As the Rio Olympics gets underway we take a look at Olympians performing for Christ in the World’s premier sporting event.
Gabrielle (Gabby) Douglas
Gabrielle Douglas broke records in London 2012 when she became the first African-American to win women’s gymnastics individual all round, at only 16. She also won gold with her team dubbed the “fierce five”. When asked by a reported what it was like to win she said “I give all the glory to God. It's kind of a win-win situation. The glory goes up to him and the blessings fall down on me."
She’ll no doubt be hoping for another medal when she takes to the bars, beams and vault on Sunday 7th August.
Since her Olympic triumph, Gabrielle has used her platform to inspire millions with a powerful message: With hard work and persistence, any dream is possible.
If 2012 wasn’t busy enough for her she also released her inspirational autobiography: Grace, Gold and Glory: My Leap of Faith.
London- born Ohuruogu nearly repeated her Beijing heroics when she finished in second place in the Women’s 400m. The first British woman to win a 400m gold, her career has been one of dramatic highs and lows: Gold at the 2006 Commonwealth Games, then a one-year ban for missing three drug tests (a ban which was later overturned on appeal); then Gold at the 2007 World Championships and 2008 Olympics. One of eight children, born to Nigerian parents, she was raised in a Christian home and from a young age embraced the faith of her parents, a faith which she says sustained her during the dark days in her career.
The Jamaican- born former ‘World Athlete of the Year’ who is married to NFL star Aaron Ross, has had a memorable Olympic games - striking Gold in the 400m, making up for the bitter disappointment she suffered in Beijing in 2008 when food poisoning and a hamstring strain saw her only pick up a bronze, despite being a favourite for Gold. Despite being such a star, the current World indoor 400m champion as well as a former World Champion, who picked up 4x400 Relay Gold in 2004 and 2008, she remains humble. A woman of faith, she says that her talent is a gift from God and that the way she uses this talent is her gift to him. Holding Phillipians 4:vs 13 as her life verse, she says that it is God who gives her the strength to accomplish these things.
Former 100m World Record holder Powell (who has gone under 10 seconds more than any other man in history-73 times), World Champion, Commonwealth champion, and Olympic 4x100 relay Gold Medallist, Powell has just competed in his third straight Olympics. After reaching his 3rd Olympic finals, he pulled up with an injury near the end of the race, and finished in last place. Along with Usain Bolt and Yohan Blake, the 29-year-old is a part of Jamaica’s ‘Golden generation’ of sprinters. The son of two pastors, who occasionally plays guitar in his Church band, Powell’s faith is fundamental to him, sustaining him during the painful losses of his two brothers: Michael, shot dead in a New York taxi in 2001, and brother, Donovan a top class sprinter who died of a heart attack the following year.
One of the NBA’S biggest stars, Durant and the rest of the US basketball team are overwhelming favourites to win Gold at London 2012. The 23 year-old Oklahoma Thunders small forward, NBA rookie of the year in 2008, a 2011 World Champion, and a 3 time NBA All Star, who was the highest scorer in this years’ NBA, is known for his off the court humility- a trait which comes from his strong Christian faith. Constantly being compared to legends such as Kobe Bryan and Lebron James, the 6¨9 star refuses to accept that he is as good as his illustrious team mates. But while he refuses to admit that he ranks alongside such legends, he admits that he is on a special mission: to become a better Christian.
Richard & Peter Chambers
Sporting prowess obviously runs in the family for the Northern Irish brothers, Richard and Peter who won silver with their rowing team in 2012.
Both brothers are devout Christians, and in 2012 they were willed on by members of Coleraine Baptist Church- who watched from big screens at their church. They will no doubt be gathering to watch them again in Rio.
Who will you be watching at Rio?
August 6th, 2016 - Posted & Written by Laura White