LONDON — Oscar Pistorius ran into history Saturday morning, then kept going.
By taking the track for Heat 1 in Round 1 of the men’s 400 meters, Pistorius became the first double-amputee to compete in the Olympics. By finishing second in a season-best 45.44 seconds, the South African qualified for the semifinals Sunday. Pistorius conveyed his satisfaction with a broad smile.
He did not want to merely show he could run with able-bodied competition, he wanted to prove he could compete against them.
“I was so nervous this morning,” said Pistorius. “Thanks to everyone for showing their support. I didn’t know whether to cry. I had a mixture of emotions. It was the most amazing experience, the crowd was amazing. I saw the South African flag.”
Of the 23 runners who qualified for the next round, Pistorius had the 16th-fastest time, though a time in a heat is not a true indicator of where a sprinter ranks in his event.
The top three in each heat and the next three fastest advance to the next round.