Ossur hf, the Icelandic company that manufactures the running blades used by Oscar Pistorius, said it would consider resuming ties with the paralympian if he is acquitted of charges that he murdered his girlfriend.
“Everything is possible in that regard,” Sveinn Solvason, Ossur’s chief financial officer, said yesterday by phone. “I don’t want to rule anything out. We just have to see how these things develop. We’ll just have to evaluate the position as time goes by.”
Pistorius, a six-time Paralympic gold medalist known as the blade runner because of the Ossur prosthetics he uses, has pleaded not guilty to the charge of intentionally killing model Reeva Steenkamp in his bathroom. The 27-year-old double-amputee says he thought she was an intruder when he shot her through a toilet cubicle. The prosecution alleges he shot Steenkamp three times after the couple had an argument.
The defense last week highlighted police errors at the crime scene. Former investigator Schoombie van Rensburg said in his testimony that one policeman handled a gun without gloves, while the police officers and their bags were searched after a watch disappeared from the scene.
The murder charges have wrecked Pistorius’s career and Ossur said on Friday it had joined Nike Inc. and Luxottica Group SpA’s Oakley in dropping sponsorship deals with him. Ossur’s main office in the Icelandic capital has also removed all images of Pistorius that once adorned its walls.
Though Ossur sponsors a “large group” of athletes with disabilities, Pistorius “had a different status,” Solvason said. “He was a world famous athlete and we perhaps did more for him than for others.”
The athlete, who also faces three gun charges, has been free on 1 million rand ($93,000) bail. Judge Thokozile Masipa will give a final judgment after the trial, which is being broadcast live on radio and TV, because South Africa doesn’t have a jury system.
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