Oscar Pistorius

Oscar Pistorius emotionally breaks down as prosecution alleges inconsistencies

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Oscar Pistorius‘ murder trial was twice stopped when the athlete broke down under a prosecutor’s questioning on Monday.

Pistorius, on trial after fatally shooting girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp on Valentine’s Day 2013, cried when recounting how he screamed an expletive at what he thought was an intruder inside his bathroom before shooting through a locked door. Judge Thokozile Masipa called an adjournment.

About 90 minutes later, Pistorius again caused a break when he began bawling during the following exchange with lead prosecutor Gerrie Nel.

“You fired at Reeva,” Nel said, before a rare Pistorius interruption on their fourth day of cross-examination.

“That’s not true,” Pistorius said insistently.

“Why are you getting emotional now?” Nel asked.

“I did not fire at Reeva,” Pistorius wailed.

Nel asked for an adjournment, citing Pistorius’ emotional state. A psychologist consoled Pistorius during the break, according to reports from the Pretoria courtroom.

Pistorius, the first double amputee to run in the Olympics in 2012, faces 25 years to life in prison if convicted of premeditated murder. If not found guilty of premeditated murder, he could be convicted of culpable homicide, South Africa’s version of manslaughter for negligent killing.

The prosecutor Nel spent most of Monday continuing his assertion that Pistorius was lying and changing his defense from putative self defense to involuntary action (accidental shooting). Nel said Pistorius shot Steenkamp after an argument rather than thinking she was an intruder.

“The theme for the day is tailoring your evidence,” Nel said.

Pistorius again went through his actions shortly before, during and after shooting Steenkamp. He said he fired his pistol through the door after hearing a noise, believing the person inside was trying to open the door, but he didn’t see the door or door handle move.

“I heard the noise, and I didn’t have time to interpret, and I fired my firearm out of fear,” said Pistorius, who reportedly looks away from Nel, often to the judge, when answering.

Pistorius said he didn’t know why he stopped firing after four shots. He wasn’t aiming his gun because he didn’t intend to fire it. Nel said it must have been lucky, then, that his gun was pointed in the direction of the perceived intruder.

“Why would that be lucky, she lost her life,” Pistorius said.

Pistorius said that even if it turned out to be an intruder behind the door, he still would have considered the shooting an accident.

Late in the day, Judge Masipa interrupted Nel, who had been asking Pistorius about why Steenkamp was standing behind the door when he shot. Pistorius said he didn’t know why. Masipa thought Nel was unnecessarily repeating the question to which Pistorius did not have an answer.

“It’s not true,” Nel said. “He knows. He’s hiding it.

“He knows that he shot her while she was talking. … He must tell us because there’s no other version for it.”

Here’s NBC News’ full coverage of the trial.

The trial is scheduled to resume at 3:30 a.m. ET on Tuesday with more cross-examining from Nel.

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Yevgenia Medvedeva wins season opener in rout

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Olympic figure skating favorite Yevgenia Medvedeva, imperfect by her standards, still won her first international competition of the season by a whopping 36.74 points on Saturday.

The Russian tallied 146.72 points in her free skate at Nepela Trophy in Slovakia — lower than her median score over her two-year winning streak — and 226.72 points overall. 

Video is here. Full scores are here.

Medvedeva had a wrong edge call on her triple Lutz, stepping out of the landing. 

Judges gave her a negative grade of execution for it, snapping a streak of more than 60 straight jumps with positive grades dating to December.

No matter, the 17-year-old still had the highest free skate by 23.23 points.

It was 13.72 points shy of her world record set at the last competition of the 2016-17 season.

She distanced Japanese Rika Hongo and countrywoman Yelena Radionova, the only woman to beat Medvedeva in senior international competition in November 2015.

Medvedeva entered the free skate with a 13.51-point lead in the low-level event. That was via recording the second-highest short program tally under a 13-year-old judging system on Thursday.

Her flawed free skate still earned more points than any of her rivals racked up last season. 

All of her jumps except a double Axel were in the second half of her program to earn bonus points.

However, another Russian posted a higher free skate score last week.

That’s 15-year-old training partner Alina Zagitova, who was .45 better at a low-level event in Italy. 

It’s not entirely fair to compare scores from different judging panels at these early season competitions, though.

The first of six Grand Prix series events is Rostelecom Cup in Moscow in four weeks, featuring Medvedeva and Radionova.

Medvedeva and Zagitova could go head-to-head at the Grand Prix Final in December and should definitely both be at the Russian Championships later that month.

The figure skating season continues next week with Nebelhorn Trophy in Germany, the final Olympic qualifying competition. 

North Korea could clinch its first spots in any sport for the Olympics in the pairs event.

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Yuzuru Hanyu opens Olympic season with record score

Yuzuru Hanyu
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A sore knee didn’t hold Yuzuru Hanyu back. A record score to open his Olympic season.

The Olympic and world champion from Japan hit a pair of quadruple jumps in his short program at the Autumn Classic, a lower-level event in Montreal.

He was rewarded with 112.72 points, the highest short program score recorded under the 13-year-old judging system. Video is here.

It looked like a home competition for Hanyu.

Upon finishing, he bowed toward one set of bleachers (maybe a dozen rows) at the Sportsplexe Pierrefonds. More than two dozen Japanese flags made it hard to see most of the faces.

He bettered Javier Fernández, a two-time world champion and training partner, by 11.52 points. Fernández also landed two quadruple jumps to tally 101.2.

Full scores will be here upon the conclusion of the short program. The free skate is Saturday at 8 p.m. ET. A live stream is here.

Hanyu now owns the three highest short program scores under the 13-year-old system. The other two were set in the 2015-16 season.

Showdowns like Hanyu-Fernández are usually reserved for, at the earliest, the Grand Prix series in late October and November.

Hanyu and Fernández are very familiar with each other, having shared a coach in Canadian Brian Orser, the 1988 Olympic silver medalist, since 2012. They train in Toronto.

In that time, Hanyu became the first Japanese man to win an Olympic title (and the second teen from any nation to do it). He followed it up with world titles later in 2014 and this year.

Fernández achieved unfathomable success for a Spanish skater — world titles in 2015 and 2016, overtaking Hanyu in the free skate both times.

In PyeongChang, Hanyu can become the first man to repeat as Olympic champion since Dick Button in 1952. Fernández can become the third Spaniard to earn a Winter Olympic medal of any color in any sport, and the first since 1992.

The figure skating season continues next week with Nebelhorn Trophy in Germany, the final Olympic qualifying competition. North Korea could clinch its first spots in any sport for the Olympics in the pairs event.

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