Amputee Racer Fails to Qualify for Olympics

South Africa can still pick him for relay by defying panel
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jul 16, 2008 6:11 PM CDT
400 meters runner Oscar Pistorius from South Africa stands on his prosthetic limbs as he chats with other athletes prior to the race.    (AP Photo)
camera-icon View 2 more images

(Newser) – Double-amputee sprinter Oscar Pistorius fell short of the 400-meter qualifying time for the Olympics today, though his lifetime best run could yet get him to Beijing in the relay. The 21-year-old South African shrugged off the pre-race distraction of threatening legal action against the IAAF and finished third in his heat in 46.25 seconds. Though shy of the qualifying standard of 45.55, it was 11 hundredths faster than his previous best.

The South Africa selectors will choose their team for Beijing by the weekend and can invite him to join the six-man roster for the 1,600-meter relay. To do so would defy a public request from the IAAF not to pick Pistorius, who runs using prosthetic limbs, because it believes he is a threat to his own and others' safety. Pistorius threatened to sue unless the IAAF rescinded its comment.