Olympian Oscar Pistorius, Charged With Murder, Breaks Down in Court

Oscar Pistorius
AFP/Getty Images

The South African athlete known as "Blade Runner" was booked Thursday for the shooting death of his girlfriend, model Reeva Steenkamp.

Olympic athlete Oscar Pistorius, who is charged with the murder of his girlfriend, broke down in tears during his appearance in a South African court on Friday.

The New York Times reports that Pistorius, 26, nicknamed "Blade Runner" for the prosthetic blades he sports on the track, sobbed while attorneys argued over whether a bail hearing postponed until Tuesday should be broadcast on TV. The prosecution intends to charge the athlete with "premeditated murder," said Gerrie Nell, a prosecutor on the case. 

Pistorius didn't enter a plea; his family, present in the courtroom, were also openly weeping, according to the Times.

STORY: Olympian Oscar Pistorius Charged With Girlfriend's Murder

Shocking people in his native South Africa, as well as fans throughout the world, Pistorius was booked on Thursday for the murder of Reeva Steenkamp, 30, a Cape Town-born model and law school graduate whom he had dated for several months. She was set to appear in a reality TV series.

Pistorius -- whose legs were both amputated below the knee when he was 11 months old -- is the first amputee track athlete to participate in any Olympic outing, qualifying last year for London's individual 400 and the 4x400 relay races. He's also a Paralympics gold medalist whose brand sponsorships have included Nike and Oakley.

Police discovered Steenkamp shot dead at Pistorius' home in a gated community in the city of Pretoria. According to Reuters (via NBC News), he fired at her four times through a bathroom door.

While media outlets initially reported that Pistorius might have accidentally shot Steenkamp because he thought she was an intruder, a South African police spokesperson said Thursday that authorities were "very surprised" about press coverage of the incident and that there was no evidence of forced entry. The spokesperson confirmed there had been prior reports of domestic violence at Pistorious' home and that authorities were talking to Pistorious' neighbors about the shooting. 

Twitter: @ErinLCarlson

Email: erin.carlson@thr.com