Insure your car, home and valuables with iWYZE
LONDON: The slogan for these Olympic Games is “Inspire a Generation” and despite the best efforts of Britain’s gold medal winners, the most inspirational person here is probably a South African who has crashed out of the semi-finals of his event.
The British public have turned these Games into a festival of hero worship for their gold medal winners, with public adulation for their stars.
But when Oscar Pistorius on Saturday became the first double amputee to compete in athletics at the Olympics, he became the poster boy for inspiration in a way gold medal winners could not match.
The media here cannot get enough of the South African and yesterday just about every newspaper in the country carried a story about Saturday’s 400m heats, Pistorius’s first event at the Olympics. Some also had full-page adverts for a company that has signed Pistorius as a brand ambassador.
So last night when Pistorius ran a time of 46.54 to finish eighth in the second heat of the men’s 400m semi-final and bow out of the competition, it did not matter that he did not win. Long before he even stepped on to the track last night to run the semi-final he had won more than any of the home-country heroes – he had overcome personal hardship; he had beaten the system that wanted to ban him from competing against able-bodied athletes; and two years ago he fought for his life after a boating accident.
Pistorius fought hard, but was not able to come back at his rivals after a slow start. His time was a full second outside his season’s best 45.44sec, set in the heats on Saturday.