(CNN) – Despite all the controversy and the politics in the run-up to the games for athletes of all countries, just making it to the Olympics is a towering achievement.
Ageze Guadie is the most unlikely of Olympians. For years he was told he wasn’t strong enough or wasn’t fast enough.
Ageze Guadie, Olympic Athlete said, “All the professionals discounted me. I said, ‘No, you have to take me seriously. I am going. If you know what you want, you can get it.'”
He put in the hours, clocked the miles and signed up for the Rotterdam Marathon. He crossed the finish line in 2 hours 18 minutes and 53 seconds just beating out the Olympic qualifying time by a mere 7 seconds. The 27-year-old Ethiopian Israeli was going to RIO.
Ageze Guadie: “If you work hard you go far. There are no short cuts. I have always worked hard. I was in a boarding school. You have to cope on your own. You are independent. That gave me more strength to believe in myself.”
Guadie is enjoying every moment of his local fame. He couldn’t stop smiling at the team photo shoot not knowing which camera to look at or how to pose.
Ageze Guadie: “I am enjoying it. If you enjoy it, you do even better. Especially for me because I am doing what I love. I am learning and my whole life is around sport.”
His home is a long way from the Olympics, at a student trailer in central Israel. He shares it with his training partner. Their running shoes stacked at the entrance.
This is your home this is the home of an Olympian? You can almost reach from one side to the other, but this is not what’s important to you.
Ageze Guadie: “What’s important is that you want to make it, you dream about making it. Dreams are very important, it doesn’t matter which building you live in, what’s important is that you believe.”
The next morning, Ageze guadie is up before dawn running 23 miles before it gets too hot. At the end of his run, he is again smiling. A crowd has gathered around him, cheering on the Olympian. Now he’s not the only one who believes.