“The Fastest Man With No Legs” Finds his Feat in his Own Race
The cheetah is known as the fastest land animal on earth. Oscar Pistorius — is the known as the fastest man with no legs. What both of them have in common is not only speed, but something else…
Oscar Pistorius has had to prove himself to the world since he was an 11-month-old baby. He was born with fibular hemimelia (congenital absence of the fibula) in both legs. He had both legs amputated between his knees and ankles. It just so happens that the prosthetics he wears — are called nothing more fitting than the “Cheetah Flex-Foot,” thanks to American inventor, Van Phillips, who is an amputee himself.
Phillips has played an integral role in those who have also needed the assistance of what many of us take for granted – quite simply, walking and running.
Pistorius took his Cheetah Flex-Foot prosthetics to a whole new level. In 2008 he was denied the opportunity to tryout for the South African team Olympic trials according to the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) of which states “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,” is ineligible.
Fortunately for Pistorius, based on his individual circumstance, the decision was reversed and just in time stating, “there was no evidence that Pistorius had any net advantage over able-bodied athletes.” Unfortunately, he did not qualify for the South African team based on his time.
Come 2011 – Pistorius made a name for himself as he became the first amputee to win an able-bodied world track medal.
Soon after, his ability to keep pace with the rest of the world was noticed. He made the 2012 South African Olympic Team. In the first week of the 2012 London Olympics, he made history by becoming the first double-amputee to compete on an Olympic level in the 400 meter race.
Today, we saw Pistorius compete in the 4×400 final and despite a last place finish – he beat what his critics thought of him — that he had an advantage the entire race.
Keeping up with the scrutiny, over his ability to compete with able-bodies, was what was tiring to those who cheered him on — no matter what country they were from.
Pistorius, now the 25-year-old, tweets, “I can’t describe the feelings I’ve had this past week. Thank you all for playing a part in one of the greatest weeks of my life!”
For those that still question the “fastest man with no legs,” as cliche as it may sound, it’s not whether you win or lose but how you play the game. Pistorius ran a race filled with triumph, adversity and integrity of which he won.