RIO DE JAINEIRO (BP) -- The images and memories of the 2016 Olympics will endure for much longer than the torch's flame. Simone Biles racking up five medals (four gold) in gymnastics. Usain Bolt running away from every challenger. Katie Ledecky doing the same thing in the pool. Michael Phelps further establishing himself as the greatest Olympian ever. The list could go on.
RIO DE JANEIRO (BP) -- While the Olympics may draw fans from all over the world to celebrate athletic accomplishment, they also draw missions volunteers interested in taking the Gospel to the nations. Steve Paquette, of Golden Acres Baptist Church in Phenix City, Ala., and James Gardner, of McClendon Baptist Church in West Monroe, La., were part of a team of about 25 volunteers from International Sports Chaplains who witnessed to people at various Olympics sites in Rio.
RIO DE JANEIRO (BP) -- When Stephen Lambdin makes his Olympic debut on Saturday (Aug. 20), he'll partly owe it to Michelangelo, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle. "I originally got started in taekwondo because I actually wanted to be a ninja turtle," Lambdin told Baptist Press. "I started when I was 6 years old. I bugged my parents about it until they finally caved." Lambdin may not have achieved his ninja goal, but he has reached the pinnacle of his sport. And his aim as he competes on the world's biggest stage is to honor God through the process.
RIO DE JANEIRO (BP) -- The plan was for Frank Molinaro to wrestle in Rio and then make it home in time for the birth of his second child. But little Frank Jr. had a different timetable in mind. Molinaro's second son, Frank Anthony, was born August 8 -- three weeks early -- back home in Pennsylvania while dad was sleeping in Rio. Everyone is healthy, and now Molinaro has something special to look forward to when his Olympic journey is complete.
RIO DE JANEIRO (BP) -- At a lot of her taekwondo competitions, Paige McPherson gathers with some fellow competitors and close friends from around the world to pray together. "I'm praying in English, my friend's praying in French, the other person's in Spanish," she told Baptist Press. "It's very encouraging, and I'm just truly grateful to God for bringing these people into my life."
RIO DE JANEIRO (BP) -- Helen Maroulis had lots of grandiose plans for 2012 about how the Lord could use her as an Olympic wrestler. She figured she'd have a tremendous platform to share about her faith in Christ and talk about all the Lord had done in her life. Then she failed to make the team. So much for her plans. "I just remember bawling my eyes out, and I was angry," she said after losing in the trials that year.
RIO DE JANEIRO (BP) -- Nathan Schrimsher will fulfill a dream when he competes in the modern pentathlon event at the Olympics. He's been working toward this goal for years, and his training and journey to the pinnacle of his athletic achievement has been a family affair. That's why, despite the excitement, the experience will be mingled with sorrow. Schrimsher's dad Keith passed away unexpectedly last year, and he's the one who will be on Schrimsher's mind during the competition.
RIO DE JANEIRO (BP) -- Christa Dietzen comes by the "Mom" nickname her teammates have given her naturally. She's the oldest in her extended family, and she's one of the oldest players on the U.S. women's Olympic volleyball team. For Dietzen, the captain of the U.S. team in Rio, her interest in caring for those around her comes not just from any mothering instincts she might have, but from what she believes is required of her as a Christian. "What does it look like to be a Christian athlete?" Dietzen asked. "I think the first ...
RIO DE JANEIRO (BP) -- Will Claye's journey to the Rio Olympics began with heartbreak. He thought he had qualified in the long jump during the Olympic team trials in July. He even took a victory lap. But he was wrong. "It took a lot of prayers and a lot of my family, my agent, old coaches just uplifting me and letting me know that this is in God's plan," Claye told Baptist Press. "It was something that I couldn't control and was something that I just had to let go because you can't ever really look back and say that God's plan is wrong."
RIO DE JANEIRO (BP) -- Simone Manuel became the first African American to win an individual medal in swimming on Thursday (Aug. 11) when she won gold in the women's 100-meter freestyle, and she was quick to credit the Lord for that accomplishment. "All I can say is all glory to God," Manuel said through tears in a post-race interview. "It's definitely been a long journey these past four years. I'm just so blessed to have a gold medal ... I'm just so blessed."