Oscar Pistorius, the double-amputee sprinter from South Africa, was once considered the greatest Paralympian of all time. Running on carbon-fiber legs, he racked up gold medals, broke world records, and became known simply as The Blade Runner. He inspired millions of people around the world, and was celebrated as a hero in his home country. In 2012, he made history as the first amputee sprinter to compete at the Olympic Games.
Then, just six months later, he shot and killed his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp.
False Idol re-examines Pistorius’ rise and fall, telling the story through the eyes of the people whose lives he irrevocably changed along the way. Journalist Tim Rohan traces Pistorius’ path to infamy, deconstructs his heroic image, and remembers the life of Reeva Steenkamp, as he tries to understand how a tragedy like her death could have happened.
Introducing Man in the Arena: Haters
America’s collective adoration of the underdog means that people love to hate Tom Brady. In the world of sports, hatred is inevitable, so why are haters always gonna hate? And in the context of sports, could hate be a positive thing? What might it take to change one fan’s mind?
This is the third episode of the Man in the Arena podcast, now available on this platform or wherever you get your podcasts.
This episode features: 12-year-old viral Brady-hater Ace Davis, Asst. Prof. of Psychology at Univ. of Central Arkansas Marc Sestir, and Chad Neidt, the Broncos fan who wrote the “FU Tom Brady” song.
Thanks to Chad Neidt, Brandon Perna & ThatsGoodSports, 12:05 AM Productions, LLC / Jimmy Kimmel Live! and Lex 18 News for the clips used in this episode.
Crushed Bonus: The New Steroid Problem
Joan Niesen, the host of Crushed, is back with a bonus episode exploring baseball’s latest steroid controversy. Find the entire seven-part series in season one of this feed.
Today, on the rare occasion that a pro baseball player tests positive for anabolic steroids, it’s widely assumed that he’s a cheater and few people ever pause to consider that there might be more to the story. But, is there? What if testing has gotten too good, and MLB policy has gotten too rigid? And what if innocent players are seeing their careers derailed as a result?
False Idol: Culpability
Would Pistorius be convicted of murder? Finally, Judge Thokozile Masipa delivered her verdict, and it drew a visceral reaction from across South Africa. Afterward, how would the Steenkamp family, the prosecution team, and the Paralympic community move on?
False Idol: Swart Gevaar
During his murder trial, Pistorius claimed he’d mistaken Reeva for an intruder, when he shot her in his home. He listed instances where he’d been the victim of crime. But for many South Africans, there was a coded message in Pistorius’ words –– the fear of black people invading white people’s homes. They even have a term for this fear: Swart Gevaar.
False Idol: Ready to Run?
Pistorius was arrested and charged with murder, and prosecutors Gerrie Nel and Andrea Johnson took the case. Nel and Johnson reviewed the crime scene, the evidence, the witness testimony, and were of the opinion that Pistorius killed Reeva on purpose. They viewed this as a case of gender-based violence, in a country where such crimes are sadly common.
False Idol: Reeva
In this episode, we remember the life of Reeva Steenkamp. She was an activist, a mentor, an aspiring lawyer, and a model whose career was about to take off. Her future was looking bright, when she met Pistorius in the Fall of 2012. Then three months later, he shot her dead in his home.