Man with No Legs Qualifies for IAFF World Championship in 400-meter Dash

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Photo: Anthony Devlin / Fast Track Agency via Getty Images

South African athlete Oscar Pistorius, known by his fans as “Blade Runner,” is heading for Daegu, South Korea later this month to compete with his fellow countrymen in the IAAF World Championships. His nickname comes not only from his speed, but also from the fact that he has two ski blade-like prosthetic legs — a medical dependency since both of his legs were amputated when he was a baby for medical reasons. These flexible, carbon fiber artificial limbs have allowed him to run — and compete — in sports throughout his life, from rugby during his school days to the 2008 Summer Paralympics, where he scored four gold medals.

Pistorius has set his goals higher, yearning to compete in events that encompass all athletes, including the Olympics. However, that dream was almost derailed before the last Summer Games in Beijing; the IAAF had dismissed competitors with prosthetics, claiming that scientifically-designed limbs not only helped physically-disabled people, but they actually gave them an advantage — carbon fiber doesn’t tire out like a muscle after all. The ruling was turned a few months later due to a lack of evidence of such a claim, and Pistorius has been aiming for a day of worldly glory ever since.

That day will hopefully come later this summer when he competes in the individual 400-meter dash, as well as a 4×400-meter team relay — not only for the glory of South Africa, but for himself and the people who look to him for inspiration. [via CNN]