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2012 Olympics: South African double-amputee sprinter nicknamed 'Blade Runner' to compete

Erin Conway-SmithGlobalPost.com

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa — Oscar Pistorius, the South African double-amputee sprinter nicknamed "Blade Runner," will run at the 2012 London Olympics.

Pistorius has been included in South Africa's 4x400 meters relay squad, the national Olympic organizing body SASCOC announced Wednesday.

This will be his first Olympic Games, and it will be the first time an amputee sprinter has competed in the Olympics.

Pistorius, 25, who has four gold and one bronze Paralympic medals, made history last year when he helped South Africa win a silver medal in the 4x400 meters relay at the world track and field championships in Daegu, South Korea.

Pistorius wears carbon-fiber prosthetic blades. Born with a congenital disorder, doctors amputated both legs below the knee when he was 11 months old. 

He will be joined on the relay team by Willem de Beer, Ofentse Mogawane and Shaun de Jager. 

“As I have said many times before, we are not taking passengers to London," said Gideon Sam, president of SASCOC, in announcing the additions to Team South Africa.

"Everyone has met selection criteria and are genuine Olympic Games material," Sam added. "I wish them all the best."

Pistorius last month missed the qualifying time for the 400-meter race, finishing second at the African championships in Benin with a time of 45.52 seconds, or 0.22 seconds slower than the Olympic standard.

He failed to qualify for the 2008 Beijing Olympics after court battles against the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) for the right to compete against able-bodied athletes.

Critics say his J-shaped carbon-fiber blades, called the "Cheetah Flex-Foot," give him an unfair advantage.