In every Olympics there are Catholic participants who find strength and meaning in their faith — and this year’s summer games in Tokyo were no exception. Although you would never know that from the way the secular media cover the various Olympic events. For the most part, secular journalists and reporters ignore (or at least downplay) the religious dimension of the lives of these athletes, and the inspiration they experience from their relationship with God.
Thankfully, Catholic news sources do report on these matters. The National Catholic Register, for example, published an article on July 22 (the day before the competition began) on Olympians “Who Carry the Torch of Faith.” Several participants in the Tokyo games were featured in the article, including gymnast Grace McCallum, who was quoted as saying, “My Catholic faith has been such a huge part of my journey and keeps me grounded in who I am.” Runner Sydney McLaughlin, who would set a world record in the 400m hurdles in Tokyo, said that she gave “all the glory to God.” Mariel Zagunis, the first American to win a gold medal in fencing, noted the impact of her Catholic educational experience. She said, “Going to a small Catholic school has helped me in every aspect of my life.”
Athletes like these remind us of the importance of faith, as well as the power of faith to help you to become the best that you can be — what Matthew Kelly calls the “best version of yourself.” They also remind us of the fact that there are many things in this life that are far more important than winning a gold medal.