Oscar Pistorius and his ‘Differentability’

Written by Judy Klipin

As you will know by now, I am disgustingly patriotic.  Anything and everything that is in any way positive about South Africa makes my heart swell with pride and my eyes well up with emotion.

So you can imagine what it has been like to be around me during the Olympic Games.  More than a few tears have flowed during the medal ceremonies, as may be expected.

But the real emotion has been centered around Oscar Pistoriusthe beautiful young man we call ‘Blade Runner” – and his remarkable journey to and at the London Olympics.

As you no doubt already know, Oscar was born with a condition that meant he had to have both of his legs amputated below the knee before he turned one.  Despite this rather challenging start to life, Oscar was encouraged by his parents to be all that he could be and, while playing rugby (as one does when one has two prosthetic limbs), he discovered a talent for running.

He has since dedicated most of his life to becoming one of the world’s best runners. 

Competing in – and winning many medals at – the Paralympics was not enough for our Oscar; he fought a long and hard battle to be allowed to compete against ‘able-bodied’ athletes at the Olympic Games, and this year he won. Even before he came second in his heat for the 400m sprint, Oscar was a champion, just for having got there

Watching that race was among the most profound and inspiring 45.44 seconds I have ever spent. 

He is, quite simply, a force of nature.

Watching him in the semi-final of the 400m individual race was no less moving.   Although he did not qualify for the finals, his grace and humility shone through in such a manner that no-one participating in or watching his heat could fail to be touched by.  The whole stadium loved him, and his fellow athletes all paid remarkable tribute to him.

He touched the world on Sunday.

Oscar Pistorius has worked hard, and without any self-pity, to overcome what could so easily be regarded as a challenge.  He has turned his ‘disability’ into a ‘differentability’ and has committed himself to making the most of his talent – a talent that he may have remained unaware of, had he and his parents not been determined to make the most of Oscar and his uniqueness.

We are all born with – or inherit along the way – challenges and difficulties that could slow us down or even derail us completely.  But many of these challenges are the very things that spur us on to become the very best version of ourselves that we can be.   There are countless stories of great achievements that are born from pain, frustration and disappointment. 

We don’t all have Oscar Pistorius’ energy and enthusiasm, but I believe that we can all find a way to turn a personal glitch into a Divine gift.

Think about your greatest strengths.  How could they have grown from your greatest challenges?


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2 people commented on this

Hi Judy,
Like you, I am also inspired by ordinary people who through blood sweat and tears, become extraordinary. Disabled people, like Oscar, who reach heights that seem impossible for able-bodied people, just dazzle me. He is a legend in his own time, and what an inspiration to us all.
I dabble in blogging, just for my own pleasure, and wrote a blog about Dan Skinstad and his canoeing adventure in the arctic. I was truly inspired by his courage and grit and the fact that he hung in there and finished what he had started.
Oscar and Dan are two men that I look up to and admire. They have shown me that it is one’s spirit and attitude that make you a winner. Yet again I realise that it is not the cards we are dealt, but what we do with them that determines our success or fasilure.
Oscar and Dan are true heros, and I salute them both.

Dear Christine
Thank you for this comment. There is so much inspiration all around us – all we need to do is look!
Love Judy

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