World Champion Triple Jumper Jonathan Edwards once had a faith that burned as brightly, and as publicly as the Olympic flame, but after he lost his faith in 2007, many are asking - will he find it again?
As the Olympic torch winds its way towards London, Olympic fever is very much in the air.
One man who will be playing a key role during London 2012 will be retired Triple Jumper- Jonathan Edwards.
A member of the Organizing committee, who also chairs the athletes commission for this year’s games, as well as being an Olympic Ambassador for the Lloyds Banking Group - Edwards certainly has his hands full.
Arguably the greatest ever Triple Jumper, Edwards is a former Olympic, European, Commonwealth and World Champion, who at the World Championships in 1995 became the first man to legally jump more than 18 metres, breaking the World record twice in two consecutive jumps – his mark of 18.43 still stands today.
And it wasn’t just for his athletic prowess that the 44-year old was known, but also for his strong Christian beliefs.
The son of a Vicar, Edwards initially refused to compete on a Sunday because of his faith, missing the 1991 World Championships in the process; before making a U-turn in 1993 and deciding to compete.
Edwards once said: “My relationship with Jesus and God is fundamental to everything I do. I have made a commitment and dedication in that relationship to serve God in every area of my life”.
But in early 2007 reports surfaced saying that Edwards had lost his faith, a claim which proved to be true.
He decided to leave his role as a presenter of Songs of Praise, explaining in an interview last year: “From where I had been as a very committed Christian to where I was with no faith- to stand there and present a Christian programme, I didn’t think was right”.
An intelligent and deep thinker, Edwards said in an interview in February 2007: “If there is no God, does that mean that life has no purpose? Does it mean that personal existence ends at death? They are thoughts that do my head in.
“One thing that I can say, however, is that even if I am unable to discover some fundamental purpose to life, this will not give me a reason to return to Christianity. Just because something is unpalatable does not mean that it is not true”.
He added: “I feel internally happier than at any time in my life”.
More than 5 years on Edwards who described himself in an interview last year as “probably agnostic, but practically an atheist”, didn’t completely rule out a return to his former faith.
“Now perhaps the fact I used to believe so profoundly and now I don’t, makes you wonder, and you have to be open to the fact that maybe it will come back. But I don’t at this moment feel like it’s something that I will find again, but who knows what path life will take you down?”
Many of us will be praying that Edwards finds his faith once again.
May 28th, 2012 - Posted & Written by Hefin Rhys Jones