Oscar Pistorius’ prosthetic leg used in testimony

Oscar Pistorius' leg
0 Comments

The prosthetic leg Oscar Pistorius said he used to kick at his locked bathroom door after he fatally shot his girlfriend last year was held and inspected by a forensic analyst at the athlete’s murder trial Thursday.

Forensic analyst Roger Dixon was testifying about varnish and sock fibers from when Pistorius kicked the door on Valentine’s Day 2013 when lead prosecutor Gerrie Nel had Dixon handle the prosthetic leg with a sock over the foot.

Dixon, who had never seen the prosthetic leg outside photographs, peeled off the sock. It was not the original sock Pistorius had on when he kicked the door.

He held the leg at the ankle, foot facing up, and compared a mark on the bottom of the foot to a mark on the door, which stood a few feet from Dixon in the witness box. Dixon continued holding the leg and then placed it on the ledge in front of him as he answered questions for nearly another hour.

Pistorius, the first double amputee to run in the Olympics in 2012, faces 25 years to life in prison if convicted of premeditated murder of girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.

Pistorius said he thought Steenkamp was an intruder when he shot through a locked bathroom door, hitting her four times on the early morning of Valentine’s Day 2013. The prosecution asserts he knowingly shot Steenkamp after an argument.

If not found guilty of premeditated murder, Pistorius could be convicted of culpable homicide, South Africa’s version of manslaughter for negligent killing.

The trial is now on break until May 5, though Judge Thokozile Masipa stressed at the end of Thursday’s session that more daily hours must be put in once it resumes. The trial is scheduled to last to mid-May. The defense could still call 14 more witnesses.

Masipa also issued a warning at the beginning of Thursday’s session.

“Something disturbing has come to my attention,” she said. “I believe the people in [the overflow room] are unruly. They climb on top of the benches. They cheer. They boo. They do what they like. I just want to remind them [the overflow room] is an extension of this court. You behave as well as the people in this court.”

Dixon also testified Thursday that one of the four fired bullets hit Steenkamp in the head as she was falling to the floor in the bathroom.

Pistorius hunched over and held his hands over his ears during testimony about Steenkamp’s wounds, as he has often in the first 25 days of the trial.

Dixon, whose credentials were disputed by Nel in questioning the last two days, said he’s been getting hate mail about the trial.

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

Catching up with Bruce Jenner

Alexa Knierim, Brandon Frazier top pairs’ short at U.S. Figure Skating Championships

Alexa Knierim, Brandon Frazier
Getty
0 Comments

World champions Alexa Knierim and Brandon Frazier lead after the pairs’ short program in what may be their last U.S. Figure Skating Championships.

Knierim and Frazier, who last March became the first U.S. pair to win a world title since 1979, tallied 81.96 points to open the four-day nationals on Thursday.

They lead by 15.1 over Emily Chan and Spencer Howe going into Saturday’s free skate in San Jose, California. The top three teams from last year’s event — which Knierim and Frazier missed due to him contracting COVID-19 — are no longer competing together.

After nationals, a committee selects three U.S. pairs for March’s world championships in Japan.

FIGURE SKATING NATIONALS: Full Scores | Broadcast Schedule

Before the fall Grand Prix Series, the 31-year-old Knierim said this will probably be their last season competing together, though the pair also thought they were done last spring. They don’t expect to make a final decision until after a Stars on Ice tour this spring.

“I don’t like to just put it out there and say it is the last or not going to be the last because life just has that way of throwing curveballs, and you just never know,” Frazier said this month. “But I would say that this is the first nationals where I’m going to go in really trying to soak up every second as if it is my last because you just don’t know.”

Knierim is going for a fifth U.S. title, which would tie the record for a pairs’ skater since World War II, joining Kyoka Ina, Tai Babilonia, Randy Gardner, Karol Kennedy and Peter Kennedy. Knierim’s first three titles, and her first Olympics in 2018, were with husband Chris, who retired in 2020.

Knierim is also trying to become the first female pairs’ skater in her 30s to win a national title since 1993. Knierim and ice dancer Madison Chock are trying to become the first female skaters in their 30s to win a U.S. title in any discipline since 1995.

After being unable to defend their 2021 U.S. title last year, Knierim and Frazier reeled off a series of historic results in what had long been the country’s weakest discipline.

They successfully petitioned for an Olympic spot and placed sixth at the Games, best for a U.S. pair since 2002. They considered retirement after their world title, which was won without the top five teams from the Olympics in attendance. They returned in part to compete as world champions and to give back to U.S. skating, helping set up younger pairs for success.

They became the first U.S. pair to win two Grand Prix Series events, then in December became the first U.S. pair to make a Grand Prix Final podium (second place). The world’s top pairs were absent; Russians banned due to the war in Ukraine and Olympic champions Sui Wenjing and Han Cong from China leaving competition ice (for now).

Knierim and Frazier’s real test isn’t nationals. It’s worlds, where they will likely be the underdog to home favorites Riku Miura and Ryuichi Kihara, who edged the Americans by 1.3 points in the closest Grand Prix Final pairs’ competition in 12 years.

Nationals continue with the rhythm dance and women’s short program later Thursday.

NBC Sports’ Sarah Hughes (not the figure skater) contributed to this report.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

2023 U.S. Figure Skating Championships scores, results

2023 U.S. Figure Skating Championships
Getty
0 Comments

Full scores and results from the 2023 U.S. Figure Skating Championships in San Jose …

Pairs Short Program
1. Alexa Knierim/Brandon Frazier — 81.96
2. Emily Chan/Spencer Howe — 66.86
3. Ellie Kam/Danny O’Shea —- 65.75
4. Valentina Plazas/Maximiliano Fernandez — 63.45
5. Sonia Baram/Danil Tioumentsev —- 63.12
6. Katie McBeath/Nathan Bartholomay —- 56.96
7. Nica Digerness/Mark Sadusky — 50.72
8. Maria Mokhova/Ivan Mokhov —- 46.96
9. Grace Hanns / Danny Neudecker — 46.81
10. Linzy Fitzpatrick/Keyton Bearinger — 45.27
11. Nina Ouellette/Rique Newby-Estrella — 43.99

FIGURE SKATING NATIONALS: Broadcast Schedule | New Era for U.S.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!