Did anyone else see the 400 meter race with the South African double amputee runner? I haven’t felt this alive in months! It’s difficult for me to put into words just how incredible I feel about him competing against the big boys at the Olympics (and I don’t even know the dude).
He was a gold medalist Paralympic runner who tried his hand against the able bodied runners. Whether you believe he is at an advantage or a disadvantage over the other athletes, you can NOT deny that his talent and ability is inspiring. It is my personal belief that no matter how “springy” those prostheses are, any person lacking biological feet and legs is at a disadvantage in a running race against able bodied dudes. Essentially, he’s running on stilts. And he’s running faster than most of us could ever imagine. It is also my personal belief that Oscar Pistorius’ Olympic debut this evening just broke a huge socio-political/emotional barrier for hundreds of other “disabled” athletes around the world. I’m sure we’ll see others competing in 2016. In fact, I’d put money on it.
Watching Oscar run against those other athletes gave me a glimpse into Nick’s future. Even though Nick has a spinal cord injury that limits him quite a bit more than the average double-amputee, I can see Nick running again. I can see him doing any activity that he truly wants to do, he just has to heal first.
Nick has talked about training for a triathlon in the future. There is a Challenged Athletes Foundation triathlon coming up in a few months that we will likely attend, and I’m sure at that point Nick will find all the inspiration he needs to begin the process of fulfilling that dream. What an honor that would be, to see the love of my life overcome this incredible obstacle in his life and cross the finish line of a grueling race like that. Just like tonight, when the race was over the fastest runner approached Oscar, who came in last in the semi-finals, and asked him to exchange bibs. That humble gesture of respect and admiration told me that guy will forever tell the story of his history-making Olympic experience of competing against the brave runner with no legs.