Tag Archives: olympics and christian science

The Olympics and faith: Ancient wisdom, modern practice, part 2

By Blogger Linda Ross

It was late in the afternoon.  Our county wide running club had hired an Olympic coach for just one day.  The elite runners had the first group appointment at 8 a.m.  The rest of the members were assigned an hour long slot based on their average mile time from a recent 10K race.

My group, those who were the last to finish, had the final hour with the coach.

Going around the table, each asked the coach how to manage their various injuries or conditions while continuing to run.  When it was my turn, I asked how to be faster.  The coach said that first he needed to know what my injuries were, how often I ran, and my average number of miles covered per week.  I told him I ran daily, covered about 20 miles a week, and had no injuries.

He asked, “No injuries?  What are you thinking when you run?”

I told him that running is a time for me to ponder the nature of God, consider some Scripture that has touched me, pray for my children and myself.  In response he shook his head in agreement, then gave me some training ideas to increase my speed.

Our session concluded with out me having the opportunity to add that mishaps had occurred while running.  Each was healed through prayer, leaving me with complete physical freedom.  One time, lost in thought, I wasn’t paying attention to the road in front of me.  Stumbling on a pothole, I heard a snap in my foot and then fell.  At that moment, sitting on the pavement, I had a strong thought that I was not out of alignment with God.  Despite the circumstances, I felt at peace.  Then my foot was able to support my weight again and I completed the jog as usual with my running group.

The Olympic coach recognized in my experience the effect of  “athletics elevated to a spiritual plane” (see part 1 of this post).  This passage from author and spiritual pioneer Mary Baker Eddy describes my feeling that day, “You are not alone.  Love is with you watching tenderly over you by day and night; and this Love will not leave you but will sustain you and remember all thy tears, and will answer thy prayers.”

The Olympics and faith: Ancient wisdom, modern practice, part 1

By Blogger Linda Ross

Ryan Hall is a Team USA Olympic marathon contender.  He’s also a man quite open about how his faith is influencing his training and event participation.  A recent New York Times feature about Ryan, “A Runner’s Belief: God is his coach”, included interviews with a swath of experts in this field as well.

Tim Noakes, exercise physiologist at the University of Cape Town commented, “The more stable you are as a human, the better you are as an athlete, and religion is a very stabilizing force.”

Apparently, discovering a more spiritual approach to sports is not new. Doing a little research on faith in sports for this post, I came across a guide called, ‘Gods and Games’.  It states, “ancient civilizations elevated athletics to a spiritual plane…”  The prophet Isaiah, writing about 740 B.C., observed: “But those who wait upon God get fresh strength.  They spread their wings and soar like eagles, they run and don’t get tired…”

Of course faith in sports is not something only for Olympians.  Tim Tebow, Jeremy Linn, Mark Warner, and many others openly give thanks to God for guidance and inspiration during training and game day play.  And those of us who admire their perseverance, talent, and strength – cheer them on.  We’re grateful to apply in our own lives, by some measure, the lessons they’ve learned in theirs.