Oscar Pistorius’ jail sentence to be appealed by prosecutors

Oscar Pistorius
Getty Images
0 Comments

JOHANNESBURG (AP) — The South African prosecutors’ office said Thursday it will appeal against Oscar Pistorius‘ six-year jail sentence and seek a longer prison term for the double-amputee athlete, who was convicted of murder for shooting girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.

Calling the sentence given to Pistorius by a judge on July 6 “shockingly too lenient,” the National Prosecuting Authority announced it would file appeal papers on Thursday — the day of the deadline to appeal.

Pistorius was convicted of murder for shooting Steenkamp in his home in 2013, but only after an appeal by prosecutors. He was initially acquitted of the charge and found guilty of the lesser offense of manslaughter, and served one year in prison.

The latest decision to appeal by prosecutors prolongs the three-and-a-half legal case of Pistorius, a multiple Paralympic world champion and the first amputee athlete to run at the Olympics.

He shot Steenkamp multiple times through a toilet cubicle door in his home in the pre-dawn hours of Valentine’s Day 2013. Pistorius testified that he killed Steenkamp by mistake, thinking she was an intruder hiding in the bathroom. Prosecutors said he shot her intentionally after an argument.

“We respectfully submit that the sentence of six years imprisonment, in all the circumstances, is disproportionate to the crime of murder committed,” the prosecuting authority said in Thursday’s statement announcing its intention to appeal. “That is to say, shockingly too lenient, and has accordingly resulted in an injustice and has the potential to bring the administration of justice into disrepute.”

Prosecutors had sought 15 years in prison for the double-amputee Olympic athlete, the prescribed minimum sentence for murder in South Africa, but a judge said there were compelling circumstances in Pistorius’ case to give him a lesser sentence.

In South Africa, a judge can deviate from the prescribed minimum sentence if they find that there are exceptional circumstances.

Judge Thokozile Masipa decided on the six-year jail sentence for the 29-year-old Pistorius. She was also the judge who oversaw Pistorius’ 2014 trial and acquitted him of murder before that decision was successfully appealed by prosecutors in the Supreme Court.

In appealing the six-year sentence, prosecutors first have to get permission from Masipa to take another appeal to the Supreme Court. No date was given for the first hearing in the appeal.

Pistorius is currently serving his sentence in a prison in the South African capital, Pretoria. Under South African law, he could be eligible for parole after serving half his sentence, or three years.

MORE: Pistorius timeline since London Olympics

Scotty James wins fifth X Games snowboard halfpipe title

Scotty James
Getty
0 Comments

Scotty James doesn’t have Olympic gold, but he remains king of the X Games halfpipe.

James, the Australian snowboarder who took bronze and silver at the last two Olympics, earned his fifth Aspen gold, repeating as champ of the biggest annual contest under falling snow in the Colorado Rockies. Only the retired Shaun White has more X Games men’s snowboard halfpipe titles with eight.

Nobody on Friday night attempted a triple cork, which was first done in competition by Japan’s Ayumu Hirano last season en route to the Olympic title. Hirano placed sixth Friday.

“It was a tough night, pretty interesting conditions,” James said. “Had to adjust the game plan. The show goes on.”

In a format introduced three years ago, athletes were ranked on overall impression over the course of a three-run jam session for the entire field rather than scoring individual runs.

Earlier, Olympic gold medalist Zoi Sadowski-Synnott of New Zealand repeated as women’s snowboard slopestyle champion, passing Olympic bronze medalist Tess Coady of Australia on the final run of the competition. Sadowski-Synnott, the only snowboarder or skier to win Olympic, world and X Games slopestyle titles, capped her finale with back-to-back 900s.

The competition lacked 2014 and 2018 Olympic champion Jamie Anderson, who announced her pregnancy last month.

Canada’s Megan Oldham landed the first triple cork in women’s ski big air competition history to beat Olympic silver medalist Tess Ledeux of France, according to commentators. Oldham, a 21-year-old ex-gymnast, was fourth at the Olympics.

Eileen Gu, the Olympic champion from China, did not compete but is entered in halfpipe and slopestyle later this weekend.

ON HER TURF: U.S. freeskier Maggie Voisin on grief, loss, finding motivation

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

Isabeau Levito wins U.S. figure skating title at age 15, followed by comeback stories

1 Comment

Isabeau Levito won her first U.S. figure skating title at age 15, cementing her status as the new leading American woman to open the new Olympic cycle.

Levito, the world junior champion, tallied 223.33 points between two strong programs in San Jose, California. She distanced two-time U.S. champion Bradie Tennell, who went 19 months between competitions due to foot and ankle injuries in 2021 and 2022 and scored 213.12.

Tennell was just two hundredths behind Levito after Thursday’s short but had multiple jumping errors in the free skate.

Levito followed her as last to go in the free and nailed the most pressure-packed performance of her young career, including the hardest jump combination done of the entire field. She didn’t receive a single negative mark from a judge for her 19 technical elements in her two programs.

Moments later, she was in tears backstage.

FIGURE SKATING NATIONALS: Full Scores | Broadcast Schedule

“I was just so proud of myself for staying so calm and staying so focused, doing exactly what I aimed to do,” Levito, who hasn’t finished off the podium in more than 20 events dating to November 2016, said on NBC. “I’m ready to start bouncing off the walls.”

Amber Glenn, 23, placed third and will likely become the oldest U.S. women’s singles skater to make her world championships debut in at least 45 years. Glenn botched her 11th attempt to join the list of U.S. women to land a clean triple Axel (tally according to Skatingscores.com) but still moved up from fourth after the short program, passing Starr Andrews.

Last year, Glenn entered nationals as the fourth-ranked U.S. woman and a hopeful for the three-woman Olympic team. She placed 14th in the short program, competing unknowingly with COVID-19, then tested positive and withdrew before the free skate.

In 2021, Glenn was the U.S. silver medalist, yet passed over for a spot on the two-woman world team in favor of the more experienced Karen Chen, who finished 35 hundredths behind Glenn at those nationals.

Levito, Tennell and Glenn are expected to make up the team for March’s world championships, decided by a committee.

Gracie Gold, a two-time U.S. champion who was fifth after the short program, popped a pair of planned triple Lutzes and dropped to eighth.

None of the three 2022 U.S. Olympians competed. Alysa Liu and Mariah Bell retired. Chen is a student at Cornell and might not return.

Nationals continue Saturday with the free dance and pairs’ free skate, live on NBC Sports and Peacock.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!