CNN Editorial Research
Here is a look at the life of Oscar Pistorius, double-amputee and former Olympic sprinter convicted in the shooting death of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.
Birth date: November 22, 1986
Birth place: Johannesburg, South Africa
Birth name: Oscar Leonard Carl Pistorius
Father: Henke Pistorius
Mother: Sheila Pistorius
Education: Attended the University of Pretoria
Born without fibulas in either leg, doctors amputated both his legs below the knee at 11 months of age.
Grew up in Pretoria, South Africa.
Nicknamed “Blade Runner” and “the fastest man on no legs” because of the carbon-fiber prosthetic blades he wears to run track.
Winner of six gold, one silver and one bronze Paralympic medals.
First double-amputee athlete to compete against able-bodied runners in the Olympics.
1987-1988 – Both legs are amputated below the knee and Pistorius is fitted with his first prosthetics.
June 21, 2003 – Sustains a knee injury while playing rugby in high school.
November 2003 – Runs track as part of his rehabilitation program at the Sports Science Institute at the University of Pretoria.
June 2004 – Is given his first pair of carbon fiber J-shaped limbs, with the brand name Flex-Foot Cheetah.
September 2004 – Competes in the Athens Paralympics, winning the gold medal for the 200m and the bronze for the 100m in the T44 class. He sets a Paralympic world record for the 100m.
March 26, 2007 – The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) introduces rule 144.2, which prohibits: (e) Use of any technical device that incorporates springs, wheels or any other element that provides the user with an advantage over another athlete not using such a device.
July 13, 2007 – In Rome, Pistorius finishes second in the 400m ‘B’ race against able-bodied athletes. The race is an IAAF test to observe and determine if rule 144.2 is being broken. The results are inconclusive.
November 12-13, 2007 – Completes a series of tests in Cologne, Germany, to evaluate the metabolic differences in amputees and non-amputees and whether those differences caused by use of the Flex-Foot Cheetah prosthetics violate rule 144.2. The report claims that the prosthetics give Pistorius an advantage over able-bodied competitors, which Pistorius strongly rejects.
January 14, 2008 – Pistorius is banned from competing in all IAAF-sanctioned events, “…running with these prostheses requires a less-important vertical movement associated with a lesser mechanical effort to raise the body, and the energy loss resulting from the use of these prostheses is significantly lower than that resulting from a human ankle joint at a maximal sprint speed.” The ruling is based on the evaluation done in Germany in November 2007. On February 13, 2008, Pistorius files an appeal with the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).
May 16, 2008 – The CAS reverses the IAAF ban on Pistorius, making him eligible to compete in the Beijing Olympics.
July 2008 – Fails to qualify for the South African Olympic team.
September 2008 – Wins three gold medals for the 100m, 200m and 400m sprints in the Beijing Paralympics, establishing a new Paralympic record in the 400m.
February 21, 2009 – Sustains major head and facial injuries in a boat accident on the Vaal River near Johannesburg.
September 2009 – Pistorius is arrested and accused of common assault, but the case is thrown out because of a lack of evidence, according to police. The incident involved Pistorius allegedly slamming a door during a party, and a piece of the door falling off and hitting someone.
September 2011 – At the IAAF World Championships in Daegu, South Korea, Pistorius runs the opening 400m for the 4x400m relay to help South Africa qualify. He isn’t selected to run the final but earns a silver medal for competing in the heats, becoming the first Paralympian to win a world championship medal.
August 4, 2012 – Becomes the first double-amputee runner to compete in the Olympics, coming in eighth place in the 400m semifinal. Pistorius also later runs the anchor leg of the 4x400m relay final in which the South African team comes in eighth place.
September 2012 – Wins a silver medal and two gold medals at the London Paralympics. He sets Paralympic records for the 400m and the 4x100m relay.
February 14, 2013 – Pistorius’ girlfriend, South African model Reeva Steenkamp, is found shot to death at Pistorius’ home in Pretoria, South Africa. Pistorius is arrested. On February 15, 2013, Pistorius is charged with premeditated murder.
February 20, 2013 – Nike suspends their endorsement deal with Pistorius.
February 22, 2013 – Pistorius leaves jail after posting a cash bond. The conditions of Pistorius’ bail are that he must avoid his home where the shooting occurred, relinquish his passport and abstain from drinking alcohol.
March 28, 2013 – Judge Bert Bam lifts the travel ban on Pistorius, saying he sees no reason Pistorius should not be allowed to travel for competition. The ban on drinking alcohol and avoiding his home where the shooting occurred is also lifted.
August 19, 2013 – Pistorius is indicted on a premeditated murder charge.
March 3, 2014 – The murder trial begins with Pistorius pleading not guilty to one charge of murder and a firearms charge associated with Steenkamp’s killing, as well as two gun indictments unrelated to Steenkamp.
May 20, 2014 – The judge rules that Pistorius must undergo mental health examinations over the next month. The testing was triggered by the testimony of a psychiatrist who said that the sprinter has suffered from generalized anxiety disorder since he was an infant, stemming partly from the amputation of both of his lower legs.
June 30, 2014 – A psychiatric assessment finds that Pistorius was not mentally incapacitated when he shot Steenkamp.
September 12, 2014 – Pistorius is found guilty of culpable homicide, the South African term for unintentionally — but unlawfully — killing a person. On October 21, 2014, he is sentenced to 5 years in prison.
June 8, 2015 – South Africa’s Department of Correctional Services tells CNN that a parole board is set to recommend that Pistorius be released from prison and transferred to house arrest in August.
August 2015 – Justice and Correctional Services Minister Michael Masutha orders a review of the June parole decision, on the grounds that the parole ruling may have been made too early.
October 5, 2015 – A parole review board opts to “set aside the decision” and refers Pistorius’ case “back to the (broader Correctional Supervision and Parole Board) for reconsideration.”
October 15, 2015 – In a statement, the parole board says it has approved Pistorius’ placement under house arrest and correctional supervision for four years.
October 19, 2015 – Is released from prison and placed under house arrest, according to a Correctional Services spokesperson.
December 3, 2015 – Pistorius’ conviction for “culpable homicide” is changed to murder. Judge Eric Leach overturns the previous conviction, saying the original ruling was flawed.
December 8, 2015 – Is granted bail. Pistorius will be able to leave his uncle’s home, where he has been under house confinement, and can travel up to 20 kilometers (12 miles) between the hours of 7 a.m. and noon.
July 6, 2016 – A South African judge sentences Pistorius to six years in prison for Steenkamp’s murder. Barring an appeal, this will be the final sentencing.
November 3, 2017 – State prosecutors ask to appeal the sentencing, telling the Supreme Court of Appeal that a six-year prison term is too lenient.
November 24, 2017 – The Supreme Court of Appeal increases Pistorius’ sentence to 13 years and five months for the murder of Steenkamp.
April 9, 2018 – Pistorius loses his final appeal.
November 9, 2021 – Under South Africa’s victim-offender dialogue policy, Pistorius will meet with the family of Steenkamp before being granted a parole hearing and possibly released early from prison. Pistorius must first participate in “Restorative Justice” to be eligible for release, the Department of Correctional Services confirms.
November 30, 2021 – South Africa’s Department of Correctional Services tells CNN that Pistorius has been transferred to a prison closer to Steenkamp’s family.
June 22, 2022 – Pistorius meets with Barry Steenkamp, the father of Reeva Steenkamp, for a victim-offender dialogue. Pistorius is later transferred back to Atteridgeville prison near Pretoria.
March 31, 2023 – Pistorius is denied parole, according to local authorities who say he has yet to complete his minimum sentence.
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