Paralympics 2012

Pistorius to run again

2012-08-27 08:20
Oscar Pistorius (File)

London - The Olympic rings have disappeared across London, and the Paralympic symbols hoisted in their place. Let the games begin - again.

Thousands of athletes have already arrived for Wednesday's opening ceremony as the Paralympics return to their roots.

The familiar face of Oscar Pistorius and his even more recognisable blades have helped to take the Paralympic movement to the masses - with 2.3 million tickets already sold.

August has been a groundbreaking month for Pistorius.

The South African will be defending the three titles won four years ago at the Beijing Paralympics, just weeks after becoming the first amputee sprinter to compete at the Olympics.

"I am incredibly excited to be back in London," said Pistorius, who raced in the 400 metres and 4x400 relay earlier this month in the 80 000-seat Olympic Stadium. "It was an incredible experience to compete at the Olympic Games and the reception from the crowd I will remember for the rest of my life."

The 25-year-old Pistorius had to contend with battles on and off the track to become the poster boy of the Paralympics, where he will be competing over 100, 200 and 400.

"He is massive," London organizing committee chairperson Sebastian Coe said. "In Trafalgar Square this time last year for International Paralympic Day, (there was) a queue of kids who were screaming his name out and wanting autographs."

But Coe stressed that the medals "are not nailed on for him" at the Paralympics.

"Sport is at its best when you have head to heads," he added.

The thrilling duel should come in the 100, with Pistorius no longer the fastest man on no legs.

The "Blade Runner" experienced his first defeat in Paralympic competition in seven years when Jerome Singleton of the United States beat him by 0.002 seconds to win the 100 world title last year, while Jonnie Peacock of Britain has the world record.

"The 100m will be the most competitive 100m race I believe we will have ever seen at the games," Pistorius said.

"I am very well aware of the competition that's out there and I've never been one to be too self-assured or too brash," he added. "I'm comfortable with where I am, as far as my speed work goes on the 100m but I'm very well aware that the other guys are posting quick times."

Pistorius has helped shine the spotlight on the Paralympics more than ever before.

"The Paralympic movement has come of age," International Paralympic Committee President Philip Craven said. "Having a sellout is amazing. A sellout prior to the games starting is unheard of ... it makes you feel good as an athlete."

Many of the 4 200 athletes from 165 countries will parade in the opening ceremony that will celebrate the visionary doctor who conceived the Paralympics.

Ludwig Guttmann used sport in the rehabilitation of servicemen injured in World War II, and organised a hospital games at the time of the 1948 London Olympics that evolved from 1960 into the Paralympics.

"Without sounding too nationalistic or even jingoistic about it, it was created here in '48, we drove all the early stages of the movement," Coe said. "A lot of us do feel they are coming home."

And it's a chance to raise the profile further.

"This really is an opportunity to change attitudes and confront some of the misconceptions that are still out there about disability," Coe said.

That's achieved by creating one festival of sport in the summer in London, with the Paralympics the second element, sharing the same "London 2012" logo.

"We have never treated it as an after show and I think Beijing was a great example of it never being an after show," Craven said.

But for all Craven talks about infusing "equal splendor" between the Olympics and Paralympics, there is frustration at the lack of parity with television coverage.

In the U.S., NBC will air only 5 1-2 hours of Paralympic programming - none of it live - with the bulk of the highlights appearing on its cable sports channel.

"It's particularly a disappointment when I look at it from the view of the American public, they will have a great team over here," Craven said.

"It just shows the USA isn't (always) right at the forefront of new things and new ideas ... we know the American public is ready for Paralympic sport."

But there will be widespread live coverage in Brazil, China, Britain and Australia.

"Countries learn over time, they get to know the Paralympics, they don't think it's much to begin with and once they see it they can't get enough of it," Craven said.


Read more on:    paralympics 2012  |  oscar pistorius
NEXT ON SPORT24X

 

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
Live Video Streaming
  • Blitz
    Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @00:00
  • SS1
    Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @01:00
  • SS2
    Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @02:00
  • SS3
    Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @03:00
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

 

Goalkeeper saves five penalties with his FACE!

Nothing, and we mean nothing, will keep goalkeeper Scott Stirling from stopping the ball!

 
 

Men24.com

Hottie of the day: Jesselyn
This invention makes farts smell like chocolate!
11 things men don’t know about their clothes
Hilarious mortal kombat elevator prank!
Vote

Do South Africa's Olympians and Paralympians deserve equal monetary rewards for winning gold, silver and bronze medals in London?

 
 
/Sport
Men
Women
Love 2 Meet
Featured

Got something you'd like to get off your chest? Got a burning desire to air an opinion? If so, be sure to sign-up on Sport24's FORUM!

Latest blogs
 

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

Newsletters Sign up for the Morning Glory, Super 15 and Soccer newsletters

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

Mobile Sport24 on your mobile phone - WAP, alerts, downloads, services

Forum Have your Say on Sport24's brand new Forum!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

iPhone Latest Sport24 news on your iPhone

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

Blogs Yes your opinion counts. Get it out there

 
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.