LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 04: Oscar Pistorius of South Africa at the start of the Men's 400m Round 1 Heats on Day 8 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at Olympic Stadium on August 4, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 04: Oscar Pistorius of South Africa at the start of the Men's 400m Round 1 Heats on Day 8 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at Olympic Stadium on August 4, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images)

Oscar on track for four gold medals

By Kevin McCallum Time of article published Aug 28, 2012

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 London - At noon today, Oscar Pistorius will sit on a stage in a conference room at the Main Press Centre of the Olympic Park, look down and retell his story. The most famous Paralympian of them all has a tale that captivates and entreats because it is of a man who understands that he is different and celebrates it.

Pistorius will continue telling his story over and over, as will every other athlete at these Games. For the Paralympics is as much about the backstory of each of them as their sporting abilities and talent. Over the next 12 days or so, after they start tomorrow night with an opening ceremony at the Olympic Stadium, you will hear of bravery and accomplishment, stories of lucky escapes, near death, stupid accidents, freak accidents, avoidable accidents,survival from cancer, infections that stole a limb, diseases that changed a body and people just born differently.

On the same track where Usain Bolt thrilled the world, Pistorius will attempt to win four gold medals, and he will be challenged hard for them.

The Paralympics has not stood still since he first competed in 2004 in Athens as a teenager with braces on his teeth, curls in his hair and dreams in his eyes. Athletes have gotten better over the years and he will be pushed hard in the 100 metres, a competition he has traditionally struggled in.

In Beijing he had the worst start of his career and had to come from behind to beat Jerome Singleton of the United States by 0.03 seconds. Singleton took his revenge at the World Championships last year, pipping him by 0.002secs in the 100m. Great Britain’s Jonnie Peacock has the world record in a time of 10.85secs, but is not entirely sure that he can beat the Paralympic champion.

He, too, is considering following Pistorius into able-bodied sport.

“It’s difficult. Oscar’s disadvantage is the start of the 100m. That’s why he can be a 400m runner because he’s genetically made to be a 400m runner. The 100m is all about a great start,” Peacock told the Daily Telegraph.

“You’ve still got to have an amazing start to be a 100m sprinter and unfortunately I can’t see an amputee having that start.

“I have a fairly decent start compared to the other amputees but when you stick me up against someone like Usain Bolt, I’m gonna get thrashed. I’m 19, my best time does put me 18th in the UK at Under-20, but I’ll keep pushing and we’ll see how it goes.”

Singleton, who was once an intern at Nasa, said that Pistorius’ performance at the Olympics was a boost for Paralympic and disabled sport. “It changes perception,” said Singleton.

“It’s going to show two-legged folks what people with disabilities are capable of. God has given a lot of gifts to Olympic athletes to allow them to perform the way they do. He has given the same gifts to disabled athletes, plus the will it takes to overcome a disability.”

Pistorius believes the 100m “will be the most competitive 100m race I believe we will have ever seen at the Games. “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. 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.”

The times are a-changing for the men in the 100m, in more ways than one.

The Star

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