WASHINGTON: Nike and Oakley, two American companies that were sponsors of Oscar Pistorius, have cut ties with the South African Olympic athletics hero in the wake of charges that he murdered his girlfriend.
The 26-year-old double amputee Paralympic champion known as “Blade Runner” became an inspiration to millions when he competed on carbon-fibre running blades against able-bodied athletes in the London Olympics last year.
But Pistorius now faces a charge of premeditated murder in the shooting of his 29-year-old girlfriend, model Reeva Steenkamp. If convicted, he would likely receive a life sentence behind bars.
Pistorius tearfully denied the charge yesterday, saying he shot through a bathroom door at what he thought was an intruder.
Pistorius earned millions of dollars in endorsements but the shocking murder charge that stunned the world saw billboards featuring his image being taken down soon after the news broke as sponsors backed away from him.
“Nike has no plans for Oscar Pistorius in upcoming campaigns,” a spokesman for the sporting goods and apparel manufacturer confirmed yesterday.
Tiger Woods, another Nike-backed athlete, retained the endorsement of the company during his infamous sex scandal.
Sunglasses maker Oakley ended its contract with Pistorius as well. AFP