Oscar steals the limelight
06 August 2012 | NICK GORDON
LONDON – Such is the magnitude of his appearance at this year’s London Games that everyone wants a piece of him.
Not surprising when you consider the fact that he was not only the first double amputee to feature at the event but that he also made it into the semifinals of the 400m event.
While that may have been as far as his campaign got, it was mission accomplished for Pistorius as he not only realised a childhood dream of making it to the Olympics but he also reached his target when lining up in the second last race of the event last night.
“I didn’t come out here to prove a point, I just came to do the best that I can possibly do.
I have always been an athlete who wants to push myself as hard as I can and I look up to the guys I run against,” Pistorius said when he eventually made his way through to the written press following almost two hours of television interviews after his race on Sunday.
“It’s really humbling to know how much support I have. Just standing here in the starting blocks, hearing the crowd I was just standing, smiling, getting cramps in my cheeks.
It’s just an unbelievable experience,” he added, before admitting that he ran slightly below the standard he would have liked, but that this was an unforgettable experience.
“My goal was to make the semifinal and I was happy to do so. I would have loved to run a little bit better. I couldn’t find my rhythm coming out of the home corner. I’m very happy with the way I ran. I went out hard and I don’t have any regrets,” he said.
“Just being out here in front of this crowd with 70 000 people, it felt like 170 000 people. It’s been an unbelievable experience for me.”
Pistorius’ competitors were full of praise for his efforts with all of them honoured to have competed against such a persistent and dedicated opponent.
“He should keep his head up and not be discouraged. I’ve got to give him credit, because I think he’s under more pressure than the rest of us,” said Demetrius Pinder of the Bahamas.
Kirani James of Grenada, the defending world champion in this event and winner in Pistorius’ semifinal, had already embodied the Olympic spirit when swapping bib numbers with the South African straight after the race and was also full of praise for the 25-year-old.
“Oscar is someone special, especially in our event. It’s a memorable moment for me to be out here performing with him,” he said while Pistorius agreed that the gesture had forged a new friendship.
“As soon as we crossed the line, we’re friends. It was very kind of him.
“We share a similar life. It’s what the Olympics is all about.
As soon as we cross the line the human aspect comes back into it, we have a lot of respect for one another and we know how hard each other train and how much we sacrifice to be here.”
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