Yesterday, South African runner Oscar Pistorius finished his semifinal heat in the 400m race in the London Olympic Games in eighth place. Dead last.
Most other athletes who finish at the back of the pack disappear into obscurity. But Oscar is not your ordinary, everyday also-ran. He just happens to be the world's first double-amputee to compete in the Olympics. (He was kept out of the Games in 2008 because some thought his prosthetic limbs game him a competitive advantage. Read more about that here.)
He said that his goal was to make the semifinals, which he did on Friday by finishing 2nd in his preliminary heat- completing one lap around the track in 45.44 seconds. After the semifinal race, one athlete (the man favored to win the gold medal) asked Oscar to trade name bibs- a gesture of respect from within the tight-knit competitive racing community.
Oscar may have come into the Olympic Games known mostly as "that runner with no legs," but he's leaving with millions of new fans- myself included- who appreciate talent, determination, and genuine hard work and respect people who refuse to be held back by their circumstances.