The Rundown

Shocks of the Year #1: Oscar Pistorius accused of murder

This year, sport has been rocked by a string of incredible happenings across all sports.

The Rundown has picked out the biggest seven stories among the multitude of scandals, surprises, outrages, revelations and horrors that we've seen in 2013, and will be counting them down between Christmas and New Year.

Shocks of the Year #2: The Boston Marathon Bombing

Shocks of the Year #3: Lance Armstrong comes clean about being dirty

Shocks of the Year #4: The racism storm that engulfed football

Shocks of the Year #5: Luis Suarez bites Branislav Ivanovic

Shocks of the Year #6: Alex Ferguson walks away from the game

Shocks of the Year #7: The literally explosive British Grand Prix
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Shocks of the Year #1: Oscar Pistorius accused of murder

When the news came through on the wires, we could scarcely believe it. One of the world's most famous athletes, and by far its most famous Paralympian, had been arrested on suspicion of killing his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp.

As the details filtered through, the story only seemed all the more extraordinary: reports of neighbours hearing a late night argument in the early hours of Valentine's Day; police leaks of bloody objects being recovered from around Pistorius's house; friends of Steenkamp telling in one breath of her happiness with the athlete, and in the other reporting his extreme jealousy; and at the heart of it all the most appalling detail of all in the form of a beautiful young girl with her life before her who lay dead after being shot several times through the bathroom door.

The subsequent developments in the case have at times been farcical: the shadows cast over the reputations of chief investigator Hilton Botha and his colleagues, which led to the resignation of Botha and his boss Colonel Schoombie van Rensburg; the ludicrously stringent initial bail conditions imposed by a Pretoria magistrate, which were swiftly overturned on appeal; and the endless documentaries about Steenkamp, suggesting everything from infidelity to pregnancy, invariably without anything so quaint as evidence to back up the claims.

But despite all that, and the fact that we are now over 10 months on, the story is no easier to digest, despite the hours of TV rolling reports and acres of newspaper coverage afford to the case.

Pistorius had been a genuine icon. He had turned his double amputation into a source of power and strength in his life. He had fought tirelessly against international athletics authorities for years in order to win the right to race against elite athletes at the very top level. He had then justified his belief in himself by proving that he was worthy of his place at the top table of sport, earning a silver medal in the 4x400m relay at the World Championships in 2011. And he had managed his image brilliantly throughout, branding himself as the 'Blade Runner', smouldering movie star looks, high-tech legs and perennial underdog status to become a genuine superstar – winning a fame so great that he was for a long time the face of BT's broadband advertising in Britain, a country five thousand miles away from his homeland.

The Oscar Pistorius story has yet to be concluded: a trial date is set for March 2014, where he will argue that he believed Steenkamp to be a burglar hiding in the bathroom. But whatever the outcome of those proceedings, Pistorius's life story – when it inevitably comes to be written - will no longer be about a man's life in running. It'll be about a man running for his life.

Toby Keel