Oscar Leonard Carl Pistorius MP

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Birthdate: (26)
Birthplace: Johannesburg, Gauteng, South Africa
Managed by: Heidi Ernani Drew
Last Updated:

About Oscar Leonard Carl Pistorius

Oscar Pistorius (born 22 November 1986, Johannesburg), South African sprint runner who is a double amputee was selected to run in both the individual 400 metres and the 4x400 relay at the London Olympics, clearing the way for him to become the first amputee track athlete to compete at the Olympics.

Oscar considers Pretoria to be his hometown.

Sporting Motto - "You're not disabled by the disabilities you have; you are able by the disabilities you have".

Erik Weihenmayer, the first blind person to climb Mount Everest, wrote in an essay ([May 2008], "Oscar Pistorius", Time; TIME Magazine ranks Oscar Pistorius one of the 100 most influential people of 2008, Ossur, 2 May 2008) that Pistorius was "on the cusp of a paradigm shift in which disability becomes ability, disadvantage becomes advantage. Yet we mustn't lose sight of what makes an athlete great. It's too easy to credit Pistorius' success to technology. Through birth or circumstance, some are given certain gifts, but it's what one does with those gifts, the hours devoted to training, the desire to be the best, that is at the true heart of a champion."

Parents

Father - Heinrich Carl Wilhelm (Henke) Pistorius

Mother - Sheila Francis Bekker

Coach - Ampie Louw Studying - Studying for a Bachelor of Commerce in Business Management with Sports Science at the University of Pretoria.

Pistorius Family History background

The original Pistorius immigrants to South Africa were Friedrich Heinrich Pistorius (b.16 March 1789, Tondorf, Sachsen-Weimar) and his elder brother Maximilian Ernst Ludwig ( b. 1781 ) and the eight children of the Friedrich, who arrived at the Cape, South Africa in 1838 onboard the "Cape Packet". The family moved to Natal in 1842. The brothers were the sons of Wilhelm August Pistorius and Fredericke Maria Voigt. Friedrich Heinrich (1789- c.1863), a brick-maker, is considered to be the Progenitor/Stamvader of the Pistorius family in South Africa. His wife was Augusta Frederike Bernadina von Landsberg. His brother Maximilian Ernst Ludwig Pistorius married Susanna Sabina Zahn, but no children are recorded for the couple in the South African Genealogies.

Background

Oscar was born with legs, but without a fibula – the outer bone between the knee joint and ankle – in both legs. His parents, Henk and Sheila, met with some of the world's top doctors to discuss Oscar's condition. Physicians said the child would be able to cope better if he was amputated before he learned to walk.

The Pistorius family made the painful decision to follow through with that advice when Oscar was only 11 months old. South African orthopedic surgeon Gerry Versveld performed the life-changing procedure, amputating Oscar's legs below the knee.

Just six months later, Oscar was fitted with prosthetic legs. And days after that, he was up and moving around like most other children his age.

Athletics ran in the Pistorius family, and Oscar's condition proved to be no obstacle in carrying on this tradition. He made a goal to play in the Super Rugby event, the Stanley Cup, Grey Cup or Super Bowl of rugby involving teams from South Africa, Australia and New Zealand).

He also wrestled, boxed, played tennis, cricket, and was a member of his high school's water polo team. He even managed to find time to participate in triathlons.

But in June 2003, Oscar shattered his right knee while playing rugby. Dr. Versveld advised the teen to start the healing process by running.

The 16-year-old's track career started from there.

Running Career

In January 2004 Oscar entered his school's 100-metre race and won, coming in at 11.72 seconds. His father discovered that Oscar had beaten the existing Paralympic record of 12.20 seconds.

In June 2004, a year after his knee injury, Oscar received his first pair of "Flex-Foot Cheetahs" – the brand of prosthetic feet made by the orthopedic company Össur.

There was no stopping Oscar. He continued to win the hearts of fans and win races, capturing the gold in the T44 200-metre race at the 2004 Athens Paralympics, racing in at 21.97 seconds. It was a new world record.

In July 2007, Oscar, now known as the "blade runner" and "the fastest man on no legs," went head to head with able-bodied athletes at the International Association of Athletics Federations' (IAAF) Golden Gala event in Rome.

