Oscar Pistorius Now: Former Sprinter Released from Prison

Oscar Pistorius, the former South African Olympic and Paralympic star who killed his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp in 2013, was released from a Pretoria, South Africa, prison on January 5. According to the Associated Press, Pistorius served almost nine years of his 13-year 5-month sentence.

Pistorius, now 37, fatally shot Steenkamp inside his home in February 2013. He testified that it was an accident but was ultimately convicted of first-degree murder in December 2015.

His release comes after he was granted parole on November 24. Pistorius is banned from speaking to the media until the conclusion of his sentence in December 2029, and he must also complete community service and an anger management course. The former Olympian was released to his family, according to a Department of Corrections spokesperson, and is expected to initially live at his uncle’s mansion in the suburb of Waterkloof.

Who Is Oscar Pistorius?

Oscar Pistorius is a former South African sprinter who became the first amputee to compete in track events at the Olympics. As an infant, both of Pistorius’ legs were amputated, but that didn’t stop him from becoming highly active in sports. He took up running at age 16, and within a year, he captured gold at the 2004 Athens Paralympics. Nicknamed the “Blade Runner,” Pistorius began competing against able-bodied athletes and achieved his Olympic dreams at the 2012 London Games. The following year, Pistorius was arrested for killing his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, at his home. He served nearly nine years of a 13-year, five-month sentence for first-degree murder before being released on parole in January 2024.

Oscar Pistorius, seen here in September 2004 at age 17, became a Paralympic track star less than a year after he began competing.

Oscar Leonard Carl Pistorius was born on November 22, 1986, in Johannesburg. The son of Henk and Sheila Pistorius, Oscar was the middle child of three. His family, while prominent in South Africa, lived a largely middle-class lifestyle.

Pistorius’ childhood was shaped partly by tragedy. His parents divorced when he was 6, a fact that largely contributed to a strained relationship between Oscar and his father, a businessman. His mother died when he was 15, the result of drug complications following a hysterectomy.

Pistorius’ own physical health was marred at birth. Born without a fibula in either of his legs, his parents decided to have their son’s legs amputated below his knees just before his first birthday. Within six months, Pistorius was walking successfully with a pair of prosthetic legs. His handicap hardly slowed his involvement in sports, which spanned to include cricket, wrestling, and boxing.

It wasn’t until he was 16 and in need of a sport that could help him rehab a knee injury sustained in a rugby match that Pistorius was introduced to track. His rise in the sport came quickly. In January 2004, he competed in his first 100-meter race. Nearly eight months later, 17-year-old Pistorius, wearing a pair of Flex-Foot Cheetahs, a lightweight carbon fiber foot, captured the gold medal in the 200-meter race at the 2004 Athens Paralympics.

Olympic Milestone

oscar pistorius leaving the starting gate during an event at the olympic stadium

Following his win in Athens, Pistorius competed in several races in South Africa against able-bodied athletes. His success attracted greater attention, and European race organizers were soon inviting Pistorius to their events. He was nicknamed the “Blade Runner” and also called the “fastest man on no legs.”

However, his artificial legs became a source of controversy. In 2007, the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF, today known as World Athletics) banned Pistorius from competing, stating that his artificial legs gave him an unfair advantage over able-bodied athletes. Pistorius immediately appealed the ruling, and in May 2008, the Court of Arbitration for Sport overturned the IAAF decision.

After missing the cut for the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, a determined Pistorius focused his training on making the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London. Along the way, the runner captured three gold medals at the 2011 IPC Athletics World Championships. Two more titles followed, in the 400-meter and 100-meter events, at the BT Paralympic World Cup.

In spring 2012, Pistorius realized his ultimate dream when he qualified for the 400-meter race at the London Olympics. Although he was eventually eliminated in the semifinal round, he secured his place in history by becoming the first amputee athlete to compete in track events at the Olympics. To mark the occasion, Pistorius flew out his 89-year-old grandmother to watch him race. “It’s just an unbelievable experience,” Pistorius said shortly after his first Olympic race. “I found myself smiling on the starting blocks, which is very rare.”

Reeva Steenkamp’s Murder, Trial, and First Sentence

reeva steenkamp and oscar pistorius smile at the camera while standing next to each other, both wear white shirts

Reeva Steenkamp and Oscar Pistorius in January 2012

The track star made headlines of a different kind in February 2013, after his girlfriend, South African model Reeva Steenkamp, was found dead at his home in Pretoria, South Africa. According to police, Steenkamp was fatally shot in the head and arm on the morning of February 14. Pistorius was soon named a suspect in the case.

Five days after Steenkamp’s death, on February 19, during a hearing at the magistrate court in Pretoria, Pistorius admitted to unintentionally shooting Steenkamp at his home on Valentine’s Day. He went on to state that he had mistaken his girlfriend for an intruder and shot her through a locked bathroom door. Consequently, Pistorius faced a charge of premeditated murder that carried a mandatory life sentence in the event of a guilty verdict.