Profile: Oscar Pistorius’ battle to compete
Published 14/02/2013 | 10:38
OSCAR Pistorius, known as the Blade Runner because of the distinctive prosthetics he uses for racing, is the world's best known Paralympic athletes.
He made history in London last summer when he became the first amputee athlete to take part in the Olympic Games.
The multiple Paralympic gold medal winner, who had to win a legal battle to line up alongside able-bodied athletes on his Ossur Flex-Foot Cheetah hi-tech "legs", raced in the 400m and the 4x400m relay.
Pistorius was born in Pretoria in 1986 without the fibula in both legs.
When he was aged 11 months, his parents make the decision to have his legs amputated below the knee.
His desire to compete was clear from an early age as he played rugby, water polo and tennis as a schoolboy.
In early 2004, aged 17, he turned to athletics after shattering his right knee playing rugby.
Wearing blades his impact was immediate - after two months training he set a new world record of 11.51 seconds in the 100m at an open competition at the Pilditch Stadium in Pretoria.
That September he won gold in the 200m at the Paralympic Games in Athens, setting a new world record of 21.97 seconds, plus a bronze in the 100m.
Pistorius had already set his sights on competing against able-bodied athletes. In 2005 he finished sixth in the open/able-bodied category 400m at the South African Open Championships.
The next few years saw more Paralympic medals, plus the 2007 BBC Sports Personality of the Year Helen Rollason award, for outstanding courage and achievement in the face of adversity.
But in January 2008 his hopes of taking part in the Beijing Olympics suffered a setback when the IAAF ruled that his prosthetic legs were ineligible for use in competitions conducted under its rules, including the Olympic Games.
He appealed and the Court of Arbitration for Sport reversed the ban the following May.
However, he failed to qualify for the South African Olympic team in the 400m, despite running a personal best of 46.25 seconds.
He later took part in the Beijing Paralympics, winning gold in the 100m, 200m and the 400m, setting a new world record in the 400m.
Four years later he was named in the South African team for the London 2012 Olympic Games.
After getting to the semi-finals of the 400m individual event, he was part of the South Africa team which finished eighth in the 4x400m relay final.
He later carried his country`s flag at the closing ceremony.
His performances in the Paralympic Games also created a media storm - for a different reason.
On September 2 he finished second in the final of the 200m T44 classification, losing a lengthy lead to Alan Oliveira.
After the race, Pistorius raised issues with the length of his Brazilian rival's blades.
The following day he apologised for his outburst, saying "I would never want to detract from another athlete's moment of triumph."
Pistorius went on to add gold in the 400m and the 4x100m metres relay to his Paralympic tally.
Away from the track Pistorius is a motivational speaker and an ambassador for the Mineseeker Foundation, which raises money to clear minefields and helps people affected by landmines.