Skip to comments.Team USA Athletes: 10 Christian Olympic Medal Winners Glorifying God
Posted on 08/12/2012 6:13:30 AM PDT by SeekAndFind
Christian athletes were a major part of the 2012 Olympic Games in London, and Team USA's athletes managed to bring home multiple gold, silver and bronze medals across a wide range of sports.
Although many athletes utilized their faith while training and competing, here are 10 Christians who managed to bring home a coveted medal from the Olympic Summer Games.
1. Gabby Douglas, Gymnastics, 2 gold
Gabby Douglas may only be 16, but she took the world by storm when she became the first African-American gymnast and first woman of color to become the individual all-around champion in Olympic history. While some debated about Douglas' choice of hairstyles, the gymnast went on to win gold medals in both the individual and all-around team competitions while glorifying God in the process. "We are the 2012 London Olympic Gold Medalists!!! We are all so happy right now," Douglas wrote on her Facebook page after winning big. "It's a dream come true! Gotta give God the Glory! Thank you everyone for praying for me!"
While Douglas has spoken to the media about praying before her competitions, she decided to tweet before winning a gold medal for her all-around competition.
2. Melissa "Missy" Franklin, Swimming, 4 gold, 1 bronze
Missy Franklin may only be a high school student, but the 17-year-old Olympic medalist is also a record-breaking swimmer who currently holds the world record in the 200-meter backstroke. Franklin also holds the world record in the 4x100-meter medley relay and earned four gold medals and one bronze for her performance in the 2012 Olympics.
Although some athletes attribute great coaching, discipline and training for their success, Franklin has been vocal about crediting God for her achievements. "God is always there for me. I talk with Him before, during and after practice and competitions," Franklin said in an interview with Beliefnet before she became a record-breaking Olympic medalist. "I pray to Him for guidance. I thank Him for this talent He has given me and promise to be a positive role model for young.
3. Serena Williams, Tennis, 2 gold,
Serena Williams, 30, may have drawn attention to her celebratory crip walking dance after winning two gold medals for her performance in the Olympic Games, but the tennis star also let it be known that she would be back to compete for a gold medal in 2016.
After beating Maria Sharpova for a singles title and winning her third doubles gold medal with the help of her sister Venus, Serena said only God could stop her from trying it again at the next Olympic games.
"I plan on being there unless there's an act of God or something that doesn't allow me to," Williams told reporters.
Last Month, the tennis star who is a Jehovah's Witness, showcased her faith by thanking her creator for her success after winning big at Wimbledon.
"I want to thank Jehovah for letting me get this far. I almost didn't make it a few years ago, but now I'm here again and it's so worth it," Williams said. "I'm so happy. I've dreamed of being here again. It shows if you never give up, you can achieve anything."
4. Aries Merritt, Track & Field,1 gold
Aries Merritt, 27-year-old Olympic track and field athlete, managed to bring the U.S. its first gold medal in the 110-meter hurdles since 1996 with his recent win at the 2012 Olympics. The hurdler admitted that earning his medal was no easy feat.
"I trained for this intensity," Merritt told the press after his big win. "I thought if I treat it like practice then I could do ridiculous things. I execute so well and when I practice there's no pressure, so if I can treat it (the final) like a practice then there's no pressure." Instead of taking pride in his own accomplishments, Merritt chose to take to his Twitter account to glorify God and all of the people who believed in his dream.
"Words can't even explain how I feel right now! Giving God all the glory," Merritt tweeted after his big win. "Thanks to all that supported and believed in me. #olympicgold."
5. Lauren Cheney, Soccer, 1 gold
Laura Cheney, 24, may not have been the star player on her team, but the forward turned center midfielder managed to overcome an ankle injury, and come off of the bench to help her team win a gold medal. After months of Team USA coach Pia Sundhage calling for Cheney to be more aggressive in various media reports, Cheney seemed to finally adjust to contributing to her team in a new position after a trying transition period.
Cheney, a Christian athlete who featured the Bible verse 2 Chronicles 16:9 on her Twitter biography, has been vocal about maintaining her faith whether her Olympic performance resulted in a gold medal or not.
