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Two former members of Oscar Pistorius’s management team believe the Blade Runner has a monumental role to play regardless of the outcome of his murder trial.
Former agent Ray Wicksell and lawyer Wergele McKenzie, who met the Pretoria News exclusively on the eve of the first anniversary of the Valentine’s Day killing of Reeva Steenkamp, are convinced Oscar’s story is yet to be completed and his mental fortitude will help him overcome his current adversity.
Although he was no longer Pistorius’s agent, Wicksell said they were in regular contact until a few days before the shooting.
“He was at my house three days before the incident with a friend, but since then we have not really spoken. We ran into each other three weeks ago at a shopping complex. “He stood in front of my car. He was unshaven and had a cap on and at first I did not recognise him. Then I realised who it was and I got out of my car and we gave each other a big hug. His spirits were low and you could see he was not himself,” said Wicksell.
American-born Wicksell, who is a former long-distance runner, said that apart from the alleged murder, Pistorius was one of the most affable athletes in the country who inspired millions.
“Oscar was one of the most well-mannered and friendly people I know. I think he represented more that just athletics. He showed people how to overcome and become champions,” Wicksell said.
McKenzie said Pistorius could still inspire the world with his life story. “I think he’s got the mentality and the guts to overcome most of his challenges. I think he, like everyone else, deserves a second chance. He’s done a lot of good the world over. He has motivated many people the world over. And he made disabled people feel as if they are normal and they can compete with normal people. And he can still continue to inspire people,” the lawyer said.
McKenzie and Wicksell met Pistorius while he was at Pretoria Boys High School and his career was just starting to take off. Between 2003 and 2004, the two handled the Olympian’s affairs during his steady rise in popularity.
Wicksell spoke of the great plans he had then for his former client.
“I used to tell him you should be focusing on motivational talks all over the world; sharing his life and experiences with other people. Everyone in the world used to love him. He would actually go out there and be with the people. There are not too many sporting heroes who do that. You don’t see them out at malls signing autographs, or in training yet still giving his time to the fans. Oscar did all those things. And I would have loved for him to be giving back. I think he could have taught us a lot about mental preparation, and goal setting,” said Wicksell.
Having parted amicably with each pursuing personal interests after Oscar’s high school years, McKenzie said had he remained Pistorius’s lawyer he would probably have been extensively involved in his criminal case staring next month.
McKenzie, who has had no contact with Pistorius for some years, said there was one thing that could not be taken away from him: “I think his foundation will be his legacy. No matter what happens to him, his name will always remain.”