'Blade Runner' Oscar Pistorius Advances To Relay Despite Teammate Collision
South African double-amputee Oscar Pistorius, 25, known as "Blade Runner" due to his carbon-fiber double prosthetics, thought it was all over on Thursday, when he was waiting for his turn to run in the 4x400m relay. Pistorius was next in line for the baton hand-off when South Africa's second runner, Ofentse Mogawane, accidentally collided with Kenyan runner Vincent Mumo Kiilu, and proceeded to fall to the ground, sustaining a shoulder injury.
Pistorius, assuming that the South Africans had had it and his one shot in London at the gold, after not qualifying for the individual event, was over, began to walk off the track. "We have been training as a group for five or six years, and we are gutted," Pistorius said in a post-race interview, reports USA Today. "I will remember this moment for the rest of my life. It's been absolutely phenomenal, but it would have been nice to have had another run today …. I can't tell you how disappointed I feel."
After a bizarre turn of events and an appeal worked in the South Africans' favor, however, the Kenyan team was actually disqualified on the grounds that Kiilu had cut in front of Mogawane and caused the fall, reports the New York Times.
Pistorius and the relay team were advanced to the final on the grounds that "their chances had been severely damaged in the incident with Kenya." Pistorius began tweeting his excitement when he heard the news that he would get a chance to compete for the gold, after all, and that South Africa's team would be set up in an additional Lane 9 during the finals on Friday night.
"Thank you Lord! Emotional roller coaster!" he tweeted. "Will be up on the 3rd leg tomorrow for the Final! Really can't wait!"
For more on Oscar Pistorius and the 2012 London Olympics: