I loved reading Claire’s post about the Olympics. I have been in Kenya during the 2012 London Games, and it has been so hard for me to miss the stories behind the athlete’s triumphs. I haven’t been able to watch as much of it as usual. I look forward to coming back home soon and being able to at least watch clips from my favorite events.
It has, however, been very interesting to be in Kenya during the Games. In the home where I am staying, the family loves watching long distance running and the Steeple Chase simply because Kenyans tend to dominate. They have no interest in watching my favorite sports– gymnastics and swimming– because Kenyans are not represented in those sports. It is interesting to think about the genetic and even economic reasons why certain countries excel in certain sports. One man at the house, when we were talking about Kenyans being good distance runners, said, “Very few people here could afford a gymnastics gym. It is free to run, so we run.” Watching these world class athletes who have sacrificed so much to be there, I always think about who is not there. What athletic person could not train due to financial burden? I think, too, about the people in the city where the Olympics is hosted. Stories came out after the Olympics in China that many homeless people got displaced because China didn’t want the world to see poverty surrounding the new stadiums. I wonder what the consequences of the Olympics are for the people in London who are struggling with poverty.
It is also interesting to watch athletes act out their faith on the competition stage. Many make signs of the cross before the competition begins, and others will thank God post competition for their health. I wonder sometimes what the athletes are thinking when they claim their faith like that on the international stage. Are they asking God to help them win? How will that feel to them, then, if they lose? Are they thanking God for the opportunity to be healthy? I love watching athletes take their bodies as gifts and push them to their full potential. I have to imagine that God smiles on these athletes for celebrating the gift of their bodies.
How do you celebrate the body that God gave you?
Have you ever prayed to God to help you in competition?
Photo courtesy of Adam Foster | Codefor via Creative Commons License