Track and Field athlete Gwen Berry recently ignited a firestorm after qualifying for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. Berry was awarded the Bronze Medal at the U.S. Olympic Trials in Eugene, Oregon.
But after taking the podium and being awarded the medal, Berry turned away from the American flag while the national anthem was played. She put her hand on her left hip and then placed her t-shirt, which read “athlete activist,” on her head.
Berry’s controversial action has garnered oodles of attention. But something that has been underreported, and therefore largely unnoticed, was the frequency with which other athletes expressed thanksgiving to God following their competitions.
First, there was Sydney McLaughlin who ran a blazing fast 400m hurdles, setting a new world record at 51.90. Speaking in her first interview directly after her race, McLaughlin said, “All the glory to God … it’s truly just faith and trusting the process and I couldn’t ask for anything more. And truly, it is just all a gift from God.”
Then, Maggie Malone, who is on her way to Tokyo after winning the gold medal and garnering the meet record in the javelin throw at the trials, said in an interview, “I’m so thankful and God is so good because man, that [inaudible] was not me that was God.”
Malone said that going forward she plans to continue to “stay prayerful with Jesus and continue to lean on Him because ultimately He has done everything for me and continues to ease every nerve that I’ve ever had.”
Speaking about her new meet record, she said, “That is Jesus, like truly, I do not understand how that was a meet record … I was like, ‘Alright God, I’m going to do this for you, I trust you.’”
Third, following her winning score in the Heptathlon, Annie Kunz, now also on her way to Tokyo, raised her left wrist to the camera displaying a tattoo which read, “Anything is possible when you’re with God.”
“I just thank God for this whole experience because without Him, none of this would have been possible. And I really kept Him at the forefront of my mind,” Kunz said following her win.
Lastly, Christina Clemons also qualified for the Olympics after placing third in the 100-meter hurdles. After recounting the injuries and trials she’s had to endure to pursue the Olympics, Clemons said, “When God is with you, it doesn’t matter.”
While these remarks may have not made as many headlines, it’s great to see these athletes, who are incredible at what they do, recognize that everything they have is from their Creator.
And that’s true for all of us.
“For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen” (Romans 11:36).
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