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Oscar Pistorius appeal dismissed, closing 5-year legal saga

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JOHANNESBURG (AP) — Legal experts say Olympian Oscar Pistorius has finally run out of options to appeal his 13-year prison sentence for the murder of Reeva Steenkamp.

South Africa’s highest court dismissed Pistorius’ request to review the sentence on Monday, bringing a close to a five-year legal saga surrounding the man who was once one of the world’s most celebrated athletes.

“There is nothing they can do,” said Pierre de Vos, a constitutional law expert at the University of Cape Town.

Last year, the Supreme Court of Appeal more than doubled Pistorius’ six-year sentence for the murder of Steenkamp, a 29-year-old model, who he shot four times through a locked bathroom door in his home on Valentine’s Day in 2013.

The minimum sentence for murder in South Africa is 15 years, and the court called the initial six-year sentence “shockingly lenient.”

The double-amputee runner, who is 31, claims he mistook his girlfriend for an intruder.

Pistorius was originally convicted of manslaughter, but that was overturned and replaced with a murder conviction by the Supreme Court. He has also tried and failed to appeal his murder conviction in the Constitutional Court.

“Oscar Pistorius has exhausted his legal avenues in terms of the criminal process,” said Luvuyo Mfaku, a spokesman for the National Prosecuting Authority.

Pistorius must serve at least half of his 13-year sentence before he can be considered for parole.

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U.S. Olympic, Paralympic teams to visit White House in April

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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) — The U.S. Olympic team has been invited to the White House for a visit April 27, leaving the 244 members about four weeks to decide if they’ll attend.

Four members from the U.S. team — Gus Kenworthy, Adam Rippon, Nathan Chen and Lindsey Vonn — have said they would not go if invited.

Visits to the White House are a decades-old tradition, though there have been notable absences over the years regardless of who’s in office.

Kenworthy and Rippon are gay. Rippon has said he wouldn’t go because he doesn’t think “somebody like me would be welcome there.”

Vonn has said she would “absolutely not” accept an invitation and that she hoped to represent the “people of the United States, not the president” at the Olympics.

But USOC spokesman Patrick Sandusky said so far RSVP numbers have been robust and in line with past visits.

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Declan Farmer heroics lift U.S. to Paralympic hockey title in OT (video)

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Declan Farmer tied the Paralympic hockey final with 37.8 seconds to play, then scored the golden goal 3:30 into overtime to lift the U.S. over Canada 2-1 for gold on Sunday.

“It’s all a blur at the moment,” said Farmer, a 20-year-old Princeton student, “but when it comes back I will remember this day for the rest of my life.”

Farmer’s heroics gave the U.S. a third straight Paralympic title. No other nation has won two Paralympic golds in seven total tournaments.

The U.S. also finished the Winter Paralympics with the most medals (36) and most gold medals (13) for the first time since Albertville 1992.

BOX SCORE | GAME VIDEO

When Farmer made a move seconds before scoring the tying goal, with the U.S. having pulled goalie Steve Cash, teammate and captain Josh Pauls thought to himself, “This is Declan Farmer time.” Farmer’s goal was the first allowed by Canada at the tournament, the shutout streak ending after 224 minutes.

Thirty seconds earlier, Canada’s Rob Armstrong had a chance to clinch gold on the empty net, but hit the post from an angle.

Farmer tallied a tournament-leading 11 goals and 17 points in his second Winter Games. His 14 career Paralympic goals are a U.S. record.

Last year, Farmer broke U.S. records for most goals (12) and points (18) at a world championship tournament, though Canada beat the U.S. in that final. He was born a bilateral amputee and started playing sled hockey at age 9.

Cash, who stopped 11 of 12 Canadian shots for his third Paralympic title, told Farmer after Sunday’s game that he was his hero.

“He’s the best overall sled hockey player to ever play the game,” Cash said, according to TeamUSA.org.

The U.S. dedicated its tournament to its 2014 Paralympic coach, Jeff Sauer, who died of pancreatic cancer in February 2017.

“Coach Sauer is watching over us,” Farmer said.

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