Update Note (2.16.2013)
As with the rest of the world, I am deeply saddened by the events that took place in this past week involving Oscar Pistorius. I have no words to say except that my heart goes out to the the victim’s family and loved ones. I pray for their healing and their peace,
RUNNERS FOR THE GOLD
An American marathon runner competing for the gold in the London Olympics claims his only coach is God. A South African spint runner is a double amputee known as the “the fastest man on no legs”.
When I think of these young Olympians , I cannot help but think of the runners from the Oscar-winning movie, Chariots Of Fire. Produced by David Puttnam, Chariots tells the true story of two athletes in the 1924 Olympics: Eric Liddell, a devout Scottish Christina who runs for the glory of God, and Harold Abrahams, an English Jew who runs to overcome prejudice.
Chariots of Fire just so happens to be Ryan Hall’s favorite movie. Ryan tweeted that he plans to go and see Chariots of Fire on stage in London while he is there. The stage play was gotten raves as strong as the stage show of Warhorse. Ryan is curious to see how they handle the running on stage.
“GOD IS MY COACH”
Ryan Hall listed God as his coach on a standard drug test he gave after coming in second at the U.S. half-marathon championships. When asked by a testing official to name a real person, Ryan responded, “He is a real person.”
“Once I knew he kind of lost faith in me a little bit, that was a real shifting point,” said Hall, according to The New York Times. “My coach has to believe in me. That’s the most important thing, probably.”
Today, Ryan insists he doesn’t have a coach outside of God and the inspiration of the words in the Bible.
“I was sick of saying I’m a Christian but not having a desperation for God in my life,”Hall told USA Today. “I wanted to need God. I wanted to make my faith more active in my life.”
Turning to the Bible allows Ryan Hall’s spirituality to help his training according to his wife, Sarah Hall:
“The Bible is not going to tell you how to be a good runner, just like it’s not going to tell you how to build a computer. I don’t think Ryan is looking at the Bible for a formula, necessarily. There are certain things that God highlights for him that he applies to his training.”
THE FIRST DOUBLE AMPUTEE TO RUN FOR OLYMPIC GOLD
Born in Johannesburg, Oscar Pistorius, was less than a year old when he was diagnosed with congenital absence of the fibula in both legs. Soon after, Oscar had both of his legs amputated.
Some Olympians seem almost mythical in their impossible-to-fathom levels of endurance and physicality. Others, like double-amputee Oscar Pistorius, serve as an inspiration because they’ve taken what seems like a disadvantage and used it to transcend the limitations of the human body itself. Undeterred in his athletic determination, Oscar Pistorius grew up playing rugby, water polo, tennis and wrestling; in 2004, after an injury, he fell in love with running and started competing in both Paralympic and able-bodied events.
Later this month, Oscar Pistorius will become the first double amputee runner in the history of the Olympic games.
In the midst of the Aurora Tragedy, it is comforting to know that there are still runners of inspiration that carry our hearts with them as they run with Spirit and with God. In my view, Ryan and Oscar are at the pure base of what Olympians are all about.
I love Eric Liddell‘s line in Chariots Of Fire. “…When I run I feel His pleasure.”
Perhaps this new Olympic story might bring the great producer of Chariots Of Fire and The Mission, Sir David Puttnam, out of retirement to make one last great picture about Olympians at the 2012 Olympics.