Disappointment turned to joy for Oscar Pistorius and the South African 4x400-metre relay team as a mishap first caused them to not finish their heat but a jury decided to allow them into the final of the event.
Olympics: Jury advances Oscar Pistorius and South Africa 4x400 runners
Oscar Pistorius and his South African teammates are moving on to the 4x400 metres relay final at the Olympics without even finishing in their heat.
The double-amputee will get a chance to run for an Olympic medal after track officials awarded an extra spot in Friday night's final following a successful protest by South Africa.
In Thursday's heat, a Kenyan runner collided with South Africa's Ofentse Mogawane as he made his way around the final bend in the second leg of the race. Mogawane fell to the ground and clutched at his left shoulder as the baton rolled away.
Set to run next in the relay, Pistorius stared at the scene in disbelief. He put his hands on his head and began walking off the track, thinking his time in London was done.
In the span of two hours, Pistorius went from crestfallen to celebration. On Twitter, he said, "IT'S ON!! We in the FINAL."
Following the race, Kenya were disqualified from the competition when the referee ruled that Vincent Mumo Kiilu cut across too soon and caused Mogawane to fall.
Kiilu had a spike mark on the back of his right shoe and Mogawane dislocated his shoulder. The IAAF [International Association of Athletics Federations] said Pistorius and his team will run in an outside lane after the jury met and "agreed to advance the South Africans, even though they did not finish the race, considering that they had been severely damaged in the incident with Kenya."
This was quite a day for Pistorius.
Quite an Olympics, too.
After a long battle for inclusion in able-bodied competition in the individual events, Pistorius ran the 400 metres and advanced to the semi-finals before bowing out.
He won another moral victory last week when the IAAF announced he could run any part of the 4x400 relay at the Olympics, not just the opening leg when runners have to remain in their assigned lanes for a lap.
"This whole experience was one of the highlights of my career," said Pistorius, the first amputee to compete in track at the Olympics. "I just had the most amazing experience representing my country. My experience here, everything has been superb."
Now, as turns out, Pistorius and his teammates will get the chance of competing in the final.
"Will be up on the 3rd leg tomorrow for the Final! Really can't wait!" he posted on Twitter, adding "Emotional roller coaster!"
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