By Ann Liguori
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How many of us in the sports broadcasting world spoke of Oscar Pistorius’ inspirational journey to the Olympics last summer where the double-amputee sprinter gained international prominence and seemingly inspired all who watched as he competed on his carbon fiber blades?

How many who watched were amazed and inspired by the overcoming of his disability to achieve such status?
How many pulled for the ‘Blade Runner’ to do well and give hope to millions?

We have heard of his humility. We have heard of his work with various charities. We could see the result of his perseverance and determination on the track. But do we really know anything about him or what goes on inside the head of any of our so-called role models and heroes?

Our sport’s icons, those whose successful careers push them to the top of that recognition sphere, are shocking and disappointing us at a rapid pace these days. From Joe Paterno’s downfall to Lance Armstrong’s over-due admissions, the so-called greats in sports are proving far too human and flawed.

And now this Pistorius case. A horrific ending to Reeva Steenkamp’s young life. Tragedy for her family and for all who knew her. Shock and disbelief. Unbearable sadness. Many unanswered questions. And no matter what happens in the trial, nobody can bring her back.

How can her family be consoled?

Pistorius’ life, regardless of the outcome of the trial, will never be the same.

What a tragedy for someone who had the ability to inspire so many, who had worked so hard to seemingly have it all despite having no legs. But that’s all history now.

And for all of us who watched and marveled last summer – feelings of emptiness and sadness abound.

Which sports icon had the worst ‘fall from grace?’ Let us know what you think in the comments section below…