The London Paralympics got underway Wednesday with Oscar Pistorius as one of Games’ star athletes.
Known as the “Blade Runner” because he runs on two carbon fiber blades, Pistorius last month became the first amputee sprinter to compete at any Olympics.
The affable 25-year-old is hoping to draw on his Olympic experience —he advanced to the 400m semifinals — as he defends his gold medal Paralympic titles in the 100m, 200m and 400m.
Arguably the world’s most famous Paralympian, the sprinter is known for his sheer athletic dominance and his long battle to compete in able-bodied competitions.
Ahead of the 2008 Beijing Olympics, he successfully fought to overturn the international track and field federation's ban that said his prosthetic legs gave him an unfair advantage.
At a press conference here this week, he downplayed his chances in the 100m, where he faces fierce competition from sprinters including the U.S.’s Jerome Singleton.
Born without fibulae, the South African had both legs amputated below the knee before his first birthday.
However, he recently said when kids ask him how he lost his legs, he sometimes jokes it was because he didn’t eat his vegetables.
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