Oscar Pistorius, 25, South African double amputee and Paralympics champion, has waged a long and often unpleasant battle to be able to compete against able-bodied runners in the Olympics, but all of the hard work has paid off. ‘Blade Runner’ Pistorius, so-called because of the carbon fiber blades that serve as his prosthetic limbs, just made history by qualifying for the men’s 400 meter semifinals. Pistorius finished second after Dominican Luguelin Santos with a season best time of 45.44 seconds (his personal best is 45.07).

Not everyone is supportive of Pistorius’ Olympic participation, however. "Ask him," Britain’s Nigel Levine replied when asked if Pistorius had an advantage because of his blades. "I'll keep my opinion to myself on that one. It has nothing to do with me." Although Pistorius' inclusion in the Olympics has been controversial at best — despite evidence that his blades do not give him a lead over able-bodied competitors — it is Pistorius’ determination and relentless spirit that gives him an edge. "I thought about my mom today, she was bit of a hard-core person,” Pistorius told the Los Angeles Times. “She always said, a loser is not a person who gets involved and comes in last, but it's the person who doesn't get involved at all."

But there are plenty, including both athletes and onlookers, who are sympathetic to his cause. "I just see him as another athlete, another competitor," Grenadian world champion Kirani James said. "I'm glad to see him out here. I'm glad he's getting a chance to finally compete and hopefully something emerges out of everyone else's mind,” said American Erison Hurtault, who added that Pistorius is “an incredibly hard worker.” Even fans made their support known during the event. "I heard some guy shout, 'Hey you sexy beauty,'" said an overjoyed Pistorius.

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