Oscar Pistorius first made international waves during his inspirational performance at the 2012 Olympic Games in London. He was the first amputee runner to participate at the Olympics, finishing eighth in the 400-meter semifinal with a swift time of 46.54 seconds. Additionally, Pistorius competed as an anchor for the South African 4×400 relay team, finishing eighth in the final. His accomplishments and subsequent fame drew sponsorship deals with renowned brands such as Nike and Oakley. However, his stardom quickly turned to infamy, when on February 14, 2013, Pistorius fatally shot his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, in the early hours of the morning. Pistorius voluntarily worked with the police, admitting to the shooting, but further explained that he had thought she was an intruder hiding in his bathroom. He was taken into custody and officially charged with murder in the High Court of South Africa in Pretoria on February 15, 2013. He was exposed more when Judge President Dunstan Mlambo allowed an audio broadcast and partial video broadcast of the court process to be shown to the public.
The trial commenced on March 3, 2014. The Prosecution was led by five witnesses, all with similar accounts of hearing gunshots followed by screaming. The Defense countered with a psychologist’s report describing Pistorius as a victim of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. He was painted as “hyper-vigilant,” and predisposed to protective measures. Wayne Derman, professor of sport and exercise medicine at the University of Cape Town, testified that in Pistorius’s personal struggle between taking a stand and taking flight, Pistorius assumed that “fleeing was not an option” . Closing arguments were heard on August 7th and 8th of 2014, and the verdict was delivered on September 12. Pistorius was convicted of culpable homicide, defined in the New Oxford American Dictionary as “an act which has resulted in a person’s death but is held not to amount to murder.” He was also condemned for reckless endangerment with a firearm. The ruling judge asserted that a reasonable person would have recognized that firing four shots at a man or woman behind a door might kill him or her. On October 21st, 2014, Pistorius received a prison sentence of a maximum of eight years, with the opportunity to partially serve under correctional supervision.
His ability to be a role model for handicapped competitors and for an entire generation of athletes has been terminated by this glaring, insurmountable display of misfortune, paired with imprudent firearm use. Pistorius invokes God through the ink imbedded in his skin; he cites Corinthians 9:26-27, “I do not run like a man running aimlessly”. Once symbolic of overcoming the innate adversity he faced both anatomically and culturally, his tattoo now represents nothing more than his own hypocrisy.