SOCHI, Russia (BP) — Gigi Marvin was among the heartbroken Team USA players as a 2-0 lead vanished against Canada in women’s hockey Feb. 20 along with hopes for a gold medal at the Winter Olympics.
Marvin likely found a unique form of comfort after Canada took the gold with a 3-2 overtime victory at the Sochi Games that left her with a second consecutive silver medal.
“I played for my high school team and I’ve worn that jersey,” she told Baptist Press in an interview prior to the Olympics. I’ve played college and worn that jersey. And I’ve played with the U.S. team and worn that jersey. But that jersey’s always coming off.
“However, the jersey that never comes off is Team Jesus Christ.”
Marvin, 26, a 5-foot-8 defenseman from Warroad, Minn., reflected, “How blessed am I that I have a God who gave me free life? I get to skate. I get to live. I get to walk around and interact with people and be free. There’s freedom in Christ.”
Weeks before her country’s colors flew above the medal stand in the silver position, Marvin noted their biblical significance through the atoning work of Jesus.
“The red being the blood on the cross, the blue being cleansed and the white the purity,” Marvin said.
“Hey! It’s white as snow,” she said of God’s forgiveness. “You’re clean. There is no more stain.”
Marvin was raised in a Christian home and gained a more mature walk with Christ as a freshman at the University of Minnesota as a leader in the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
“I learned what it meant to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, and that I could not live according to these do’s and don’ts of faith,” she said. “That’s why Jesus Christ came, so I get to be transformed by Him every single day. In Him and Him alone can I be righteous and pure and holy and patient and kind.”
Marvin comes from a town of fewer than 1,800 residents located near the Canadian border. Warroad has produced a number of U.S. Olympic hockey players and Hall of Famers like Gordon, Roger, Bill and David Christian; Henry Boucha; and T.J. Oshie, one of current American stars.
As a northern Minnesotan, hockey is so engrained in Marvin that she identifies “the skating, the stick handling, the shooting, the competition, the teamwork, and the friends and family that are supporting you and encouraging you” as her list of likes.
Her pastor, Scott Stoll of Warroad Baptist Church, noted that her university spiritual experience was pivotal. Her growth since then has been steady to the point where Stoll baptized her in the Warroad River last summer.
“Our little girls here at church, and actually our guys too, just kind of like the whole athletic thing,” Stoll said. “Gigi’s just a hero to them. They’ll contact her through Facebook and things like that, and Gigi will take time to respond to them. Gigi’s been a great blessing to us.”
Allen Palmeri is a writer from Jefferson City, Mo. With reporting by Baptist Press sports editor Tim Ellsworth. Get Baptist Press headlines and breaking news on Twitter (@BaptistPress), Facebook (Facebook.com/BaptistPress) and in your email (baptistpress.com/SubscribeBP.asp).