ESPN's Oscar Pistorius documentary to show a 'quite pathetic' version of the former Olympic hero

Ryan Young
·Writer
·2 mins read

Former South African sprinter Oscar Pistorius was an international hero, thanks to his incredible success as a double amputee on the Olympic stage — until he wasn’t.

A new ESPN “30 for 30” documentary is set to detail just that.

“The Life and Trials of Oscar Pistorius” will appear in four parts on ESPN+, starting on Sept. 27.

While many sports fans remember how Pistorius fell from fame, a new exclusive clip of the documentary promises to remind fans just how quickly the iconic athlete went from hero to villain in the eyes of the world.

‘Oscar Pistorius was now a totally broken person’

Pistorius had both of his legs amputated below the knees when he was just 11 months old. The Johannesburg native started running track, and won the gold medal in the 200-meter dash at the 2004 Paralympics in Greece while setting a world record.

He won three gold medals in the 2008 Paralympics in Beijing and then became the first amputee to compete in the Olympics when he competed in the 400-meter run at the 2012 games in London — though he failed to make it to the finals.

His story captivated sports fans everywhere, and he was quickly elevated to a rare level of international sports heroism.

A year later, however, it all changed.

Pistorius was arrested for the murder of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, in 2013. Pistorius said he mistook Steenkamp, a former model, as an intruder and shot her several times through the closed bathroom door in their home. He was convicted of culpable homicide, and has been in prison since 2016. A South African appeals court more than doubled his initial sentence to 13 years in 2017.

Suddenly, Pistorius’ standing in the world had been flipped upside down.

“Everyone has an image of Oscar Pistorius, and it is this athlete taking gold at the Paralympics, for example,” journalist Barry Bateman said in the documentary. “So you have this image of an Oscar Pistorius who is powerful, who has overcome great odds.

“And then we’ve got this view of this quite pathetic person standing in the dark there, weak, sobbing. I think that’s when it really changed the way we viewed this story.”

The four-part series will debut on ESPN+ on Sunday.

South African Paralympian Oscar Pistorius
A new ESPN documentary promises to show the rise and fall of former South African Olympics hero Oscar Pistorius. (Alon Skuy/AFP/Getty Images)

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