POSTED: 07:14 a.m. HST, Jul 05, 2012
JOHANNESBURG >> Never count out Oscar Pistorius.
The Blade Runner will be competing in the London Olympics after all, in his favorite event, the 400 meters.
While his selection for the 4x400 relay team was expected, it was a surprise last-minute turnaround by South African sports officials Wednesday that gave Pistorius the chance to run in the 400.
With the decision, the 25-year-old will become the first amputee track athlete to compete at any games.
"Today is truly one of the proudest days of my life," said Pistorius, a double amputee who spent his entire track career trying to prove he's good enough to compete with the best.
He now has the chance to do just that.
South Africa's Olympic committee and national track federation suddenly decided to clear Pistorius for the 400 at the London Games on his carbon fiber blades despite him just missing out on the country's strict qualifying criteria.
They added his name as the last on their team of 125 track and field athletes.
And now, the big Olympic stage being readied for Jamaican sprint sensation Usain Bolt and American swimmer Michael Phelps just got a little more crowded.
Not bad for a kid who had both his legs amputated below the knee at 11 months old and originally didn't like track and field when he took it up as a teenager to rehabilitate from a rugby injury.
"To have been selected to represent Team South Africa at the London 2012 Olympic Games in the individual 400m and the 4x400m relay is a real honor and I am so pleased that years of hard work, determination and sacrifice have all come together," said Pistorius.