Allyson Felix Wins Long-Awaited Gold

In what was U.S.A. Track & Field's best night since 1992, Allyson Felix finally got her gold medal and all seven winning athletes expressed their gratitude to God.

SPRINTING FOR GOLD: After winning silver in 2004 and 2008, U.S. sprinter Allyson Felix finally wins gold. (Photo by Troy Wayrnen/Newscom)

Another U.S. gold medal and another athlete gives glory to God for it. “I’m so thankful for God to have this opportunity,” Allyson Felix told NBC sports after yesterday’s win in the 200-meter sprint final. “I’ve been waiting for this opportunity for so long. Praying that His will be done, and not my own. Ready to run my HEART out,” she tweeted before the race.

This was the third 200-meter Olympic medal for Felix. In 2004 and 2008, she came in second to Jamaica’s Veronica Campbell-Brown. “The moments that motivated me most were losing on the biggest stage,” Felix said, “and just never forgetting that feeling.”

As usual, Felix’s family was in the stands for her big moment. Her father, Paul, is an ordained minister and an associate professor at The Master’s Seminary in Santa Clarita, California; her mother, Marlean, is an elementary school teacher; and, her brother, Wes, is her agent, USA Today reported. (Her father is also president of Los Angeles Bible Training School).

“Marlean had said the family, as devout Christians, would be able to handle another Olympic disappointment,” USA Today reported. Instead they celebrated. But, in a 2010 interview with the Heart of a Champion foundation, Marlean said the family is most proud of Allyson’s humility. She also said she and her husband made a decision early on in their daughter’s career to travel to all her meets to provide support.

“Her life has played out in the eight lanes of a running track for more than a decade now. There was a dirt oval in southern California when she was a freshman in high school where a part-time track coach was stunned to see her run so gracefully in clunky basketball shoes. There was the ancient surface in Mexico City where she ran so fast in the 200 as a 17-year-old that the entire sprint world took notice. There were stadiums in Finland, Japan and Germany where she won world championship gold medals; and others in Greece and China, where she took Olympic silvers. …She is an elder stateswoman at the age of 26,” Sports Illustrated reported today.

Felix got her start at Los Angeles Baptist High School and came to faith at an early age, she said in a testimony published by RunTheRaceDaily.com. “I’m currently a work in progress and like anyone else I face struggles every day. My goal is to be more Christ-like each and every day and that is not an easy task,” Felix said. “I feel so blessed that God has given me the talent of running. My running is an amazing gift from God and I want to use it to the best of my ability to glorify Him.”

PROUD TO REPRESENT HER COUNTRY: Allyson Felix celebrates her win. (Photo by Troy Wayrnen/Newscom)

Felix “has taught Sunday school and feels a special burden to work with young people,”Decision magazine reported July 26. “Once this year’s Games are over, she said, she’ll get right back into the swing of serving at her church.”

When asked if she has a life verse in an interview with About.com, she said,”Philippians 1:21 is very special to me because it helps to keep my life centered. In every situation in my life I want to be able to say, ‘For me to live is Christ … and nothing else, and to die is gain.’ It really keeps life in perspective for me and encourages me to make sure my priorities are straight.”

U.S. sprinter Carmelita Jeter, who took bronze in the 200 meters, is also a Christian, Chad Bonham reported at Beliefnet. “I wanna thank yall for being so supportive, im on the medal stand AGAIN. #Godbetheglory,” Jeter tweeted last night.

In what Sports Illustrated described as “the best night for Team USA on the track since Aug. 6, 1992,” our athletes won seven medals: three gold (Felix, Brittney Reese in the long jump and Aries Merritt in the 110-meter hurdles), two silver (Lashinda Demus in the 400-meter hurdles and Jason Richardson in the 110-meter hurdles) and two bronze (Jeter and Janay DeLoach in the long jump). Every one of them gave thanks and/or glory to God for their wins. Click the links on their names to see what they said.

What do you think?

Is there a spiritual revival taking place among U.S.A. Track & Field athletes?

About the author, Christine A. Scheller

Christine A. Scheller is a widely published journalist and essayist, and an editor-at-large at UrbanFaith. She lives with her husband at the Jersey Shore and in Washington, DC, where she helps facilitate dialogue between scientific and religious communities.