Oscar Pistorius Can Still Be an Olympian Despite Homicide Conviction

PHOTO: South Africas Oscar Pistorius in the mens 400m - T44 final at the London 2012 Paralympic Games at the Olympic Stadium in London, Sept. 8, 2012.PlayBen Stansall/AFP/Getty Images
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Sprinter Oscar Pistorius, who was convicted of culpable homicide after a marathon trial, is still eligible to represent South Africa in the Olympics and the paralympics, officials from both sports bodies have ruled.

The only catch may be whether Pistorius is in prison at the time of the competitions, they said.

Pistorius, 27, has won six gold medals in three Paralympic Games_" target="_blank">Paralympic Games. The next games would be held in 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Pistorius was such a powerful runner on his prosthetics that he was dubbed the Blade Runner and won the right to compete in the regular Olympics as well.

He was convicted earlier this month for the shooting death of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp in 2012 and a sentencing hearing will begin on Oct. 13. His sentence possibilities range from a maximum of 15 years to a fine and a suspended sentence.

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The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) and the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee(SASCOC) said the conviction will not prevent Pistorius from competing.

"As he stands right now, he is free (to compete) and can do as long as the judge in his case allows it,” SASCOC chief executive Tubby Reddy told the Associated Press.

The IPC said Pistorius will be allowed to compete if he qualifies. “Providing he serves his sentence and he wants to compete, and if selected by the South African National Paralympic Committee, he will be free to compete in IPC competitions going forward,” IPC spokesman Craig Spence said.

Spence said Pistorius, who had both legs amputated as a child, could not be denied the right to compete again. "We have to differentiate between sport and what's gone on in his private life,” Spence said.

Pistorius is not looking ahead to racing yet, his spokeswoman told ABC News.

"There is absolutely no talk about competing at this stage. It would be premature and inappropriate to talk about, or even think about, returning to the track, until the sentencing is behind us," spokeswoman Anneliese Burgess said.

An aide said Pistorius is only training at a gym at the moment and has not spent any time on the track since his trial started in March.

In another blow for the man dubbed the Blade Runner, the world's largest athletic shoe and apparel maker, Nike, terminated its endorsement contract with Pistorius after suspending it in February last year.