Christian view of success and failure at the Olympics

William Yoder

News from Sochi on February 19, 2014, the 12th day of the Olympics

In addition to being a sports venue, Olympic Sochi was also a platform for political discussion. More than 50 political leaders are planning to visit Sochi during the Olympic and Paralympic games. These will include the prime ministers of Japan and Italy, the president of the People’s Republic of China, the presidents of Finland and the Czech Republic, the kings of Sweden and Norway as well as leaders of the former Soviet countries. The Secretary-General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon, will be among the guests. But according to the Olympic charter, there should be no political debates on the territory of the Games. For that reason, a park in the town of Khosta has been designated as a location for political activities. The «International Christian Information Center» surveyed guests on their views regarding the role that politics play in sports.

But even the most important political statements do not overshadow the primary sports event of 2014: the XXII. Winter Olympics. Today, eight gold medals were awarded in Olympic Sochi. Yet for Russian fans, the day was full of disappointments — the major one being the defeat of Russia’s ice-hockey team in the quarter-final match with Finland.

The lessons that athletes learn from defeat and the costs of victory were discussed today at the «International Christian Information Center» by Alexander Manchenko, a world champion in powerlifting. This athlete, at a moment when he was about to be defeated, found new strength in prayer — not in his own power.

Both success and failure in sports teach us much about spirituality. This was the conclusion drawn by Lyndon Rush, a member of the Canadian Olympic bobsled team, in a conversation with journalists from the Christian media center. Participants of the Sochi Olympics have confirmed that failures are unavoidable in politics, sports and spiritual life. Yet true champions learn from their failures.

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