Oscar Pistorius celebrates his 33rd birthday today. Born as Oscar Leonard Carl Pistorius, the former professional sprinter was South Africa's golden boy. However, it all changed in 2013 when he was accused of the murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp. Briefly.co.za takes a look at the rise and fall of the Blade Runner's life.
Oscar grew up in a Christian home with his parents and siblings, Carl and Aimée. Pistorius was born with fibular hemimelia (congenital absence of the fibula) in both legs. When he was eleven months old, both of his legs were amputated halfway between his knees and ankles. Growing up, Pistorius was a very active athlete, playing rugby, water polo and tennis.
2. Professional sport
Pistorius competed in T44 (single below-knee amputees) events though he is actually classified in T43 (double below-knee amputee). He became affectionately known as the "Blade Runner" He participated in the 2004 Summer Paralympics in Athens and came third overall in the T44 100-metre event. He went on to win the final in a world record time.
In 2005, Pistorius finished sixth in the non-disabled South African Championships over 400 metres with a world-record time of 47.34 seconds. At the Paralympic World Cup in the same year, he won gold in the 100 metres and 200 metres, beating his previous world record.
At the 2006 IPC Athletics World Championships, Pistorius won gold in the 100-, 200- and 400-metre events, breaking the world record over 200 metres.
On 17 March, 2007, he set a disability sports world record for the 400 metres (46.56 seconds) at the South African Senior Athletics Championships in Durban.
On 4 July, 2012, the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC) announced that Pistorius had been included in the Olympic team for the 400-metre and the 4 × 400-metre relay races.
At the 2012 Summer Olympics a month later, Pistorius became the first amputee runner to compete in the Olympic Games. He ran in the second semi-final, where he finished eighth and last with a time of 46.54 seconds.
3. Reeva Steenkamp
In the early morning of 14 February, 2013, Pistorius shot and killed his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, at his Pretoria home. The athlete shot the woman four times. He claimed to have mistaken her for an intruder.
On 12 September, he was found guilty of culpable homicide and one firearm-related charge of reckless endangerment related to discharging a firearm in a restaurant. On 21 October, 2014, he received a prison sentence of five years for culpable homicide.
4. Temporarily released from prison
Pistorius was released from prison on 19 October, 2015. On 8 December that same year, it was announced he would continue to remain free on bail but under house arrest pending his appeal to the Constitutional Court. On 3 March, 2016, it was announced Pistorius had been denied appeal.
5. Second prison term
On 6 July, 2016, Judge Thokozile Masipa sentenced Pistorius to six years' imprisonment for murder, rather than his original sentencing of five years imprisonment for culpable homicide. In November, he was moved to Atteridgeville Correctional Centre, which is better adapted for disabled prisoners.
Pistorius will not be eligible for parole until at least 2023.
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