Johannesburg - Former middle distance world record holder Sebastian Coe says South African Paralympic star Oscar Pistorius has made a significant impact in international sport.
Coe, the chairman of the London Olympic Games organising committee, told the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation that he recently realised how much of a contribution Pistorius had made to sport on a global level.
"Oscar Pistorius is an extraordinary character," Coe said in an interview with Laureus.
"I only realised the impact that Oscar has made on Olympic and Paralympic sport when I witnessed him in Trafalgar Square during the course of the summer.
"We celebrated International Paralympic Day in London and when Oscar gave his demonstration on a 60-metre stretch of tartan, in front of the National Gallery, there were kids of all ages lining up wanting his autograph, pressing their noses to the barriers to get a glimpse of him.
"I suddenly realised this is a guy that really has made a massive impact in international sport."
Pistorius was nominated for two 2011 Laureus World Sport Awards, with the winners set to be named at a ceremony in London next week.
The 25-year-old double amputee made huge strides for disabled athletes last year when he won a silver medal as part of the SA 4x400m relay team at the World Athletics Championships in Daegu, South Korea.
He also reached the semifinals of the men's individual 400m event.
In disabled competition, Pistorius was defeated for the first time in seven years when American Jerome Singleton pipped him on the line in the 100m final at the IPC Athletics World Championships in New Zealand.
He hit back, however, by winning gold in the 200m, 400m and 4x100m events at the same championships.
Pistorius is in line for the Laureus World Breakthrough of the Year award, along with Jamaican sprint sensation Yohan Blake, British long distance runner Moh Farah, golf star Rory McIlroy, and tennis players Petra Kvitova and Li Na.
He is also up against five other sports stars for the World Sportsperson of the Year with a Disability accolade.