In the wake of Oscar Pistorius being acquitted of murder, the International Paralympic Committee said Friday that the South African runner is welcome to compete at the Olympic Games in Rio 2016. The comments come after the man known as Blade Runner was subsequently found guilty of the lesser charge of manslaughter and is likely to be given a sentence longer than the 22 months between his sentencing on Oct. 13, 2014, and the opening ceremony on Aug. 5, 2016.
"We wouldn't stand in his way," said IPC spokesman Craig Spence as he praised the runners impact on Paralympic sport during a BBC interview Friday.
Pistorius, who won six gold medals, was the first amputee sprinter to compete at the Olympics.
While the organization said that its thoughts were with Reeva Steenkamp’s family, it also said that it would not block Pistorius competing at Rio if had served his sentence.
"Providing he serves his sentence then he will be free to compete in IPC competitions going forward," Spence told BBC chief sports correspondent Dan Roan.
"Oscar would need to decide first whether he wanted to compete and then he would need to be selected by the South African National Paralympic Committee. "If he had served any punishment given to him before Rio then the ball would be in his court."
However, even if Pistorius was available and was selected by the South African Olympic Committee, he would find it difficult to reach the required standard of fitness, said Paralympian Baroness Tanni-Grey Thompson in a BBC interview.
"He'll have missed a chunk of time training and competing," added the 11-time Paralympic gold medallist. "His sponsors aren't there anymore … financially he's in a very difficult position."