Oscar Pistorius made history as the first bilateral amputee to compete in the Olympics when he took his place at the starting blocks in Heat 1, Round 1of the men’s 400-meter dash in the 2012 London Olympic Games, on Saturday, August 4. With a finish time of 45.44 seconds-his best time this season-Pistorius earned second place and qualified to run in the August 5 semifinals.
The top three in each heat and the next three fastest runners-24 in total-advanced to the semifinal round; Pistorius’ time was the 16th fastest of these 24.
During Sunday’s semifinals, Pistorius lined up for Heat 2. However, his 0.254 reaction time-the time it takes to push off the starting blocks-was the slowest of the 24 semifinalists. He clocked 46.54 seconds, about two seconds slower than the winner of the heat.
“I don’t have ankle articulation so the start is always going to be one of my biggest down-points in the race,” Pistorius was quoted as saying in the StarTribute. “It’s just one of those things that I have to work on, and be as efficient at top speed as I possibly can.”
The South African’s next Olympic showing will take place Thursday, August 9, when he competes in the men’s 4×400-meter relay.
Pistorius will also compete in the upcoming 2012 London Paralympic Games, where he will race the 100m, 200m, and 400m T43/44 dashes, as well as the 4x100m relay.