"Our lives are completely full of highs and lows. I'm so grateful that my confidence in Christ is never shaken," Cheney said in a previous BeliefNet report. "My identity in the Lord will never be shaken. My career will come and go but being faithful to that has made my relationship with Him what it is."
6. Vincent Hancock, 23, shooting, 1 gold
Vincent Hancock is fighting for his country in more than one way as a sergeant in the U.S. Army and as a record-breaking Olympic shooter. The 23-year-old recently earned a gold medal after hitting an Olympic skeet record 148 of 150 targets over a period of two days while hitting a perfect 25 of 25 in the finals.
The sergeant was grateful to represent his country in the Olympic games and credited God for helping his accomplish the feat.
"Having the opportunity to come out here and represent my country, that's what it's really all about," Hancock told the press after earning his medal. "God has given me the greatest opportunity in the world to represent my country on a stage this grand and especially to have this medal hanging around my neck again."
7. Jacob Wukie, Archery, 1 silver
Jacob Wukie may have received a silver medal for his performance in the men's team event with teammates Brady Ellison and Jake Kaminski in the 2012 Olympic Games, but the 26-year-old archer said his identity is in Jesus Christ.
"You just kind of meet some of the other medalists they have there at the time, and it's neat to meet people who are a little more well known..but also I'm hoping to be able to have maybe more opportunities to kind of speak and share Christ with people," Wukie told Athletes in Action. "While for a long time archery has been a very big part of what I do, my identity is in my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ."
While Wukie is making a name for himself as an archer and Olympian, he insists that the reason he can perform at such a high level is centered in his faith.
"Since I am confident that He is in control and has a plan for my life, I am able to give my best and let the rest lie in His hands," Wukie said. "He has given me the talents and abilities that I possess; He has taught me to love those around me and what it means to push hard."
8. David Boudia, Diving, 1 bronze
David Boudia, 23, is no stranger to the Olympic games after making a stint in the 2008 Olympics Games in Beijing. However, Boudia admits that he was depressed during his first appearance at the sports festival four years ago before committing his life to Jesus Christ. Now, the bronze medal holder has included Psalm 115:1 in his Twitter biography, and said that people have noticed a change in him.
"It's such a radical change. I've known these competitors from around the world, and they've known what I've done and how I acted throughout the years before I met Christ," Boudia said in a Baptist Press report. "The next thing they know, here's David talking about Jesus or saying 'Praise God' or something like that, and they definitely notice."
Before winning his coveted medal, Boudia put all of his trust in God to determine the outcome of his performance. "Whatever happens at the end of this Olympic Games is completely out of my control," Boudia said. "God is totally sovereign over everything."
9. Sanya Richards-Ross, Track & Field, 1 gold
Before listing herself as an Olympian, wife or mother, Sanya Richards-Ross describes herself as a Christian on Twitter. However, the 27-year-old track and field athlete proved that she is much more than that after winning a gold medal for her performance in the 400-meter event at the 2012 Olympic Games.
While Richards-Ross, the wife of NFL defensive back Aaron Ross, is no stranger to competing at a high level after earning two gold relay medals in 2004 and 2008, she credited God for making her recent dreams come true.
"I have dreamt of this moment for a very long time but nothing compares to this feeling! Never give up on your dreams," Ross exclaimed to her fans on Twitter after her big win. "God is good. I wish that I could have this moment for life... # Operation Gold complete!"
10. Marlen Esparza, Boxing, 1 bronze
Marlen Esparza may be the first woman to ever compete for Team USA in the Olympic Games, but the Christian six-time national champion is glorifying God instead of her accomplishments after scoring a historic medal in London.
"All honor and glory goes to God. That simple. I'm just blessed to be on the ride," Esparza tweeted. "It could have been anyone..#blessed."
While many people around the world witnessed the Christian athlete make history, she has been focusing on sharing her outlook on life by putting God first. "Love God, love what you do, and love yourself," she tweeted. "You can't go wrong with that."
The 23-year-old Christian has been vocal about her faith throughout training and even shared Scripture with her followers on the social networking website while preparing for her bout.
"Watch out that you do not lose what we have worked for, but that you may be rewarded fully... #watch," Esparza tweeted, referencing 2 John 1:8.
