The eyes of South Africa are on Oscar Pistorius, who is on trial after he shot and killed his girlfriend on Valentine’s Day last year.
It’s not an unusual position for the first double amputee to run in the Olympics in 2012, said NBC Olympics track and field analyst Ato Boldon on “SportsDash” on Tuesday.
Boldon equated Pistorius’ athletic popularity in South Africa to that of Peyton Manning, Kobe Bryant or LeBron James in the U.S.
“He’s very easily the most revered sporting personality in South Africa,” Boldon said. “The fact that this trial is being televised is not a surprise because literally the entire country is riveted.”
While Boldon said he never could have imagined Pistorius to be in this situation, he was reminded of an incident at the 2012 Paralympics.
Pistorius lost a 200m race to Brazilian Alan Oliveira and questioned Oliveira’s blades, calling the come-from-behind victory “ridiculous.” Pistorius had raised suspicion over his competitor’s blades before the Paralympics, too.
“He’s never run a 21-second race and I don’t think he’s a 21-second athlete,” Pistorius said after being beaten in 2012, according to The Associated Press. “I’ve never lost a 200-meter race in my career.”
Oliveira called Pistorius’ reaction “hot-headed,” though the South African later apologized for his remarks about Oliveira and congratulated him.
“[Pistorius] sort of flew off the handle and went into a little bit of a rage,” Boldon said on “SportsDash.” “I sort of raised an eyebrow like, ‘Whoa, this is a side of Oscar that I have never seen.’
“He seems to have quite a temper.”