Pistorius ends games with gold
By Rob Harris ,AP Monday, September 10, 2012, 12:09 am TWN
LONDON -- Oscar Pistorius completed his groundbreaking dual-games trip to London by finally winning an individual gold, defending his Paralympic 400m title in the last competition in the Olympic Stadium on Saturday.
The original "Blade Runner" lost his 100 and 200 Paralympic titles this week, but eased to victory in his preferred 400 event in 46.68 seconds, more than 3 seconds ahead of Blake Leeper of the United States.
"It was very, very special for me — it was the last event of my season, it was the last event of the London 2012 Games," said Pistorius, who anchored South Africa's 4x100 relay team to victory on Wednesday. "It was my 11th time I was able to come out on the track and I just wanted to end and give the crowd something they would appreciate and take home with them.
"I was very nervous before today's race. I was quite tired."
But he mustered more than enough energy before 80,000 spectators to demolish the opposition for the first time in London, where he came to defend three Paralympic titles but surrendered all but one.
The trip to London was about more than medals, though.
After years of legal fights, he became the first amputee sprinter to compete at the Olympics a month ago, reaching the 4x400 relay final and the semifinal of the individual 400.
"I'm so proud," he said in a broadcast interview. "This summer has been a dream come true. I couldn't hope for anything better."
But his trailblazing summer became embroiled in controversy on Sunday when he accused the new Paralympic 200-meter champion Alan Oliviera of unfairly using lengthened blades.
"He came back — he was very gracious in the fact what he said was probably a little out of order," London organizing committee chairman Sebastian Coe said. "And tonight he's done what we know he can do."
It was the final day of full competition for a Paralympics that returned to its roots in London and staged the biggest games yet.
The genesis of the Paralympics was a doctor's determination to use sport in the rehabilitation of injured World War II servicemen, and on Saturday the gold medal in wheelchair tennis quad singles went to Israeli war survivor Noam Gershony.
During the 2006 war with Hezbollah, Gershony was left paralyzed in a helicopter crash from which he was the only survivor. He beat David Wagner of the United States 6-3, 6-1 to win Israel's first gold in either the Olympics or Paralympics this summer.
"There was so much pressure to bring home the gold because I knew I could do it," he said.
The men's blind 5-a-side soccer title went to Brazil for the third successive games by beating France 2-0.
The next games are in Brazil, and the Rio organizers will mark the handover with an eight-minute segment in the closing ceremony on Sunday.
The headline act, though, is British rock group Coldplay, who will perform a string of hits and collaborations expected with Jay-Z and Rihanna.
The International Paralympic Committee handed out two-year doping bans to three powerlifters on Saturday.
Two Russians, Nikolay Marfin and Vadim Rakitin, tested positive for human growth hormone a week before the start of the Paralympics on Aug. 29.
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