PARENTS
08/10/2012 05:32 pm ET

Table Talk: Oscar Pistorius At The Olympics

This week's Family Dinner Table Talk, from HuffPost and The Family Dinner book:

This summer’s Olympics have had countless memorable moments -- from Team U.S.A.'s women's gymnastics gold to Michael Phelps's Olympic medal record and beyond.

And while each Olympic competitor is remarkable, one athlete in particular has attracted attention for competing at the world's highest level against tremendous odds. Last week, Oscar Pistorius became the first double amputee to run in an Olympic race.

Pistorius, who ran the 400m event for South Africa, lost his legs before he was even a year old. However, he has used prosthetics throughout his life and, thanks to encouragement from his sports-loving family, spent his youth involved in rugby, water polo, cricket, tennis, wrestling and boxing. Indeed, he was so talented his high school track coach didn’t even know that he was running on prosthetics for the first six months of his training. Even after a rugby injury that shattered his kneecap, he spent five years training for the Olympics -- and in past years, he's won five Paralympic medals (four of which are gold).

Pistorius finished last in the 400m semifinals earlier this week, and will not be going on to compete for a medal in that event. However, his team did make it to the finals for the men's 4x400m relay. Though they came in last, Pistorius has won the awe and respect of his fellow athletes and fans.

At the end of the 400m solo event, winner Kirani James asked Pistorius to trade running bibs with him, and the two hugged. One journalist called the race "a stunning example of grit and power –- made all the more intense by what happened when it was over." It's safe to say many spectators around the world were thinking the same thing.

Questions:
  • Who is your Olympic role model?
  • What kind of sacrifices do you think athletes make at this level?
  • What's the biggest obstacle you've faced in your life, and how did you overcome it?
  • What Olympic sport would you enter, if you could?

In her cookbook, The Family Dinner, Laurie David talks about the importance of families making a ritual of sitting down to dinner together, and how family dinners offer a great opportunity for meaningful discussions about the day's news. "Dinner," she says, "is as much about digestible conversation as it is about delicious food."

We couldn't agree more. So HuffPost has joined with Laurie and every Friday afternoon, just in time for dinner, our editors highlight one of the most compelling news stories of the week -- stories that will spark a lively discussion among the whole family.

CONVERSATIONS