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Super Seven: Christian athletes to watch out for in the 2012 Games

STUART WEIR profiles some of the Christian athletes to look out for at the 2012 Games

STUART WEIR profiles some of the Christian athletes to look out for at the 2012 Games

Richard Chambers (GB)

Event: Rowing – Men’s Lightweight Four. That means four men in a boat (no cox).
Achievements: World Champions in 2007 and 2010. Fifth in 2008 Olympics.
Interesting fact: Richard’s brother Pete is likely to be in the boat with him.
Faith: “I cannot pinpoint a moment when I decided to follow Jesus – probably about eight years old. But, as I have grown older, I have learned more about what he wants me to do and what it takes to be a follower. I still follow him and try to be the best I can for him.”
2012 prediction: In the medals. 
Photo (right and home page): Peter Spurrier, Intersport Images

Sanya Richards-Ross (USA)

Event: Athletics, 400 metres and 4x400 metres relay.
Achievements: Individual: 2009 World Champion; 2008 Olympic bronze. Olympic and World Championship (four times) relay gold medals.
Interesting fact: Her husband Aaron Ross is a two times Superbowl winner with the New York Giants, who now plays for the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Faith: “The difference Jesus makes is just that peace that you have when you know Jesus, as opposed to when you don’t; being able to hold my head high when I don’t have the best performances because I know that God loves me regardless.”
2012 prediction: Individual and relay medal.

Vivian Cheruiyot (Kenya)

Event: Athletics 5,000 and 10,000 metres.
Achievements: 2011 World Champion 5,000 and 10,000 metres
Interesting fact: Ugali (cornmeal, usually made into a dumpling) is an essential part of her diet.
Faith: “Jesus is in my life. He is with me all the time, helping me, carrying me. I love Jesus so much. Without him, nothing is possible.”
2012 prediction: Two gold medals.


Christine Ohuruogu (GB)

Event: Athletics, 400 metres and 4x400 metres relay.
Achievements: 2008 Olympic gold medal; 2007 World Champion; 2012 World Indoor relay gold medal.
Interesting fact: She is an East London girl. “I could literally walk to the stadium from my mum’s house.”
Faith: “I tend to worry a lot. I like it when Jesus says: ‘Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest’. As a sports person you can get overwhelmed by everything that is going on – and especially in a championship environment. But it is nice to have that safety net [of Jesus saying], ‘If you are worried, come to me and it will be all right.’”
2012 prediction: Looking for a medal in the individual and relay.

Anna Sharkey (GB)

Event: Goalball – a paralympic sport for visually impaired players. The object is to score a goal by bowling the ball – containing internal bells – along the floor.
Achievements: European Champions in 2009.
Interesting fact: Her brother, Michael, is in the GB men’s goalball team
Faith: “To know Jesus is to know that this being who has created you and loves you would actually sacrifice himself for you. I know my God, my Father, my Daddy in heaven just loves me whatever I do.”
2012 prediction: A medal would be a great achievement.                                
Photo: Goalball UK

Will Claye (USA)

Event: Athletics – long jump and triple jump.
Achievements: 2011 bronze medal World Championships; 2012 gold medal World Indoor Championships
Interesting fact: Will is unique as someone who is world class at triple jump and long jump.
Faith: “Psalm 91 reminds me that God has given me the strength I need. ‘A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you’. Bad things may be going on around you, but it will not come on to me. I will be fine if I keep faith in God.”
2012 prediction: At least one medal.

Ernst van Dyk (South Africa)

Event: Hand-cycling and wheelchair-racing – he was born without legs.
Achievements: Five paralympics, six medals. Nine times winner of the Boston marathon.
Interesting fact: In his first Paralympics he was a swimmer.
Faith: “I am a Christian. When you have been dealt the cards I have been dealt in life, you have to make sense of it, to have an understanding with your Maker and to figure out what is your purpose in life.”
2012 prediction: Medal in hand-cycling.

Photos: Stuart Weir, unless otherwise attributed

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