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Many of the medal winners at the Olympic Games have professed a strong faith in Jesus. Here’s what some of the top athletes have been saying
1. ‘We both know our identity is in Christ’ - David Boudia & Steele Johnson
Steele Johnson, 20 (left) and David Boudia, 26 (right) won silver in the men’s synchronised 10m diving. Boudia told NBC, ‘We both know our identity is in Christ.’ Johnson added, ‘Going into this event knowing that my identity is rooted in Christ and not the result of this competition just gave me peace. And it let me enjoy the contest. God’s given us a cool opportunity, and I’m glad I could come away with an Olympic silver medal.’
2. ‘Knowing that I’m a child of God has given me a quiet confidence’ - Madeline DiRado
Swimmer Madeline (Maya) DiRado won gold in the women’s 4x200m freestyle relay. She also won silver in the women’s 400m individual medley and bronze in the women’s 200m individual medley. Speaking to Christianity Today she said, ‘Knowing that I’m a child of God and that his love for me is determined by nothing I can achieve or do on my own has given me a quiet confidence…My faith has helped me chart my own course and pursue my goals when people around me may be going in different directions. Jesus’ love for me and all humanity is something that always helps me better love people around me when things get difficult.’
3. ‘Once I understood who I was in God, that freed me from those empty motives for doing sport’ - Nick Willis
New Zealander Nick Willis, 33 is expected to do well in the 1500m at Rio. The runner told the Bible Society that becoming a Christian changed his whole motivation for sport, ‘Before I embraced my understanding of God and actually formed a relationship with him, my whole motivation for becoming a great athlete was to be significant to my peers,’ he said. ‘Once I understood who I was in God, how he created me to love me for who I am and not for what I do, that freed me from a lot of those empty, non-sustaining motives for doing my sport.’
4. ‘Even if it doesn’t go too well, you still give thanks regardless.’ - Christine Ohuruogu
Christine Ohuruogu is the first British female to win three global titles. 'It’s obvious I want to win, but I never pray to win. I just pray, "Help me do my best; don’t let me fear other people; don’t let me fear the job at hand. Help me do all the right things at the right time." And if I win, that’s great. If I don’t, help me be a gracious loser. Even if it doesn’t go too well, you still give thanks regardless,’ she told Keep The Faith. Although she’s been through ups and downs over the past year, she’s keen to get back on track in Rio (see our interview with her here).
5. ‘God has given me this amazing talent, so I’m going to go out and glorify his name.’ - Gabby Douglas
Gabby Douglas was part of the USA gymnastics team that won gold in Rio this week. Her training playlist is filled with Christian music (Hillsong Young & Free, Britt Nicole, Capital Kings) and she told Charisma, ‘I love sharing my story and I love sharing about my faith. God has given me this amazing God-given talent, so I'm going to go out and glorify His name.’
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