Oscar Pistorius Was Famous as an Amputee Sprinter Before Becoming a Convicted Murderer

Callie (Carlos) Cadorniga - Author

Jan. 5 2024, Published 11:56 a.m. ET

Oscar Pistorius competing in the 2012 Summer Olympics
Source: Getty Images

One might say that Oscar Pistorius has too many titles under his belt. On Feb. 14, 2013, he shot and killed his then-girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp. He would languish in trials and differing charges for several years, facing several criminal penalties along the way. Despite having served prison time under different convictions, he was most recently sentenced to 13 years and five months in jail in 2017. The murder case was tragic enough on its own, to say nothing of his reputation beforehand.

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Before he became a convicted murderer, Oscar made history as a professional sprinter for South Africa. He ran in the Olympic Games and the Paralympic Games due to his status as an amputee. Once upon a time, he was an inspiring example of what folks could achieve as they are made to overcome the challenges in their lives. But with Oscar making headlines once more, many are wondering what happened to his legs in the first place.

Oscar Pistorius going into court in 2016
Source: Getty Images
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Oscar Pistorius hasn't had legs since he was a baby.

It may surprise you to know that Oscar has essentially lived his whole life without the full use of his legs. He was born in 1986 and was diagnosed with fibular hemimelia, a congenital defect in which he was missing the outside of both feet and both fibulae. Just before he celebrated his first birthday, both of his legs were amputated below his knees. Having grown up as an amputee, he still took part in several sports events while he attended school.

Oscar would go on to become a professional sprinter in both non-disabled sporting events and events for athletes with various disabilities. He won several gold medals across many years in the Paralympic Games and eventually became the first double-leg amputee to compete in the Summer Olympics in 2012.

His lack of full legs has never kept him from achieving greatness, but many of his accomplishments have been largely overshadowed by his major criminal offense.

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Oscar and Arnold Pistorius at Oscar's trial.
Source: Getty Images

He began serving his 13-year prison sentence in 2017 but would be eligible for parole starting in 2023. Despite several parole rejections at various hearings once the appointed year came along, he would eventually earn his parole in November 2023.

Oscar was subsequently released on parole on Jan. 5, 2024, having served nine of his 13 years in jail. Several restrictions have been put into effect on his parole until the remainder of his sentence expires in 2029.

As of this writing, Oscar will be living with his uncle, Arnold. His uncle owns a large property in Pretoria, the capital of South Africa. As part of his parole, Oscar is prohibited from speaking to the media until his full sentence ends in December 2029. His parole includes limitations on when he can leave his home, no alcohol consumption, and mandatory sessions on anger management and violence against women. He will be monitored very closely until his parole ends in 2029.

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