However, despite that, the double-amputee blade-runner from South Africa did not lose his eight Paralympic medals – six gold, a silver and a bronze.
Pistorius’s is a classic case to quote in relation to the two Olympic medals won by Indian wrestler Sushil Kumar, who is one of the accused in a murder case involving a young wrestler.
It can be safely said that the medals won’t be taken away from Sushil by the International Olympic Committee, regardless of the outcome of the current investigation and any future trial. There is no precedent of athletes losing their Olympic medals after being involved in a criminal offence.
The Olympic Charter, which is also followed by the Paralympics, mentions violations related to “Olympic Charter, the World Anti-Doping Code, or of any other decision or applicable regulation issued by the IOC or any IF (International Federation) or NOC (National Olympic Committee), including but not limited to the IOC Code of Ethics, the Olympic Movement Code on the Prevention of Manipulation of Competitions or of any applicable public law or regulation, or in case of any form of misbehaviour.”
Mentioned in Chapter 6 (Measures and Sanctions, Disciplinary Procedures and Dispute Resolution) of the charter, point 2.1 says that individual competitors or teams found in breach of the above can face “temporary or permanent ineligibility or exclusion from the Olympic Games, disqualification or withdrawal of accreditation.”
It adds: “In the case of disqualification or exclusion, the medals and diplomas obtained in relation to the relevant infringement of the Olympic Charter shall be returned to the IOC. In addition, at the discretion of the IOC Executive Board, a competitor or a team may lose the benefit of any ranking obtained in relation to other events at the Olympic Games at which he or it was disqualified or excluded. In such a case, the medals and diplomas won by him or it shall be returned to the IOC (Executive Board).
No mention of a criminal offence is made in the Charter.
For the record, Sushil is the only Indian to win two individual Olympic medals. He won a bronze medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and followed it up with a silver at the 2012 London Games.
However, the status of Sushil’s national honours, including the Padma Shri, Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna and Arjuna, will be up to the discretion of the President of India and the Ministry of Sports in case he is found guilty in the murder trial.
According to the statutes of the Padma Awards: “The President may cancel and annul the award of the decoration to any person and thereupon his name shall be erased from the Register and he shall be required to surrender the decoration and the Sanad. But it shall be competent for the President to restore the decoration and the Sanad and to withdraw the orders of cancellation and annulment.”
Former Home Secretary N Gopalaswami had earlier told TOI – “After a chargesheet is filed, the award may be cancelled by the President. If at all he is acquitted later, the orders cancelling the award can always be withdrawn.”
Sushil was awarded the Padma Shri in 2011, Khel Ratna in 2009 and the Arjuna award in 2006.