Receive the Crown
During the 2022 Winter Olympics we can see the result of the perseverance needed to become a super athlete. James 1:12 is a study in perseverance. “Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.” In the case of the Olympics the athlete is not seeking the crown of life, but a medal that represents the hard work and dedication it takes to perform on the world stage of the Olympics.
Commentators regale us with stories of the athlete that put his skis on for the first time at the age of four and “never took them off” and the ice skater that began skating at a tender age after watching the Olympics on television. A dream was born in the mind of these young lives. A moment captured in the memory, and they could see themselves in that moment of glory in the future. They began the work and dedication it takes to become an Olympic athlete.
Three athletes in the 2022 Winter Olympics are good examples of perseverance. They not only trained hard, but they had difficult setbacks which they had to overcome, through abnormally difficult circumstances.
Colby Stevenson was severely injured in a rollover accident in Oregon 6 years ago in which he received multiple injuries. On Wednesday, he earned a silver medal after his second-place finish in the men’s Big Air ski event final. When he returned to skiing after a long recovery from his injuries, Colby related that his focus changed from that of winning to being grateful to travel and live and compete.[i]
Just over a year ago in a giant slalom race in Switzerland, Tommy Ford collided with a gate during the race. At full speed, he impacted headfirst and then tumbled down the slope. His injuries included a concussion, torn ligaments, broken tibia, shredded meniscus, and broken tibia plateau. [ii] Sunday, he competed in heavy snowfall in the Giant Slalom despite lingering memory and visual problems.
Speed skater, Casey Dawson had challenges that only this time in history could bring. He was unable to fly to China with his team because of a positive test for the coronavirus. He remained in Salt Lake City and continued to train and test. He tested 45 times over the last three weeks with results bouncing back and forth between positive and negative. He was finally cleared to fly. Hours of flights and changes netted in lost luggage including the blades to his speed skates. Thankfully, he had one performance suit and his skate boots in his carry-on luggage. Exhausted and having missed two races that he was scheduled to compete in, he raced his 1500-meter race to his slowest time on borrowed blades. His remark: “stepping to the line was the biggest thing for me.”[iii]
Christians are called to the greatest race of all.
“I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead. I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” [iv]
The hard work and perseverance are worth it. People are watching you train for the high calling, the prize. They watch you fall and wait for you to get up and start again.
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[i] https://ksltv.com/483838/park-city-native-colby-stevenson-claims-silver-medal-after-near-fatal-car-crash/ [ii] https://www.latimes.com/sports/olympics/story/2022-02-13/like-riding-a-bike-skier-tommy-ford-races-for-first-time-since-devastating-crash [iii] https://www.nytimes.com/2022/02/08/sports/olympics/casey-dawson-speedskating.html#:~:text=Dawson%2C%20an%20American%20distance%20speedskater,over%20the%20last%20three%20weeks. [iv] Philippians 3:13 and 14