A peek into Oscar Pistorius's personality via his handwriting

February 22, 2013, in Pretoria, South Africa. Pistorius is accused of the murder of Reeva Steenkamp on February 14, 2013.  This marks day 4 of his bail hearing (Photo by Alet Pretorius/Foto24/Gallo Images/Getty Images)

The subject of this handwriting analysis is Oscar Pistorius, who has been in the news recently for all the wrong reasons (for allegedly killing his model girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp). To clarify, the purpose of this article is not to dissect the current situation but to analyse Pistorius’s personality.

Oscar Pistorius in court after he was accused of the murder of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp.

With the media always looking to cash in on the vulnerable situations of celebrities, just to gain eyeballs, it often puts in a lot of negativity into already complex situations. My attempt here is to maintain the balance by providing a different perspective. And that can only be done if we first understand the various facets of his personality better.

This article is the first of a two-part series and I attempt to scratch the personality surface more deeply in the next article to provide a perspective on the current situation, that is, ‘did Oscar intentionally pull the trigger on his girlfriend?’ The answer to that question will be the focus of the next article, but for now let’s enjoy the basics of what made Oscar a huge figure in the athletics world.

Who is Oscar Pistorius?

- Oscar Leonard Carl Pistorius is a South African sprinter.

- Although both of Pistorius’ legs were amputated below the knee when he was 11 months old, he competes in events for single below-knee amputees and for able-bodied athletes.

- At the 2011 World Athletics Championships, Pistorius became the first amputee to win an able-bodied world track medal.

- At the 2012 Summer Olympics, Pistorius became the first double-leg amputee to participate in the Olympics when he entered the men’s 400 metres and 4×400 metres relay races.

- Oscar was a reluctant runner earlier in his life. He was a rugby player in his early days, but a serious injury “forced” him into running.

The handwriting sample:

Courtesy: http://insidemybraintoday.tumblr.com

The source:

The handwriting sample being analyzed here was in the news last month, primarily doing the rounds across news sites where some handwriting analysts claimed to have found a few reasons behind Oscar’s behavior.

This ‘thank you’ note penned by Pistorius was uploaded onto a fan’s blog sometime back. Since this handwriting sample made so much news and was so visible, I assume it’s real. I usually do not trust the samples available on the internet unless they are backed by serious data and information.

The handwriting analysis:

The handwriting and signature sample as present in the image gives us a lot of personality information. But in the interest of time and the size of the analysis, I will restrict myself to the major personality areas.

Low self-esteem:

One aspect of Pistorius’ personality that surprised me the most was his low self-esteem, which is quite evident from his sample. The reason it surprised me was that most achievers that I have assessed and analyzed have high self-esteem as a common personality trait. Oscar is a clear exception. Self-esteem is a soft skill that has maximum bearing on other (soft) skills a person possesses. It’s the overall value one gives to oneself. Some characteristics of people with low self-esteem are:

- They are harder on themselves than they really need to be.- They fear failure and fear change that could bring failure.- Most of the time they think about themselves and their imperfections, and they constantly question their worth.- They tend to find themselves stuck in negative situations for far too long.

After having gone through his biography, there are several aspects that come to my mind regarding his low self-esteem. Born with deformed feet, his parents pursued his case with doctors worldwide, and eventually settled on the decision that his legs had to amputated. Their doctor advised them to act fast; that way he would have them amputated even before he learned to walk and would never experience the role of his feet, thus making it easier for him to adjust to the artificial legs.

As a result, his legs were amputated when he was not even a year old. Though he had a very good support system, constant reminders that he lacked something could have contributed to his low self-esteem.


In the handwriting sample that I studied, there was one instance where I could notice persistence. If there is one cornerstone of Oscar’s success, it is his persistence. To suffer all that he has and achieve what he has, persistence would have to be one of his strongest traits. That never-give-up attitude is reflected in various instances of his life.

His parents instilled the belief in him to never give up. It is quite evident in his stories of childhood, when he almost always played sports with the able-bodied kids.

Even when he was competing in the able-bodied athletics championships, he had to face a lot of difficulties to get used to the running stance. He had difficulties perfecting the running stance as he was unable to feel the blocks due to his prosthesis. But he overcame this with a great deal of practice. This is another example of his persistence.

Also, the IAAF almost disqualified him from participating in able-bodied events taking into consideration the results of tests done that proved his prosthesis gave him an unfair advantage. But with the help of his support system, he went through the painful process of another series of tests, contested the ruling and won. All this could not have been possible had he lacked persistence.

Fierce ability to focus:

Oscar has a great ability to focus on the activity at hand. He has the ability to eliminate his distractions and thoughts, and concentrate fully on one subject. And when he does so, he becomes oblivious to everything around him.

 Oscar Pistorius of South Africa competes in the Men's 400m Semi Final on Day 9 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium on August 5, 2012 in London, England.  (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)

Blade Runner: Oscar Pistorius of South Africa competes in the Men’s 400m Semi Final on Day 9 of the London 2012 Olympic Games.

Oscar has been into sports all his life. It was only around 2004 that he got into running (mostly by accident). To focus on just one sport and curb his tendency to cycle, wrestle, play rugby and become as good as he eventually became needed focus. In his case, the ability to focus has been extraordinary. Becoming a world-class athlete requires a great deal of discipline, and that is hard to come by if one does not have the right kind of focus.

In his biography, he talks about his mindset during training, which again is a strong reflection of his single-minded devotion to his craft:

“The minute I wake up in the morning, I start thinking about my training, about my preparation, about concentrating on being quicker. Everything I do, in my day and in my life, is centered on training and running hard.”

Dominating nature:

A person who is dominant likes to be in control and likes the feeling of being in control. He likes to take charge of the situation. Oscar’s handwriting indicates that he has a strong urge to dominate and take control, a trait that is vividly seen in his exploits on the track.

Positive orientation:

I don’t think Oscar could have achieved what he has on the track without being a positive thinker. This aspect of his personality is very evident in his handwriting as well as his signature. He says in his biography:

“People often ask me what it is like to have artificial limbs but I’m unable to answer that question. My prostheses are my legs, I have never known others and so I invert their question and ask them to explain to me how it feels to have legs. One should try to celebrate, or at least enjoy, what one cannot change”.

This reflects his positive thinking even in situations where most people would have chosen to given up or even succumbed to their fate.

Emotional intensity and objectivity:

Oscar has very deep and enduring feelings. Any emotional situation or feeling will stay with him for a long time. He may forgive, but finds it hard to forget.

In addition, he is objective and given to evaluating facts before taking decisions. At his best, he is quite non-judgemental.

His biography states quite a few instances of how his mother’s untimely demise left a mark on his personality. By his brother’s narration, the passing away of his mother brought in more focus to his life and that incident made him more inwardly focused towards his goals. He went through a quiet transition during this phase of his life and let all the energy out on the field.

Stay tuned for the second part of this analysis!

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Edited by Staff Editor
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