Pope Francis offered these words to the Olympians competing in Rio, “In a world thirsting for peace, tolerance, and reconciliation, I hope that the spirit of the Olympic Games inspires all – participants and spectators – to ‘fight the good fight’ and finish the race together.” There are a handful of Catholic Olympians that are striving to do just that. Although several Olympians attended Catholic schools (Katie Meili – swimming, Ellen Tomek – rowing, and many more), not all are outspoken about their beliefs. The 8 athletes below have each made it a point to let the media know that their faith is something of value to them and an element of life that inspires them to greatness.
Let us remember, that though we can look to these athletes as examples, no person is perfect. Our perfect example of how to live the faith is in Jesus. All others will sin and fall short (including ourselves!).
As you watch and cheer our teams to victory, will you join me in prayer for our Olympians and those attending? Not just those who are Catholic, but all who compete. We pray for their safety and protection. We also pray that those who are Christians will be a light in the darkness and lead others to know the love of God through all of their actions.
Catholic Olympians You’ll Want to Watch
Simone Biles (Women’s Gymnastics)
“My mom, Nellie, got me a rosary at church. I don’t use it to pray before a competition. I’ll just pray normally to myself, but I have it there in case.” – Simone Biles
Read more about her faith in this wonderful article from Catholic News Agency: http://bit.ly/2aJPM2b
Katie Ledecky (Swimming)
“My Catholic faith is very important to me. It always has been and it always will be. It is part of who I am and I feel comfortable practicing my faith. It helps me put things in perspective.” Katie Ledecky (Catholic Standard in a recent interview)
Read more about her faith in this article from Catholic News Agency: http://bit.ly/2aJPM2b
Steven Lopez (Taekwondo)
Lopez says of 1 Corinthians 13 “It defines what love is for me.”
Find out more about his faith here: http://bit.ly/2ay6rIP
Sydney McLaughlin (Track and Field)
“Sticking to what I know and believing that everything I’ve been given comes from God definitely played a big role for me.”
Find out more about her faith in this article from Catholic News Agency: http://bit.ly/2bc6dEZ
Mariel Zagunis (Fencing)
Read more about her faith in this 2004 article from the National Catholic Register: http://www.ncregister.com/site/article/gold_medal_faith
Usain Bolt (Track and Field)
Usain Bolt’s middle name is St. Leo (after a former Pope), he does the sign of the cross before every race, and he wears the Miraculous Medal.
Find out more about him: http://www.christiantoday.com/article/the.faith.of.usain.bolt.in.5.tweets/63092.htm
Juliana Paula dos Santos (Track and Field)
Juliana and her husband are beautiful witnesses to the Catholic faith through their marriage and athletic achievemnets.
Find out more: http://www.comshalom.org/es/matrimonio-catolico-testimonia-el-amor-a-dios-en-las-olimpiadas/
Katharine Holmes (Fencing)
“When things were really getting rough, I remembered a line from ‘Chariots of Fire’ in which, when talking about running, Eric Liddell said, ‘God made me for a purpose, but he also made me fast. When I run, I feel his pleasure,’” she said in an email interview with the Catholic Standard, newspaper of the Archdiocese of Washington. “This is largely how I feel about my fencing. God gave me such a gift … and, in this sport and in following my dreams, I feel as if I am living the life he wished for me, utilizing all that he blessed me with.” Find out more in this article: http://stcloudvisitor.org/2016/08/02/qualified-olympics-u-s-fencer-ongoing-talks-god/