Athletics: Oscar Pistorius salutes 'amazing' London at golden farewell

 

It was only fitting that Oscar Pistorius should have the last word. "The summer has been a dream come true," the original Blade Runner said after bringing down the curtain on another spectacularly successful sporting show in Stratford with a suitably golden moment on Saturday night. "Lord Coe and his team at Locog have done the most amazing job.

"Their attention to detail has made this the most phenomenal and successful Olympic and Paralympic Games. I think the world has finally seen that Paralympic sport is truly elite. It has performances that are really worth supporting and worth getting to know the athletes for. It's been a humbling blessing to be here."

For many of us, it has been a surreal experience, sitting in the main London 2012 arena watching the Paralympics, like the Olympics before them, surpass all expectation. There have been the 80,000 sell-outs for every session of the athletics programme, morning and evening for nine successive days, making it a record 1.5 million for the Games.

One minute the 80,000 have been booing George Osborne. The next they have been chanting the name of a 19-year-old amputee from Cambridge.

On Saturday night, they were rising to acclaim Pistorius. Running in the very last race on the Olympic and Paralympic track, the 25-year-old South African was a class apart as he retained the last of his remaining individual Paralympic titles.

He did so in style, winning the T44 400m in 46.68sec, finishing comfortably clear of his nominal rivals. Blake Leeper of the United States was a distant runner up in 50.14sec.

Up to that point, the London Paralympics had been a particularly mixed experience for Pistorius. He went into the Games as the face of Paralympism, the household name who had crossed over into mainstream track and field with his appearance on the Olympic stage, where he reached the semi-finals of the individual 400m and ran in the final of the 4 x 400m relay.

Then came the loss of his 200m title to Alan Oliveria and his complaint that the Brazilian was gaining an unfair advantage with the length of his blades. Relinquishing his 100m title to Britain's Jonnie Peacock was less of a shock than the dent caused to his public image by the temporary losing of his rag.

Any doubts about Pistorius' standing, however, were drowned in the rapturous reception he received from the public on Saturday. "It was very special to me," he said. "It was my last event of the season, the last event of the London 2012 Games.

"It was the 11th time I was able to come out on the track and I just wanted to end by giving the crowd something they would appreciate. I was very nervous before the race but the crowd kept me going. "

Pistorius, of course, was not the only Olympian competing in track and field at the 2012 Paralympics. Ilke Wyludda, the 1996 Olympic discus champion, finished ninth in her specialist event last Wednesday and fifth in the F57 shot on Saturday with a throw of 10.23m, a personal best.

The 43-year-old German had her right leg amputated in December 2010 after developing septicaemia. "I think I can be an inspiration for all people who have had some kind of stroke of fate and are looking for a path back into life," she said. "I think I have done that. I have shown that you can do it. Life goes on."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Orthorexia nervosa: How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition

Orthorexia nervosa

How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition
Lady Chatterley is not obscene, says TV director

Lady Chatterley’s Lover

Director Jed Mercurio on why DH Lawrence's novel 'is not an obscene story'
Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests

Set a pest to catch a pest

Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests
Mexico: A culture that celebrates darkness as an essential part of life

The dark side of Mexico

A culture that celebrates darkness as an essential part of life
Being sexually assaulted was not your fault, Chrissie Hynde. Don't tell other victims it was theirs

Being sexually assaulted was not your fault, Chrissie Hynde

Please don't tell other victims it was theirs
A nap a day could save your life - and here's why

A nap a day could save your life

A midday nap is 'associated with reduced blood pressure'
If men are so obsessed by sex, why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?

If men are so obsessed by sex...

...why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?
The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3

Jon Thoday and Richard Allen-Turner

The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3
The bathing machine is back... but with a difference

Rolling in the deep

The bathing machine is back but with a difference
Part-privatised tests, new age limits, driverless cars: Tories plot motoring revolution

Conservatives plot a motoring revolution

Draft report reveals biggest reform to regulations since driving test introduced in 1935
The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border