Tomorrow millions of families around the world will tune in to watch the opening ceremonies of the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
There’s something special about the Olympics, isn’t there? Cheering on the United States – or whatever your “home” country is – adds a welcomed, unique layer to the thrill of sports.
It’s also interesting to “meet” the athletes and learn their amazing stories. So many of them have overcome seemingly impossible odds to compete in the Games. No wonder the Bible likens our walk as Christians to an athlete running a race – their determination and perseverance are inspiring.
I wanted to draw your attention to two athletes, who also happen to be fellow Christians, during the XXXI Olympic Games.
Divers David Boudia and Steele Johnson will be competing together as synchronized divers off the 10-meter (33 feet) platform, where they will twist and turn before hitting the water head-first at 35 miles per hour. They’re both humble guys who gave God the glory when they qualified for the Rio Games by winning the U.S. diving trials (watch the dive and interview here).
This will be the third time Boudia has competed in the Olympics. He first participated in the 2008 Beijing Games without medaling, and then won a gold in the 2012 London Games. He became a Christian in 2009 and has since married and become a father to a girl who’s now 18 months old.
These will be the first Games for Johnson, who grew up admiring Boudia. His diving career – and his life – were almost cut short in 2009 when, at age 12, he hit his head on the concrete diving platform and had his “scalp ripped in half.” He still suffers memory loss from the incident.
I’ll leave you now with three videos to help you prepare for watching Boudia and Johnson and the rest of the U.S. team – I hope you enjoy!
Video one: Watch local TV segment announcing the men’s qualification, from WLFI.
Video two: Boudia appears on the TODAY Show, where he talks about battling depression and suicidal thoughts in college – and how his faith in Jesus Christ changed his perspective.
Video three: On the seven-year anniversary of the accident that almost killed him, Johnson shares why he’s opening up about his scar – and the lessons he’s learned since that fateful day.