Oscar Pistorius: "My dreams have just grown and grown"03/08/2012 -
VAVEL interviews Oscar Pistorius.
Now that your dream has come true, how are your expectations from the Olympics and which are your next goals? When did you understand for the first time that you could have competed against the able-bodied athletes?
To have been selected to represent Team South Africa at the London 2012 Olympic Games in the individual 400m and the 4x400m relay is a real honour and I am so pleased that years of hard work, determination and sacrifice have all come together. I have a phenomenal team behind me who have helped get me here and I, along with them, will now put everything we can into the final few weeks of preparations before the Olympic Games where I am aiming to race well, work well through the rounds, post good times and maybe even a personal best time on the biggest stage of them all.
I am also hugely excited to then be competing to defend my three Paralympic titles at the Paralympic Games. I believe will see some amazing times posted and I am very much looking forward to what will be an incredible Olympics and Paralympics in London.
I have always dreamed at competing at the top of my sport since I realised I had a talent to run and my dreams have just grown and grown.
How is your relationship with your teammates both of Olympic and Paralympic team?
I have great respect for all my competitors. For me I want to compete against the best in the world and put myself up there again tough opposition. I have great support from the people around me and my fellow competitors.
You are not the first amputee athlete ever in competing at the able-bodied Olympic Games but you are like a legend and everyone has always talked about you and your history. What do you think is the reason? Is just because you are the first one to compete in track field?
I’m very humbled by the response and support I got when it was announced that I would compete. I just try to be a good persona and work my very hardest to be the best athlete I can be. I hope that my dedication and story can inspire people to take up sport at any level and enjoy it.
You started to run because of your rehab after a knee injury. Why did you continue doing this sport? What are your feelings during running?
Yes I started running because I suffered a rugby injury aged 16, part of the rehab was to run around the track, it was there that I met my coach Ampie Louw and it went from there. I found I was quite good and quick and so I decided to give it a go full time. After a year of training I competed in my first Paralympic Games where I won gold in the T44 200m and bronze in the T44 100m.
What are the differences between your training and the one of your Olympic teammates?
Did you do some gesture to ward off bad luck before the race start? I do the same training as most track athletes, I do gym work, speed work and conditioning work. I also have a very strict diet and have to look after myself well. I don’t really have any good luck rituals I just like to stay quiet and focused before a race and it all out when I run.
What have been the most difficult moment of your career? Do you fear that IAAF will say again that you have a unfair advantage from your carbon-fibre prosthetics?
Any set-backs I get make me more determined and work even harder. I just want to be the best athlete I can be and that takes dedication and hard work. I compete on Össur manufactured Flex-Foot Cheetah® blades and it has been scientifically proven that I have no net advantage in performance over other athletes. The IAAF and I have a great relationship now and I have no worries that this would not be the case.
Which was your dream when you were a child? Have you ever thought you would have become a sport man and a champion like you are?
I have always had the determination and drive to succeed, it’s just in me! I’m a fierce competitor and I don’t like to fail so even as a child I was competitive and didn’t like to lose. I was always into sport so I had the ambition to want to play sport full time, I’m very privileged to be at the level I am now and that is through hard work and sacrifice.
I think you are an example for those people who have some physical problems. In Italy we have another big example, Alessandro Zanardi who lost his legs after a car crash and now lives a “normal” life. How sport can help amputee or disabled people to live such a peaceful life?
Sport can unite nations, I saw first-hand what it did for South Africa during the Football World Cup. Sport teaches good values: hard work, determination, dedication and team work. These values can be adapted and used in everyday life and that’s why sport is important in communities and schools and I believe the London 2012 Games will do a lot to leave a legacy for the young to try sport and enjoy it at every level. Alessandro is a great inspiration to many people, I know his story well.