Olympic athlete Oscar Pistorius, one of the highest-profile athletes at London's Paralympic and Olympic games this past summer, may harbor a darker side, several pre-Olympic interviews reveal.
Pistorius, 26, was charged with the murder of his girlfriend, model Reeva Steenkamp, on Thursday, Feb. 14, after Steenkamp was found shot to death in the athlete's apartment in the early hours of the morning. And reports are now surfacing that Pistorius, who was previously hailed as a national hero in his native South Africa, may not have been as golden as previously thought.
Pistorius, who took home the silver medal at the London Games, sat down with OMG! Insider during the London Olympics, and spoke about his interest in firearms.
"It's just fun, really," he told the site at the time. "I grew up in South Africa and we do a lot of hunting and I really enjoy that side, so it's a good sport. [It's] something I've really taken an interest in."
According to the Associated Press, Pistorius owned firearms and once tweeted a photograph of himself at a shooting range back in November 2011 with the now-chilling caption: "Had a 96% headshot over 300m from 50shots! Bam!"
A 9 mm pistol was recovered at the scene of Thursday's crime.
In the January 2012 issue of New York Times Magazine, the athlete also detailed how he had pulled out a pistol to search his home when his security alarm went off just prior to the interview. At his suggestion, he and the journalist later went to a nearby target range to squeeze off a few rounds.
When asked how often he went target shooting, Pistorius replied, "Just sometimes when I can't sleep."
The runner's former coach, Andrea Giannini, tells the AP that he hopes the whole situation was "just a tragic accident."
"No matter how bad the situation was, Oscar always stayed calm and positive," he told the AP in Italy. "Whenever he was tired or nervous he was still extremely nice to people. I never saw him violent."
Pistorius and Steenkamp, 30, had been dating for several months, and police spokeswoman Brigadier Denise Beukes told the AP that there has recently been a string of complaints involving Pistorius, "allegations of domestic nature."
"I'm not going to elaborate on it but there have been incidents [at Pistorius' home]," she said. The report is a far cry from the couple that Sarit Tomlinson, Steenkamp's publicist, remembers.
"[They had] a healthy, fabulous relationship," she told Sky News.
Just last year, Pistorius sat down with legendary journalist Larry King, and talk turned to his then-new relationship with Steenkamp.
"Do you want a family?" King asked the Olympic athlete.
"Oh, I think that's probably one of the greatest things in the world," Pistorius answered with a smile.
"Are you dating anyone?" the talk show host followed up.
"Yeah, I am seeing someone but it's in the early stages," Pistorius said at the time, "but she's the one for good."