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Oscar Pistorius achieves Olympic dream, advances to 400-meter semifinal (+video)

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America's Sanya Richards-Ross, who runs in the women's 400, has similar words. "He's not only an amazing athlete, but such a great person," she said at a pre-Olympics media summit. "Whenever you're around him, he's so positive."

Even in the glow of a life's ambition fulfilled Saturday, that optimistic effusiveness sought to share its joy with others. Without the hint of a complaint at being waylaid by the press, he admitted that he really would like to go watch replays of some of his friends' heats in the 400, "so I can send them messages."

With every word, he spins himself more into the fabric of the Olympics. Who embodies the ennobling strife of sport more than Oscar Pistorius, someone who became a double amputee at age 1?

He said: "My mother always said, 'It's not the person who gets involved and comes in last [that loses], it's the person who never gets involved."

Who embodies the ideal of athletic fellowship and joy more than Oscar Pistorius?

He said: We work so hard everyday, and on days like this you reward yourself by doing well. It shouldn't be a burden."

Who, really, deserves to be at the Olympics more than Oscar Pistorius?

Saturday gave its own answer, though the broader questions raised by Pistorius's participation will remain. 

Science suggests that for able-bodied sprinters, speed is not generated by moving your legs faster – virtually everyone from Usain Bolt to Bob Costas moves their legs through the air at the same rate. Rather, speed comes from applying greater force when your foot hits the ground. Olympic legend Jesse Owens essentially had it figured out when he said: “I let my feet spend as little time on the ground as possible. From the air, fast down, and from the ground, fast up.”

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