Aren’t Moms always on a lookout for a ‘Real Hero’ for their kids to draw inspiration from? Here’s one from our times!
On 4th July 2012, as I sat ‘liberating’ my baby (read website) from a static format to a more interactive platform called ‘WordPress’, another great act of ‘liberation’ was going on elsewhere in the world. In fact, it wouldn’t be wrong to say that History was being made – Sports History! Oscar Pistorius, or the ‘Blade Runner’ or ‘The Fastest Man on No Legs’, it had been officially declared, would run for South Africa in the London Olympics. This makes Oscar, who runs with prosthesis in place of legs, the first amputee track athlete (a Paralympian) to compete at any games!
Oscar, who will be competing in 2 track events, 400m and 4x400m, is an inspiration for us and I lost no time in adding his profile to the ‘Inspiring People I Wish My Children Would Know’ list to share with my children at many stages throughout their lives. Quadruple Paralympic champion (200m in Athens 2004 and 100, 200 and 400m in Beijing in 2008), the champion was born without fibula (or the calf bone) and both his legs were amputated when he was only eleven months old. Undeterred, he continued to race using carbon prosthesis (artificial ‘J’ shaped legs) for legs and went on to become the first disabled athlete to qualify to compete with able-bodied athletes, setting a great example of perseverance and determination.
The news about his inclusion in the London Olympics accomplished his dream to participate in a major championship and I can safely guess his thoughts must have gone to his mother who had written a letter to be read by Oscar when he was grown up which said: ‘A loser is not one who runs last in the race. It is the one who sits and watches, and has never tried to run.’ Brought up to take life with the ‘right attitude’, Oscar has fought against the tide to achieve his dreams.
And although Pistorius tweeted about ‘feeling blessed’ and ‘Looking forward to London Olympics as an Olympian and Paralympian” – he quickly followed it with “Still on cloud 9 but need to keep at what got me here so off to the Gym.” There – that’s the stuff champions are made of. Blade Runner, his inspirational memoir, tells of his incredible, emotional journey from being a disabled toddler to an international sports phenomenon – a must-have for any bookshelf that aims to serve a purpose.
And although Oscar chooses to believe that ‘Participation is what is Important’, here’s wishing him the best of luck at the London Olympics and always.