Idol Chatter

Laura_Wilkinsonpicforic.jpgThough the Beijing Olympics are still over a month away, NBC is giving viewers plenty of opportunity to see what the U.S. athletes are made of as they broadcast both diving and gymnastics team trials last weekend. I watched the diving competition and witnessed Laura Wilkinson, a surprise gold medalist in 2000, beat girls half her age and even received perfect scores on one dive. As she secured her trip to Beijing to compete in her third Olympics, I mentally celebrated not only her victory, but her ongoing example of authentic Christian faith.
You see, it’s not that I am that big of a diving enthusiast, but Laura was actually my first big interview back in 2001 for a Christian magazine when I first began working as a freelance writer. Heck, it even made the cover. And in the years since then, I have interviewed her a few more times. What has always impressed me is whether she finished first or not, she has always used platform diving as, well, a platform to share what God is doing in her life. .

In fact Wilkinson’s spiritual journey, like her career, is an ongoing story of grace in action. She won the gold medal in 2000 with a broken foot only a short time after she also lost her mentor to cancer. In 2004, everyone expected her to win a medal, but she finished fifth. I spoke to her a few months after the 2004 Olympics and I still remember her saying, with childlike wonder, that God had been with her when she won a medal and no one expected it, and God had been with her when she lost. Now she was curious as to what God had to teach her if she tried for a third Olympics
Well, the world will discover that right along with her as the limelight comes her way one more time. And when you watch her standing up there on the platform whispering to herself, don’t think she’s crazy. She’s just reciting one of her favorite Bible verses: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” It’s a habit she started years ago and continues to rely on at every competition–no matter the outcome.

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