SAN DIEGO, September 2, 2012 – Oscar Pistorius was denied the 200-meter title in the London Paralympics in a stunning upset Sunday, with Alan Oliveira of Brazil overtaking the icon of the games at the finish line. It is Pistorius’ first ever defeat at 200 meters.
Pistorius had a clear lead going around curve into the straight for home, but Oliveira stormed past Pistorius to beat the South African by 0.07 seconds in 21.43 seconds. The time wasn’t as fast at Pistorius’ Paralympic world record time set in the heat on Saturday of 21.30.
After the race in a broadcast interview on British TV, Pistorius expressed unhappiness with the longer length of the prosthetics being worn by Oliviera and also bronze medalist Blake Leeper of the United States. Pistorius says he can’t compete with the longer strides of his competitors.
“I’m not taking away from Alan’s performance but these guys are a lot taller and you can’t compete with the stride length. “You saw how far he came back. We aren’t running a fair race.
“The IPC have their regulations and their regulations mean that some athletes can make themselves unbelievably high… his knee-heights are four inches higher than they should be,” said Pistorius.
“Those blades are too long. We are not running a fair race. It’s absolutely ridiculous. We asked the organizers to address it, but it has fallen on deaf ears.”
Pistorius said Oliveira has never run a 21-second race and isn’t a 21-second athlete. Oliveira said he had not broken any rules. “He is a really great idol, and to listen to that coming from a really great athlete is really difficult. I don’t know who he’s picking a fight with. It’s not me.”
Spokesman Craig Spence of the International Paralympic Committee says all blades are measured and Oliveira’s passed the test. There has been no infringement of the rules. IPC officials met with Pistorius after the race. “He wanted to voice his concerns and we listened to those concerns,” said IPC spokesman Craig Spence, one of three people to meet with Pistorius. “The IPC will meet with Oscar at a later date to discuss his concerns once the emotion of tonight is out of the way.”
For his part, Oliveira said, “I think this polemic is just about Oscar Pistorius and not about myself. My blades are within the legal length.”
Next up for the South African is the 4X100 relay, and he’ll be hoping to defend his titles in the 100 on Thursday and 400 on Saturday.
David Weir of Great Britain, considered the world’s best wheelchair racer, wrapped up the night of competition with a victory in the men’s 5000 meter T-54 race, with Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton and Lord Sebastian Coe looking on from the stands. The 33-year-old got shout outs from a few of his big fans on Twitter, including six-time Olympic champion Usain Bolt and four-time Olympic champion and Tour de France winner Bradley Wiggins, with Wiggins calling Weir “a British superstar.”
Weir said for a “London lad” it was a dream come true winning on his home turf.
Earlier in the day’s competition, Middleton presented the gold medal to Britain’s Aled Davies for his win in the discus, much to the delight of the spectators.
China remains in the medal lead with 34 gold and 87 medals overall. With its successes in athletics and the equestrian competition, Great Britain is now in second with 16 gold medals and 54 medals total.
Australia is third with 43 medals. The U.S. has nine gold medals, seven of them in swimming with three belonging to Jessica Long and two to Kelley Becherer, and 33 overall.
See live and on-demand coverage of all Paralympic sports on the Paralympics TV YouTube website along with summary reports aired daily, available on demand as they are produced.
Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, is President/Owner of the Falcon Valley Group in San Diego, California. She writes on professional cycling and covers the Sweet Science for Communities, along with other news in the sports world. Read more Ringside Seat in the Communities at The Washington Times. Follow Gayle on Facebook and on Twitter @PRProSanDiego.
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