LONDON – "Blade Runner" Oscar Pistorius failed to make the final of the men’s 400 meters on Sunday, but not before fans at Olympic Stadium embraced him with their hearts.
Pistorius, a double-amputee who runs on carbon fiber blades, has become a world-class athlete, and the South African received a rousing ovation befitting one as he prepared for his semifinal race.
Pistorius made a slow start and eventually came in eighth place in his semifinal, but had already created a slice of history simply by taking part in the event and progressing past the preliminary heats.
As Pistorius crossed the line at 46.54, he was approached by semifinal winner James Kirani of Grenada, who made a special request for the pair to trade their racing bibs as a memento.
"As soon as we crossed the line we were friends," Pistorius said. "It was very kind of him. We share a similar life and it is what the Olympics is all about.
"The whole experience of being in the Olympics has been mind-blowing. My aim was to make the semifinals and this is a dream come true. To have the support of everyone means a lot."
Pistorius's participation has not been without controversy. Some have argued that his artificial limbs give him an unfair advantage over able-bodied athletes.
Yet there is no question that the 25-year-old has added color and interest to these Olympics while conducting himself with grace and class on and away from the track.
There will be no place for Oscar Pistorius when the 400-meter final takes place Monday night, but there's no question that he's made his mark on these Olympic Games.
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