Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Pistorius makes Time's 2008 Influential People List

South Africa’s blade runner Oscar Pistorius, who is fighting to compete in the Bejiing Olympics, is among the World’s Most Influential People for 2008 in Time magazine's annual issue.

A star Paralympian Pistorius made the list of the World’s Most Influential Heroes and Pioneers in the 2008 Time 100 List alongside people such as Oprah Winfrey, Lance Armstrong and Peter Gabriel.

Erik Weihenmayer, the only blind person to have climbed Mount Everest, wrote the profile of Pistorius and said the runner challenges the notion that living with a disability is a disadvantage.

“He's on the cusp of a paradigm shift in which disability becomes ability, disadvantage becomes advantage,” Weihenmayer writes.

A double-amputee sprinter, Pistorius appealed an International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) decision in February that barred him from competing to qualify for the Olympic Games. Some say his prosthetics give him an unfair advantage over able-bodied athletes. The results of the appeal should be announced sometime in the coming weeks.

Weihenmayer says that Pistorius has the drive to make him one of the most influential people in the world: “Through birth or circumstance, some are given certain gifts, but it's what one does with those gifts, the hours devoted to training, the desire to be the best, that is at the true heart of a champion.”