The story of double-amputee Oscar Pistorius is one of the greatest stories in the history of the Olympic Games.
The South African sprinter’s dream was to compete against “able-bodied” athletes in the Olympics, and the man also known as “The Blade Runner” was able to do just that in the 2012 Olympics in London.
Not only did Pistorius compete in the men’s 400 meters, he qualified for the semi-finals, which was his personal goal.
Though that is where Pistorius’ individual Olympic journey would end, his story inspired people from all over the world, including World Champion sprinter from Grenada, Kirani James.
As soon as the race was over, James, who finished first in the heat and is a favorite to win the gold, walked over to Pistorius, and traded bibs with him in the ultimate sign of respect for all he has accomplished. When asked about this gesture afterward, James said:
He’s an inspiration for all of us. What he does takes a lot of courage, just a lot of confidence. He’s very special to our sport. He’s a great individual and it’s time we see him like that and not anything else.
For Pistorius, though his Olympics may have come to an end, he leaves London having fulfilled a lifelong dream.
It just felt really magical. If I could predict what it would feel like or imagine beyond my wildest dreams, this was probably 10 times that. To step out in front of a crowd this massive, it’s a mind-blowing experience. I’ve had support in the last couple of days like I have never felt before.”
Pistorius’ story of perseverance, along with Kirani James’ inspirational gesture, are exactly what the Olympic Games are truly all about.