(LONDON) — Some would call “Blade Runner” Oscar Pistorius, South Africa’s most celebrated paralympian, a sore loser.
After losing his T44 (below knee amputee) 200 meter title by .07 seconds Sunday night, Pistorius told British broadcaster Channel 4: “We are not running in a fair race here.” Pistorius insisted that there was an issue with large prosthetics lengthening his Brazilian competitor’s stride.
Pistorius, who was the first amputee runner in the history of the Olympics this year, apologized Monday for the timing of his comments about Alan Oliveira’s victory, but not for the message he was trying to get across.
“That was Alan’s moment and I would like to put on record the respect I have for him,” Pistorius, 25, said in a statement. “But I do believe there is an issue here.”
Pistorius had set a new world record of 21.30 seconds when qualifying for the 200 meter final on Saturday, breaking Oliveira’s own record of 21.88 in a different heat. But Oliveira, 20, caught Pistorius in the final 20 meters of the final race last night, marking the first time Pistorius didn’t win a 200 meter run.
“He’s never run a 21 second-race and I don’t think he’s a 21-second athlete,” Pistorius had said. “I don’t know how you can come back, watching the replay, from eight meters behind on the 100 to win. It’s absolutely ridiculous.”
Oliveira insisted he had not broken the rules, and said he was disappointed with his “idol’s” criticism.
“To listen to that coming from a really great athlete is really difficult,” Oliveira said through a translator after the race. Asked if he had changed the length of his blades between the semi-final and the final, Oliveira said, “No. Since the first time I put them on, they’ve been following the IPC rules and I’ve been using them already for a whole month.”
The International Paralympic Committee today said that, according to regulations set out two years ago, all athletes competing are regularly checked prior to participation in the Call Room, and that rules that determine the length of an athlete’s blades are determined by a formula based on the height and dynamics of the athlete.
“The IPC respects the significant role Oscar has played in raising the global profile of Paralympic Sports since his Games debut in 2004,” said Committee Director Craig Spence.
An IPC spokesperson told ABC News that that they agreed to meet with Pistorius at a later date so that he could “raise his questions in a formal environment away from the emotion of the stadium.”
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Susan Scutti, CNN
Andreas Preuss, CNN