Valentine’s Day is traditionally a day of celebrating love, spending time with your favorite people, a day filled with joy. Unfortunately, it also offers opportunity for heartbreak. Such was my Valentine’s Day this year.
On the morning of this global day of love reports flooded all forms of media as one of my favorite sporting personalities is accused of shooting and killing his girlfriend. Oscar Pistorius is called a murderer. And my world was shaken.
Regardless of the outcome of the investigation or trial, the world has lost a hero. A man who was viewed as a champion by overcoming the greatest odds is now seen as a killer. An athlete who defied odds to compete with the best athletes on the global stage is now labeled criminal, evil and worse.
Oscar is an athlete who – despite not having any legs – raced alongside the world’s best and is praised by the world’s finest. I am fuelled by his story as it speaks of self belief, perseverance, a “never say never” attitude, relentless determination and achieving what the world says you can’t.
After a week of news headlines and court appearances his image, to some, may be distorted and his sporting accolades overshadowed. For me, this is not the case. I have decided to separate man from athlete. The flawed and fallible Oscar will be tried and judged by the South African justice system while the inspired flag bearer will, in my eyes, remain a symbol of hope.
Call me naïve but I cannot allow this tragedy to steal the hope that his story offered. Whatever the outcome, I choose to hold onto the beacon that encouraged me to go beyond myself and strive to achieve the seemingly impossible.