"It’s been the most amazing Paralympic Games and to run two world records and get three medals is such a blessing for me."
Oscar Pistorius brought the curtain down on London 2012’s memorable track and field campaign with an imposing performance to take gold in his favoured 400m T44 on Saturday night (8 September).
The South African Paralympian has certainly had an eventful Games, after being edged out in the 200m by Brazil’s Alan Oliveira, missing a medal completely in the 100m and anchoring a world record time for his country in the 4x100m.
As such, eyes were cast on “Blade Runner” more than ever before for the final track event of the Games, as he faced the prospect of returning home without an individual gold medal.
But from the moment he accelerated smoothly out of the blocks and quickly reined in rival Oliveira, there was little doubt that this was going to be a night for Pistorius to remember.
By the time he came around the final bend with the entire 80,000 capacity stadium on its feet, he was well clear of the field, winning in 46.68.
USA clinched the silver and bronze medals, with Blake Leeper finishing second in 50.14 and David Prince third in 50.61.
But it was Pistorius' night in the end.
“It was very, very special for me,” he said.
“In the end, I wanted to give the crowd something they could appreciate.
“I was very nervous and quite tired, but the crowd kept me going. For once I was thinking about something other than the race coming round the final straight – I could just hear the crowd.
“I just wanted to finish on a good night.”
Much had been made of the rivalry between Pistorius and Oliveira before the race started, but by the time the South African had passed the Brazilian down the back straight, there was only going to be one winner.
“It was very difficult to know what kind of race he would run after yesterday when he won his heat,” Pistorius said.
Even before the Games had started, Pistorius had spoken about his focus on the 400m, having slimmed down significantly and qualified for the semi-finals in the Olympics individual event.
His popularity among fans remains unblemished, with banners sprinkled around the stands, a huge roar when he was introduced to the crowd, and then a solitary “Go on Oscar,” as silence descended on the stadium just prior to the start.
The pressure was undoubtedly on Pistorius, but he thrived on it. He had been in front of Oliveira as the athletes walked to their lanes, and that position never changed as he blew away the entire field with a controlled, dominant performance.
“I’m so proud – this summer has been a dream come true for me,” he added.
“I couldn’t have hoped for anything better.
“It’s been the most amazing Paralympic Games and to run two world records and get three medals is such a blessing for me.”