Blade Runner: Oscar Pistorius, the fastest man on no legs

The South African 400m runner is the first double amputee to compete in the Olympic Games

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Each Games needs its standout hero: arguably Oscar Pistorius is the star of 2012 already. As the first double amputee selected for an able-bodied event, the South African has hurdled the gap between Olympic and Paralympic disciplines with ease. At 11 months old Pistorius’s legs were amputated below the knee, but his family ensured his childhood was full of sport, from rugby to waterskiing.

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He runs in the 4 x 400m relay having overturned a 2008 IAAF ban, which had ruled his blades gave him an unfair advantage. They don’t: they’re not bionic, just strips of carbon fibre. As Pistorius says, people have been using the same prosthetics since 1996, but only he has got close to an Olympic qualifying time. The sight of him sprinting alongside able-bodied runners promises to be one of the Games’ abiding images. David Butcher

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Watch Pistorius compete in the men’s 4 x 400m relay final at 9:20pm on BBC1 and BBC Olympics 1