Supposing you lost both your legs.
You’d have to be pushed around in a wheelchair, right?
Over time you’d have false legs fitted.
Eventually you’d want to try standing on them.
You couldn’t get out of the chair on your own, so you’d need someone on either side of you, to take your weight.
You couldn’t feel the ground, so it’d be like swaying on two wobbly stilts you couldn’t control.
You’d fall over.
So you’d have to hold onto something, say a wall, just so you can simply stand, without falling over.
This will take weeks.
During this time the skin on your stumps will have been rubbed raw by the artificial legs.
Until eventually you’ve learned to stand without holding onto anything.
Then you’ll try to walk.
You hold the wall for support and throw one leg in front of the other.
And stand there swaying trying not to fall over.
Then you transfer your weight to that stump and drag the other one after it.
Now do it again.
Put the weight on one stump and throw the other leg forward.
Now transfer the weight to that stump and drag the other leg after it.
Eventually, you may be able to do it without holding onto the wall.
Eventually you may even be able to do the throwing-and-dragging move well enough to walk around the block.
And come back exhausted, sweating, stumps bleeding.
Because it took hours to slowly get around the block without injury.
So now imagine, what would it take for you to run?
What would it take for you to run as fast as someone with both legs?
In fact, what would it take for you to run faster than someone with both legs?
What would it take for you to run faster than any able-bodied person?
So fast that you got to the Olympics.
Not just the Para-Olympics, the full able-bodied Olympics.
Competing against the absolute cream of the fastest, supremely fit, able-bodied runners in the entire world.
That’s Oscar Pistorius.
It wasn’t enough for him to walk, or run, or play sports, or do what normal able-bodied people do.
He wanted to do more than any normal able-bodied person could do.
So he became the first double-amputee to compete in the Olympics.
He had to beat everyone in South Africa to be part of the relay team.
Then they beat nearly every other team to get to the semi-finals of The London 2012 Olympic games.
And he did it all without legs.
And before he could even compete, he had to beat the Olympic authorities.
For years they wouldn’t let him compete because they thought he might have an unfair advantage.
I think that bears repeating.
The Olympic authorities were worried that a man with no legs might have an unfair advantage over the very finest physical specimens on the planet.
That’s what Oscar Pistorius did for disabled people.
He turned it round 180 degrees.
From a point where having no legs was a disability to a point where it was seen as an unfair advantage.
How great is that?
Never mind breaking a few individual world records on the way.
He had the entire Olympic committee frightened that a man with no legs might make their super-athletes look bad.
IMHO whatever else Oscar Pistorius does, that’s his real legacy.
That’s his lesson for all of us, not just the disabled.
Whenever we piss and moan and find an excuse for failing or, much worse, not even trying.
Whatever reason we’ve got it’s not as good as the reasons Oscar Pistorius could have had if he’d wanted them.
But he didn’t want any reasons.
He wanted to be un-reasonable.
So how did a man with no legs get on against the best athletes in the world?
In 2007 he won the silver medal in the South African National Championships.
In 2011, in South Korea, he won the silver medal in The World Championships.
In 2012 he won 2 silver medals in The African Championships.
As the man with no legs said “I tell people all the time, you’ll never progress if your mind is on your disability.”