The Blade Runner
“You are not disabled by the disabilities you have but able by the abilities you have” Oscar Leonard Carl Pistorius was born on the 22nd November 1986 in Johannesburg, South Africa to Sheila and Henke Pistorius. He grew up with two siblings a younger sister, Aimée and an older brother, Carl. Pistorius was born without a fibula which is the leg bone located on the side of the shinbone. He didn’t have a fibula in both his legs due to a congenital defect.When he was only 11 months old his parents made the very difficult choice to amputate his legs halfway between his knees and ankles. His childhood was shaped partly by tragedy. His parents got divorced when he was only 6 years old. His mother was a great influence in his life however she unfortunately, passed away when he was only 15 years old. He said, “Sporting activity was the only thing that could distract me from such a loss.” He attended two schools growing up they were Constantia Kloof Primary School and Pretoria Boys High School. A major inspiration for Oscar was his teacher Tessa Shellard from Constantia Kloof who encouraged him to participate in sports. She had so much faith in him that she even put him on the school team for the top nationwide triathlon series even though he was not the best athlete. Oscar took part in water polo and even play tennis at a provincial level. Although having a physical disability was a set back for Oscar he didn’t let it stop him from participating in anything that able-bodied people could do and his disability couldn’t stop him from achieving great things in life.
Pistorius dreamt of being an amazing rugby player however it was not his destiny as he sustained a knee injury due to rugby so he was unable to continue. He was influenced by a South African prosthetist, Van Der Watt to take up the sport running. Pistorius initially was interested in endurance running, not sprinting but he began to fall in love with the sport and pursue a career in sprinting and in no time he had already shocked the world of sports with his extraordinary athletic abilities by winning more than twelve gold medals in the very few events he had participated in.
At Oscars first event which was the Athens Paralympics he broke the world record and won gold in 200m and he won bronze in the 100m. Pistorius was put all over the front pages of the world. Although he has achieved great things he has had to work hard to overcome a lot of obstacles such as the fact that he was criticized for using mechanical running legs and many said that his prosthetic legs gave him an unfair advantage against others. He did not let this dampen his spirits and he said “This could lead to better things and who knows, one day I could be competing in the Olympics.”(Pistorius).
He kept his word and went on to participate in the 2012 Olympic Games which was held in London. Not only did Oscar race against able-bodied people but he also made history as he finished second in the 400m heat in 45.44 seconds which put him through to the semi-finals. He stated “I didn’t know if I should cry or be happy. It was such a mix of emotions,”(Pistorius) This result meant so much to him as he’s come so far to achieve such a result. Oscar had a great future ahead of him he was on cloud nine after his Olympic success. He had met a beautiful model named Reeva Steenkamp and they had fallen in love his life seemed to be perfect. Well at least that is what everyone thought but “all that glitters is not gold.” On Valentine’s day 2013, Oscar shot Reeva Steenkamp his girlfriend four times through the locked door of his bathroom at home. He claims he mistook her for an intruder but Reeva’s mother says she will never be able to think that the murder of her daughter was a mistake. Her side of the story is that they had a terrible argument and that she fled to the bathroom to protect herself from him however he shot through the door once and he figured that he had to kill her in order for her not to be able to tell everyone what the real Oscar Pistorius was really like. Pistorius was charged with culpable homicide. He will serve 13 years and five months behind bars for the brutal murder of girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp.
Before this terrible incident, some say they saw a change in his attitude that he became hot-headed, lashed out and had terrible outbursts. His image and lifestyle had changed completely and something had gotten to him. It was said that he was a completely different person many had interviewed before he was no longer humble and down to earth instead he became a little bit cold and not his usual self. Some say that fame got to him and made him become aggressive and reckless and he sadly took it out on Reeva Steenkamp.
Although Oscar was seen as a motivational person and had proven that having a disability doesn’t mean you can’t live life to the fullest. He let the fame get to his head and didn’t stay true to himself. This resulted in him not only being charged with culpable homicide but also throwing everything that he worked for and his whole career away.
The Blade Runner