B y Ange Ngu Thomas
One time South African para-olympic sporting hero Oscar Pistorius will have a difficult time re-branding and getting any type of acceptability around the world. His close associates are doing everything to get a small measure of the worldwide recognition he once enjoyed but after the 26 year old athlete was arrested for alledgly shooting and killing his model girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, he is being given the cold shoulder by most sporting bodies.
Technically, he can now travel abroad to participate in races after a south African court lifted his bail conditions but that will depend on him getting invitations to compete and nobody appears to be keen to have him. British athletics is refusing to comment if Pistorius will be invited for the London anniversary games billed for July 27th. No invitation has been sent out to him even though nothing stops British athletics from inviting Oscar.
The International Athlethis Federation,(IAAF) the sports governing body maintains that only local organizers have the prerogative to invite Pistorius for any competitions, technically meaning it washes its hands off meddling in any invitations that might be sent to Pistorius. The IAAF has not invited Pistorius for any of it’s 2013 events. Oscar’s family has denied claims the athlete was trainning to attend international competitions.
Re-branding a tainted brand.
Pistorius media team is doing everything now to rebrand the flawed athlete but that is proving difficult mainly because he still has to stand trial for murder and though South African law says you are innocent until proven guilty, there is no doubt in his case because he has accepted he shot Reeva. His defence is that he thought she was an intruder. His official website has now been re-branded. The last statement on his website dated March 12 reads “ Oscar Pistorius is in deep mourning but despite the tragic circumstanmces he is certainly not suicidal, as has been rumoured. The family spokesman, Oscar’s uncle Arnold Pistorius says oscar has an excellent support structure in his family”,
Out of the family though, he appears to have very little sympathy. All his sponsors have tacitly withdrawn their support from BT to Nike to French fashion designers Thierry Mugler.
Once, nobody could touch him. Oscar Pistorius was the golden boy of South Africa. After former president Nelson Mandela, Oscar was one of the most famous figures in South Africa because he triumphed in a world that loves sporting heroes. On February 14th, all lovers day; Oscar stopped loving. South African police arrested him on allegations of murdering his model girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.
Like Lance Armstrong and Tiger Woods, Oscar Pistorius is now a tainted brand. Unlike the former stars, it will be impossible for Oscar to regain his former glory because there is a dead body involved in his downfall. The other two have only drugs and women to manage. You can’t manage a dead body. You cannot bring back a life.
Though close associates, a fiercely loyal family and a renowned media company are still trying to re-brand Oscar, it will be impossible for him to ever regain his former glory. Even an acquittal in his July trial might not be enough to bring back any sparkle to his run. The London Olympics was probably Oscar’s last hurrah.