TSN.ca looks back at each of the top stories of 2013. Producer Shane McNeil looks back at one of the most shocking sports stories in recent years – Olympic sprinter Oscar Pistorious being charged with murder..
Originally published on TSN.ca – December 17, 2013.
Oscar Pistorius was one of the feel-good figures of 2012.
The ‘Blade Runner’ became the first amputee runner to compete at an Olympic Games and carried the South African flag at the closing ceremony in London. His competitors sought his bib after they finished racing him and Pistorius embodied the type of ‘anything’s possible’ spirit that the Olympics cling to as a good will event.
That all changed on Valentine’s Day of 2013, when word came out of South Africa that Pistorius had been charged with the murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.
The shocking details of the incident would come to light in early reports as well as a bail hearing that started five days later.
Pistorius’s defence argued that the then-26-year-old got up in the middle of the night to confront what he believed to be an intruder in his Pretoria home. The sprinter got up and fired four shots through his locked bathroom door, hitting Steenkamp three times and killing her.
After a change in investigators (due to pending attempted murder charges against officer Hilton Botha himself), the prosecution appealed for bail, painting Pistorius as a man of means who could flee South Africa.
The verdict came down on February 22: Pistorius was granted bail with Magistrate Desmond Nair stating, “The issue before me is whether this accused, being who is and the assets he has (here), would seek to duck and dive all over the world.”
“I cannot find that he is a flight risk,” he would conclude, leaving Pistorius free from jail time in the months leading up to his March 2014 trial.
Pistorius would return to the track in June, resuming training in what his agent Peet van Zyl described as a “very emotional” and “bittersweet” experience.