By Tom Degun at the Olympic Stadium in London

Oscar Pistorius_5_AugustAugust 5 - Four-times Paralympic sprint champion Oscar Pistorius finished last in his Olympic 400 metres semi-final – yet received huge support from the phenomenal 80,000 spectators and special praise from world champion Kirani James, who won the race and is now the favourite to take gold in the final tomorrow night.

The 25-year-old (pictured top, in green and yellow) made history this week as he became the first double-leg amputee to compete in athletics at the Olympics and produced a superb performance in his heat to get through to the semi-final.

However, despite a brave effort, Pistorius crossed the line in last place in 46.54sec with 19-year-old James, from Grenada, taking victory in 44.59.

Following the win, James walked over to Pistorius and swapped his bib name and number with the South African before raising it above his head in celebration.

"Oscar is a very special guy and I was honoured to be out here on the track with him," said James, who is set to become one of the next big stars in the sport.

"He's an inspiration to all of us.

"It takes a lot of courage and confidence to do what he has done today.

"He's a down to earth guy and a great individual, and I thought [swapping bibs] was a nice gesture."

Kirani James_and_Oscar_Pistorius_1_5_AugustOscar Pistorius (left) and race winner Kirani James swap bibs following the 400 metres semi-final

Pistorius was equally full of praise for James: "As soon as we crossed the line we're friends.

"It was very kind of him.

"It's what the Olympics is all about.

Pistorius also said he was upbeat despite the loss: "The whole experience was mind-blowing.

"My aim was to make the semi-final.

"It's a dream come true.

"Thanks to everyone for their support."

The result was identical to last year when Pistorius became the first amputee athlete to compete at the able-bodied World Athletics Championships in Daegu and finished last in his semi-final.

He will now turn his attention to the Olympic 4x400m relay where he will be hopeful of a medal after running as part of the South African squad that secured silver in Daegu.

After that, Pistorius will take a short break before returning to the Paralympics where he will be looking to defend his titles in the T44 100m, 200m and 400m.

Contact the writer of this story at [email protected]

Related stories
August 2012: Pistorius becomes first double amputee to compete in the Olympics
July 2012: Pistorius targets 400m semi-final at London 2012 Olympics
July 2012: Pistorius set for London 2012 Olympics after being named for individual 400m and 4x400m relay
June 2012: Pistorius misses out on 400m individual spot at the Olympics
May 2012: Pistorius not so glorious after 400m crashing defeat in Ostrava