For most athletes, the London Games were either podium or bust. For others, like South African sprinter Oscar Pistorius, a dramatic feat had already been accomplished by simply being there.
A comparison between him and the most decorated Olympic athlete, Michael Phelps, wouldn’t do Pistorius justice.
As Phelps attracted all the glitz and the glamor from his 22 medals, Pistorius was making headlines for different groundbreaking reasons.
A young boy who grew up without any limbs from the knees down is now recognized as one of the fastest 400-meter sprinters in the world at the ripe age of 25 years old.
Pistorius was a participant in the individual 400-meters and a member of the last-place 4x400-meter relay team. Unfortunately, South Africa was out of the race from the beginning. As he anchored home the final 100-meters, a shot at covering the lost ground was out of the question, but finishing was not.
Why is that so important?
Let me try this. Pistorius, who was born without either fibula, became the first double amputee athlete to compete in the Olympics. Now, how does that sound? I will let you attempt to wrap your head around that one.
This paralympic athlete, also known as "The Blade Runner," is setting the new standard for the future of the Olympics. Then again, maybe too much too soon?
Do the carbon fiber prosthetic legs serve as an advantage? Is it man versus machine? The implementation of technology to influence the outcomes of contests is nothing new today. All controversy aside, Pistorius’ achievement was a feel-good story, and one that will resonate forever.
He first completed a touchstone accomplishment when he paved the way for disabled athletes to be allowed to compete in normal competition. After awarded the opportunity to compete with able-bodied humans, he proved that he belongs in the same breath.
Now, the three-time Paralympic Games national champion, and owner of 30 broken records, will look to further his success in the Paralympic Games beginning in two weeks.
He is a true inspiration that embodies the ideal behind the meaning of an Olympic athlete. Who knows what the future will hold for him. Rio 2016? For now, Pistorius will soak in his final moments as he carries out the honorable duties of waving his country's flag through closing ceremonies.
Phelps may have stolen the Olympic medal attention in his checkered flag performance, but Pistorius inserted a chapter of hope to all people everywhere.