Inspiring Athletes

Inspiring Athletes

The Inspirational Sports Report: Allyson Felix and Jesse Williams among USTAF winners

posted by Chad Bonham

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Felix and Williams win at U.S. Track & Field Championships; Simpson also qualifies for World team

At the U.S. Track & Field Championships in Eugene, Ore., this weekend, Allyson Felix won the women’s 400-meter race and Jesse Williams won the men’s high jump. Also qualifying for the World Championships team was Jenny Simpson who placed second in the 1500-meter run.

Beijing Summer Olympics decathlon gold medalist Brian Clay had to pull out of the event after spraining his calf during the 110-meter hurdles but will likely petition for a spot on the World Championships team.

To hear more from these exceptional athletes and the faith that drives them to excellence, click on their names above. The World Track & Field Championships take place in Daegu, South Korea from August 27th through September 4th.

Legendary CNN sports anchor Nick Charles dies of bladder cancer, relied on faith during last days

posted by Chad Bonham

Nick Charles succumbed to bladder cancer today. He’s a familiar face for most diehard sports fans having spent nearly two decades reporting countless events alongside Fred Hickman.

Click here for an inspirational feature on Charles and an interview with Dr. Sanjay Gupta that took place weeks before his death where he talks about his faith and living life day-to-day.

 

Bayne, Catchings, Clark and Durant headline 2011 ESPYS nominations

posted by Chad Bonham

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ESPN announced its nominees for the 2011 ESPYS on Friday and several are familiar names to Inspiring Athletes:

Trevor Bayne (Best Moment)

Bayne was nominated for his record-breaking performance as the youngest Daytona 500 winner ever. He won 2011 race just one day removed from his 20th birthday.

“I want to be real,” Bayne told Inspiring Athletes. “I don’t want to pose as anything. I don’t want to pose as a tough guy. I don’t want to pose as a nice guy. Whatever Trevor Bayne is, that’s what I’m going to be. Staying humble is the key to this. I try to let that shine through. This can be gone in a second.”

Click here for more of Inspiring Athletes’ recent story on Bayne.

Tamika Catchings (Best WNBA Player)

Catchings is a two-time gold medalist who won her fourth WNBA Defensive Player of the Year award during the 2010 season with the Indiana Fever.

“All the things I’ve been through have given me a platform to be able to talk to people,” Catchings once told me. “I grew up with a hearing problem and I had to wear a hearing aid. I grew up with a speech problem. I had glasses and braces. I dealt with all the things as a young child that you don’t want to face. But it made me stronger and it helped me become the person that I am today.”

Kelly Clark (Best Female Athlete & Best Female Action Sport Athlete)

Clark won X-Games Gold in the half pipe event and became the first female athletes to land a 1080 in competition.

“I thought being a Christian was about following rules and going to church and being good all the time,” Clark once told me. “But (a friend of mine) helped me understand that it’s about having a relationship with God and not about being religious. That was where things shifted for me.”

Be looking for a full interview with Clark in a forthcoming edition of Inspiring Athletes.

Kevin Durant (Best NBA Player)

Durant led the Oklahoma City Thunder to the NBA Western Conference Finals and topped all NBA scorers in the process with a 27.7 per game average.

“In the Bible, (it says) the Lord exalts humility and that’s one thing I try to be all the time—when I’m talking in front of people or when people tell me I’m great, I (remind myself that I) can always be better,” Durant told Inspiring Athletes. “I always work on what I have now. I’ve just got to be thankful to the Lord for what the gifts He’s given me. My gift back to Him is to always be humble and to always try to work as hard as I can.”

Click here to read more from Inspiring Athletes’ story about Durant.

Some other nominees include:

Gene Chizik (Best Coach)

Josh Hamilton (Best MLB Player)

Allyson Felix (Best Track & Field Athlete)

Blake Griffin (Breakthrough Athlete)

Troy Polamalu (Best NFL Player)

Aaron Rodgers (Best Male Athlete & Best NFL Player)

Tim Thomas (Best Championship Performance & Best NHL Player)

Soul Surfer (Best Movie)

The ESPYS will be shown on ESPN, Wednesday, July 13th, at 9p ET/8p CT. You can vote for the ESPYS by clicking here.

Los Angeles Angels outfielder Torii Hunter on how his faith helps him set a good example

posted by Chad Bonham

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FRIDAY FEATURE: Torii Hunter

Often referred to as “Spiderman” by fans and in the media, Los Angeles Angels outfielder Torii Hunter has legitimately earned the superhero nickname for his uncanny ability to climb walls and rob power hitters of would-be home runs. Need more proof? Look no further than his nine consecutive Gold Glove Awards and his four All-Star Game appearances.

Hunter’s no slouch at the plate either with over 1,000 RBI’s, over 1,700 hits and 266 home runs and counting. But even more impressive is his steady faith that guides him to make positive decisions on the field inner cities and his unwavering commitment to inner cities through the Torii Hunter Project Education Initiative. Here’s what Hunter had to say when asked about his core beliefs and how they impact his actions:

Torii Hunter (Photo by Jason Wise/MLB Photos via Getty Images)

Bonham: What circumstances led you to a relationship with Christ?

Hunter: I was raised in the church by my grandmother who made sure we went to Sunday School, read the Bible and went to church every Sunday. Every night we read Bible stories before we went to bed. My mother also made sure we stayed involved in the church and the things of God. My relationship with Christ came about through that and the influences of my mother and grandmother helped my faith to grow.

Bonham: How does your faith define you as an athlete?

Hunter: With me being a Christian, I always think about what would Christ do in any circumstances. When I think about Christ’s life on earth, He worked hard. He was a carpenter. Christ lifted up his teammates, the disciples. Christ was always victorious. Christ left it all on the field. He died on the cross. And Christ always had a passion for whatever He was doing. That’s how I try to define myself as an athlete. That’s the example I try to follow.

Bonham: How does your faith help you deal with the highs and lows of the game?

Hunter: My faith is what makes me strong. Without faith, there are only low times. With faith, I know that everything will be taken care of. Even the difficult times become learning experiences to help make my faith stronger. And when everything is going good, that’s when I know God has rewarded me for my faith. When I rely on my faith, I know God wants to reward and bless me but not because of some great act that I did but because of who He is. And I have the faith that even at my lowest points, there will come a silver lining through faith.

Bonham: What do you want others to learn from your example?

Hunter: I want them to know that I try to walk like Christ in my life. If I strike out, I don’t curse, or throw my bat or hit things back in the dugout, I try to quietly just put my helmet back. I may be very upset but I try to control myself. Whether I’m down or whether things are great, I try to stay the same person all the time. I want my teammates to see that I’m following Christ. But, I’m also human, so there are times I slip and make mistakes but I know Christ forgives me.

Bonham: What are some passages in the Bible that inspire you?

Hunter: My favorite verse in the New Testament is John 3:16. As a Christian, that’s all you need to know. But my favorite book in the Bible is always Proverbs because it’s where you can find wisdom for no matter what you’re going through. It hits me every time I read it. I’ve always read Proverbs regularly because it helps me deal with what’s happening every day in real life.

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