The list is actually incomplete.
See this one athlete they missed:
Allyson Felix finally got her gold medal and all seven winning athletes expressed their gratitude to God.
Another U.S. gold medal and another athlete gives glory to God for it. Im so thankful for God to have this opportunity, Allyson Felix told NBC sports after yesterdays win in the 200-meter sprint final. Ive been waiting for this opportunity for so long. Praying that His will be done, and not my own. Ready to run my HEART out, she tweeted before the race.
This was the third 200-meter Olympic medal for Felix. In 2004 and 2008, she came in second to Jamaicas Veronica Campbell-Brown. The moments that motivated me most were losing on the biggest stage, Felix said, and just never forgetting that feeling.
As usual, Felixs family was in the stands for her big moment. Her father, Paul, is an ordained minister and an associate professor at The Masters Seminary in Santa Clarita, California; her mother, Marlean, is an elementary school teacher; and, her brother, Wes, is her agent, USA Today reported. (Her father is also president of Los Angeles Bible Training School).
Marlean had said the family, as devout Christians, would be able to handle another Olympic disappointment, USA Today reported. Instead they celebrated. But, in a 2010 interview with the Heart of a Champion foundation, Marlean said the family is most proud of Allysons humility. She also said she and her husband made a decision early on in their daughters career to travel to all her meets to provide support.
It really was wonderful to hear so many winners give the glory to God on NBC of all stations! However, I still think most of them vote for the fraud in the WH. That’s what makes me sad.
Did any USA athletes glorify God after they came in 4th or lower? It’s easy to glorify God when you win.
And now she has three gold medals, including a world record in the 4 x 100.
Dangerous article in that it lists Serena Williams as a Christian based on her being a Jehovah’s witness. The author needs to do a little more studying.
Amen. That “religion” is a massive cult when they believe Jesus Christ is equal to anyone else and they only think the 144,000 will get into Heaven. Of course they have had to scramble around because Heaven is full with the whole 144,000 already there.
RE: Did any USA athletes glorify God after they came in 4th or lower? Its easy to glorify God when you win.
I remember reading one of Gabby Douglas’ tweets when she said (paraphrasing) “Win or lose I praise Jesus, He has been good to me. God is good all the time”.
She did not garner any medals later in the uneven bars and the beams.
Kevin Durant is also missing.
I was really happy to hear him say that just a few minutes after NBC ran a feature on an Australian diver celebrating his "coming out."
Serena Williams? Debatable as to whether Jehovah’s Witnesses are Christian, and very debatable if Serena believes in any power higher than her own ego.
The author did a poor job.
It should be pointed out that ESPN radio and Fox Sports radio have been trashing Christians non-stop since the Tebow story. Sickening.
i think those 10 athletes are wonderful!
but, so are the Christian athletes from countries where is is sometimes harder to be a Christian:
Virgin Mary ‘crosses the finish line’ with Olympic gold runner [Catholic Caucus]
cna ^ | August 10, 2012
Posted on Saturday, August 11, 2012 7:07:48 PM by NYer
London, England, Aug 10, 2012 / 04:25 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Ethiopian athlete Meseret Defar provided one of the most emotional moments of the London 2012 Summer Olympic Games when she crossed the finish line in the 5000 meter race to win the gold.
She then pulled a picture of the Virgin Mary out from under her jersey, showed it to the cameras and held it up to her face in deep prayer.
An Orthodox Christian, Defar entrusted her race to God with the sign of the cross and reached the finish line in 15:04:24, beating her fellow Ethiopian rival Tirunesh Dibaba, who was the favorite to win.
A teary-eyed Defar proudly showed the picture of the Virgin Mary with the Baby Jesus that she carried with her for the entire race.
Not only that, but the quote attributed to her, that "it would take an act of God to stop her" does not sound like she gave any glory to God at all.
David Boudia: Diving, 1 bronze and 1 GOLD (After last night!)
How would anyone know? They don't get interviewed.
There was a comedian several years ago who did a bit about athletes blaming Jesus - "We would have won, if Jesus hadn't made me drop that pass!"
