By Yay Padua-Olmedo

To honor the gods, particularly Zeus, may have inspired the ancient Greeks to hold the first Olympics back in the 8th century BC.

Well, today’s Olympic champions, thank God, are dedicating their victory to the true God of the universe. And why not?  These athletes have experienced His enabling power. In their weakness, they have learned to rely on the powerful Creator who is the source of all strength.

The Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN) particularly features athletes who are unabashed in declaring their faith in Jesus. Some of its recent features who are competing in the 2016 Rio Olympics:

  • “Ven Niekerk, track star, South Africa, smashes Michael Johnson’s record; gives glory to God.”
  • “The fastest man on the planet, Usain Bolt is making headlines around the world, but reports say the God he worships is being ignored by the BBC.”
  • “Olympic gold medalist Almaz Ayana tells the world how she was able to break a 23-year-old world record in the 10,000 meters track competition; she says it’s because of Jesus. ”   
  • “U.S. Track Star Allyson Felix, a devout Christian, told the Los Angeles Times that her Christian faith is the reason she runs.”
  • Texas-native Simone Manuel, 19, “gives glory to God; took her place in Olympic history Thursday night, becoming the first African-American woman to win gold in swimming…”
  • “American Olympic divers David Boudia and Steele Johnson took silver in the men’s synchronized 10-meter platform Monday night. They both have repeatedly shared how they find their identity in Jesus Christ.”
  • “Five years ago 22-year-old Nigerian-American Moralake Akinosun tweeted about her dream to compete in the Olympics. Today she is living her dream.  Akinosun, a Christian, said her faith inspires her to believe beyond the impossible.”

These Olympic Games testimonies are just too many to mention here. From the most bemedalled Olympian, swim champ Michael Phelps, to gymnast “perfect 10” Simone Biles. All of them attest of THE God who repairs broken lives, empowers the weak and enables one to persevere despite the odds.

And that these feats are possible for those who are willing to be trained, to get back up when they fall, and to discipline themselves to master their skill even if it hurts―and to believe, really believe, that with God, nothing is impossible.

These Bible verses must have become real for these athletes:

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me,” Philippians 4:13.

“You thrill me, Lord, with all you’ve done for me. I sing for joy of what you have done,” Psalm 92:4.

“When they call me, I will answer; I will be with them in trouble. I will rescue and HONOR them,” Psalm 91:5.

By the way, haven’t you noticed that the naysayers and faith-bashers have not said much to belittle these faith proclamations? They better not! Or they will be contending with adoring fans.

Having honored God, these champions have brought glory to their countries as well.