Nightly News | August 06, 2012
>> reporter: oscar pistorius was born with no fibulas in his legs. they didn't work, so doctors removed them.
>> i was 18 months old and fit with my first pair of prosthetic legs. in the morning my mom said to my brother he must put on his shoes and i must put on my legs.
>> reporter: now 25 years old pistorius grew up in a family that made his different body a normal part of their lives.
>> we'd go off to the sea side twice a year and i remember running through the sand and you'd always see these foot prints and i'd leave these like holes around the beach and it would be quite deep. and i remember saying something to my parents along the lines of, my foot prints are different and they said, no, they're just better.
>> reporter: like any south african boy pistorius loved rugby but an injury in high school landed him on the track. his coach just treated pistorius like everyone else.
>> he trained with my guys, my able bodied university guys. he never knew disabled sports .
>> at 17 he began competing on an international level in both para and able body meets. his impressive performances drew critics. they complained his carbon running legs called cheetahs were giving him an unfair advantage.
>> most people look at that cheetah blade and think oh, that must make him move like a kangaroo.
>> the body is filled with springs that are just as good. they're called ligaments. they're called tendons. and in addition the body has muscles that can do far greater things than just a spring. it's not the technology. it's what's attached that is pistorius .
>> oscar is not broken.
>> he's not broken. he's perfect.
>> reporter: for running, there is perhaps no more important muscle than the heart. though pistorius may look different than the ideal sprinter he is at his core the embodiment of the olympic creed . this weekend in the most visible sporting event in the world oscar pistorius took part, an accomplishment generations in the making, an inspiration for millions.
>> you can't just think that disability is something that's negative and even for those people living with disabilities we can't give them that escape to say you're disabled. put you in a corner. okay cool. you're disabled. get along with life.
>> reporter: mary carillo for nbc news, pretoria, south africa .