For all the GB medal glory, the London 2012 Paralympics just wouldn’t have been the same without Oscar Pistorius.
The man they call Blade Runner was box office from start to finish, sending the Olympic Stadium into a frenzy every single one of the 11 times he stepped on to the track.
Pistorius also provided the most jaw-dropping moment of the Games when he kicked up a storm about the length of rival Alan Oliveira’s blades immediately after his shock defeat by the Brazilian in the T44 200m.
And the South African’s very presence in the 100m final made Jonnie Peacock’s victory all the more stunning as the GB sprinter demolished the defending champion and the rest of the fastest ever field in amputee sprinting.
It was all a massive boost for the profile of the Games, and the good news is that Pistorius says he will “most definitely” be back to chase both Olympic and Paralympic glory in Rio in 2016.
“I’d like to run under 45 seconds for the 400m, that’s a big goal for me,” the 25-year-old told C4 Paralympics as he outlined his aims for the rest of his career.
He’s a great and inspiring athlete and he inspires me each and every day - Blake Leeper on Oscar Pistorius
“I’d like to win an Olympic medal with my relay team - we got second position at the IAAF World Championships last year.
“And then I’d like to keep on defending my titles, get my 200m title back obviously, and just set quicker and quicker times.”
Pistorius was not in the mood to reignite the blades debate after exacting revenge over Oliveira, who trailed in fourth in the 400m, and he said the two rivals do not talk to each other because the Brazilian does not speak English.
Blake Leeper, who won 400m silver behind Pistorius, was another rival whose blades the South African had queried after the American took bronze in the 200m final.
But it is a measure of the respect Pistorius has earned from his Paralympic peers that Leeper did not have a bad word to say about him.
“People were looking at the bad side of it but I look at it like he really cares – not only about the Olympics but about the Paralympics too,” said Leeper.
“He may have said some negative things but it just shows the type of competitor he is. Every time he steps on the track he’s aiming to win regardless of whether it’s the Olympics or the Paralympics. He’s an amazing man.
I’m sure it’s inspired millions of people around the world - Oscar Pistorius on London 2012
“He’s a great and inspiring athlete and he inspires me each and every day. He’s so humble with it and to be able to push through all the trials and tribulations he’s been through and come out on top makes me want to work just as hard.”
Pistorius provided the perfect Olympic Stadium finale with his storming victory in the 400m, the event in which he reached the semi-finals at the Olympics, although he said his favourite moment had been his 4x100m relay victory.
He admitted he was not leaving London with all the medals he wanted, having won three golds in Beijing four years ago. But he described the experience as "one of the biggest highlights of my life".
“I’d like to thank Lord Seb Coe and his team at LOCOG for the job they did. They delivered and showed the world what Olympic and Paralympic sport is really about,” said Pistorius.
“Their attention to detail was absolutely phenomenal and that’s what made this Games the greatest Games there’s every been. I’m sure it’s inspired millions of people around the world.”
By Andy Fraser