I’m proud of the entire U.S. Olympic team. But I’m particularly proud of our Olympic athletes who competed in London not for personal glory– and the fame and fortune that comes with it in some cases – but for God and country.
Among our Christian Olympians who medaled over the past fortnight were two precocious high schoolers, 16-year-old Gabby Douglas and 17-year-old Missy Franklin.
Gabby, a gymnast, won gold in both the women’s all-around and team competition. Missy, a swimmer, won five medals, four gold and one bronze, while setting two world records in the process.
“I give all the glory to God,” said Gabby. “God has blessed me with so much,” tweeted Missy.
Similar sentiments were expressed by two members of the U.S. women’s track and field team, Allyson Felix, who captured gold in the 200 meters, and Sandra Richards Ross, who took gold in the 400 meters.
There were also two faithful Christians on the gold-medal-winning U.S. women’s soccer team, Lauren Cheney and Amy Rodriguez.
Then there’s Kevin Durant, a member of the U.S. men’s basketball team, who may very well score gold when he and his fellow NBA roundballers take on Spain in the finals.
Of course, not everyone is happy to see our Christian Olympians fare as well as they have in London.
Like Salon’s Mary Elizabeth Williams, who hated on Gabby, in an article in which bemoaned, “The gold medalist is a teenager of deep faith and gratitude – and that can be a little unnerving.”
Williams added that she agreed with a colleague at Salon who said of young Gabby, “I would like her more if she were not so, so, so into Jesus.”
That’s the kind of animus faced by Christian athletes – like Gabby, Missy, Allyson, Sandra, Lauren, Amy and Kevin – when they dare to lift up the name of Jesus.
And that’s why they need the support, the prayers, of those us who count ourselves Christ followers.