Unless you've been living under a rock for the past week or so, you should be aware that the Olympic Games are happening. We've certainly had our eyes glued to the sporting events all week, and just wanted to highlight one of the amazing stories that has come out of these competitions.
Now, regardless of your stance on NBC's "live" coverage of the games, the story of South Africa's Oscar Pistorius and his competitive spirit is one that cannot be overlooked. Dubbed the "Blade Runner," Pistorius has made a name for himself in this year's Olympics by choosing to compete along side able-bodied athletes as a double amputee. The South African athlete is missing both of his lower legs, yet, remarkably was able to compete in an Olympic 400 meter race using his signature "blade" prosthetic legs. What we love is his genuinely warm spirit and appreciation for how far he's come.
“When I got on those starting blocks, I knew 400 is always a tough event. But I had these cramps in my cheeks, I was smiling so much. I was a mixture of butterflies and goosebumps...Getting to that point, to be able to line up on the starting blocks at a race like that, just means so much to me.” - Oscar Pistorius, Today In London
How can you not smile while reading that? This guy is truly humble and appreciative of the situation he's in. He doesn't dwell on his handicap, but instead, celebrates the fact that he's actually competing in the Olympic Games. What an inspiring guy!
He didn't get to the point of competing along side other Olympic athletes on his own, though. His hard work and mental courage certainly helped. It's worth looking into the technology behind his $100,000 prosthetic legs to see how they enable this amazing athlete to stand along side some of the world's best able-bodied runners.
The legs are called "Flex Foot Cheetahs" and they are made of carbon fiber, a super light weight and durable material. The J-shaped attachments give Pistorius the ability to run and even sprint normally. Thankfully, the Olympic Court of Arbitration deemed that he was able to use them to compete against able-bodied athletes in the 2008 Beijing Olympics, setting him up for success in this year's games. There are those that debate the ethics of allowing Pistorius to compete using his prosthetic limbs, claiming that the "spring" from the carbon fiber legs gives Pistorius an unfair advantage. But, in reality, lacking a complete set of leg muscles should be seen as the true disadvantage:
“He really has no advantage. He has a disadvantage. The major power generator for an able-bodied 400-meter runner is his ankles. Oscar doesn’t have ankles.” - Dr. Robert Gailey of the University of Miami, Examiner
No matter what your stance is on the ethics of the situation, it's great to see an athlete of this integrity get so much recognition for his accomplishments. He may not have won a medal, (in fact, he came in seventh place) but he's certainly won us over here at Casepops!
For more amazing pictures of Oscar Pistorius check out the Daily Mail's picture gallery! It will make your day!
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