Inspiring Athletes

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The 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia are just over two years from now, but that doesn’t mean much to the serious group of athletes that already have the goal of reaching those Games in sight. Canadian bobsledder Lyndon Rush is one of those individuals.

After a disappointing wreck took his two-man team out of contention at the 2010 Vancouver games, Rush bounced back with a surprising bronze medal performance in the four-man race. Now that the 2011-12 bobsledding season is in full swing, Rush is doing everything he can to get ready for another shot at Olympic glory.

In this interview, Rush talks about how he got into the sport, the role that faith plays in his life and his ultimate goal as a competitor:

Chad Bonham: How did you get involved in bobsledding?

Lyndon Rush: I played football at the University of Saskatchewan. I had just finished my last year and that was the same year that Vancouver had won the bid for the Olympic Games. Canada started a program called “Own The Podium.” They started raising money to put into the winter sports and they were doing a lot of recruiting at that time. So I went out and gave it a try and I really enjoyed it and it just went from there. But most of the guys come from track or football.

Bonham: Tell me about your spiritual journey.

Rush: I was raised in a Christian home. Both of my parents are believers. We did family devotions and went to church all the time. I became a Christian when I was six years old. I was a little guy. It’s kind of cloudy, but I remember asking Jesus into my heart when my dad and I were golfing. I knew the story but he explained it to me that I needed to ask Jesus into my heart. I remember sitting down on a park bench and saying the prayer. And then I guess growing up and getting older, I had a lot of good spiritual experiences at summer camp. I’d get recharged out there. I remember a few times when I’d get rededicated. But I don’t remember my life as a non-believer. I never really had a time when I didn’t believe. I screwed up lots but I can’t imagine my life without Christ. I guess it’s sort of boring, but that how it happened for me. I’m so blessed.

Bonham: I assume you’ve seen a lot of athletes deal with depression when they’ve failed or fallen short of their goals.

Lyndon Rush (left) with brakeman Jesse Lumsden after placing fifth in the two-man bobsled World Cup race at Igls, Austria on December 3, 2011 (Photo by Charlie Booker)

Rush: Yeah, but it goes both ways, even in the success stories. People rest on that and then they’re miserable afterwards. You can’t be fulfilled by success. The praise of man feels really good. We need to fight that. That’s not what we’re here for. We’re here to please our maker. It’s really easy to get caught up in hearing people tell you how awesome of a job you did and how proud they are of you. Because it feels really good when people tell you that. That’s something I fight daily. We want to be praised by other people. I always try to remember that it’s not my goal. People get depressed from success because the praise of man goes away and humans let you down. But if your life goal is to glorify your Maker, you’ll never have that empty feeling.

Bonham: What are your plans for 2014?

Rush: I really thought I’d be done after Vancouver. My wife and I discussed it a lot. I prayed about it a lot and I felt like God was telling me, “Listen to your wife.” So I told myself I was going to retire unless Krista said she wanted me to keep going. My wife is the sweetest person on earth and she’d never say, “No, I don’t want you to keep racing.” But I had decided that if she told me, “If you want to keep racing, that’s fine,” I was going to retire. But she actually told me that she’d been praying a lot and that she didn’t think my work was done and that I needed to do another four-year cycle. So I’m going to do this one more time.

Lyndon Rush is one of 20 athletes who will be featured in a forthcoming book called Glory of the Games (Cross Training Publishing). Expected release is March 2012. Details coming soon!

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