Rio 2016: Olympians Share Their Faith in Christ

Craig HueyInternational, Media, Religious Liberty7 Comments

Rio 2016: Olympians Share Their Faith in Christ

The Olympics have kicked off in RIO, and already incredible athletes are competing with vigor.

They are bringing home the gold, or the silver and the bronze.

But they are giving all the glory to God!

Amazing and inspiring.

  1. Gabby Douglas, Olympic Gymnast—and gold medal winner:

“Faith plays a very big role in my life. I don’t know where I would be without it today. I’ve always been praying for everything. And my mom always exposed me and my siblings to being a Christian and the Bible. I was watching back and looking at the Olympics and my mouth is moving — and that’s me praying.”

  1. Makenzie Brown, Archery, is an evangelical Christian:

“I am so beyond ecstatic to be going to RIO this summer for the Olympic Games! I’m so grateful for all of the support and love from y’all!”

Her coach, Kisik Lee, is also very open about his faith in Christ. He routinely led morning prayer and Bible studies with his team, and even baptized seven Olympic-bound archers.

  1. David Boudia, Team Diving

This athlete admitted that in the past, he was interested in getting all the glory at the Olympic games.

Today, he gives all the glory to Jesus!

“It’s more about what I’m doing to share my purpose but not forcing it on people. God is providing this platform so He can reveal Himself.”

  1. Allyson Felix, Track and Field, gold medalist

Felix accepted Jesus as her Savior at an early age, but does not shy away from admitting that she is still very much on a journey to grow in grace.

  1. “I had my share of difficult times along with disappointing choices that I made, but thankfully God never stops loving me.”

She then added: “I’m currently a work in progress … My goal is to be more Christ-like each and every day.”

  1. Kevin Durant, Basketball

Not just playing for the NBA—on the Golden State Warriors—Durant is an Olympian and a Christian!

He was baptized at Hillsong New York City by Pastor Carl Lentz:

“When I came out of the water, I was just different. After that, I was just so positive. Showing God and His grace! I felt like I had to follow the Ten Commandments. But we don’t live by that no more. We live by the blood of Jesus. That’s how I feel.”

  1. Simone Biles, the most decorated gold medal gymnast in the world, is very open about her faith.

A first-time Olympian from Ohio, raised in Texas by her loving grandparents (whom she calls “Mom” and “Dad”, Biles talks about how her upbringing instilled a strong faith in her:

“My mom, Nellie, got me a rosary at church. I don’t use it to pray before a competition. I’ll just pray normally to myself, but I have it there just in case.”

  1. Tobin Heath, Soccer

He doesn’t care about the fame, as much as bringing fame to Jesus Christ.


“Being known or noticed in my sport isn’t what drives me to work hard and want to be the best I can be. It’s Jesus. That’s why I play. I play to glorify Him!”

  1. Bubba Watson, Golf

Watson is very clear about his convictions. On his Twitter feed, you can read:

“Christian. Husband. Daddy. Pro Golfer.”

Since becoming a Christian, he has gotten deeper into God’s Word, and recognizes that his golfing ability is an opportunity to witness for Christ:

“Golf is just an avenue for Jesus to use me to reach as many people as I can.”

  1. Michael Phelps

He is already the most decorated Olympian of all time, with 25 medals, including 21 gold medals.

His life was not always so golden, however. After the 2012 Olympics, his life began to drift. He was caught smoking marijuana, and arrested for drunk driving.

Then his friend Ray Lewis, former linebacker for the Baltimore Ravens, gave him The Purpose Driven Life, the best-selling devotional style book written by Saddleback Church Pastor Rick Warren.

Phelps said: “[This book] turned me into believing there is a power greater than myself, and there is a purpose for me on this planet.”

Others have noted that Phelps’ restored faith in Christ has helped him to persevere and overcome many challenges, both on and off the Olympic field.

These are incredible stories of faith, on full display for the world to see at the Olympic games?

Tell me what you think! Email me at


7 Comments on “Rio 2016: Olympians Share Their Faith in Christ”

  1. Craig, had read the Michael Phelps testimony, all of this very helpful in preparing a Bible Lesson for Beacon Light Mission this Monday evening. Love opening God’s word for the truth that brings freedom to our very souls. In Him, Dick Freeman

  2. Glory be to God! I am happy to hear of the many athletes in our 2016 Olympics who not only excelled but were not afraid to make a stand for Christ and giving God the glory for what they are and what they have become. I am also very happy about Mr Phelps knowing Christ and Kevin Duran to make a stand …letting the world know of the faith he had embraced . We should have more Christians making a stand especially those who are in the government….knowing how broken and corrupt most of our officials are. I came to this country four decades ago expecting to see The Christian values amongst our Christian brothers and sisters. …stories I hear around me are so disappointing but I keep on believing God will prevail. We Christians need to be more prayerful and vigilant in our faith and walk with God.

  3. I can’t express any more enthusiastically my joy than after watching the men’s diving & our guys giving all honor & glory to our Lord! I get so excited hearing God’s children exclaim His name before taking any credit for themselves! What awesome examples they are to all! Praise God!

  4. Praise God for the athletes who love giving glory to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ! May the world see and hear and be renewed in Jesus!

  5. And let’s not forget the adorable and exceptional gymnast, Laurie Hernandez. Jesus is written in the joy exhibited all over her face. She has been an overcome already in many ways in her young life.

  6. These stories fill my heart so full of the love of Christ that I think sometimes it will burst. Praise be to God for these wonderful Brothers and Sisters in Christ whom God is using to shine His glory into this broken world!

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