Oscar Pistorius successfully appeals bail restrictions

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Olympic and Paralympic sprinter Oscar Pistorius, who was charged with the murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp last month, has been granted permission to travel outside of South Africa, and no longer needs to report to his probation officer.

Pistorius’s lawyers argued that the athlete was being treated like a flight risk, even though the courts determined he wasn’t one during his hearing. They added that might need to return to competition in order to start earning money again, and said while Pistorius had no desire to compete now, “this might and this will change.”

Pistorius isn’t free and clear to travel, however. His passport will be held by the courts and he’ll need to submit travel plans at least a week in advance, and then return his passport within 24 hours after touching back down in South Africa.

Last month, the prosecution charged Pistorius with premeditated murder, saying Pistorius knew Steenkamp was in the bathroom when he shot her three times through the door the morning of February 14. But Pistorius wrote in a statement that he heard a noise in the bathroom that he thought was an intruder, grabbed his gun, and fired before considering it might have been Steenkamp. He saw that he had shot her, called paramedics, and carried her downstairs for help, where she died in his arms.

The original restrictions handed down by the South African Magistrate barred Pistorius from leaving Pretoria without permission. No word on the other bail restrictions, but it’s assumed he’s still not allowed to use firearms, must stay away from his home, and must refrain from using drugs and alcohol.

Pistorius wasn’t required to be at the hearing Thursday and neither he nor his family showed. His trial was adjourned until June 4. No one is certain if and when he’ll re-enter competitions, but he likely hopes to train for the World Championships this August in Moskva, Russia.

Nathan Chen holds off Yuzuru Hanyu to win first Grand Prix

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U.S. champion Nathan Chen opened the Grand Prix season by beating Olympic gold-medal favorite Yuzuru Hanyu.

Chen, 18, held off Hanyu at Rostelecom Cup in Moscow, totaling 293.79 points to win by 3.02 over the Japanese megastar. Full scores are here.

Chen landed four quadruple jumps in a strong but imperfect free skate for his first Grand Prix title in his second senior international season.

Hanyu outscored Chen in the free skate, but the American benefited from his 5.69-point lead from Friday’s short program.

Hanyu, the reigning Olympic and world champion, has never won his opening Grand Prix start in eight tries.

He did three quadruple jumps in Saturday’s free skate rather than the planned five, but did not fall as he did in the short program.

Chen has now outscored Hanyu in three of their last four head-to-head events dating to February.

The Rostelecom Cup free dance and pairs and women’s free skates are later Saturday.

A full Rostelecom Cup broadcast schedule is here.

The Grand Prix season continues next weekend with Skate Canada, headlined by three-time U.S. champion Ashley Wagner and three-time world champion Patrick Chan.

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Olympic ski cross champion suffers serious knee injury

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Canadian Marielle Thompson, the reigning Olympic and World Cup ski cross champion, ruptured an ACL and MCL in a training crash in Switzerland.

Alpine Canada did not say when the accident happened or what Thompson’s chances are of returning to defend her Olympic title in PyeongChang.

Thompson flew from Switzerland to Vancouver for an MRI that confirmed the injury.

“I’ll be making a plan with my team moving forward and when the time is right getting back on the ski cross course stronger than ever,” Thompson said in a press release.

Thompson, 25, tore a meniscus in January 2015 and returned to competition 11 months later. She won seven of the 13 World Cup races last season.

Other Olympic medal contenders include Swede Sandra Näslund and Swiss Fanny Smith.

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