Paralympics set to begin in London
Wed, 29 Aug 2012 6:49p.m.
By Adam Hollingworth
The Opening Ceremony of the Paralympics is just hours away, with the Olympic flame on the final stage of its journey to London.
New Zealand has a small team of 24 athletes, but the undoubted star of the show will again be the South African ‘Blade Runner’ Oscar Pistorius.
When the Paralympic games were first conceived 64 years ago, 16people took part. Now there are more than 4000, and it's a sell-out – thanks mainly to a man who shared the limelight with Usain Bolt at the Olympics, but who now stands centre stage.
“I'm blessed,” says Pistorious.
“Usain Bolt is a legend, but I have hopefully still got a lot to contribute to the sport so I’m just blessed to just be here.”
The sprinter, once dubbed “the fastest man on no legs” was born without calf bones, and already has four Paralympics golds and some great one-liners.
“They ask sometimes you know, ‘How did you lose your legs?’ And if it's a small kid I’ll say, ‘a shark bit it off’ or ‘a lion, but don't worry, I managed to run away’, and sometimes their eyes are massive and sometimes if the mother's good-looking I'll tell the kid it's ‘cause I didn’t eat my vegetables,” he says.
The flame's on a 24-hour, 150km relay to the Olympic stadium ahead of tomorrow morning's Opening Ceremony.
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