Why Pistorius needed to lose

A sporting curve of Olympic proportions will be incomplete if it stops at a triumphant gold medal

Written by Shivani Naik | Published: September 11, 2012 12:26 am

A sporting curve of Olympic proportions will be incomplete if it stops at a triumphant gold medal. So,Oscar Pistorius needed to lose. The Paralympics were never meant to be a one-man race. So Pistorius’ won’t mind us celebrating his defeats in the 100m and 200m runs at the just-concluded Paralympics. The world can now get curious,excited and inspired by the legends of Brazilian Alan Oliveira and Great Britain’s Jonnie Peacock who beat the man they call the blade runner.

Two months ago,Pistorius had the ever-vocal Americans stirred,and shaken. The world record holder Michael Johnson absurdly wonder if he’d run faster should he lose his limbs in a horrific accident! What the Paralympics managed more importantly was to give voice to another pair of Americans Jerome Singleton and Blake Leeper,who inspired by the Pistorius tale and timings in Beijing had lined up on the same tracks as him this time,challenging his dominance,and making this the real deal in racing. A man born without calf bones and reaching the semifinals of the Olympics,was now the marked man.

Leeper’s congenital birth defect meant he used prosthetics since he was a 9 month-old baby,and he termed his presence in London a feeling of liberation after years of being laughed at every time his artificial leg fell off when he attempted to run. From watching Pistorius at Beijing,to daring him with the American braggarding challenge,the Paralympics were now not merely about the symbol,but about the challengers.

But Pistorius was to figure in medal acceptance speeches of every other champion. The 100m champ home boy Peacock paid tribute to the South African before proceeding to declare he’d shave off 3/100th seconds off his win-times.

Pistorius was quick to bite his lip at his ill-timed rant against the longer blades of the 200m champ Oliviera when he was pipped at the finish line. But that’s what Olympic glory is made of — regrets and redemption. His J-shaped blades got a standing ovation,befitting his Hollywood award namesake,when Oscar Pistorius raced to win the 400m,and reality shaped up much better than reel.

shivani.naik@expressindia.com

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