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Olympian withdraws from Relays

Story by Taylor Soule

South African “Blade Runner” Oscar Pistorius faces a murder charge in the Valentine’s Day shooting death of his girlfriend, 29-year-old Reeva Steenkamp. Pistorius was slated to compete at the Drake Relays in April.

Drake athletics confirmed Pistorius’ withdrawal from the Drake Relays in a press release: “Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of Reeva Steenkamp. We have been in contact with a representative for Oscar Pistorius and understand that he will not be competing in the Drake Relays.”

Steenkamp was shot four times at Pistorius’ upscale home in Pretoria, South Africa, in the early hours of Feb. 14. A 9 mm pistol was found inside the home.

Pistorius, 26, cried and covered his face after he was charged with Steenkamp’s murder in court on Friday. He remains in custody in Pretoria as he awaits a bail hearing on Tuesday.

The charge against Pistorius stunned the track community just six months after the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.

Pistorius, who was born without fibulas in both legs, rose to fame as the first double amputee to run in the Olympics. He earned the nickname “Blade Runner” thanks to his carbon-fiber prosthetic legs.

Though he failed to medal in London, Pistorius inspired fans and competitors alike. When Pistorius finished last in his 400 semifinal heat on Aug. 5, eventual gold medalist Kirani James traded bibs with Pistorius.

At the London Paralympic Games a month later, Pistorius claimed three medals.


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