Next to Usain Bolt, Oscar Pistorius is probably one of the most anticipated athletes to compete at the Olympics. He made his debut last week but had his sights set on the 400-meter team relay. That's when fate stepped in and almost dashed his dream.
The South African runner, a double-amputee, was on the track, waiting for the hand-off in the 4x400 meter relay when disaster struck. His team-mate Ofentse Mogawane and a Kenyan athlete collided, sending them both crashing down and ending the South African team's hopes to compete in the final. But the team appealed and won, getting the nod for the South African foursome to run in this Saturday's final as a 9th entry in the race.
The Telegraph says the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) issued a statement saying, "The Jury of Appeal met and agreed to advance the South African team to the final, even though they did not finish the race, considering that they had been severely damaged in the incident with Kenya." "South Africa will run as an additional team in lane 9."
Immediately after the race, and before the IAAF verdict, Pistorius told The Telegraph,"It's just really disappointing for us because we came off a second place at the world champs last year and a national record and we've got more or less the same team."
The New York Times says Pistorius who runs on carbon fiber blades after having his lower legs amputated before his first birthday, had fought for years to win the right to compete with able-bodied runners. He made his debut at the London Games in the 400 meters, advancing to the semifinals. He also made the relay team and was set to run the third leg today when the accident happened.
As for the Olympic experience, Pistorius tells the Telegraph, "It's been absolutely phenomenal, just stepping out there again today on the track in front of a crowd like this has been awesome. It just would have been nice to have another run." Now he's going to get that chance when the South African team takes to the track on Saturday. But the foursome has their work cut out for them. Top medal contenders; Bahamas, USA, Trinidad and Tobago and Great Britain, all qualified easily.