Popularly known as the 'Blade Runner', Oscar Pistorius was the cynosure of all eyes when he became the first amputee to compete at the Olympic Games in London 2012. Less than a year later, life has taken a turn for the worse for the athlete. When the world would have been gearing up to celebrate the Valentine's Day, the Paralympic superstar was being taken in to police custody charged with the murder of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp.
Having had both his legs amputated below the knee before he could even celebrate his first birthday, he fought hard against authorities for years to be allowed to compete against able-bodied athletes. Having initially been banned because of his carbon fiber blades by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) — which critics said gave him an unfair advantage — he was cleared by Court of Arbitration of Sports (CAS) in 2008 and allowed to run at all the major events.
This opened up an altogether new world for the "fastest man on no legs". Born on November 22, 1986 to Henke and Sheila Pistorius in Sandton, Johannesburg, Oscar has an elder brother Carl and a younger sister Aimee.
Pistorius' career took a major step towards success with the 2004 Athens Paralympic Games. He won the Gold in 200m and a Bronze in the 100m (T44 - one leg amputated below the knee) category. Meanwhile, trouble had started brewing up, with the IAAF ruling Pistorius' prostheses as ineligible. He then fought a long, hard battle to get justice and eventually won.
Nothing was stopping the 'Blade Runner' back then as 2008 Beijing Paralympics saw him grab the Gold in 100m, 200m and 400m events. He regretted missing the qualifying time for the Beijing Olympics but never let his performance get affected by that disappointment.
His life was not all hunky dory though and with money and fame, controversies were bound to break. In 2009 Pistorius spent a night in jail after allegedly assaulting a 19-year-old woman at a party. In 2009, he crashed his boat in a river south of Johannesburg, breaking two ribs, an eye socket and his jaw. Empty alcohol bottles were found in the boat, but his blood alcohol content wasn't tested.
As told to Britain's Daily Mail in 2012, the sprinter slept with a pistol, machine gun, cricket bat and baseball bat for fear of burglars at his upmarket home in a secure Pretoria estate. He also once owned two white tigers but sold them to a zoo in Canada when they became too big.
While Pistorius was having the time of his life, sponsors too kept pouring in but as soon as trouble crept in - Nike, Oakley, Clarins and other brands - have distanced themselves from the under-fire and possibly the 'cold-blooded killer' of his own girlfriend. Oscar has also cancelled all his 'field commitments' in the near future to concentrate on the legal proceedings.
"Abusive men suffer from pathological jealousy of their partners," said Anna van der Hoven, a criminologist. "I haven't diagnosed him but he also shows signs of someone with a narcissistic personality disorder," said Hoven of Pistorius.
Once asked by a journalist for his "sporting motto", he said: "You're not disabled by the disabilities you have, you are able by the abilities you have."
It will be for all to see now whether the disabilities win or the abilities take charge, in the real world, quite literally!