30 Reasons To Watch: #5

How many tears of joy will be shed for South African 400 meter man, Oscar Pistorius, who will be come the first amputee to compete in the Olympic Games?

 (Photo by Getty Images)

By Mike Tierney, Special to Universal Sports

When double amputee Oscar Pistorious of South Africa shows up in London for the upcoming Olympics, he is liable to hear something like, “You’re too early. The Paralympics [for disabled athletes] are not until late August.”

No, he is on time, even if his qualifying time in the 400 meters fell short of standards established by his country’s track federation. Nonetheless, South Africa placed him on its Olympics roster, and he will race against the able-bodied at the Games in individual and relay events.

Among those arguing that Pistorious should not be allowed to compete are Michael Johnson. The most accomplished quarter-miler ever believes Pistorious wields an unfair advantage.

But a court of sports arbitration, overruling a ban, four years ago cleared Pistorious, who runs with artificial limbs made of carbon fiber to replace legs that were amputated just before he turned one. For those blades to carry him to a medal would be a minor miracle. But what is another miracle for someone who has become world-class while running in pain from stumps blistered and rubbed raw? While his nickname is “Blade Runner,” an equally appropriate handle would be “Brave Runner.”

We will be counting down our top 30 Reasons To Watch each day until opening ceremonies. Check here for more!

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