July 30, 2012
Blade Runner Oscar Pistorius, the fastest man in South Africa and already a World Championship 400m relay silver medal winner, embodies the spirit of good sportsmanship. A Laureus Ambassador, Pistorius has qualified for this year’s London 2012 Olympic Games, the first double-amputee athlete to do so, and hopes to make history by following his World Championship success with a medal for 400 metres at the able-bodied Games.
A great spokesperson for team spirit, Oscar Pistorius acknowledges teamwork for his own sporting achievements. “I think if you look at athletes on any podium, you see an individual and you think how phenomenal they are, but in essence there’s a massive team behind them. Without one of the people in my camp, I would not be able to do what I do.” Speaking to Laureus.com about his own team, Pistorius counts more than 15 people among the entourage he credits with his success. “Nobody can achieve by themselves,” he says. “It is not a bad thing to ask for support.”
It is a theory he puts into practice with his own running buddies, the South African relay team with whom he has won a clutch of medals including the 2011 world championships in Daegu where they won silver. “We are not individual athletes in a relay,” he says, “we need to make our performances work as a collection also. We have got a great camaraderie between each other and a mutual respect.”
For the Olympic performance though, Pistorius has concerns that the team might not be at its peak: “Some of the guys have been struggling a bit with injuries so we will go in with a fair set of challenges, but I know they have got a lot of heart.”
Already a four time Paralympic gold medalist over a range of distances, Pistorius’ qualification to compete in the Olympic 400 metres at London 2012 is a breakthrough achievement in modern track and field. By bridging the gap between those with disabilities and those without, Pistorius helps symbolise those inspiring qualities that the Olympics and sport exemplify: equality, togetherness and opportunity.
The winner of this year’s Laureus Disability Award in February, Pistorius is now a Laureus Ambassador involved in Laureus’ Sport for Good projects in Tanzania. “I went there thinking I would be able to give and I think I left that experience more than what I had intended to give. It was a real eye-opener and to be involved with the Laureus foundation is something that I hope I will be able to do for many, many years to come.”
With his belief that his own success has come as much as a result of other people’s efforts as his own dedication, he believes the onus on giving back is paramount.” If I had to give a gold medal to anybody it would probably be Frankie Fredericks (four times Olympic medalist, and Namibia’s only Olympic medalist). He is a truly humble person who is still giving back to the world of athletics.”
Award one of your friends a Laureus Medal using our Facebook app, and you will be entered into this week's prize draw for Oscar's signed training shirt.