Athlete of the Week: Oscar Pistorius 'Blade Runner'
Oscar Pistorius, the first double amputee to qualify for an able-bodied athletic event, is a man who loves power and speed. And this isn’t just any athletic event, it’s the 2011 World Championships that begin in South Korea on 27th August this year. Nicknamed, Blade Runner after his prosthetic ‘blades’, he has never let his disability stop him from being an outstanding sportsperson. His motto remains: ‘You’re not disabled by the disabilities you have; you are able by the abilities you have’.
Oscar Pistorius will represent South Africa in the 400m, and the 4 X 400m relay in the World Championships to be held in South Korea this year. He qualified for the event by clocking a personal best time of 45.07 seconds, as reported by the BBC.
Oscar Pistorius – A background
Oscar discovered his aptitude for sprinting during rehab while recovering from a rugby knee injury. Within just a few months of strapping on the Cheetahs (the prosthetics he uses now) in 2004, Oscar started winning accolades in several athletic competitions starting with the 2004 Summer Paralympics in Athens.
He started competing in able-bodied South African championships and national club athletics as early as 2005. But it took a long battle with the International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) to finally be able to compete in able-bodied events internationally from 2008. The hurdle? Many considered that his ‘blades’ gave him an unfair advantage over athletes with legs; a dispute that was finally laid to rest after he won an appeal on 16th May 2008.
Oscar Pistorius’s Diet and Fitness
Sprinting is a full body workout, and even though Oscar relies on prosthetics to run, his upper body strength from biceps, triceps, shoulders, chest, back, core, and thighs, is immensely crucial for his sprinting performance. Incidentally, sprinting is known as one of the best ways to lose weight and build strength, since it is a rare mix of muscle and speed – power and agility.
Oscar’s body fat is less than 8% and his weight has gradually reduced from an initial 83 kgs to a set 80 (Telegraph.co.uk). He relies on whole grains, organic meat, soups and salads, and steamed vegetables to give him the right energy and dietary balance. He hits the gym every single day, no matter what he’s won the day before. He also trains twice a day and attributes his quick recovery in between training sessions to his diet and light weight.
Oscar Pistorius – The Future
The next stop is the World Championships in South Korea, but we think Oscar will finally fulfill his dream to participate in the 2012 London Summer Olympics. When he failed to qualify for the Beijing Summer Olympics in 2008, his immediate words were not of failure but of perseverence: “Sprinters usually reach their peak between 26 and 29. I will be 25 in London and I'll also have two, three years' preparation” – Oscar to The Guardian in 2008. We wish our Athlete of the Week – Oscar Pistorius the very best of luck and all the speed he wishes.