As fans of Team USA in the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil show their support to these amazing Olympians, a number of these athletes show that there’s more to their career than winning an Olympic medal. These athletes make sure that they put their faith first and they place utmost importance to their relationship with God.
Michael Phelps, Team USA Swimming The most decorated Olympian of all time, swimmer Michael Phelps revealed that he suffered an identity crisis in 2014 which led him to consider suicide. He turned to Saddleback Church Pastor Rick Warren’s book “The Purpose Driven Life” which gave him hope.
“It’s turned me into believing that there is a power greater than myself and there is a purpose for me on this planet…I think it helped me when I was in a place that I needed the most help,” Phelps told ESPN.
The 22-time medal winner said in an interview with Today that he looks forward to giving his 100 percent at the Rio Olympics.
Tobin Heath, Team USA Soccer
Two-time Olympic gold medalist and FIFA Women’s World Cup gold medalist Tobin Heath grew up in a family involved in Christian faith and sports. Growing up, she relied on her family’s faith until she decided to develop her own faith.
“Like anyone who has a relationship (with Jesus) knows, the coolest thing about it is that it’s infinite how much you can learn and begin to understand. It’s something that grabbed me,” the soccer star said.
Jake Dalton, Team USA Gymnastics
For four-time world medalist Jake Dalton, his faith keeps him going despite the pain and pressure of being an Olympic gymnast. A tattoo on his right side shows a pair of praying hands while on his left side, the verse from Philippians 4:13 — “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
Dalton experienced a physical setback in the London Olympics where he had to undergo surgery for a shoulder injury last year. He feared that he wouldn’t be able to recover for the Olympic games but his faith and daily prayers helped him overcome his fears.
“If I’m a little nervous to do something, it kind of allows me to put my trust in my faith and allows me to get through workout a little bit better,” he said.
Sources: Christianpostcom. (2016). Christianpostcom. http://www.christianpost.com/news/olympic-swimming-star-michael-phelps-says-rick-warrens-purpose-driven-life-saved-him-from-suicide-167539/
Gospelheraldcom. (2016). Christian News, The Gospel Herald. http://www.gospelherald.com/articles/65800/20160806/olympic-soccer-player-tobin-heath-relies-heavily-on-jesus-christian-faith.htm
Lifezettecom. (2016). LifeZette. http://www.lifezette.com/faithzette/for-jake-dalton-prayer-beats-pain/