In a shocker, the “Blade Runner” Oscar Pistorius has been charged in the shooting death of his girlfriend at his home in South Africa Thursday morning, and with that in mind, we’ve complied seven things you didn’t know about the Olympic hero-turned-accused murderer and his alleged victim.
7. A Life Well Lived: Reeva Steenkamp was not only a pretty face, but an accomplished all-around person, and an amazing high achiever, during her 30-year life. The stunning blonde — named two years consecutively as one of FHM’s 100 Sexiest Women in the World — graduated from law school, ran her own businesses and put her energies towards social issues such as women’s empowerment. She’d been dating the runner for about a year.
6. Early Setbacks: Pistorius’ legs were amputated when he was just 11-months-old, as he was born without fibula bones because of a congenital defect. In spite of it, he led an athletically-active childhood, playing rugby, water polo and tennis in school, and began running competitively in 2003 when discovering his talent on the track while rehabbing an injured knee.
5. Bursting On The Scene: The Pretoria, South Africa native, 26, wasted little time in putting himself on the map in competition, as in his very first competitive race for Pretoria Boys High School — and with only two months of training — the runner finished the 100-meter dash in 11.72 seconds. At the time, the world Paralympic record was 12.20 seconds.
4. Pioneer: The International Association of Athletics Federations banned Pistorius from competing in their events, saying his prosthetic legs made of carbon fiber blades gave him an edge. The runner won a legal battle with the Court of Arbitration for Sport in May 2008, allowing him to compete for a spot at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Time magazine that month named Pistorius as one of its’ 100 most influential people in the world. He also made People’s ‘sexiest’ list.
3. Scribe: Pistorius chronicled his amazing life in his 2009 autobiography Blade Runner. The book received good reviews, and was lauded by readers as an inspirational tome to handicapped community.
2. London Calling: Pistorius gained widespread fame and attention as the first-ever double-amputee runner in Olympic competition. Running the 400 and 4×400 relay for his native South Africa during the 2012 Olympics, he finished eighth in both the team and individual competitions.
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1. Tragic Trend: #RIPReeva was a trending topic on Twitter Thursday, as many prominent South African celebrities took to the social network to offer condolences. Among those who chimed in include singer Loyiso Bala; actresses Terry Pheto, Pearl Thusi and Lee-Anne Summers; beauty queens Jo-Ann Strauss and Claudia Henkel; and Playboy Playmate Tshegofatso Seakgoe.