Close your eyes. (Theoretically!) Now imagine having everything you could want in the world, money, respect, and a model girlfriend (or boyfriend). Relaxing in gorgeous South Africa, you’ve received multiple awards in the top of your field; you’re living the dream! Now open your eyes as the world comes crashing down around you, as it did to the infamous Paralympian Oscar Pistorius. Read on to find the key points about Pistorius’ rise to fame and fall to infamy.
On Valentines Day in 2013, the world was shocked to hear that the famed and loved Paralympian, Oscar Pistorius, killed his girlfriend by firing a gun through their bathroom door. Pistorius claimed that he believed there was an intruder in his house, and that he thought he was shooting at an intruder, not at his girlfriend.
1. Born in beautiful South Africa
Oscar Pistorius was born in Johannesburg (Joburg), South Africa, the economic and cultural center of South Africa. Johannesburg is the most populated city in South Africa, and has the largest economy in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Pistorius was born with fibular hemimelia, which essentially means that either part or his entire shinbone was missing. At 11 months both of his legs were amputated below the knee.
3. Paralympic Champion
Pistorius competed in the Paralympic Games in 2004 held in Athens, Greece. He won a Bronze Medal in the 100-meter, as well as a Gold Medal in the 200-meter races. Even though Pistorius didn’t qualify for the Olympics in 2008, he did qualify for the Paralympics in 2008. Pistorius won three Gold Medals, in the 100, 200, and 400 Meter races.
4. The Olympics
Pistorius runs on blades, and some have considered this to be an unfair advantage, and at a point in time he was banned from running against able-bodied men. However the Court of Arbitration for Sport cleared him in time for the next Olympics. He couldn’t qualify for the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, but he did qualify for the 2012 Olympics in London. Unfortunately, he failed to medal.
5. Became a Paralympic Champion (again)
Pistorius also qualified for the Paralympics at the London Olympics in 2012 (and carried the flag for South Africa!), and got the Silver Medal in the 200 Meter. Controversy arose when Pistorius called out the winner (Alan Oliveria) for using a longer prosthesis whilst running.
6. Killed his Girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp.
Pistorius was put on trial for murder of Reeva Steenkamp, the main objective was to find out whether he killed Steenkamp out of rage (it is reported that they were having troubles at the time) or whether his original story about an intruder was true or not. While being cross-examined by Prosecutor Gerrie Nel, Pistorius broke down into tears, claiming that he was tired and emotional.
The judge in the trial has ordered Pistorius to undergo a psychiatric examination. The examination is set to take 30 days, and the trial is expected to reconvene sometime in July.
Any outcome in this trial speaks to the preferential treatment received by athletes, specifically as to whether they receive it or not. As of late, this trial now also speaks to the treatment of mental illness in the courthouse. The eyes of the world are on South Africa as they wade thorough this very complicated and controversial trial.