Twelve days ago, Oscar Pistorius made history as the first amputee to compete in an Olympic track race. And although he finished last in his semifinal heat the following night, the determined, yet humble South African nicknamed the “Blade Runner” called the experience “a dream come true.”
But on Thursday that dream appeared to end sooner than anyone expected.
Pistorius was set to run the third leg in a 4×400 relay heat, but a Kenyan runner collided with one of his South African teammates, ending the foursome’s chances of advancing before Pistorius ever touched the baton.
But after reviewing the collision, the Jury of Appeal for the world track and field governing body (IAAF) advanced South Africa to the final even though the team did not finish its race. Pistorius and his teammates will run again in Friday’s final.
Pistorius immediately tweeted his relief.
— Oscar Pistorius (@OscarPistorius) August 9, 2012
The collision occurred when Kenyan runner Vincent Mumo Kiilu veered into Ofentse Mogawane, who tumbled to the track and suffered what he believed to be a dislocated shoulder.
“My heart is broken into a thousand pieces,” Mogawane said moments after.
Pistorius stood awaiting the baton for the third leg when Kiilu crashed into his teammates. Pistorius held his head in his hands when he realized what had happened.
“I will remember this moment for the rest of my life,” Pistorius said at the time. The Olympics “have been absolutely phenomenal, but it would have been nice to have had another run today. It’s tough.”
But the IAAF ruled that Kiilu “severely damaged” the South African squad when he veered into Mogawene. Now Pistorius, a double-amputee who competed in the heats of the individual 400, and his teammates are in the nine-team field and back in the medal hunt for Friday night’s final. South Africa won the silver medal at last year’s world championships in Daegu.
Matt Brooks contributed to this report.