Surrendering a second Paralympic title in London, a chastened Oscar Pistorius was gracious in defeat this time.
Four days after suggesting a rival bent the rules to take away his 200m title, Pistorius the original “Blade Runner” didn’t even make the podium for the showpiece 100m final on Thursday.
The 2008 Beijing champion had to settle for fourth place in the Olympic Stadium, even finishing behind compatriot Arnu Fourie, who earned the bronze medal.
It was British teenager Jonnie Peacock who claimed the glory, roared to gold by an 80,000-strong home crowd, in 10.90 seconds.
“For me not to be able to defend my title, but to see a performance and to be beaten by an athlete like that, makes me extremely happy,” Pistorius said of the 19-year-old world record holder. “He really epitomises professional sprinting not just as a Paralympic athlete but as one of the world’s best.
“And to be part of that race, even if I didn’t finish on the podium, was a blessing.”
“I saw my name come up in third place when we crossed the line and I was quite happy ... and when I actually saw that Arnu had beaten me I think I was more happy that I came fourth,” said Pistorius, who made his groundbreaking debut at the Olympics last month.
“I am going to celebrate his medal with him tonight.”
The pleasure was a far cry from the seemingly bitter aftermath on Sunday in the stadium when Pistorius accused 200m winner Alan Oliveira of using lengthened blades to depose him as Paralympic champion. The Brazilian could place only seventh in the shorter sprint, a place behind world champion Jerome Singleton of the United States.
“I think the sport has been appreciated a lot more now, and we can focus on proper performances,” Pistorius said. “And we saw a proper performance by Jonnie Peacock tonight ... I just got beaten by three better guys.”
Richard Browne, the American who took silver in 11.03, sees a changing of the guard in the Paralympic sprints.
“It’s good to be that new wave coming in,” the 21-year-old Browne said. “It’s a new generation me and Jonnnie.”
Asked if it was the end of his dominance, Pistorius replied - “Most definitely. I haven’t dominated the 100m in about three years.”