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South African Blade Runner Loses 200m, Ignites Controversy

Oscar Pistorius arrived at the 2012 Paralympic Games with the expectations of the world on his shoulder. The so-called “poster boy” of Paralympic sport had just came off a history making appearance at the 2012 Olympics and was preparing to take home gold in the Paralympic 200m, 100m and 4x100m relay.

That all changed on Sunday evening when Alan Oliviera of Brazil beat Pistorius on the straightaway in a shocking finish to defeat the defending world champion in the 200m. In what may have been an even greater surprise, Pistorius walked off the track making comments to the media questioning the legality of Oliviera’s blade length. According to International Paralympic Committee (IPC) standards, an athlete is allowed to run on blades no longer than a certain percentage of their height. Officials said Oliviera’s 1.81m blades were within legal measurement.

Pistorius, himself, is no stranger to similar accusations having fought for years to convince Olympic officials to let him compete (which he did successfully this summer) so to the sport community, his response to Oliviera’s win was not only controversial but also appeared hypocritical.

Yesterday, Pistorius released a statement apologizing for his reaction saying, “I would never want to detract from another athlete’s moment of triumph and I want to apologize for the timing of my comments  … I do believe that there is an issue here and I welcome the opportunity to discuss it with the IPC, but I accept that raising these concerns immediately as I stepped off the track was wrong. That was Alan’s moment and I would like to put on record the respect I have for him.”

Pistorius will next compete on Wednesday in the 4x100m. For more information on the 2012 Paralympic Games and event schedule, visit: www.london2012.com/paralympics

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