Oscar Pistorius, otherwise known as the “Blade Runner” was born in the South African city of Johannesburg in November of the year 1986. He was born without fibulas in both of his legs, making it impossible for him to walk using his own legs. Just before his first birthday, his parents decided to have both of his legs amputated just below his knees. Despite this setback, Pistorius never shied away from sports, and was an avid rugby player during his high school years. He acquired prosthetic legs that he would wear, and he would play sports as though he had full legs. When he was sixteen, however, he suffered a knee injury while playing rugby, and thus had to take time away from the sport to rehab his injury. During his time away from rugby, one of his trainers who was helping him with rehab for his injury had him try running, and Pistorius loved it. He quickly picked up running and abandoned rugby.
Success as a Runner
Pistorius became a very successful runner very quickly. Roughly six months after Pistorius had started running, he competed in the Summer Paralympic Games, and got third place in the 100m event, and won the 200m event, setting a new Paralympic Record in the process. Pistorius was also competing in a bracket with individuals that had only one amputated leg, and not both, making his achievements all the more impressive. He went on to place well in many other events over the next few years, both events for the physically disabled, and events for those who weren’t. Pistorius attempted to compete in the Olympics in 2008 but fell short of qualifying. He instead participated in the Paralympics that year, winning the 100m, 200m, and 400m each. In 2012 he did qualify for the South African Olympic team, which made him the first amputee to appear in the Olympics, and he made it all the way to the semifinals.
Quickly, things took a rather dark turn for Pistorius. In February 2013 Pistorius was found to have shot and killed Reeva Steenkamp, who was his girlfriend at the time. He was convicted of what we in the United States would call manslaughter, and was given a sentence of five years in prison. When he was about to be released from prison however, Pistorius’ sentence was changed to murder and he had to serve an additional six years in prison, which is still a very short amount of time. His case is still being tried for an appeal.
Featured Image: Oscar Pistorius at the London Paralympics, 2012. (c) Associated Press, Courtesy of Daily Mail
Shergold, Adam. “The inspirational mother who ‘didn’t take no for an answer’ and drove Pistorius on to Olympic and Paralympic success.” Daily Mail, Associated Newspapers Ltd, 14 Feb 2013. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/othersports/article-2278526/Oscar-Pistorius-The-inspirational-late-mother-Sheila-Pistorius.html
CBC news. “Profile: Oscar Pistorius.” CBC World News, The Associated Press, 14 Feb 2013 http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/oscar-pistorius-1.1308477
Culinane, Susannah., Thompson, Nick., Phelps, Kelly. “Oscar Pistorius Trial: 9 Things to Know. CNN World News, Cable News Network, 11 September 2014. http://www.cnn.com/2013/02/22/world/africa/pistorius-legal-q-and-a/
Biography.Com editors. “Oscar Pistorius.” Biography.com, A&E Television Networks http://www.biography.com/people/oscar-pistorius-20910935