In case you haven’t noticed, the 2016 Olympics are going on right now in Rio de Jeniero, Brazil. When the Olympics are being held, they are pretty much the only thing on our television. We like to see the variety of events and are a little disappointed in the prime time coverage (maybe we could see some shooting, dressage, or rowing instead of gymnastics and swimming). But, lacking a DVR we will take what we can get.
Last night David Boudia and Steele Johnson won the silver medal for the men’s synchronized 10 meter diving. Synchronized diving is pretty amazing to me because, not only are they doing these incredibly difficult dives, they are doing them as the same time as another person. Boudia and Johnson were great. The Chinese, world dominators in diving, got the gold and were flawless.
Tom and I dislike the post- event interviews from the media. “You just won the ____ medal in ____. What does this mean to you?” “It means the world!” “It means everything!” “I’ve waited and worked for this day my whole life (all 17 years).”
In Boudia and Johnson’s post-dive interview, their response was different. The interviewer said, “You’ve just won the silver medal. What does this mean?” And Boudia and Johnson both put the medal in perspective to their faith in Jesus Christ. The medal means a great deal and is a wonderful affirmation from the world, but the most important thing to both of them is knowing they are right in their relationship with Jesus.
Boudia and Johnson’s post-dive interview was God-breathed. In the midst of people being celebrated and made celebrities by the world, they testified. Boudia and Johnson stated to the world, at their highest moment, that the world is not the goal. The goal is a life in Christ. If you missed the interview last night, you should try to watch it someplace. The problem is, I can’t find a transcript of it or a video of it anywhere. With every moment of our lives available on youtube today, it seems odd that I can’t find this one post-dive interview. I don’t see a conspiracy in it – just another affirmation that the world doesn’t see Jesus as particularly important.
David Boudia has a book coming out about his faith journey, “Greater than Gold: From Olympic Heartbreak to Ultimate Redemption.” He talks about struggling with humility and the adulation of the world after the London Olympics in 2012. I am looking forward to reading it.
There are other Olympic athletes that testify to the importance of their faith. Maya DiRado won a silver medal in the women’s 400 meter individual medley. This is her first, and last, Olympics. She gives glory to God for the silver, but she also points out that swimming is not the only thing God cares about in her life. “Knowing that I’m a child of God and that his love for me is determined by nothing I can achieve or do on my own has given me a quiet confidence. My faith has helped me chart my own course and pursue my goals when people around me may be going in different directions. I think God cares about my soul and whether I’m bringing his love and mercy into the world. Can I be a loving, supportive teammate, and can I bless others around me in the same way God has been so generous with me?”
I watched the Olympics last night expecting to be wowed. I am thankful that I was also able to worship. The athletes that are putting God first and honoring him with what they do are a true inspiration.