Saturday, September 1, 2012

My Favorite Olympic Moment Has Nothing to do With Medals

As September begins, a champion moment in August stands out for me. It was the moment I sat up straight on my couch and watched Oscar Pistorius, representing South Africa, run in the 400 meter qualifying race at the Olympics. It was his smile and shoes that caught my attention and caused tears to flood my eyes. Oscar's face beamed as he positioned himself for speed at the starting block. His dream had come true. And those shoes. They weren't top of the line Mizunos or Sauconys. They were carbon fiber blades. The impossible was occurring. A double amputee was running in the Olympics.



Maybe I'd been reading too much or writing too much or having too much summer fun, but I hadn't heard about Oscar Pistorious, nicknamed Blade Runner, until I witnessed him in action competing with the best athletes in the world. After I watched him soar into second place, qualifying him for the next round of competition, I had to learn more about this amazing man. I Googled his name and found all kinds of fascinating information. Some of the highlights include:
  •   Born with missing fibulas, Oscar had both legs removed below the knee before the age of one.
  •   Oscar began walking just days after he received his prosthetic legs at 18-months-old.
  •   In later years he played water polo and rugby.
  •   Oscar's mother died when he was 15-years old and he describes her as a major influence in his life.
  •   Oscar was banned from competitive running by the International Association of Athletics     Federation (IAAF) in November 2007 because they said, "Pistorius was able to run at the same speed as able bodied athletes while using less energy; that his prosthetic limbs gave him an advantage over able bodied athletes." 
  •   Oscar challenged the IAAF decision. He traveled to Rice University in Houston where a team of scientists determined that Oscar is disadvantaged because of his disability in the acceleration phase of the race and found no evidence that his different shoes gave him an advantage.
  •   Oscar hired lawyers and the descison to ban him from competitive running was revoked.
  •   Because of the many tests and proceedings required to reclaim his right to run in world class events, Oscar was not able to train properly for the 2008 Olympics, but focused on other major events.
  •   On July 19, 2011, Oscar achieved the "A" qualifying standard for the 2011 World Championships and the 2012 Olympics.
  •   In the summer of 2012 in London, Oscar Pistorius became the first double leg amputee to participate in the Olympics when he entered the men's 400 meters race and was part of South Africa's 4 x 400 meters relay team.
Did Oscar bring home a medal? No. But here's what he did leave with:

"Rio in four years; I've got more inspiration in the last two, three weeks. I'm sure I'm going to get more in the Paralympics in the next coming weeks, so by the end of the season, I'm going to take a month off, and then the next four years are going to be good."

And what did he give:

"I'd like to show people that if you put the hard work in and you believe in yourself that you can do whatever you want to."

Do you ever get the feeling that some people are put on this earth to show the rest of us that anything is possible, to fight for what is right, and to live life to the fullest. In 45-seconds, that is what Oscar Pistorius said to me as he seized his dream of running in the Olympics. Take a minute and meet him. I can't believe he's doing all that he does with prosthetic legs and feet.

  

No kick back song or book this week. I just want to leave with you with this photo (which you may have seen) and Oscar's words:




"I grew up not really thinking I had a disability. I grew up thinking I had different shoes."
—Oscar Pistorius   

13 comments:

  1. Oscar definitely has an amazing story. His is a gold medal life.


    Lee
    Wrote By Rote

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  2. I love people who inspire us and he definitely inspires all of us!

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  3. An amazing athlete. Thank you for sharing his story today.

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  4. Everytime I read stories like this I chastise myself for complaining about pains and aches. I admire those who overcome all manner of handicaps--they are true winners in experiencing and protraying the very best in life. You did a wonderful job in sharing his story. Thank you for that.

    Micki

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  5. Peggy,
    You have brought to us a story that should remind us how lucky we are with whatever is bestowed upon us. It is what we choose to do with it that determines our disability.
    You, yourself are a first rate winner with all you share.

    Thank you.
    Rosemary "Mamie" Adkins

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  6. Peggy, what a beautiful story that touched me deeply. I love stories that inspire our hearts, minds and souls and yours is a winner. You might know that last year I created an "Authors Helping Authors" project/contest called Tales2Inspire. It is FREE to enter this competition and it might be something of interest to your 'tale' seems a good fit.. If you are interested, do go to http://www.tales2inspire.com for all the how-to's, what if's , etc. You can even go to the Author Tales page to meet the winners from my first season and learn a bit about their stories.

    Hope to welcome you there.
    Best,
    Lois W Stern

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  7. This is an extraordinary story about an extraordinary athlete and I enjoyed your blog post very much. Thank you for sharing and showing me how happy I am to have gotten everything in health that I need!

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  8. It is stories such as these that truly epitomize what CAN be accomplished! And to think there are so many who are completely physically 'abled' that simply waste their life away. Thank you, Peggy, for sharing such an awesome story.

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  9. Peggy, he inspired me too. Thanks for posting this. I shared with FB, Twitter, and Google, through tears.

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    Replies
    1. You and me both. What a great moment of inspiration for people with disabilities. Thanks for aharing Linnea.

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  10. Wow, and then the wink at the end. It just made it all so real. What a wonderful story of inspiration and hope. thanks Peggy!

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  11. You are Super Swe-e-e-e-t! Go to http://catnipoflife.wordpress.com/2012/09/08/super-swe-e-e-e-et-award/ to snag your badge and see the 'rules' of acceptance! Muah!

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