Oscar Pistorius: Olympic hero to nightmare
By Leif Johnston
The Summer Olympics in London witnessed what seemed like a miracle and inspired millions. Oscar Pistorius ran the 400-meter for South Africa. Even though he was a double amputee, he made it to the Olympics with his prosthetic legs.
The media set out to make him look like this amazing man with astonishing ambition. This all may have been true, but just months removed from the summer games. Pistorius has found himself in the headlines for a different reason.
In late February, Pistorius was charged with premeditated murder of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp. Reports say that the couple had been in an argument earlier the night of her death, although Pistorius is sticking to his story, saying that he thought Steenkamp was an intruder, and he shot her.
Prosecutors believe Pistorius picked up his gun and walked to the bathroom where his girlfriend was and shot her. Although only charges had been filed so far, Pistorius is out on bond and will appear in court again in June.
The news of this shocked not only people close to these two, but also the whole world. He was deemed a hero and an inspirational figure for people with disabilities. But what wasn’t reported on the South African runner was that Pistorius was tagged by some of his teammates as a guy with a short fuse.
In a recent CNN article written by Drew Griffin and David Fitzpatrick, they caught up with one of Pistorius’ peers.
“It’s like we were waiting for something like this to happen,” said Marc Batchelor, a South African soccer player who socialized with Pistorius.
He also described Pistorius as a guy who was quick to get angry and want to fight.
There were many more incidents that led his teammates and other South African athletes to believe he wasn’t exactly the role model you wanted your kids looking up to.
Many of the people who knew the real Oscar Pistorius didn’t like the way that none of his past issues kept him from being shown as the face of South African Olympians. His peers knew he lacked in morals.
Things of this nature tend to raise suspicion of what and whom we should really believe in the world of sports.
“I remember him running in the Olympics, and all the announcers making a big deal about how big of an accomplishment it was that he got there. But I would have never thought he would end up being the type of guy that would murder someone,” exercise sport science major Eric Nelson said.
One thing that has to be brought to the attention of the public is that feel-good stories are always helpful for ratings and publicity.
The Olympics are the biggest platform for athletes to perform, and to put a guy like Pistorius on such a high pedestal without fully knowing his past can be dangerous.
Greg Couch from Fox Sports said that it is easy to be let down by major athletes.
“We want sports to make us feel a certain way, and that involves believing in the athlete himself. Lance Armstrong was a hero for humanity, too.”
The effect of this incident doesn’t only end with Pistorius’ reputation. South Africa’s Olympic team members are embarrassed by their star runner’s actions.
Nelson explains his view on the issue of troubled athletes being role models,
“I think South Africa’s track team and all of the media should be embarrassed for making this guy look like a perfect role model when they probably knew he wasn’t the greatest guy in the world.”