I’m not the biggest swimming fan. But I’m absolutely stoked that Missy Franklin won Olympic gold today in the 100-meter backstroke.
Not just because the 17-year-old high school senior-to-be is one of America’s best and brightest young athletes. But also because Missy “The Missile” is a faithful Christian.
“God is always there for me,” she said, in a recent interview published by Beliefnet. “I talk with Him before, during and after practices and competitions. I pray to Him for guidance. I thank Him for this talent He has given me and promise to be a good role model for young athletes in all sports.”
And Missy is not alone. There are other noteworthy Americans in London, who, like Missy, have presented their bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God, and who also stand an excellent chance of winning gold (or silver or bronze) over the fortnight of Olympic competition.
That includes Kevin Durant, a member of the U.S. Men’s basketball team, who earlier this year professed, “I just want to grow spiritually with the Lord. I’m keeping strong at it, just trying to make my walk with faith a little better.”
There are at least two Christ followers on the U.S. women’s soccer team: Lauren Cheney, who tweeted last week, “We weren’t given these talents to be mediocre. Our God is great – he deserves greatness; and Amy Rodriguez, who told an interviewer, “I’m a spiritual and faithful person, and I want people to know that about me.”
The U.S. Track & Field team boasts a number of Christians, including Sandra Richards, the 400-meters runner, who told About.com, “My faith keeps me grounded. I know that my talent is God’s gift to me, and how I use it is my gift to Him.”
Also Allyson Felix, the favorite to win gold in the 200 meters, who told USA Today, “My faith is the reason I run;”
Then there are other U.S. Olympians, with whom I’ve only recently become acquainted, who have publicly proclaimed members of the body of Christ. From archer Jennifer Nichols to BMX cyclist Arielle Martin, diver Brittany Viola to gymnast Jonathan Horton, and weightlifter Kendrick Farris to wrestler Jared Frayer.
I am pulling for each and every athlete running, jumping, swimming, flipping, grappling, scoring or otherwise competing for the USA. But I am rooting especially hard for our red, white and blue Christian athletes.