‘Blade Runner’ falls short of Olympics
(CNN) — Oscar Pistorius’ hopes of becoming the first disabled athlete to compete at the Olympics appear to be over after the man known as the “Blade Runner” failed to qualify for London 2012.
The 25-year-old will defend his three Paralympic titles in the UK capital in August, but he was not able to achieve the required 400 meters time for the able-bodied event at the African Championships on Friday.
His only hope is earning a place in South Africa’s 4x400m relay squad, having clocked 45.52 seconds in finishing second in the final in Benin — outside the 45.30 he needed to pass for a second time this season.
Botswana’s Isaac Makwala won in 45.25, with Pistorius’ compatriot Willem De Beer third in 45.67.
“I am obviously disappointed that my time was just outside of the Olympic qualification time by two tenths of a second,” said Pistorius, who timed 45.20 at the Gauteng North Provincial Championships on March 17.
Oscar Pistorius demonstrates his sprinting skills to London Olympic chief Sebastian Coe at an event to launch the 2012 Paralympic Games.
Pistorius claimed gold for the first time at the 2004 Athens Paralympics in the final of the men’s 200m, setting a new world record.
A close of view of the specially designed prosthetic carbon-fiber blades which Pistorius uses for track and field events.
Pistorius held off Jerome Singleton of the United States to win gold over 100m in the T44 class at the 2008 Beijing Paralympics. He also won the 200 and 400m events in the Chinese capital.
Pistorius was honored at the 2012 Laureus World Sport Awards for his achievements and services to disabled sport.
Pistorius competed in the semifinals of the able-bodied men’s 400m at the 2011 World Championships in Daegu in South Korea.
Pistorius with one of his sporting heroes, Namibian sprint star Frankie Fredericks, and South African rugby player Bryan Habana, right.
Pistorius helped South Africa to the final of the 4x400m at the 2011 World Championships in Daegu, but was left out of the quartet which won silver. Having run in the heats, he was still awarded a medal, becoming the first disabled athlete to achieve that feat.
jpg” border=”0″ /
Sporting Ambassador: ‘Blade Runner’ Oscar Pistorius
Human to Hero: Oscar Pistorius
Pistorius’ Olympic ambition
South Africa’s ‘Blade Runner’
“I had felt very strong coming into this competition as my fitness and speed has been continually improving. I was in good shape to set the time and believe my speed will only increase over the next few weeks.
Blade Runner’s Olympic ambition
“I had a great early start to the season, setting the Olympic qualification time and I am hoping that there is still the opportunity for me to be selected to run for South Africa in the 4x400m relay.”
Pistorius made history when he competed at the 2011 World Athletics Championships in Daegu, reaching the 400m semifinals and then helping South Africa reach the final of the relay.
He was omitted from the final, but received a medal for his earlier efforts when the team won silver.
It represented a major breakthrough for Pistorius, who had to take legal action after athletics’ ruling body the IAAF banned him from able-bodied competition six months before the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
Born without fibula in both legs, he had double amputations as a child and needs carbon-fiber prosthetic limbs to race.
The IAAF ruled that the blades gave him an unfair advantage, but he overturned that ruling — though not in time for him to qualify for Beijing.
Pistorius did compete in the subsequent Paralympic event, winning gold in the 100, 200 and 400m.