“Everything is possible if you can just believe”
His parents, Henk and Sheila, consulted with some of the leading doctors in the world before making the heart-wrenching decision to have his legs amputated below the knee by South African orthopaedic surgeon Dr Gerry Versveld.
His parents were advised by doctors that having the amputation done before Oscar had
learnt to walk would be less traumatic for him and would greatly improve his chances of
mobility in later life. Six months later he received his first pair of prosthetic legs and within
days he had mastered them.Supported and encouraged by his sports-mad family, Oscar lived an active life which led to him becoming a keen sportsman during his school years. Whatever the sport, Oscar played it, with his main focus being waterpolo and rugby in secondary school. He also played cricket, tennis, took part in triathlons and Olympic club wrestling and was an enthusiastic boxer.
In June 2003, he shattered his knee playing rugby for Pretoria Boys High School and feared that his sporting career was over at the age of 16. On the advice of Dr Versveld, Oscar took up track running to aid his rehabilitation and began training under the guidance of coach Ampie Louw at the Sports Science Institute at the University of Pretoria.
After a few months in the gym, Oscar took part in his first track session on New Year’s Day,2004.
Three weeks later he entered a school 100 metre race on the prompting of one of his
teachers and won in a time of 11.72 seconds. After the race his father looked up how
Oscar’s time compared to the best in the world and Henk discovered that his 17-year-old
son’s time was faster than the existing Paralympic world record of 12.20s.
In June 2004, he was given his first pair of Össur manufactured Flex-Foot Cheetahs and
eight months after first stepping onto the track, the South African created a sensation in the athletics world by winning the T44 200m gold medal at the Athens Paralympics, breaking the world record with a time of 21.97s. He also returned home with a bronze medal in the 100m and overnight was propelled onto front and back pages around the world.
Oscar is a proud Paralympian and believes that the Paralympic Games in London will be a
high watermark for the Paralympic movement. Oscar has ambitions to continue to promote the Paralympic movement and educate and inspire people around the world about the Paralympic Games.
Bridging The Gap
Spurred on by his achievements at the Paralympic Games, Oscar set his sights on
competing against able-bodied athletes and, at the South African Championships in March
2005, he finished sixth in the 400m final.”
All the information was taken from www.oscarpistorius.com as well as from a media information pack about Oscar sent by Kate Silvers who handles media aspects of Oscar’s activity.