Oscar Pistorius due in court on Tuesday

Leave a comment

South African double-amputee sprinter Oscar Pistorius has only been spotted twice in public since he was granted bail on February 22 following the shooting of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, on Valentine’s Day morning.

But Pistorius, 26, is set to reemerge on Tuesday for the start of his trial, where he’ll be defended against the charges of premeditated murder at the Magistrate’s Court in his hometown of Pretoria.

The London Olympian and six-time Paralympic champion shot Steenkamp three times through his bathroom door February 14, but claims he heard a noise that he thought was an intruder in the house, and only after he fired did he considered it might have been his girlfriend. He then called paramedics and carried her downstairs where she died while they were waiting for help.

“The fact that he admitted that he has killed her by pulling the trigger means the state has a prima facie case and it is expected of the accused to come and convince the court otherwise,” Marius du Toit, a legal expert on South Africa’s justice system, told the Associated Press. “His version is going to be exposed and scrutinized in the finest, finest detail.”

Pistorius’s team had considered a return to the track this year, and one of the times the sprinter was seen in public was on the track of a local high school, further adding to the rumor of his return. But his team officially ruled out competitive running in 2013 late last month.

“He is nowhere close to being in a position to train,” coach Ampie Louw told Eye Witness News at the time. “He just does fitness exercises in the morning with his family.”

Pistorius had some of his most lucrative sponsorships suspended in the wake of the shooting, and UK Athletics Chair Ed Warner told BBC Radio in April that Pistorius wouldn’t be welcomed to the London Grand Prix this season, because his appearance would pose too much of a distraction.

Sam Girard, Olympic short track champion, surprisingly retires at age 22

Sam Girard
Getty Images
Leave a comment

Sam Girard, who avoided a three-skater pileup to win the PyeongChang Olympic 1000m, retired from short track speed skating at age 22, saying he lost the desire to compete.

“I leave my sport satisfied with what I have accomplished,” Girard said in a press release. “This decision was very well thought through. I am at peace with the choice that I’ve made and am ready to move onto the next step.”

Girard and girlfriend and fellow Olympic skater Kasandra Bradette announced their careers end together in a tearful French-language press conference in Quebec on Friday.

Girard detailed the decision in a letter, the sacrifices made to pursue skating. Notably, moving from his hometown of Ferland-et-Boilleau, population 600, to Montreal in 2012. His hobbies had been of the outdoor variety, but he now had to drive an hour and a half from the training center just to go fishing.

In PyeongChang, Girard led for most of the 1000m final, which meant he avoided chaos behind him on the penultimate lap of the nine-lap race. Hungarian Liu Shaolin Sandor‘s inside pass took out South Koreans Lim Hyo-Jun and Seo Yi-Ra, leaving just Girard and American John-Henry Krueger.

Girard maintained his lead, crossing .214 in front of Krueger to claim the title. He also finished fourth in the 500m and 1500m and earned bronze in the relay.

“My first Olympics, won a gold medal, can’t ask for more,” he said afterward.

Though Girard was already accomplished — earning individual silver medals at the 2016 and 2017 Worlds — he came to PyeongChang as the heir apparent to Charles Hamelin, a roommate on the World Cup circuit whom Girard likened to a big brother. Girard earned another world silver medal this past season.

Hamelin, after taking individual gold in 2010 and 2014, left PyeongChang without an individual medal in what many expected to be his last Olympics. However, he went back on a retirement vow and continued to skate through the 2018-19 season.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: J.R. Celski explains decision to retire

Maia, Alex Shibutani extend break from ice dance competition

AP
Leave a comment

Brother-sister ice dance duo Maia and Alex Shibutani will not compete next season, the Olympic bronze medalists announced via U.S. Figure Skating on Friday.

“We’re healthier and stronger than we were after the Olympics, and we’re continuing to push ourselves,” Maia Shibutani said in a press release.

“We’ve continued to skate a lot, and we feel like we’ve benefited from some time away to create in different environments and focus on experiences that can help us grow,” Alex said.

The “Shib Sibs” won the U.S. title in 2016 and 2017. They won their first world medal in 2011 (bronze) before reaching the world podium again in 2016 and 2017 with silver and bronze, respectively.

They most recently competed at the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics, where they earned bronze both individually and in the team event.

Maia and Alex Shibutani are now the second ice dance medalists from PyeongChang to announce they’ll sit out at least part of next season. Gold medalists Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir of Canada will tour instead this fall and are not expected to return to competition.

The siblings haven’t stayed away from the ice entirely in their break from the sport, though — they’ve also been touring and performing in shows.

The Shibutanis became the second set of siblings to earn Olympic ice dance medals after France’s Isabelle and Paul Duchesnay in 1992.

MORE: How Gracie Gold landed in Philadelphia, thoughts competitive return

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!