Oscar Pistorius is set to become the first Paralympian to compete in track and field at the Olympics after South African sports officials relaxed their strict qualification rules and named him in both the individual 400 metres and 4×400 relay. The 25-year-old double-amputee — who races competitively through the use of Ossur prosthetic carbon fiber blades — will now get the chance to realize a lifelong dream: he’ll be taking part in both the Olympic Games and Paralympics in the same year. His odds of making the trek to London were cast in doubt during a race last week after he failed to obtain a qualifying time by just 0.22 seconds. Yet in a last-minute turnaround, South Africa’s Olympic committee added Pistorius as the final member of the country’s track and field team.
“Since he’s going to be there (in London), our decision is he can run both,” committee chief Tubby Reddy said of the accomplished Paraplympic champion. “There’s no reason why he can’t. Our decision is he can.” Though he didn’t get into the specifics of why Pistorius is being allowed to participate despite not meeting the traditional guidelines, committee President Gideon Sam seems utterly confident in the move. “As I have said many times before, we are not taking passengers to London,” he said, emphasizing that Pistorius was chosen strictly for his athletic prowess — independent of any disability.
As you might expect, Pistorius is downright thrilled with the decision and took to Twitter to share the good news. “Today is really one of the happiest days of my life,” he wrote. “Thank you to everyone that has made me the athlete I am!” Pistorius’ accomplishment resulted in him becoming a worldwide trending topic during the day. And if a once-in-a-lifetime appearance at the Olympics isn’t enough, it turns out writing history can also earn you some complimentary Apple hardware.
Spoilt!!! Just got home to find 2 Iphones, an Ipad 3 and an Apple TV in my place. Thank you very much to Apple Europe + @ChristieLinford!
— Oscar Pistorius (@OscarPistorius) July 3, 2012
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