Prosecution wraps closing argument at Oscar Pistorius trial

Oscar Pistorius
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In his closing argument, the lead prosecutor in Oscar Pistorius‘ murder trial used a track and field analogy Thursday, saying Pistorius “dropped the baton” and should be convicted of premeditated murder.

In written remarks, prosecutors called Pistorius “one of the worst witnesses we have ever encountered” for his testimony in his own defense earlier in the trial.

Lead prosecutor Gerrie Nel repeated his view that the athlete tailored his version of events and used multiple defenses for shooting and killing girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.

Pistorius, the first double amputee to run in the Olympics in 2012, shot four times through a locked door in his Pretoria home bathroom on the early morning of Valentine’s Day 2013, hitting Steenkamp inside.

Pistorius has said he thought Steenkamp was an intruder. Nel said Pistorius was lying, summarizing the prosecution’s case from a five-month trial initially scheduled for a three-week window.

“We have, if there’s no perceived intruder, the deceased, 3 o’clock in the morning, locking herself into her toilet,” Nel said. “We have the deceased, 3 o c’lock in the morning, taking her cell phone with her to the toilet. We have the deceased, 3 o’clock in the morning, standing upright, fully clothed, and shot four times. There’s no intruder. There’s no noises. That is our argument.”

Pistorius faces 25 years to life in prison if convicted of premeditated murder. If found not guilty of premeditated murder, he could be convicted of lesser charges, such as culpable homicide, South Africa’s version of manslaughter for negligent killing.

“He made up his mind in the bedroom when he armed himself,” Nel said. “That is preplanned. … Our argument is that the accused should be convicted on all accounts.”

The murder trial, initially slated for March 3-20, concluded its 40th day scattered among several breaks the last five months. Lead defense attorney Barry Roux began his closing argument, pointing out “material mistakes” made by the prosecution.

Roux is expected to conclude his closing argument Friday, after which judge Thokozile Masipa and her assessors will deliberate and come up with a verdict. The final ruling is expected to be preceded by a lengthy break, reportedly from one week to over a month.

Pistorius’ father, reportedly estranged from the runner, sat in the courtroom for the first time during the trial Thursday.

Pistorius’ older brother, Carl, spent Thursday intensive care unit and on a ventilator in a South African hospital after a car crash last week, the Pistorius family said in a statement.

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

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12-year-old skateboarders earn medals at world championships

Chloe Covell
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At the world skateboarding championships, 12-year-olds Chloe Covell from Australia and Onodera Ginwoo from Japan earned silver and bronze medals, respectively, in Sunday’s street finals.

In the women’s event, Covell took silver behind Brazilian 15-year-old Rayssa Leal, who was a silver medalist herself at the Tokyo Games.

Frenchman Aurélien Giraud, a 25-year-old who was sixth in skateboarding’s Olympic debut in Tokyo, won the men’s final in the United Arab Emirates. Ginwoo was third behind Portugal’s Gustavo Ribeiro.

The top Americans were Olympic men’s bronze medalist Jagger Eaton in sixth and 15-year-old Paige Heyn in seventh in the women’s event.

Nyjah Huston, a six-time world champion who placed seventh in Tokyo, missed worlds after August surgery for an ACL tear.

Up to three men and three women per nation can qualify per event (street and park) for the 2024 Paris Games. World rankings come June 2024 determine which Americans qualify.

In Tokyo, four of the 12 skateboarding medalists were ages 12 or 13.

Japan’s Kokona Hiraki, then 12, won silver in women’s park to become the youngest Olympic medalist since 1936, according to Olympedia.org. Japan’s Momiji Nishiya, then 13, won women’s street and became the youngest gold medalist in an individual event since 1936.

Worlds conclude this week with the men’s and women’s park events. The finals are Saturday.

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Francesco Friedrich, most decorated bobsledder in history, rebounds for 12th world title

Francesco Friedrich
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A week after his first major championships defeat in seven years, German Francesco Friedrich returned to his winning ways to close the world bobsled championships on Sunday.

Friedrich’s four-man sled won the world title by 69 hundredths of a second over British and Latvian sleds that tied for silver, combining times from four runs over the last two days in St. Moritz, Switzerland. It marked Great Britain’s first world championships men’s bobsled medal since 1966.

Geoff Gadbois drove the lone U.S. sled in the field, finishing 18th.

Friedrich, the most decorated bobsledder in history, extended his records with a fifth consecutive world four-man title and 12th world championship between two- and four-man events.

Germany swept all four titles at bobsled worlds with four different drivers taking gold.

Friedrich had won 12 consecutive Olympic or world titles before taking two-man silver at worlds last week in St. Moritz, Switzerland. He was dethroned in that event by countryman Johannes Lochner.

Friedrich has been hampered recently by a muscle injury from sprint training in late December. Going into worlds, Lochner had won four consecutive World Cup two-man races, while Hall won the last two World Cups in four-man.

Friedrich, 32, said before this season that he plans to make the 2026 Milan-Cortina Winter Games his final competition. Friedrich and push athlete Thorsten Margis can break the record of four career Olympic bobsled gold medals that they currently share with retired Germans Andre Lange and Kevin Kuske.

The World Cup season concludes with stops in Igls, Austria, and Sigulda, Latvia, the next two weekends.

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