Pistorius was born in Johannesburg, South Africa, without a fibula bone in either of his lower legs due to a congenital anomaly.
His mother encouraged him to participate in sports and taught him that his disability was not an excuse. His legs were amputated below the knee when he was 11 months old.
Pistorius participated in the 2004 Paralympic Games in Athens and won gold in the 200 meters after receiving his first carbon-fiber prosthesis. He quickly rose to become the top disabled athlete in the world.
At the height of his success, Pistorius competed in the 2012 London Olympics, making history as the first amputee to compete in an Olympic track event. He was also selected to carry South Africa’s flag during the closing ceremony.
The achievement was tarnished a month later in the London Paralympics when Pistorius lost to Alan Oliveira of Brazil in the 200-meter sprint. Pistorius responded by claiming that his opponent’s blades were unreasonably long, which led some detractors to call him a bitter loser.
Pistorius won gold in the 100, 200, and 400 meters at the 2008 Paralympics, breaking the world record in each event.
He also started racing against athletes who were not disabled, although many of his detractors said that his carbon-fiber blades gave him an unfair advantage.