Oscar Pistorius arrives for Games

Updated: July 27, 2012, 12:34 PM ET
Associated Press

LONDON -- Oscar Pistorius has arrived.

The double-amputee runner from South Africa touched down Friday ahead of the opening ceremony and his historic debut at the Olympics.

Pistorius will be the first amputee to compete on the track at the Olympics when he runs in the 400 meters and on South Africa's 4x400 relay team.

"I woke up this morning knowing I was travelling on the day of the opening ceremony and felt a mixture of pride, happiness and anticipation," Pistorius wrote in an email to The Associated Press after arriving from his training camp in northern Italy.

Pistorius will be able to run at the Games after he had to fight to qualify on his carbon-fiber blades, which some argue give him an unfair advantage.

The 25-year-old South African was cleared to compete against able-bodied athletes in 2008 after taking his case to sport's highest court. He ran two Olympic qualifying times over the past 12 months, and despite just missing a third time before the cutoff, was picked in his individual event as well as the relay.

"This feels like a long time coming and I am ready!" Pistorius wrote. "This is going to be, I hope, an incredible few weeks of my life."

Pistorius was in contention to be South Africa's flag bearer at the opening ceremony at the Olympic Stadium later Friday, but 800-meter world silver medalist and former world champion Caster Semenya was chosen instead.

Pistorius said he "couldn't wait" to meet up with his South African teammates and was "really excited" for the opening ceremony.

Pistorius' first race is in the 400 heats on Aug. 4. He is hoping to earn a place in the semifinals at the London Games after making the semis at last year's world championships in South Korea.

He will defend his 100, 200 and 400 titles at the Aug. 29-Sept. 9 Paralympics.


Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press