Critics who insist that double amputee Oscar “Blade Runner” Pistorius’ prosthetic legs give him an advantage over able-bodied competitors, despite evidence to the contrary, may have been surprised when the inspiring runner finished last in the 400-meter Olympic finals. Pistorius made history by running 45.44 at Saturday’s semifinals, but did significantly worse on Sunday, clocking at 46.54 and crossing the finish line eighth. Yet nothing can take away Pistorius’ historic accomplishment — being the first runner with prosthetic legs to compete against able-bodied runners in the Olympics. “Oscar is someone special, especially in our event. It’s a memorable moment for me to be out here performing with him,” said Kirani James, who won the gold for Grenada.

After the race, James asked Johannesburg native Pistorius to swap race bibs — a symbol of respect that was not taken lightly. “It was very kind of him,” Pistorius said. “As soon as we crossed the finish line, we’re friends. We share a similar life. It’s what the Olympics is all about. It’s great to make friends,” added Pistorius, who has faced substantial criticism from other athletes and professionals that do not support his participation in the Olympics. “Ask him,” Britain’s Nigel Levine replied when asked on Saturday 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.”

But Pistorius’ work at the Olympics is not done. Pistorius will race in the 4×400 relay event with the South African team, which will be competing in preliminary rounds this Thursday. Even if Pistorius goes home without a medal, his presence has left a mark at the Olympics, where crowds have been ecstatically cheering him on even when he failed to qualify for the final round. “It’s a dream come true,” Pistorius said. “I want to thank everyone for their support.”

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