Fair and Phenomenal

True Sport moments are not simply about examples of fair play or sportsmanship, although they are often evident in True Sport. True Sport moments are about when sport is firing on all cylinders – when the Principles of True Sport (www.truesport.ca/principles) are all in play, in the right balance and proportion. True Sport is about sport getting it right. And when sport gets it right, we are all better for it.

The Oscar Pistorius story is a larger than life True Sport moment at these Games. Oscar’s efforts to gain entry into international sporting competitions have been a long and well chronicled drama which culminated in the Court of Arbitration for Sport’s ruling in his favour and granting him the right to compete at the Olympic Games. This decision came down before the Beijing Games of 2008 but Oscar didn’t compete in those Games. At the time, he didn’t meet the qualifying times established for all athletes in the 400 meters. As a result, he didn’t make the South African Olympic Team.

Back in 2008, Oscar won the battle for the right to compete, but his ultimate goal of racing in the Olympic Games was not going to be handed to him – he was going to have to earn it on the merits of his athletic abilities. And this year, earn it he did!

Working harder and remaining focused on his goal, Oscar relentlessly pursued his dream as all athletes who aspire to compete at the Olympics do. He was rewarded for all of his hard work by meeting the Olympic qualifying standard for the 400 metres and by making the South African Olympic team. To recognize his accomplishments, and the character of the man, South Africa had Oscar carry their flag during the opening ceremonies.

After accomplishing everything he could at the Paralympic level, Oscar sought a higher level of competition at the Olympic Games. This is the story of sport, of all sport at all levels: individuals wanting to test their athletic ability against others’, seeking higher and higher levels of competition to see just how good they can be. It is the pursuit of human excellence played out in sport every day in every community and every playing field in Canada and countries around the world. And in the process, sport tests their character, it reveals their character and ultimately builds their character.

All the questions about the integrity of the sport and the concerns about competitive advantage from Oscar’s prosthetic limbs have been addressed and put to rest. This was “Playing Fair.” The True Sport principle of “Inclusion” was alive and well. “Respect” for the rules of the game, other competitors and the sport itself, were firmly intact. No one’s “Health and Safety” were at risk and Oscar’s desire to compete on this grand stage was a True Sport “Give Back” to and of the human spirit the likes of which we probably won’t see for a long time. The smile on Oscar’s face as he settled into the starting blocks assured us that he was “Keeping it Fun.”

All that remained was for Oscar to “Go For It.” And go for it he did! Running with the best because he had proven he is one of the best. Into the semi-finals and who knows from here. We know that Oscar will go for it in his semi and give everything he’s got. But regardless of the outcome, the phenomenal Oscar Pistorius has already won our hearts and ignited more human spirits around the world than we will ever know.