Archive for August 7th, 2012

After a week of being removed from the Olympics, due to a fun filled vacation, my eyes are glued to the television, and the internet to get caught up.

I was watching the finishing qualifying heat for the mens 400m race, which featured a preliminary story about South African runner, Oscar Pistorius. This handsome young man, with that charming Jo’burg accent, runs, not on feet, but blades. Due to a defect at birth (leading to double amputation), he has no legs below his knees.

Not only has he had to endure the physical struggles with which he was born, but he also recently had to struggle, legally, to be allowed to compete in events beyond the paralympic distinction.

Now, think about this, it was believed that his disability gave him an advantage over the other competitors …

I would have to agree … his (and anyone else of limitations plus a will) disability does give him an advantage over the other competitors. As a man with limitations since birth, he has had to work harder, been more driven, more focused and more determined than his fellow competitors.

Oscar has been known to tell of a childhood memory when he and his brother were preparing for school. His mother said to his brother, “you put your shoes on.” Then she turned to Oscar: “And you put your legs on. And that’s the last I want to hear of it.” Oscar lost his mother when he was only fifteen, and on his right arm is a tattoo of her birth date, as well as the date of her death.

On Oscar’s website is a quote, “You’re not disabled by the disabilities you have, you are able by the abilities you have.” How can one not respect a man who is able to take the preconceived thoughts of the past, and turn them around for a future perspective, filled with hope.

And, speaking of hope … on his left shoulder is tattooed the words of 1 Corinthians 9:26-27:

“Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.”

I do not know of Oscar’s motivation for life. I do not pretend to know of a personal faith in the God who allowed him to be born disabled, as well as who allowed him to be born with the ability and drive to run. I only know that he could not sleep one night in New York City, and chose this verse to be tattooed onto his body.

In an interview for the New York Times, by writer, Michael Sokolove, Oscar said, “he gets no special thrill from defeating men with two biological legs. To do so would be to dwell on his own disability. “You have to move past it,” he said. “Everyone has setbacks. I’m no different. I happen to have no legs. That’s pretty much the fact.””

May he continue to inspire, at the Olympics (where he did not qualify for the 400m finals, but who is yet to compete in the 400m relay with his countrymen), and in life.

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