The Olympic Games

by | Jun 11, 1997 | Diligence, Discouragement, Focus, Perseverance, Persistence

Atlanta is having its moment in the sun as host city to the Olympic Games. On the road to Olympic glory, there have been many memorable moments. And some have been notable for courage and persistence above all else.

Danish equestrian Lis Hartel had polio in 1944 and was left almost completely paralysed. Although she had to be helped to mount and dismount her horse, she still won the silver medal in dressage in 1952. That’s bravery.

Rafer Johnson nearly lost his toes in a conveyor-belt accident as a child. Yet the American decathlete rose to Olympic glory. In 1956 he overcame an injured knee and torn abdominal muscles to win silver. In 1960, his training cut short by injuries from an auto accident, he still won the gold medal. That’s pluck.

Tennessee’s own Wilma Rudolph, the twentieth of twenty-two children, was a sickly child. She had double pneumonia, scarlet fever, and polio as a little girl. Doctors said she might never walk again. Yet she became a track superstar at Tennessee State University and was the first American woman to win three gold medals in one Olympic Games in 1960. That’s accomplishment.

But my favourite story from Olympic competition involves Derek Redmond. The British record-holder in the 400 meters was running in the semi-finals at Barcelona in 1992. Headed for the tape, he heard a pop in his right hamstring, clutched his leg in pain, and went down on the track – as if in prayer. Then a man came from the stands, brushed aside obstacles, and came to his side.

Jim Redmond was out of the stands for the sake of his crippled son. A devoted father took his son’s arm, drew it around his shoulder, and the two made their way together to the finish line. That’s love coming to the rescue.

Starting the week discouraged? Thinking there’s no reason to stay in the race? Feeling like a spiritual cripple and ready to give up? God has come out of the stands, become one with us in our flesh-and-blood struggles, and is getting us to the finish line.

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us” (Heb.12:1).

Rubel Shelly The FAX of Life


The Olympic Games