“You’re not disabled by the disabilities you have; you are able by the abilities you have.”  Just ask Oscar Pistorius, a double amputee sprinter from South Africa. Oscar just ran a time of 45.20 seconds to win his race at the Provincial Championships for Gauteng North in the selection event for the South African National Championships, inside the Olympic qualification standard of 45.30 seconds. He is trying to qualify and compete against able-bodied runners in the 400-m and 4 x 400-m sprint events at the 2012 London Olympics.

Oscar is one definition of global inspiration. But how did he get his inspiration? Pistorius was born on 22 November 1986 without the fibula, the long, slender bone running along the outside of the leg from below the knee joint and down to the ankle, in each of his legs.

His parents consulted with some of the leading doctors in the world before making the heart-wrenching decision to have his legs amputated below the knee, the thought being that having the amputation done before he had learned to walk would be less traumatic for him and therefore would greatly improve his chances of mobility in later life. Six months later he received his first pair of prosthetic legs and within days he had mastered them.

Supported and encouraged by his family, Oscar lived an active life including water polo and rugby in secondary school. He also played cricket, tennis, took part in triathlons and Olympic club wrestling and was an enthusiastic boxer. In June 2003, he shattered his knee playing rugby for Pretoria Boys High School and feared that his sporting career was over at the age of 16. He took up track running to aid his rehabilitation after a few months in the gym, he entered a school 100 meter race on the prompting of one of his teachers and won in a time of 11.72 seconds–faster than the existing Paralympic world record of 12.20s.

The rest, they say, is history, as Oscar became one of the great paralympians of the world.  He faced opposition by the IAFF (International Association of Athletics Federation) to compete with able-bodied athletes, but ultimately won this battle too, and will hopefully be representing South Africa in the 2012 Olympics.  TIME Magazine recently named Oscar Pistorius to the 2012 TIME 100, the magazine’s annual list of the 100 most influential people in the world. Oscar is living life in crescendo because he believes in what he does, and does what he believes

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