Johannesburg - South Africa’s Oscar Pistorius, the athlete known as the ˜Blade Runner” because he runs on carbon fibre blades, was named as the winner of the 2012 Laureus World Sportsperson of the Year with a Disability Award on Monday.
In 2011, Pistorius became the first amputee to win a non-disabled World Championship track medal, as a member of the South African silver-medal-winning 4x400m relay team, in Daegu, South Korea.
His desire to bridge the gap between disabled and non-disabled sport became reality in Daegu. Now his goal is to compete in the 2012 Olympic Games in London.
After receiving the Laureus Statuette from Spanish actress Elsa Pataky and skateboard legend Tony Hawk in the globally televised Awards Ceremony in London, Oscar Pistorius said: “This is just a great privilege to be nominated, it is really humbling to be here. To all the Laureus Academy Members, all you guys and icons who a lot of us still competing look up to, thank you very much.”
The Laureus World Sports Awards are the premier honours on the international sporting calendar.
The winners are chosen by the Laureus World Sports Academy, the ultimate sports jury, made up of 47 of the greatest sportsmen and sportswomen of all time.
Laureus Academy Member Sebastian Coe, Chairman of the London Olympic Games Organising Committee, said: “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. I think what Oscar has done is to really make us challenge our own orthodoxies, our own views about disability.”
And Laureus Chairman Edwin Moses said: “Oscar is a remarkable human being. One of the most impressive people I have ever met. When you think of the challenges he has faced in his life and overcome and gone on to break new ground, you can only be impressed. And he is now also a Laureus Ambassador and has shown his determination to support the cause of sport for good. I congratulate him on this well-deserved Award.”
Pistorius, aged 25, was born with a congenital absence of the fibula and his legs were amputated below the knee when he was 11 months old. He runs with the aid of carbon fibre blades.
With his 400m time of 45.07 seconds in July, he achieved the qualifying standard for the World Championships and was selected for the South Africa team. He took part in the individual 400m in Daegu and reached the semi-finals before being eliminated after running a time of 46.19 seconds.
In the relay, he took part in the heats, which secured his silver medal, although he was not chosen for the final. The Awards were announced in seven categories. Other winners were...
Laureus World Sportsman of the Year: Novak Djokovic
Laureus World Sportswoman of the Year: Vivian Cheruiyot
Laureus World Team of the Year: FC Barcelona
Laureus World Breakthrough of the Year: Rory McIlroy
Laureus World Comeback of the Year: Darren Clarke
Laureus World Sportsperson of the Year with a Disability: Oscar Pistorius
Laureus World Action Sportsperson of the Year: Kelly Slater - Sapa