There was no lack of compelling storylines at the 2012 Olympics in London, but one that resonated most strongly around the world was amputee Paralympian Oscar Pistorius’ quest to compete with able-bodied competitors in the 400m. The South African, known as the “Blade Runner” because of the two carbon-fibre blades he ran on, finished last in the semi-final of that race, but his mere presence meant far more than where he finished in the standings.
All of it might mean nothing now, though. Pistorius has been charged with the murder of his girlfriend, model and anti-violence-against-women activist Reeva Steenkamp, in Johannesburg.
There are rumblings that Pistorius is claiming he shot Steenkamp in self-defense — perhaps he believed her to be a home invader — but police are indicating that isn’t true. Incidents of violence at Pistorius’ home weren’t uncommon, suggested a police spokesperson.
Pistorius was a gun owner and was known for bragging about his marksmanship on social media sites:
Spent the afternoon at the Tormezzo Italian Shooting range. Had a 96% headshot over 300m from 50shots! Bam! lockerz.com/s/160337437
— Oscar Pistorius (@OscarPistorius) November 28, 2011
Within hours of his arrest, Pistorius’ website had removed this image:
Pistorius us due to appear in court tomorrow. Just as the eyes of the world were on him when he lined up on the track in London, so too will they be on him as his faces the charge that he shot his girlfriend to death.