Oscar Pistorius, the double-amputee track athlete nicknamed “Blade Runner,” made history in London on Saturday when he became the first amputee sprinter to compete in the Olympics.
The South African finished his 400-meter heat in second place with a time of 45.44 seconds to qualify for Sunday’s semifinals.
“On the blocks, I didn’t know if I should cry or be happy,” Pistorius told reporters after the race. “It was such a mix of emotions.”
Noting that he still had “goose bumps” an hour after the competition, Pistorius called it “the most amazing experience.”
The 25-year-old four-time Paralympic champion was born without fibulas and had his legs amputated below the knees as a baby.
He began competing against able-bodied athletes in 2007, but failed to qualify for the 2008 Games in Beijing and had to wage a long campaign to be accepted in London, successfully fighting claims that his carbon-fiber prosthetics give him an unfair advantage.
In addition to the 400-meter, Pistorius is slated to race in the 4×400 relay.