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8. Oscar Pistorius, Runner

Oscar Pistorius will not be going home to South Africa with a medal, but the sprinter made history in London as the first double-amputee to compete in the Olympics.

Nicknamed the Blade Runner for the L-shaped carbon blades he runs on, Pistorius leaves London as one of the most-talked-about athletes of any Olympic games. The fact that he finished last in his two events doesn’t matter. The Olympics is about inspiration, and Pistorius delivered that in spades.

He already counts Nike among his sponsorship deals as well as UK telecom company BT, Oakley sunglasses and Thierry Mugler fragrances. With his profile raised even higher, he will continue to be sought after.

Photo: Getty Images