ESPN to release four-part '30 for 30' on rise and fall of Oscar Pistorius

After the blockbuster success of “The Last Dance,” ESPN has its next multi-part documentary on the way.

ESPN will release a four-part “30 for 30” this fall covering the life of South African sprinter Oscar Pistorius via ESPN+, according to Awful Announcing. The series will be entitled “The Life And Times of Oscar Pistorius.”

Oscar Pistorius was a South African hero, then a villain

Oscar Pistorius appears in the High Court, for sentencing proceedings, Tuesday, June 14, 2016 in Pretoria, South Africa. An appeals court found Pistorius guilty of murder, and not culpable homicide, for the shooting death of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp. (Kim Ludbrook/Pool Photo via AP)
There haven't been many falls from grace quicker than Oscar Pistorius in the sports world. (Kim Ludbrook/Pool Photo via AP)

Pistorius’ story needs little introduction for many sports fans. Pistorius rose to international fame years ago as a double amputee that managed to qualify for the Olympics thanks to a pair of prosthetics, then fell from grace after the shooting of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, for which he was convicted of culpable homicide in 2014.

Per ESPN’s release via Awful Announcing, the documentary will cover both Pistorius’ rise and fall:

An international hero who had inspired millions with his determination and refusal to be denied the chance he felt he deserved—suddenly in the midst of a murder investigation. And the circus that ensued around the tragedy made just as many headlines as his initial rise to glory.

That is the tale of Oscar Pistorius, a saga told definitively in director Daniel Gordon’s four-part “30 for 30” film The Life and Trials of Oscar Pistorius.

Beginning with the confusing, stunning turn of events in the wee hours of February 14, 2013, when Pistorius’s girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp was shot in his home in Pretoria, South Africa, the film flashes back to chronicle Pistorius’s incredible rise from a toddler who had both his undeveloped legs amputated to overnight teenage phenomenon at the 2004 Athens Paralympics. Shattering records and convention, the “Blade Runner” then went on a quest to compete against able-bodied athletes at the Olympics, one that ultimately concluded triumphantly at the 2013 London Games. But less than a year later, he’d be in a South African courtroom, accused of murdering Steenkamp after an argument.

Pistorius has been in South African prison since 2016 and will remain there for a while after his six-year sentence was doubled to 13 years in 2017.

This isn’t the first time someone has tried to bring Pistorius’ story to the small screen, as Lifetime’s “Oscar Pistorius: Blade Runner Killer” was aired on South African television in 2017 without the consent of either Pistorius or Steenkamp’s family. Pistorius’ family has since taken legal action against the movie’s creators.

ESPN has covered controversial and criminal (alleged or not) sports figures before with its “30 for 30” series, most notably O.J. Simpson in the Oscar-winning “O.J.: Made in America.” The network is coming off a string of successes with “The Last Dance” and other “30 for 30” docs last spring, which were all moved up to take advantage of their viewers’ coronavirus-fueled isolation.

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