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Oscar Pistorius, who is facing a charge of premeditated murder of his girlfriend, might never have achieved his hero status in South Africa had it not been for his late mother Sheila.
The 26-year-old last year became the first double amputee to compete in the Olympics, but only after a long battle with athletics governing body the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) had seen him prevail.
While his then 89-year-old grandmother was in the stands to watch his moment of history when he competed in the 400 metres in London, Pistorius said afterwards he would probably never have bothered to persist in his desire to compete at the Games had he not taken on board some of his mother's principles.
His mother and father had taken the traumatic decision for Pistorius to have both his legs amputated below the knee before he was one, because of a congenital condition.
"I thought about my mother a lot today," said Pistorius, who was devastated when she died in 2002, after his Olympic run.
"She was a bit of a hardcore person. She didn't take no for an answer.
"She always said the loser isn't the person that gets involved and comes last but it's the person that doesn't get involved in the first place."
Pistorius, who has had little contact with his father Henke since his parents divorced when he was a young boy - although he was in court on Friday when his son made his first appearance since being charged - said the abiding maternal principle was 'don't start anything unless you see it through'.
"The mentality we've always had is that if you start something you do it properly," he said.
"The passion that you start something with, you finish it off with.
"I've always looked at that with my training and I guess that's what makes me a good athlete. I love training, I love working hard, I love being dedicated towards something and that's definitely her spirit."
Pistorius had shown this spirit in his fight with the IAAF which had seen them in 2008 forbid him from competing at their Grand Prix events and therefore the Olympics because they felt his carbon fibre blades gave him an unfair advantage.
However, he refused to concede and eventually prevailed when the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) found in his favour.
They decided that the 'Blade Runner', as he came to be known, had proven through official studies that his prosthetics give him no advantage over his able-bodied rivals.
He was cleared to compete on condition he used the same prosthetic legs that have been used in Paralympic sport since 1996.
Pistorius said exhaustive tests had proved that running on blades gave him no advantage.
"If I had to listen to the five percent of negativity, I wouldn't be here," he said. "If I have such an advantage, why isn't everybody else running the same times?"
Indeed it was hard to see what the fuss from the IAAF had been about.
Pistorius did well to reach the individual semi-finals, but was easily run out of a place in the final, and then somewhat fortuitously earned a place in the 4x400m relay final despite South Africa crashing out in the heat.
"It's a dream come true. It's the most amazing experience of my life, and it will inspire and motivate me for the next four years," he said at the time.
"Just to take part has been great."