2016 Rio Games organizers: Oscar Pistorius welcome if eligible

Thursday October 30th, 2014

Organizers for the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro say double amputee sprinter Oscar Pistorius is welcome to compete if he's declared eligible, according to the Associated Press

Last week, Pistorius was sentenced to five years in prison for the shooting death of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp. In September, he was convicted of culpable homicide, but acquitted of murder by a South African judge. 

Pistorius is able to ask for parole consideration after serving 10 months of his sentence, however the International Paralympic Committee has banned him from competing during his full five-year sentence, even if he is released early.

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Rio communications director Mario Andrada said that since Pistorious has already gone through the court system, there's no need for his committee to not allow him to compete. 

"It's not for us to judge him personally," said Andrada. "He was judged by the South African judicial system. As soon as he fulfils his obligations with that system he will be a free man and a free man is entitled to compete wherever he wants."

"We have to keep in our prayers and thoughts both families. It was a tragedy ... but he will be welcome in Brazil like anybody else."

South Africa's sports minister Fikile Mbalula recently said that he thinks it is unlikely that Pistorius will be able to compete as a runner again. 

Pistorius won multiple gold medals in the last three Summer Paralympics. At the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, he became the first amputee runner to compete at an Olympic Games, running in the 400m race and 4 x 400m relay. 

- Molly Geary


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