Controversy

Controversy arose in November 2007. After undergoing scientific tests at the Cologne Sports University (CSU), doctors claimed that Oscar's prosthetic limbs gave him an unfair advantage over his able-bodied competitors, that he was able to run faster with less energy.

Oscar disputed the claims, saying the tests were "biased and scientifically flawed." Despite his protests, the IAAF voted to ban him from any competitions involving able-bodied athletes.

Unhappy with the ruling, Oscar hired lawyers and underwent a second series of tests at Rice University in Houston.

In May 2008, a Court of Arbitration panel unanimously sided with Oscar, saying both CSU and IAAF didn't consider specific factors, such as the disadvantages he has at the beginning of each race, and that the tests only looked at what happens when Oscar runs in a straight line. The panel ruled there was no evidence the prosthetics gave Oscar an advantage.

The IAAF was forced to reverse its decision.

Olympic Career

Although eligible to compete in the 2008 Summer Olympic Games in Beijing, Pistorius did not qualify for the South African team. Despite achieving third place and a personal best time of 46.25 seconds in the 400 metres in Lucerne, Switzerland, on 16 July 2008, this was short of the Olympic qualification time of 45.55 seconds. He was also not selected by the South African Olympic Committee for the 4 × 400 metres relay team as there were four other runners who had achieved better times. At the 2008 Summer Paralympics, he took the gold medals in the 100, 200 and 400 metres (T44) sprints.

With his 400m time of 45.07 on 19 July 2011, he achieved the "A" qualifying standard for the 2011 World Championships and 2012 Olympics. He participated in the 400m sprint and 4x400m relay, being eliminated in the semi-final of the 400m sprint (finishing last with a time of 46.19secs) and being part of South Africa's silver medal winning relay team, making him the first amputee to win an able-bodied world track medal, although he was not selected for the final.

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Oscar Leonard Carl Pistorius's Timeline

1986
November 22, 1986
Johannesburg, Gauteng, South Africa
2004
January, 2004
Age 17

In January 2004, he entered his school's 100-metre race and won, coming in at 11.72 seconds. His father discovered Oscar beat the existing Paralympic record of 12.20 seconds.

2006
2006
Age 19

Awarded the Order of Iklamanga in Bronze (OIB) by the President of South AFrica for outstanding achievement in sports.

2007
July, 2007
Age 20
Italy

In July 2007, Oscar, now known as the "blade runner" and "the fastest man on no legs," went head to head with able-bodied athletes at the International Association of Athletics Federations' (IAAF) Golden Gala event in Rome.

2007
Age 20

Awarded the BBC Personality of the Year Helen Rollason Award, which is awarded for outstanding courage and achievement in the face of adversity.

2007
- 2008
Age 20

But controversy arose a few months later. In November 2007, after undergoing scientific tests at the Cologne Sports University (CSU), doctors said Oscar's prosthetic limbs gave him an unfair advantage over his able-bodied competitors, that he was able to run faster with less energy.

Oscar disputed the claims, saying the exams were "biased and scientifically flawed." Despite his protests, the IAAF voted to ban him from any competitions involving able-bodied athletes.

2008
May, 2008
Age 21

In May 2008, Pistorius made the "2008 TIME 100" – Time magazine's annual list of the world's most influential people – appearing third in the "Heroes & Pioneers" section.

May, 2008
Age 21

Unhappy with the ruling, he hired lawyers and underwent a second series of tests at Rice University in Houston.

In May 2008, a Court of Arbitration panel unanimously sided with Oscar, saying both CSU and IAAF didn't consider specific factors, such as the disadvantages he has at the beginning of each race, and that the tests only looked at what happens when Oscar runs in a straight line. The panel ruled there was no evidence the prosthetics gave Oscar an advantage.

The IAAF was forced to reverse its decision.

July 16, 2008
Age 21
Switzerland

Achieving third place and a personal best time of 46.25 seconds in the 400 metres in Lucerne, Switzerland, on 16 July 2008

2008
Age 21
China

Won 3 Gold medals in world record times in the T44 100m, 200m and 400m.