Words Kiran M Ray Photography PA Photos
Oscar Pistorius, aka ‘Blade Runner’, stormed on to the Paralympic scene in Beijing 2008, setting three world records in the 100m, 200m and 400m events, earning him the nickname "fastest man on no legs". Pistorius has been subject to ongoing scrutiny after the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) banned him from all able-bodied competitive athletics, on the grounds that his blades offer him an unfair advantage. The ruling was overturned on appeal due to a lack of evidence, and Pistorious historically became the first amputee to compete on the track at an Olympics, as well as the first sprinter to compete in both the Olympics and Paralympics.
The decision has garnered widespread debate about where the line should be drawn, with American Olympic gold medal athlete Michael Johnson suggesting that allowing Pistorius to run in the Olympics sets a dangerous precedent. To the man himself "A race is a race. I’ve always wanted to be at the Olympics and Paralympics at the same games, this is the proudest moment of my life."
The Italian town of Gemona built him a special track near the Italian Alps to train for the London Olympics.
His ideal race, if it existed, would be 300m.
In another life without athletics, his alternative career would be in architecture pursuing his love of industrial design and obsession with small old towns in Europe.
He began but never finished studying for a Bachelors in Business Management with Sports Science at the University of Pretoria.
He participated in ‘able-bodied’ sports until he was 16, playing rugby, tennis, water polo, cricket, boxing and wrestling at school.
Running was only meant to be part of his rehabilitation from a rugby-related injury at 16. His track career began a few months later when he won a high school race, with a 100m time (11.72s) that came in faster than the existing Paralympic world record at the time (12.20s).
His personal best in the 400m is 45:07s- a time that would have put him in 7th place at the London 2012 Olympics.
He is an ambassador for Mineseekers, a charity that is dedicated to the detection, identification and removal of land mines as well supporting those already affected by land-mines.
He has racked up a lucrative career modeling for BT, Oakley sunglasses, Nike, Thierry Mugler fragrances, and even danced a tango
on Italy’s Dancing With the Stars.
A true South African, his ultimate celebration meal is a good old steak.
*And Samuel L Jackson thinks he’s a boss.