June 2004, the Athens Games relay: Nelson Mandela with the Olympic flame on Robben Island // photo: Getty Images


Remembering Nelson Mandela

LAUSANNE, Switzerland — The Olympic Games produce moments. Those moments become memories. Those memories inspire the hopes and dreams of generations.

At the 1992 Barcelona Summer Games, Derartu Tulu of Ethiopia would win the women’s 10,000-meter run, the first black African female gold medalist in Olympic history. After Tulu crossed the finish line, it took Elana Meyer, a white South African, almost six seconds more to get there. A few more steps past the finish line, Mayer found Tulu. They kissed. Then, hand-in-hand, they ran together, black and white, first and second, yes, but equals in sport and spirit, symbols of hope and possibility for South Africa, for all of Africa, indeed the world.

The U.S. men's biathlon team celebrates Tim Burke's silver // photo courtesy Nordic Focus and U.S. Biathlon


Tim Burke’s historic silver medal

There are moments in sports when all the hard work, the dreams, the belief without evidence — it all pays off.

It finally happened Thursday for Tim Burke and the U.S. men’s biathlon team at the world championships in Nove Mesto, in the Czech Republic.


Oscar Pistorius and the power of will

DAEGU, South Korea — It took 45 seconds, more or less, for Oscar Pistorius to show the world, again and emphatically, that sport holds no barriers to the power of will.

Running on prosthetic devices that he puts on the way able-bodied athletes slip on shoes, Pistorius, the South African whose lower legs were amputated when he was a baby, turned 400 meters at the track and field world championships in 45.39 seconds, third-fastest in his heat, plenty fast to move him into Monday’s semifinal.