[REAL VERSION] London 2012

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Full coverage on NBC through August 12

Prosthetic Company Makes Olympic History Possible

South African runner Oscar Pistorius is set to become the first Olympic athlete to compete on prosthetic legs

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    The company responsible for creating the prosthetic legs that gave South Africa's Oscar Pistorius the nickname "Blade Runner" is helping Southern California athletes continue to train after losing their limbs.

    Pistorius – whose legs were amputated before he could walk in what his parents say was the answer to a birth defect – wears prosthetic limbs made by Össur, whose American headquarters is in Orange County.

    The 27-year old will make history this weekend when he competes in the Olympics for the first time on the same track with able-bodied runners.

    Competitive sprinter Scout Bassett lost her right leg in a fire, but prosthetic limbs made at OC's Össur headquarters and similar to Pistorius' have allowed her to continue running.

     She says she has high hopes for Pistorius.

    "I'm really excited for him," she said. "I know that the work ethic that he has, and the hunger and desire that he has and puts into what he does is just relentless."

    Experts say the flex foot design mimics the natural leg and foot.

    "Instead of having a foot here, you would just be putting the weight on the prosthetic toe," said Össur clinical specialist Coryn Reich.

    Initially Pistorius was banned from the Olympics, but he appealed and scientists were able to prove that the energy which springs back from his blades is actually a fraction of what the human foot and ankle give back.

    "Ninety percent, which sounds like a lot, however compared to the amount of energy return that our body gets from our ankle and foot motion, that amount is about 240 percent," Reich said.

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