A San Diego athlete who competed with and against an Olympic runner accused of killing his girlfriend said he is shocked to hear the news of his friend.
Oscar Pistorius, known as the “Blade Runner” for his high-tech artificial legs that were made here in San Diego, was arrested in South Africa Thursday morning for allegedly murdering his girlfriend.
Pistorius’ friend, San Diego's Marlon Shirley, was at one time the world's fastest amputee and went head to head with Pistorius in multiple races. They ran side by side in the 100 meter final at the Beijing Paralympics
Shirley - the two time defending gold medalist ruptured an Achilles tendon while Pistorius won the gold and went on to become a household name.
Pistorius and Shirley are friends that worked closely together with Ossur, the San Diego company which makes the carbon fiber blades for their legs.
Shirley said he saw the news on TV and was the most shocked he has ever been in his life.
"How would you expect to wake up or get online and see that the greatest Paralympic athlete is involved in such a tragedy,” he said.
Paralympic Long Jumper, Lex Gillette had a similar reaction after getting the news off Twitter.
"It definitely took me off guard, but we still have a lot of athletes out there who have a really big impact as well,” Gillette said. “There's a major part of me that hopes he didn't do it."
Shirley said he hopes the Paralympics and all of the good things they represent don't somehow suffer because of this. He also said the messenger may be flawed, but the actual message of overcoming obstacles and breaking barriers is not.