Wheelchair-bound physicist Stephen Hawking and South Africa’s ‘Blade Runner’ Oscar Pistorius were among the luminaries on hand for the opening on Wednesday (August 29) night of the biggest Paralympics in the 11-day competition’s history. Hard on the heels of the hard-act-to-follow London 2012 Olympics, the Paralympics got off to a rousing start with dancers, fireworks and near sold-out ticket sales for competitions to be held in the same Olympics park venues.
South African athlete Oscar Pistorius is set to make history by running in the London Olympics. By doing so, he will be the first ever double amputee to compete in the Olympics, marking a triumphant high in a difficult journey. Making the cut of the 125 names on South Africa’s team, as the final name, he is expected to compete in the individual 400 meter and 4x400 meter relay. The 25-year-old from Johannesburg, faces the biggest test yet of his athletics career, starting on August 4th, the opening day of the 400-meter heats. The “Blade Runner”, as he is known, runs with carbon fiber blades that often cause blisters and rub his stumps raw. Pistorius was born without fibula bones due to a congenital defect, and lost his legs at 11 months. Already a Paralympic gold medalist, he was initially banned from competing against able-bodied peers. In 2008, he was cleared to compete, and now he comes to London looking for gold.