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Oscar Pistorius released Blade Runner journey from Olympian to murderer

South African Paralympian Oscar Pistorius leaves the Pretoria High Court on June 15, 2016, after the third day of his resentencing hearing for the 2013 murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.
Oscar Pistorius will be sentenced on July 6 for the murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, the judge in the High Court in Pretoria said Wednesday at the end of a three-day court hearing. / AFP / GIANLUIGI GUERCIA (Photo credit should read GIANLUIGI GUERCIA/AFP via Getty Images)

 

As quickly as South African paralympian star Oscar Pistorius gained notoriety—from being called the “definition of global inspiration” to being on the cover of Time magazine with the headlines “Man, Superman, Gunman”—he fell from grace.

The double amputee, who went by the moniker “Blade Runner” due to his prosthetic limbs, was out on parole on Friday following an eight-year prison sentence for the shockingly publicized killing of his lover.

Until the end of his prison term in 2029, Pistorius will be subject to parole restrictions and will not be considered a free man. This includes counseling sessions on gender-based violence and therapy on anger control.

Let’s look back at the events that transpired on that terrible Valentine’s Day night in 2013—from being a global icon in front of thousands of cheering fans during the 2012 Olympics to hearing jeers and heckling when he was released from prison.

Oscar Pistorius: Who Is He?

Pistorius, who was born in Johannesburg in 1986, had a difficult upbringing. Pistorius’s parents divorced when he was only six years old. Seven years later, his mother passed away.

At the age of eleven months, Pistorius’s parents made the decision to amputate his legs because he was born without calf bones. However, Pistorius continued to pursue a variety of activities, including contact sports like rugby.

A knee fracture put a stop to his rugby career. But this didn’t stop him from enjoying athletics, and after recovering, he developed a passion for jogging.

After that, Pistorius became a paralympic force to be reckoned with, and there was no turning back.

Oscar Pistorius (L) of South Africa and Albert Bravo (V) of Venezuela compete in the men’s 400-meter semi-final at the Olympic Stadium on August 5, 2012, during the London 2012 Olympic Games. (Image: Reuters)

At the 2004 Paralympics in Athens, Pistorius made headlines when he smashed the world record in the 200 meters. He won the 100-, 200-, and 400-meter sprint events at the 2008 Beijing Paralympic Games four years later.

In 2012, Pistorius made history by becoming the first double amputee to compete in both the Olympics and Paralympics, defying expectations and accusations that his carbon-fibre prosthesis or blades provided him an advantage.

Despite not taking home a gold, he went on to become a global champion and advocate for athletes with disabilities.

The Murder That Rocked the World of Sports

A few months later, the Olympian was involved in his 29-year-old girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp’s murder. For three months, Steenkamp—a successful model and law graduate—had been seeing Pistorius.

Pistorius shot Steenkamp four times in the morning on February 14, 2013, through a bathroom door at his Pretoria home. The athlete allegedly did it out of rage after the couple got into a heated dispute, according to the prosecution. Pistorius, however, refuted the accusations, claiming he had mistook her for an intruder.

Pistorius said that after realizing his error, he used a bat to smash through the bathroom door and carried Steenkamp downstairs to get assistance. But she passed away in his arms.

Following a trial that attracted international attention, Pistorius was found guilty of manslaughter in 2014 and given a five-year prison sentence. Steenkamp’s family moved a higher court, and the conviction was increased to murder as a result of the moderate sentencing. Six years in prison was added to the original sentence.

Pistorius was compelled to sell his homes in order to keep paying for his attorneys at this time because the same sponsors who had fought to get him on board began to dump him.

The state government claimed the punishment was “unduly lenient” and that Pistorius had not demonstrated “genuine remorse,” therefore the Supreme Court enhanced his prison sentence to 13 years and five months in 2017. CNN reported on this development.

According to a provision that permits parole for prisoners who have completed half of their sentence and demonstrated good behavior, Pistorius became eligible for parole in March 2023. Eventually, on January 5, 2024, he was freed.

 

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