Oscar Pistorius out of jail: Blade Runner’s journey from Olympian to murderer

From being labelled as the “definition of global inspiration” to being featured on the Time magazine cover with the words “Man, Superman, Gunman”, South African paralympic star Oscar Pistorius’s downfall came as swiftly as he rose to prominence.

On Friday, the double-amputee, known widely as “Blade Runner” for his prosthetics, was released from prison on parole after serving an eight-year jail term for killing his girlfriend in an incident that shocked the world.

However, Pistorius will not be a free man and will have to abide by parole conditions until his full prison sentence expires in 2029. This includes therapy on anger management and counselling sessions on gender-based violence.

From emerging as a global icon in front of thousands of roaring fans during the 2012 Olympics to coming out of prison to shouts of heckling and boos, let us have a look at the sequence of events that took place on that fateful Valentine’s Day night in 2013.

Who Is Oscar Pistorius?

Born in 1986 in Johannesburg, Pistorius had a troubled childhood. His parents were separated when Pistorius was just six years old. His mother died seven years later.

Pistorius was born without his calf bones and his parents decided to have his legs amputated when he was just 11 months old. But that didn’t stop Pistorius from pursuing a wide range of sports, including contact sports like rugby.

His rugby career hit a roadblock after a knee fracture. However, this did not deter his interest in sports and he took an interest in running after recovery.

There was no looking back after it as Pistorius emerged as a force to reckon with in paralympics.

South Africa’s Oscar Pistorius (L) runs beside Venezuela’s Albert Bravo in the men’s 400m semi-final during the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium August 5, 2012. (Photo: Reuters)

Pistorius grabbed eyeballs after he broke the 200-metre world record at the 2004 Athens Paralympics. Four years later, he emerged on top in the 100 m, 200 m and 400 m sprints at the 2008 Beijing Paralympic Games.

In 2012, overcoming adversities and criticism that his carbon-fibre prosthetics or blades gave him an advantage, Pistorius created history by becoming the first double-amputee to compete at both the Olympics and Paralympics.

Even though he failed to win a medal, he became a champion and a voice for disabled athletes across the world.

The Murder That Shook The Sporting World

Months later, the Olympian found himself embroiled in the murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, who was 29 then. A law graduate and successful model, Steenkamp had been dating Pistorius for three months.

On February 14, 2013, morning, Pistorius shot Steenkamp four times through a bathroom door at his home in Pretoria. Prosecutors have alleged that the athlete did it in a fit of anger following a heated argument between the couple. However, Pistorius had denied the claims and said he had mistaken her for an intruder.

Upon realising his mistake, Pistorius claimed he broke down the bathroom door using a bat and took Steenkamp downstairs to seek help. However, she died in his arms.

Oscar Pistorius with Reeva Steenkamp in happier times. (Photo: Reuters/File)

The trial, which garnered global attention, saw Pistorius being convicted of manslaughter in 2014 and sentenced to five years in jail. The lenient punishment led Steenkamp’s family to move a higher court, which upgraded the conviction to murder. The sentence was increased to six years in prison.

During this period, the same sponsors that jostled to onboard him, started dumping him and Pistorius was forced to sell his properties to continue paying for his lawyers.

In 2017, his prison term was increased to 13 years and five months by the Supreme Court after the state government said the punishment was “unduly lenient” and Pistorius failed to show “genuine remorse”, CNN reported.

Pistorius became eligible for parole in March 2023 as per a law that allows parole for inmates who have served half of their sentence and displayed good behaviour. He was eventually released on January 5, 2024.

Published By:

Abhishek De

Published On:

Jan 5, 2024

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