44 gold medals in the 100m, 200m, and 400m at the Paralympics.

Born without fibulas, Pistorius never let his disability deter him from participating in sports. A serious rugby injury introduced him to running where he found his true calling. In order to compete, he runs with the aid of Cheetah Flex-Foot transtibial prosthetics, which are essentially artificial limbs constructed out of carbon fiber with racing spikes mounted to the bottom. With Paralympic world records at 100m, 200m, and 400m, Pistorius has been dubbed "the fastest man with no legs."

Pistorius continues to pursue his dream of competing in the 400m at the able-bodied Olympics. To do so in London in 2012, he must meet the qualifying time standard of 45.25 a second time, as mandated by Athletics South Africa. In 2011, Pistorius ran 45.07 in Lignano, Italy to qualify for the Daegu World Championships, where he finished eighth in his semifinal heat and won a silver medal as a member of South Africa's 4x400m relay pool.

After dominating the Paralympic sprint scene for eight years, Pistorius suffered a rare defeat at the 2011 IPC World Championships in Christchurch, New Zealand. In the 100m, he was beaten by American Jerome Singleton in a photo finish. Both runners crossed in 11.34 but it was determined that Singleton reached the line two one-thousandths of a second ahead of Pistorius. The loss was the first for Pistorius since the 2004 Paralympics in Athens. He went on to win gold in the 200m and 400m.



In 2009, trouble caught up to Pistorius. In February, he was seriously injured in a boating accident near Johannesburg. He suffered head and facial injuries that required surgery. In September, Pistorius was arrested for assault after slamming a door on a woman, a charge police later changed to common assault. He categorically denied the charge and was later cleared by the courts.

In 2006, Pistorius was conferred the Order of Ikhamanga in Bronze (OIB) by the President of South Africa for outstanding achievement in sports. In 2007, he was awarded the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Helen Rollason Award, which is conferred for outstanding courage and achievement in the face of adversity. In 2008, Pistorius made Time magazine's annual list of the 100 most influential people in the world.

Although ruled eligible to compete at the Olympics in Beijing, Pistorius did not qualify for the South African team. Despite achieving third place and a personal best time of 46.25 in the 400m in Lucerne, Switzerland, the time fell well short of the Olympic qualifying standard of 45.55.. He was also not selected by the South African Olympic Committee for the 4x400m relay team as there were four other runners who had achieved better times. Pistorius went on to compete at the Beijing Paralympics, where he won gold medals in the T44 100m, 200m and 400m.

Entering 2008, Pistorius expressed a desire to qualify and compete against able-bodied athletes at the Beijing Olympics, however the IAAF's altered rules stood in the way. After monitoring his track performances and carrying out tests, scientists took the view that Pistorius did in fact enjoy considerable advantages over athletes without prosthetic limbs. On the strength of these findings, the IAAF upheld its rules and deemed Pistorius ineligible for competitions conducted under its rules, including the Olympics. Pistorius challenged his ineligibility, and in May of 2008 the IAAF's rule was reversed by the Court of Arbitration for Sport, which determined that the IAAF had not provided sufficient evidence to prove that Pistorius's prostheses give him an advantage over able-bodied athletes.

After taking part in able-bodied races in 2007, Pistorius' artificial lower legs became a source of controversy as many claimed that his Cheetah prosthetics gave him an unfair advantage over able-bodied runners. The same year, the IAAF amended its competition rules to ban the use of "any technical device that incorporates springs, wheels or any other element that provides a user with an advantage over another athlete not using such a device." It claimed that the amendment was not specifically aimed at Pistorius.

On July 13, 2007, Pistorius ran in the 400m race at Rome's Golden Gala and finished second in the B final with a time of 46.90. This was a warm-up for his much-anticipated appearance in the 400m at the Norwich Union British Grand Prix two days later. In that race, American Jeremy Wariner stumbled at the start and stopped running. Pistorius took seventh place in a field of eight, clocking 47.65 despite wet conditions. He was later disqualified for running outside his lane.

At the 2006 Paralympic Athletics World Championships, Pistorius won gold in the 100m, 200m and 400m, again breaking the world record over 200m. On March 17, 2007, he set a disability sports world record for the 400m (46.56 seconds) at the South African Senior Athletics Championships in Durban. At the Nedbank Championships for the Physically Disabled held in Johannesburg in April 2007, he became the world record holder at 100m and 200m with times of 10.91 and 21.58 seconds respectively.24]

In 2005, Pistorius finished first in the able-bodied South African Championships over 400m with a world-record time of 47.34. At the Paralympic World Cup later that year he won gold in the 100m and 200m, lowering his previous 200m world record. In 2005, Pistorius was invited by the IAAF to take part in what would have been his first international able-bodied event, the 400m race at the Helsinki Grand Prix. He was unable to attend, however, due to school commitments.

Despite only getting his introduction to competitive racing months earlier, Pistorius took part in the 2004 Summer Paralympics in Athens and came third overall in the T44 (one leg amputated below the knee) 100m. Despite falling in the preliminary round of the 200m, Pistorius managed to qualify for the final, where he went on to win gold in a world-record time of 21.97, beating Americans Marlon Shirley and Brian Frasure.

Pistorius is studying for a Bachelor of Commerce in business management with sports science at the University of Pretoria. In a June 2008 interview for his university's website, he joked, "I won't graduate soon. With all the training I have had to cut down on my subjects. Hopefully I'll finish by the time I'm 30!"

Oscar Pistorius was born with congenital absence of the fibula in both legs. When he was 11 months old, his legs were amputated halfway between his knees and ankles. He attended Constantia Kloof Primary and Pretoria Boys' High School where, between the ages of 11 and 13, he played rugby union in the school's third XV team, water polo, and tennis. He also played water polo and tennis at provincial level. In addition, Pistorius took part in club Olympic wrestling. After a serious rugby knee injury, he was introduced to running in January 2004 while undergoing rehabilitation, and "never looked back."

Pistorius lives and competes by a simple sporting motto. "You're not disabled by the disabilities you have, you are able by the abilities you have," he said.

Pistorius was born to Henke and Sheila Pistorius in Johannesburg. He as has an older brother, Carl, and a younger sister, Aimee. Pistorius has distant Italian ancestry, as his mother's grandmother was an Italian emigrant to Kenya. Although you might think this explains his dedicated support of the Italian Serie A soccer team Lazio, in truth he supports the club because his best friend is Italian and also a Lazio fan.




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OSCAR PISTORIUS: FACTS

How tall is Oscar Pistorius? How old is Oscar Pistorius? Where does Oscar Pistorius live? Find out here.

Age: 27 years old
Birthday: November 26, 1986
Height: 6' 1"
Weight: 179 lbs.
Nickname: Blade Runner
Birthplace: Johannesburg, South Africa
Current Residence: Pretoria, South Africa





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