EDITOR’S NOTE: Tim Ellsworth, editor of BP Sports and director of news and media relations at Union University, covered the 2012 Olympics in tandem with Baptist Press’ London bureau. Baptist Press will publish features about Christian athletes in the Olympics, recap results of their competition and cover Baptist initiatives to share the Gospel during the Summer Games and in London’s rich cultural milieu.
LONDON (BP) — Allyson Felix finally got her gold.
After winning silver in the 200-meter sprints in Athens and Beijing, Felix raced to her first individual gold medal in London Wednesday (Aug. 8), easily winning the event in 21.88 seconds.
“I was in tears in Beijing, and gosh, complete opposite tonight,” Felix said after the race. “For it all to come together is just extremely special, I’m overjoyed. I was just thinking ‘be aggressive.’ It’s the Olympics, anything can happen.
“I knew if I went out and ran my race it would come together,” she continued. “It felt good. I said ‘Thank you, Lord.’ It was relief, joy, just a flood of emotions, I don’t think it has all set in yet.”
Felix, whose father Paul is associate professor of New Testament at the Master’s Seminary in Sun Valley, Calif., has consistently been a witness for Christ in her comments to the media.
“Growing up as a preacher’s kid has really grounded me,” Felix said in a recent USA Today story. “I’ve grown up with these amazing parents who are hard workers, and they truly live out their faith. They’ve been amazing role models for me. I feel like I really picked up on what they taught me and kept that with me all along in my running and in my career.
“For me, my faith is the reason I run. I definitely feel I have this amazing gift that God has blessed me with, and it’s all about using it to the best of my ability.”
U.S. diver Brittany Viola failed to qualify for the finals in the women’s 10-meter platform competition Aug. 9, finishing 15th overall. (Read the previous BP feature on her at http://www.bpnews.net/bpnews.asp?id=38441).
“My mind felt right, my body felt right,” Viola said. “It just didn’t come together today. Still, to be here was just incredible. I’m going to celebrate this journey. I never thought I’d be here.”
On her Twitter account prior to the event, Viola wrote, “God’s gifted me w/ the ability to dive! He’s my strength, peace, & hope! I believe the Word! I have faith in the Truth! I dive for the Lord!”
Earlier in the week, high jumper Jesse Williams finished in ninth place Aug. 7 after failing to clear a height of 2.29 meters, which he successful cleared in the qualifying round. (Read the previous BP feature on Williams at http://www.bpnews.net/bpnews.asp?id=38421 )
“I under-achieved big time,” Williams said. “I’m in unbelievable shape right now. It hurts. I know I’m much better than what I did today. I had some decent attempts. I wasn’t using the power that I had. It’s disappointing.”
Williams also expressed his disappointment on Twitter.
“Slept 4 hours last night still in shock about yesterday and how it turned out,” Williams tweeted. “God give me strength.”
Hunter Kemper finished 14th in the men’s triathlon competition Aug. 7. Kemper is one of only two athletes to appear all four times since the sport became an Olympic event in 2000. (Read the previous BP feature on Kemper at http://www.bpnews.net/bpnews.asp?id=38432 )
At age 36, Kemper said prior to the race that he considered London to be his last chance to win a medal. He was uncertain about whether he’ll make another attempt to qualify for the Olympics in four years in Rio de Janeiro.
“We’ll see what the future holds,” he said. “I’m not going to say Rio is not a possibility. Maybe I’ll be that team tactician that other teams are starting to go towards. We have a lot of young kids coming up that are talented athletes, and I think I could be that veteran that helps them out along the way and maybe get that medal for Team USA, but maybe not me individually.”
Despite the disappointing performance, Kemper expressed gratitude for what he’s been able to accomplish as a triathlete.
“This sport has given me so much,” he said. “I’ve been very blessed to provide for my family and give back to them. It’s allowed myself to be a professional athlete. What better way to love what you do than to do a sport like triathlon.”
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