For those following the story of South Africa’s Oscar Pistorius — the so-called Blade Runner who has artificial legs below the knees and has made Olympics history by qualifying for today’s semi-finals in the men’s 400-meters race — here’s a heads up:
The three heats to determine which eight racers get to the finals are set to start at 3:40 p.m. ET. Pistorius is in the second group. There are eight runners in each heat.
As NPR’s Howard Berkes said earlier today on Weekend Edition Sunday, Pistorius’ presence in the Olympics has made some other competitors uncomfortable. They have wondered if his high-tech blades provide some type of advantage. But, Howard reported, researchers have found that it’s Pistorius who is providing the power and the blades do not add any.
Pistorius himself says “even if I am different visually, I still have to use my muscles. I still have to train. I still have to prepare. I still have to sacrifice. I have to work extremely hard.”
In today’s Washington Post, columnist Mike Wise makes the case that it’s time to celebrate Pistorius’ achievements, not to add to any controversy about him. The Post also has a graphic explaining how Pistorius runs.
As for Pistorius’ chances, it’s going to be tough for him to move on to Monday’s 400-meter final.
Only the eight fastest runners from the semi-finals make it through. The Blade Runner’s personal best in the 400-meters is 45.07 seconds. There are 13 competitors in the semis who have run the race in just under 45 seconds.