JAROME IGINLA (CANADA) ICE HOCKEY
It was eight years ago in Salt Lake City when Jarome Iginla caught his first glimpse of Olympic glory. Feeling like a kid in a candy store, the budding NHL star was too busy gawking at the jerseys hanging around the locker room to notice he didn't have a locker of his own.
"I got a chance to play with [Hall of Famers] Mario Lemieux and Steve Yzerman," Iginla recalls. "It was a big adjustment. I was one of the younger guys, and I had a makeshift area, but it was a huge thrill."
As a member of the Canadian national team, Iginla helped his country win its first gold medal in 50 years. The championship match took place against the host American squad in arguably one of the most electric hockey games in Olympic history.
Now in his 12th full season with the Calgary Flames, the five-time NHL All-Star has come a long way from his improbable upbringing as a biracial kid reared in Alberta, where by divorced parents-a Christian father from Nigeria and a Buddhist mother from Oregon-and his grandparents.
While playing junior hockey as a teenager, Iginla began exploring his father's faith. That journey has led him to a continually growing relationship with Jesus. "I'm extremely blessed in so many ways," Iginla says. "I want to serve Christ, and in doing that I want to give back in as many different ways as I can. By serving my family and friends and others, I'm trying to say thank you to God every day."
BROCK KREITZBURG (USA) BOBSLED
When Brock Kreitzburg was a kid, he used to stand in front of a mirror and practice giving interviews as an NFL star. Turns out, Kreitzburg's preparation has been quite useful-just not in the way he once imagined.
The former all-conference football player at the University of Toledo now answers probing questions about bobsledding-a sport he admits he learned about through the iconic movie Cool Runnings.
Just six years into the sport, Kreitzburg was representing the USA in the four-man event at the 2006 Winter Olympics. While his highly touted team finished a disappointing sixth, Kreitzburg has managed to enjoy a successful career with six gold medals and seven silver medals in World Cup competition. "It's really by God's grace that I've been successful in my athletic endeavors," he says.
Kreitzburg, who accepted Christ during college, has relied heavily on his faith in the last two years. During a time when he admits to taking some of his focus away from God, he discovered a nagging hip injury that would require radical reconstructive surgery.
"This year was like I was a rookie again," Kreitzburg says. "Because I had the hip replacement, I've had to go out there and prove myself again. There have been several times that I've literally cried out to Him, but He's been faithful. My plans all crash and burn. So I trust that His plan is what's best for me."
To learn more about Brock Kreitzburg's testimony and his Olympic quest, visit brock bobsled.com.
ERIN PAC (USA) BOBSLED
After six years on the competitive bobsled circuit, Erin Pac was still searching for that elusive first medal performance in the two-woman event. As she lined up on a brisk November day at the track in Whistler, British Columbia, something peculiar took place.
Pac decided to have fun and let loose. More importantly, she chose to surrender the moment to God. "It was a very weird feeling because I'm so competitive and I don't like to lose or do poorly," Pac says. "It worked out that time because I won the bronze, but at the Olympics, I might not win a medal. My goal isn't always to win that medal, but to be happy and know that I did the best I could do on that day because He was with me."
Originally a track athlete at Springfield College in Missouri, Pac, a four-time international bobsled medalist, grew up attending church. But it was the influence of pastor Derek Strain, her team chaplain in Lake Placid, New York, that has helped her fully embrace the concept of divine purpose.
"God gives me the strength to do what I can do," Pac says. "I know He's put me here for a reason. I don't know what that reason is. That reason could be to win an Olympic medal. That reason could be to just show my light to everyone else or to be a good witness. It's taken me a long time to get that point of trust, but now I realize that it's not always about winning a medal."To view videos of these and other Christian Olympic athletes competing or sharing their testimonies, visit faithfulathletes .charismamag.com.
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