First Double Amputee to Run in the Olympics Trains in the Italian Alps

Wed, 07/25/2012 - 02:10

The most controversial figure in the upcoming Olympics, double-amputee sprinter Oscar Pistorius, is training in Gemona del Friuli in the Italian Alps to prepare for his history-making Olympic appearance.

After the Court of Arbitration for Sport declared in 2008 that Pistorius' artificial legs, blades of carbon fibre strapped on at the knee, did not give him an unfair advantage over able-bodied competitors, the athlete set his eye on the 2012 Olympics. Though other amputees have participated in the games in past years, he will be the first double-leg amputee to compete.

Pistorius has received a warm welcome in Gemona, where the Mayor built a custom track for him identical to the Mondo surface at London's Olympic stadium. The family who owns the small hotel where he is staying during his training also recently honoured him with a cake decorated with Olympics rings.

In his final Olympic warm-up race on the 17th of July in Lignano, Italy, Pistorius came in second after American Calvin Smith with a time of 46.56, well above his personal best of 45.07, which qualified him for the Olympics when he won the same race in Lignano last year.

Pistorius will run for the South African Olympic team in the 4x400 relay and the individual 400, which starts heats on the 4th of August.