He held his head in his hands and wept. He has become a gold medalist. He holds his head in his hands and weeps. He has become a murderer.
Aged just 26 years, Oscar Pistorius, the blade runner, had it all. So, what led him to sentence himself to life imprisonment and throw it all away on 14th Feb, Valentines Day, the day he murdered girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp?
Oscar Pistorius was born on 22nd November 1986 to Henke and Sheila Pistorius in South Africa. Raised in a Christian household with his elder brother Carl and younger sister Aimee, his life took its first course of disaster when he was just a baby.
Born with fibular hemimelia in both legs, a condition that shortens the fibula or means that it is non-existent, led to Oscar having his legs below his knees amputated when he was 11 months old. This did not stop him from his developed passion for sport as his school life saw him playing rugby, water polo, wrestling and tennis. A rugby injury that made it unsafe for him to continue steered him on the course of running which he took up whilst in rehabilitation in 2004. His success was rapid, undoubtedly driven by his sporting background and steely determination but also contributed to by his late mother, whom Pistorius credits for being a major influence in his life. He may be young but to add to his string of achievements he has coined the phrase “You are not disabled by the disabilities you have, you are able by the abilities you have.”
So how is it that such a seemingly determined, mature and stable young man, who was even studying towards a B. Comm in Business Management with Sports Science was taken over by such a force of emotion that he was able to lose control and take someone else’s life? Why would he throw himself in the furnace when he has so much to lose?
In 2009 Oscar Pistorius was charged for an incident where he slammed the door on a woman in his home in South Africa. Although these charges were later dropped and were not since widely publicized, the world’s lens cannot help but examine whether this was one of many violent outbursts that have not been reported. Although many of his sporting colleagues and affiliates have openly expressed their shock and deemed it as completely out of character, it is not the first time that a person fitting this profile has committed murder.
In 1999 Rae Carruth, former Amrican Footballer for the NFL, was arrested for shooting Cherica Adams, a girl he was casually dating and who was bearing his child, 4 times. But what is it that causes these successful people to throw everything away? Does their success entrap them in such a bubble that they think they can actually get away with it?
Postorius has been charged with premeditated murder but what we know of the case so far begs the question: why would he have provided police with such an open and shut case if it was premeditated? Although his initial claims of thinking she was an intruder also doesn’t quite add up either.
Last updated 19.2.13 GMT 11.30
As the court case continues with the latest bail hearing, the case is not so open and shut as one would first assume.
The scenario that has been projected is that Ms Steenkamp had locked herself in the bathroom – whether this was after a fight they had and she was upset, or whether it was out of fear, it is unknown. Prosecution argue that it she was afraid of Pistorius’s temper which is why she locked herself in a place she deemed ‘safe’ and maintain that the murder was premeditated, an accusation made poignant by the fact that he strapped on his ‘legs’ and walked “seven metres to the bathroom” before shooting.
Pistorius’s defense team argue that if it was premeditated, why would he have carried Ms Steenkamp’s body down the staircase after she was shot? It is questioned however that, if his defense team’s story is true – that he believed there to be an intruder in the house, then why he did not search for his girlfriend before shooting?
As speculation mounts, one of the rumours to emerge is that Oscar Pistorius will not be allowed to take his prosthetic legs into prison which means that he will be wheelchair bound. Has he muted his lifelong liberation that he was so fortunate and inspired to receive?
As the case continues and more facts unfold perhaps we will understand more, but whilst Pistorius starts his lifelong journey that has undoubtedly ruined everything he has worked for, one cannot help but feel sadness and disbelief that such a young man, who has achieved so much, with so much more ahead of him, has shattered everything.
Sky News, The Telegraph, Wikipedia