EDITOR’S NOTE: BPSports editor Tim Ellsworth is in Vancouver for Baptist Press’ coverage of the Winter Olympics, with credentialing from the U.S. Olympic Committee. Also credentialed there is Mike Ebert, communications team leader for the Southern Baptist North American Mission Board. Ellsworth will be writing about various Christian athletes and how they fare in their respective competitions, while Ebert will be covering ministry-related initiatives in conjunction with the Winter Games.
VANCOUVER (BP)–The message isn’t written for the worldwide audience to see, but solely as Chad Hedrick’s reminder to himself.
On the top of his skate’s blade, the U.S. speedskater has written the letters “CGIM,” which stands for “See God in me.” As he looks down at his skates when he’s competing at the Winter Olympics, Hedrick is intent on thinking about his demeanor and the way he conducts himself.
“It’s me going out there understanding what the whole process is and how many people are watching out there,” Hedrick said. “It’s not about going out and winning. It’s about presenting myself well, and after the last Olympics I’ve grown quite a bit as a person.”
The reason for Hedrick’s growth is his recent conversion to Christianity, and he wants others who are struggling to know that there’s hope for them as well.
“I won my gold medal [in Torino in 2006] when I felt like the world was trying to crush me,” Hedrick said. “During a high point like that in your life, people can feel that way. Now not being as successful over the past two, two and a half years, I’ve found the light.
“I just feel good about myself and I want people to know that even the best athletes in the world — even the people that look the happiest in public — go through that as well, and I hope I can inspire people.”
Hedrick finished 11th in the men’s 5000 meters Feb. 13, the first of four events in which he is competing in Vancouver. Though he won gold in the event four years ago, the 5000 meters isn’t Hedrick’s favorite race, and his goal since 2007 has been to win gold this year in the 1,500 meters scheduled for Feb. 20.
“I didn’t perform the way that I wanted to, and I didn’t place where I wanted to place, but at the end of the day, I gave it all I had,” Hedrick said after the 5,000 meters. “I’m excited about the races to come.”
Tim Ellsworth, in addition to his role as BPSports editor, is director of news and media relations at Union University in Jackson, Tenn. For Baptist Press’ initial story on speedskater Chad Hedrick, go to http://bpnews.net/BPnews.asp?ID=32273.