I believe we are seeing one of the most startling tragedies in modern day sports: the downfall of ?Oscar Pistorius.
On March 30, after a month of psychiatric ?evaluations, Oscar Pistorius was found to be free from psychological impairment — namely, the ability to tell right from wrong — at the time of his girlfriend’s ?murder.
The Olympic star shot his girlfriend Feb. 14, 2013.
Pistorius was born with fibular hemimelia, missing the fibula in both his legs.
When he was 11 months old, he had both his legs amputated.
But that didn’t stop him.
He went on to train hard and become an Olympic runner.
It seems not too long ago I was watching Pistorius compete in the final race of the 2012 Olympics.
Not the Paralympics, but the ones for people who aren’t?missing limbs.
Though he finished last, he represented what could happen with enough determination and hard work. Perhaps I can even say I believed in him, ?because he realized a goal he had worked all his life to achieve.
But now I do not feel any of that admiration.
Even though he hasn’t yet been convicted of a ?precise type of murder, ?Pistorius’ symbolic charm has been stripped away.
He has become one of the misfortunes of ?high-profile sports.
One of those people who showed so much promise and missed their mark.
It’s unfortunate, really. It seems as if people draw most of their inspiration from athletes — inspiration that motivates kids to get up early in the morning and train and to keep practicing even after exhaustion sets in.
They represent success in the face of adversity.
They show people that were you come from doesn’t matter. No matter how many obstacles are thrown in your path, if you dig deep and persevere, you can win.
The sad end to that story is how often success can go to athletes’ heads.
It makes them think they’re above the rules, ?invincible, even, which makes the fall back down to Earth that much harder.
Will there ever be an ?athlete that maintains an unblemished reputation?
An athlete that shows he or she is worthy of becoming and remaining someone’s hero?
I don’t know.
As for Pistorius, we can only wait and see what the court decides.
Though there is ?uncertainty about the length of Pistorius’ prison term, there is no doubt it will happen.
But that doesn’t mean hope is gone.
Maybe after he has served his term, he will come back into the world and begin something ?worthy of respect.
Perhaps he can still change lives, even if it’s through other, less ?expected ways.
The decision is his.
If the murder was an ?accident, he could falter and let one action change the course of his entire life.
Or he could rise above his shame and guilt and become someone else — someone who becomes a better person through his trials.
And, if it was a premeditated murder, we might just have to wait for someone else to come along to inspire us all.