London, England – Double amputee Oscar Pistorius of South Africa became the first man to compete in both the Summer and Paralympic Games on Saturday, qualifying for the semifinals of the 400 meters.
Pistorius, who had both his legs amputated halfway between the knees and ankles at 11 months old, ran in the first of seven heats at Olympic Stadium. He finished second in the heat with a season-best time of 45.44 seconds.
The 25-year-old posted the 16th-best split of Saturday's heats. Belgium's Jonathan Borlee logged the fastest time at 44.43 seconds.
"I didn't know whether to cry," Pistorius said. "I had a mixture of emotions. It was the most amazing experience, the crowd was amazing."
Nicknamed the "Fastest Man on No Legs," Pistorius runs with the help of carbon fiber artificial limbs.
In January of 2008, the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) ruled Pistorius ineligible for competitions after concluding that his artificial legs gave him a competitive advantage. However, the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) overturned the IAAF's decision late that year.
Although Pistorius was eligible to run at the 2008 Beijing Games he was unable to qualify for South Africa. After setting numerous records at the 2008 Paralympics, Pistorius qualified for the London Games on July 4, 2012.
Five women athletes have previously competed at both the Summer and Paralympic Games, including Pistorius' compatriot Natalie du Toit, who had her left leg amputated at the knee, but competed in marathon swimming four years ago in Beijing.