South African athlete is an inspiration to all amputees

Published: August 10, 2012

Every four years, I root for Team USA in the Summer Olympics. We get to see our gifted athletes and others around the world compete for gold and for country. This summer, I find myself rooting also for a young man who represents courage, determination and ability. His name is Oscar Pistorius of South Africa, the first double amputee to compete in the Olympics. Pistorius was born without fibula bones. He was 11 months old when doctors amputated both of his legs below the knee. His disability didn't prevent him from pursuing sports. With the help of prosthetic limbs, he can walk and even run. In London, he showed the world that he can chase his dreams.

Watching him run the 400 meters against able-bodied athletes was amazing and inspiring. Pistorius didn't win a medal. But he earned the respect of those watching. He motivates all of us to set goals and go after them. He serves as an example for amputees — adults and children alike — that despite their obstacles, anything is possible.

At Limbs for Life, we hope to help children who may someday be an Oscar Pistorius. Our nonprofit organization provides prosthetic limbs to those who can't afford them. Those prosthetic limbs are a cure for amputees, allowing them a chance to walk, run, move and, perhaps, to dream of becoming an Olympic athlete.

Debra South, Oklahoma City

South is executive director of Limbs for Life (

Trending Now


  1. 1
    10 Most Popular Wedding 'First Dance' Songs
  2. 2
    Psychologists Studied the Most Uptight States in America, and Found a Striking Pattern
  3. 3
    Facebook Post Saves Drowning Teen
  4. 4
    Saturday's front page of the New York Times sports section is simple: LeBron James and transactions
  5. 5
    The 19th-century health scare that told women to worry about "bicycle face"
+ show more