Yes. My cousin was there throwing the discus and she missed
making the final field by 2 positions. One of the first
things she did was email everyone in the family telling us
all how thrilled she was to have gotten that far and giving
thanks. A real classy lady.
I saw that in the after competition interviews. Really great! And NBC didn’t edit them out, either (tape delay, ya’ know). So many athletes thanking God and Jesus.
I am of mixed minds about this.
There is a subtle difference between honoring God because He made you a person of faith who can win, and honoring God because He made you win.
The former group of people are expressing gratitude for being put on the “path” of righteousness.
The latter group are putting God in the same category as luck.
And casinos are full of people quietly praying that “God” will help them win their next gambling game. And this is a real definition of “Taking God’s Name in vain.”
Perhaps this distinction isn’t so subtle after all.
When you pull off a major success in your profession, do you recognize God's hand in it, and render Him praise and gratitude for the talents he blessed you with, the timing, the idea, etc. that made it all possible?
IMHO, that's all these people are doing.
Did not Paul make references to sports in his letters, when speaking about the glory of God?
No, it is not debatable. Jehovah’s witnesses are no more Christian than are atheists.
To be sure, Christians don’t blame God after they came in 4th and lower.
If you are ignorant what Christians athletes pray for, it is not to “win”. They pray to God to keep them healthy, to keep them focused during practice and competition, to keep them being lazy and not practicing hard, to let their practices be fruitful, and so on.
They pray to God for him to help them fulfill their potential, not to “defeat” their competitors, per se. They don’t pray “please injure my competitor” or “please have them screw up”.
Christian athletes pray to God to help them be their personal best, and if that personal best is only 4th place, then so be it.
So when a Christian athlete places 1st overall, they give thanks to God for helping them to train hard and have the courage to perform, so that by their winning they give Glory to God, saying “, by God’s grace He kept me focused and training long and hard, so that in competition my body could do what was necessary to perform better than all my competitors.”
Christian athletes don’t pray to win directly. They pray to be the best that they can and when they achieve the zenith of their sport, they show that their remarkable physical performance is yet another of God’s acts to show his Glory.
Here is an example. An Olympic swimmer is not going to pray “please let me win.” They are going to pray “please Lord let me ignore the savage burning pain in my lungs as I finish out the race. Please Lord, let me execute my kick turn fluidly as I have trained thousands of times, and not allow doubts to cloud my mind at a critical time. Please Lord, grant me the mental fortitude to fight through the anguish of muscle fatigue with the very last of my strokes as I approach the wall and my muscle cells are bursting with pain oxygen depletion.”
That is the kind of thing that is stated or implied in a Christian athletes typical prayer to God. Not a banal “please let my competitor choke and lose so I can have an easy certain win at their expense.”
It just doesn’t work that way.
Got on his knees and made the sign of the cross.
You are so right! Anyone watching this morning's distance could not help but be moved by ...
REFUGEE Guor Marial ran in the marathon today for a country that is not at the Olympics and a family he has not seen for 20 years. Marial began life in Sudan, a country debilitated by civil war. At eight, lured by the promise of a cow and a goat, he was kidnapped. He spent a year in slave labour. With another boy, he escaped, hiding in a cave. ''I was not scared of snakes or lions or anything. I would rather something kill me than a human come and take me.'' Marial says he lost 28 relatives in the war, including 7 of 10 brothers. He was captured and his jaw broken with the butt of a rifle. Marial is a christian who fled Muslim persecution during the Sudanese civil war.
and then there is ...
Stephen Kiprotich has won Ugandas first-ever medal in the Olympic marathon, taking the gold Sunday morning in London. Kiprotich, 23, crossed the line in 2:08:01, the third-fastest marathon time in the history of the Olympic Games. When he crossed the finish line, he dropped to his knees, blessed himself and kissed the ground.
Azerbaijan's Aliya Garayeva reacts after competing using the ribbon in the individual all-around rhythmic gymnastics final at Wembley Arena during the London 2012 Olympic Games August 11, 2012. Upon completing her gymnastic exercise, she also blessed herself. Around 95 percent of the population of Azerbaijan are Muslims.
It has been so heartwarming and encouraging to see so many of these athletes acknowledge their Creator for the gifts they have been given, and not the government.