Oscar Pistorius, the four-time Paralympic gold medalist popularly known as the “Blade Runner,” will make his New York City debut at the adidas Grand Prix on June 11, where he is set to compete against three-time Olympic gold medalist Jeremy Wariner at 400 meters, organizers have announced.
In its seventh year as one of the premier track-and-field events in the world, the adidas Grand Prix, at Icahn Stadium on Randall’s Island, is the sixth stop on the international Samsung Diamond League circuit. To date, four superstar athletes ranked #1 in the world for 2010 – Wariner, Blanka Vlasic, Tyson Gay and Jessica Ennis – are already scheduled to compete, with more announcements expected soon. Tickets are now available at the event website, www.adidasgrandprix.com, or by calling 1-877-TIX-TRAC.
Pistorius, 24, was born without fibulas, and had both legs amputated below the knee when he was 11 months old. To compete, the South African star uses prosthetic blades made of carbon fiber, earning him his nickname.
Pistorius is the Paralympic world record-holder at 100, 200 and 400 meters (T44 disability class), and won three gold medals and one bronze at the 2011 International Paralympic Committee (IPC) World Championships in the sprints and 4×100-meter relay. In 2007, he won the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Helen Rollason Award for outstanding achievement in the face of adversity, and in 2008 was named one of the Top 100 most influential people in the world by Time Magazine.
Just weeks ago, Pistorius took a huge step closer toward his dream of competing against able-bodied athletes in major world championships. His most-recent Paralympic 400-meter world record, 45.61 set on March 19 at the Provincial Championships in Pretoria, gives him a “B” qualifier for the IAAF World Championships this summer. The “A” qualifying time is 45.25, which Pistorius continues to chase in his goal of making the team.
“I expect the race to be a challenge and one that I am looking forward to,” says Pistorius of his debut at the adidas Grand Prix. “I have no doubt there will be athletes running 44s, but if this is where I aspire to be I need to run against the best. Running in New York will be a great honor for me; it has an exceptional history from track in the U.S. and I’m very excited for it.”
Qualifying standards for the 2012 Olympic Games are expected to be similar to those for the World Championships; if Pistorius meets them and is selected by his country for the team, he would become the first amputee sprinter to compete in track and field at the Olympics.
All of the latest news, photos and additional information on the adidas Grand Prix can be found at www.adidasgrandprix.com, the event’s pages on Facebook and on Twitter.
Media accreditation is now available at www.adidasGrandPrix.com, under Media. The application deadline is Wednesday, June 1. Note the new, earlier start time this year: the adidas Grand Prix, part of the Visa Championship Series, will begin at 1 p.m. on June 11.