Oscar: A Fallen Idol

15 Feb

There isn’t much that can generally shock or faze me but when I was browsing my msn homepage, I was stunned to read that Oscar Pistorius had been arrested for the murder of his girlfriend. I was in utter disbelief and looked to my other half who said he’d forgot to mention it to me in the morning.

My heart sank and I was quite upset. The first time I had seen Oscar was at the televised London Olympics 2012. First of all, I saw a very handsome, masculine athlete. He could be a model I said. Then, the cameras panned out and for a brief moment, I thought it was a bit of camera trickery, like CGI. It looked surreal and then I twigged that he was a double leg amputee and watched as the crowds roared and the commentators praised this man for his abilitities, prowess and breaking the last taboo. Here was a man, an athlete, who broke the mould for people with disabilities and what they are capable of achieving. He made history for being the very first athlete to cross over from the lesser known or least popular paralympic games into the mainstream. For a lot of people, he became an instant symbol for the disabled. He increased awareness and reduced the stigma associated with disability. He seemed to make it more accessible/acceptable by the majority. His strength, speed and stamina earned him the nickname ‘Blade Runner’ and suddenly, every newspaper, magazine and advert wanted a part of him.

Like most of the world, I was mighty impressed with his passion, committment and overall zeal for showing a new side to the much overshadowed, and in some cases, derided world of disability.

I admired Oscar for what he stood for…but then, another side of him appeared which didn’t sit too comfortably with the viewers, spectators and the media. The South African athlete lost the 200m race to another relative unknown, Brazilian Alan Oliveira. Oscar claimed he was “not running in a fair race’ and accused the Brazilian Winner of cheating and using ‘longer blades’.
This incident caused much anger, outrage and upset amongst those who were watching and following the rising star in Oscar. Some called him a very bad or ‘sore loser’. Others watched him carefully and commented that he was a very angry man who had to learn how to control or taper his anger…

Even I could see that Oscar Pistorius was a man who looked as if he were fighting inner demons. I commented that I wouldn’t “want to get on the wrong side of him”. It was almost as if he were a rottweiler and would not let go…I assume it was his management who persuaded him to show a more softer, caring side, as within hours of that very public criticism of his opponent and eventual winner, the tide was turning against Oscar. He had to show more support and empathy towards his fellow peers…

It is a shame then, that the news we have received in the last two days strikes Oscar when he appeared to have the world at his feet. A spectacular ascending star of the future, a hero to many, especially in his native country and the majority of South Africans, to see a possible end to his career before it has properly begun. The death of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp (a law graduate, media reporter and model) and however or whatever the dire circumstances, cuts short the life of a young, attractive woman and leaves two lives ended.

This truly is a remarkable turn of events and a tragedy for what appeared to be a very happy, model couple.

It saddens me to think that this real life event may, if it hasn’t already done so, catch the attention of Hollywood and possibly made into a movie.

The Learned Kat


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