My Kind Of Guys

oscar_pistorius_600Have you heard about Oscar Pistorius?  He’s a South African sprinter who was born with deformed legs.  His parents made the heartbreaking choice to have his legs amputated below the knee in hopes that Oscar would have a better shot at walking and leading a more normal life.  Oscar was fitted for his first prosthetic legs before he was two years old and hasn’t stopped since.  He’s always been athletic, but began running several years ago.  While he has won tons of medals while racing in contests for handicapped athletes, it has been his personal goal to run in a semi-final race in the Olympics.  The guy they call Blade Runner accomplished his goal, but didn’t make the cut in his heat.

kiranipistoriusWhich brings us to Kirani James, the runner who won the 400 meter heat shared with Pistorius.  Kirani was favored to win the whole race and is in fact a World Champion from Grenada.  As soon as the race was over, Kirani approached Pistorius and traded bibs with him.  Huge sign of respect from Kirani.  Kirani went on to win the Gold medal in the final 400 meter.

manteoThen there’s Manteo Mitchell, a 25 year-old sprinter from North Carolina.  He had a half-lap to go in the first lap of the 4X400 relay and felt his leg snap.  Literally.  His fibula broke, but he kept on running.  His mantra was “Faith.  Focus.  Finish.  Faith.  Focus.  Finish.”  He helped the USA qualify for the final 4×400 relay… with a broken leg.  


Yeah.  My kind of guys.  They are an inspiration.

Have you heard any stories lately that have inspired you?  Share.

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15 Responses to My Kind Of Guys

  1. Kimh says:

    Great story, any winner at pinks society blog thanks, go USA

  2. leannebanks says:

    Kimh great question! I chose Avi J, but never received an email address for her! I just sent another request via the pink heart society! Thanks for the reminder!:)

  3. What an incredible, inspiring blog. I can’t imagine what it was like to run on that leg–giving his all for the team, perhaps with the fear that punishing onward could irrevocably damage his leg and his own future. And the blade runner’s story captivated me several weeks ago, but I hadn’t known the outcome of his race, I so wish he would he would have qualified!

  4. Hi, Leanne…the stories that inspire me are the stories of kindness and compassion. The one this week that brought me to tears is the guy who takes his 19-year-old arthritic dog swimming in Lake Superior every day to soothe the dog’s aching limbs. It is so therapeutic for the dog, she falls asleep on her daddy’s chest, in the water, as her daddy supports her. That must be such a sweet bliss of bonding, for both the dog and the man. It is such a true representation of love.


  5. Marilyn says:

    You and I have the same taste in great athletes. But I have an edge on you — my younger son and Manteo Mitchell were teammates in college. I was thrilled when the men’s 4 x 400 team qualified yesterday and then heartbroken to hear Manteo broke his leg. He’ll come back better than ever. Just watch him. Also, Oscar will be part of the South African 4 x 400 relay today. They were DQ’d and he filed a protest and won. So their team will run after all. Another chance to watch the Blade Runner. AND, though Kirani is from Grenada, he trained for a few years here at the University of Alabama with Harvey Glance who’s a former Olympian himself.

    It’s been a GREAT Olympic games, hasn’t it???

  6. leannebanks says:

    Wow, Marilyn, you have great scoop and connections! Isn’t that amazing how many of them are connected! It will be interesting to see what happens with the Blade Runner and his team today!:)

  7. Marilyn says:

    What can I say? I love track and field. My oldest began running at 5 and the other one at 4. They did road races in our area. Both ran track and cross country in high school (so I had 8 straight years of high school track) and then #2 son went to college on a full track scholarship. Now he’s an assistant track coach at the University of North Carolina in Asheville. Today he has an interview for a coaching position at UNC-Greensboro. Keep your fingers crossed!

  8. Leanne, what a great Olympics blog! I also found this story inspiring.

    Just last night, Pandelela Rinong’s bronze in the women’s ten-meter platform diving competition made her the first Malaysian athlete to win an Olympic medal in diving and the first Malaysian woman to win a medal in any Olympic event. Earlier in the week, Epke Zonderland took gold in the men’s high bar gymnastics. Reuters says this was the second-ever Olympic gymnastics medal for the Netherlands, the first being a gold in team gymnastics won by the Netherlands women’s team in 1928.

    I like to see athletes from smaller countries win something big. I always feel as though the odds are against them.

  9. leannebanks says:

    Nancy, good point! I think it’s cool when athletes from smaller countries win too!

  10. Linda says:

    I love these examples! I would say any veteran who is an amputee or disfigured from burns is a hero as well.
    I have had multiple cats that were “disabled” and take them to schools as part of talks that I have done. They are great examples of how being “disabled” or “handicapped” does not mean you cannot have a normal life. My current cat that is 3 legged is Zippy. He weighs 8 pounds and walks up to the biggest cat in the house slaps him with his one front paw. The first time this happened Budda ( the 23 pound cat sat back and looked at him like ‘what are you crazy’. Now he knows it is time to play and wrestle!

    • leannebanks says:

      Linda, I love your cat examples!:) Sounds like Zippy doesn’t feel at all handicapped!:)

      • Linda says:

        You are correct in that Zippy does not see himself as handicapped. That is what is great about animals- they learn to cope with amputations so much better as there is no mental image to overcome.

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