The 2012 Olympics have been inescapable these past few weeks and have provided many amazing moments with many more to come. There are so many stories of courage, dedication and triumph that emerge every Olympics and the games in London are no exception. Names like Michael Phelps, Ryan Lochte, and Gabby Davis will resonate with Americans for years to come. I truly hope that the name Oscar Pistorius will come to mind just as often.
As many of us have witnessed and marveled at this Olympics, Oscar is a sprinter on the South African national team. Oscar has a double below-knee amputation which literally translates to not having calf muscles or feet. And he’s a runner. Not just any runner either, this guy is fast. His nickname “Blade Runner” comes from the fact that he has two carbon-fibre prosthetic legs that enable him to fully sprint. Once labeled as a paralympic athlete, this incredible 25-year-old is no longer solely placed in that classification.
On August 4th, 2012 in the 400 meter race, Oscar became the first double leg amputee to compete in an Olympic games. I can imagine that there were few dry eyes in that stadium and I’m sure many at home were overcome with emotion as well watching him compete. The amount of pride that Oscar brought to his country, all athletes, and really anybody who’s ever worked through adversity, is undeniable. How many times do you think that someone looked at Oscar growing up and pitied him or thought his racing dreams, let alone the Olympics, were completely out of the question?
It’s obvious to anybody that watches Oscar Pistorius and his mega-watt smile that almost was never going to be good enough. When we dream, we need to dream in the realm of possibility, not reason. When we think about all that we can do for others and how far our outreach can take us, whether it’s down the street or to the island of Haiti, we should place no limits on what can be accomplished. Regardless of what anybody wants to say about a possible advantage from the prosthetics he uses, I’m not buying it. Those innovations are nowhere near as special as the person wearing them.
No matter what you feel is holding you back from making a difference in the life of someone else, it’s not enough to stop you from making the effort. The next time you feel paralyzed about doing something, think about Oscar and let his triumph motivate your next personal victory.