Athlete Oscar Pistorius, the double-amputee who made history when he competed in the able-bodied Olympics in London last summer, has been charged with murder after his girlfriend was fatally shot in his home.
During the Olympic games, Pistorius had become an international star in the track and field world, earning a very public showing of respect from the winner of his 400 meter race. When Grenada’s Kirani James exchanged nametags with Pistorius before accepting his gold medal, the two–along with the world watching–shared an emotional moment.
When NBC Sports’ Mary Carillo met the star athlete they call “Blade Runner” at his home in South Africa before the Olympics last summer, she was struck by his soft voice and modesty. Carillo, who shared a week with him reporting for Rock Center with Brian Williams, told Andrea Mitchell Thursday that she is “heartsick that this beautiful woman is gone.” Carillo reflected on Andrea Mitchell Reports:
“I got to spend almost a week with Oscar at his home, at the place where this horrible incident occurred. It looked like it was a very good neighborhood. But Oscar certainly did have guns, and he used to talk about how, you know, at night he’s got no legs. He kept guns in his bedroom and he obviously worried about that. I guess the gun problem in South Africa is every bit as [bad] as it is in this country, maybe even more so.
What we know so far is that he is in custody and that there are reports that perhaps–it was Valentine’s Day already in South Africa when this happened. There are reports that maybe he thought that his girlfriend was a burglar, but those reports are not coming from the police, and they’re adamant about that. But we do also know that shots were heard and that there have been–the police admit–will say that there have been domestic reports, violence reports from that address in the past.
It is so incongruous for me to think about Oscar in that way. I mean, I think that he is one of the great champions I’ve ever known, born without legs. He was in the able-bodied Olympic this is past summer, acquitted himself beautifully…The whole world [respected him].
And so as I said, I’m heartsick over this.”
Watch Carillo’s June 2012 report on Oscar Pistorius for Rock Center with Brian Williams below: