News / Africa

Pistorius Pulls Out of Major Races; Sponsor Pulls Ads

South Africa's Oscar Pistorius is seen after a race in London, September 5, 2012.South Africa's Oscar Pistorius is seen after a race in London, September 5, 2012.
x
South Africa's Oscar Pistorius is seen after a race in London, September 5, 2012.
South Africa's Oscar Pistorius is seen after a race in London, September 5, 2012.
TEXT SIZE - +
Anita Powell
— South Africa Olympian Oscar Pistorius’ murder trial could take months, but the court of public opinion ruled within a day. One of his major South African sponsors pulled a campaign featuring the running superstar just hours after Pistorius’ girlfriend was found shot dead at his home. His agent announced the runner would be canceling all future races. Other sponsors have been careful to not say what they plan to do. But if the fates of other fallen athletes are any indication, Pistorius’ financial prospects are grim.
 
Among the crowd that squeezed itself into a packed courthouse for Oscar Pistorius’ initial hearing Friday was one silver-haired man who stared pensively ahead.
 
That may have been because of all the people in that room, he might be the one with the second biggest amount to lose.
 
It was Pistorius’ agent, Peet van Zyl.
 
On Sunday, van Zyl said Pistorius would be dropping out of five races scheduled through late May in Australia, the United States, Brazil and Britain. Those races were expected to help Pistorius get in peak physical shape for the world championships in August.
 
Van Zyl refused to discuss Pistorius’ state of mind after he visited him late Sunday in his cell at a Pretoria police station. But he said the runner - who rose to fame for his incredible athletic feats as a double amputee - still has lots of supporters.
 
“I can tell you that we have had overwhelming support for Oscar from a lot of fans on a global scale, really on a global scale. South African fans, international fans, from literally all over the world. He knows it. I have given him that message. Obviously, from a management side and also as a friend, it’s tragic circumstances and events that have unfolded and we can only give Oscar our support at this point in time.”
 
Van Zyl said most of Pistorius’ sponsors are sticking with him and waiting for the legal process to continue.
 
Pistorius is the world’s highest paid Paralympic athlete. Most of his income comes from lucrative sponsorships, including deals with Nike, sunglasses brand Oakley, and fashion designer Thierry Mugler, which gave him a perfume deal. He’s reportedly made $4.7 million dollars in such deals.
 
One exception is South African satellite provider M-Net, which acted within hours of the news, announcing on Twitter that it would pull its entire campaign “out of respect and sympathy to the bereaved.”
 
Workers around Johannesburg were seen Thursday tearing down M-Net billboards featuring Pistorius’ face.
 
A representative of Nike, the runner’s most prominent sponsor, refused to comment on the company’s plans. South Africa-based spokeswoman Seruscka Naidoo said “as the incident is a police matter, Nike will not comment further at this time.”
 
Other sports figures have lost deals in the wake of scandals. Most similar to Pistorius’ case was that of American football player OJ Simpson, who lost his lucrative ad deals after being charged with murdering his ex-wife. The sponsors did not come back after he was acquitted in 1995.
 
American cyclist Lance Armstrong lost many of his sponsors after admitting to doping and losing his seven Tour de France titles.
 
And golfer Tiger Woods was dropped in 2009 by many of his sponsors amid allegations he cheated on his wife.

Additional reporting by Peter Cox in Pretoria

You May Like

Wikipedia Proves Useful for Tracking Flu

Technique gave better results than Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Google’s Flu Trends More

Turkish Law Gives Spy Agency Controversial Powers

Parliament approves legislation to bolster powers of intelligence service, which government claims is necessary to modernize and deal with new threats Turkey faces More

Video Face of American Farmer Changing

Average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Face of American Farmer is Changingi
X
Mike Osborne
April 18, 2014
The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid