To the chagrin of humanists, atheists and scientologists alike
who have been tuning into the 2012 London Olympics, the best-loved athletes are
acknowledging more than just their hard work and dedication for their win.
They turn attention away from themselves and toward the God who has given them the strength and focus they need to win.
Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce leaned across the finish line of the women's 100 meters to become the third woman in Olympic history to successfully defend her gold medal in the 100-meter dash Saturday, joining luminaries Wyomia Tyus from 1968 and Gail Devers from 1996.
After waiting with bated breath for her time to flash across the scoreboard, Fraser-Pryce's name finally came up first. She fell to the ground and shouted, "Thank you, Jesus!"
On a most historic season for the country of Jamaica during
its the 50th year of independence from Britain, the tiny island's flag was raised
and its anthem played in London on Sunday and Monday (Jamaican Independence
Day) after the wins by Fraser-Pryce's gold, Veronica Campell-Brown's bronze,
Usain Bolt's gold and Yohan Blake's silver. It was on Aug. 5, 1962, that the
Union Jack was lowered for the final time at National Stadium in Kingston.
"Eternal Father, bless our land. Guard us with thy mighty
Bolt mouthed the words as he stood atop the podium.
Fraser-Pryce stood beaming with pride, basking in the profound meaning of her country's anthem.
She had told the media that the strength she got was not her
own, but from a higher source of inspiration.
"I have to give God thanks for everything, the strength that I have is really Him, it was all Him today," she said. "To God be the glory."
Fraser-Pryce, who is a member of the Penwood Church of Christ in St. Andrew, Jamaica, thanked her church body for their prayers which, she said, propelled her to victory in Saturday's race.
Fellow islanders Campbell-Brown, Blake and - even the exuberant showman Bolt - have acknowledges God's hand in what they do.
Is it their secret weapon? It may very well be.
Even American gold medalists have claimed God publicly.
Aries Merritt demonstrated superiority Wednesday by winning the Olympic final in the 110-meter hurdle.
When interviewed after the race, he gave honor and praise to God. Merritt posted on his twitter page:
"Words can't even explain how I feel right now! Giving God all the glory. Thanks to all that supported and believed in me."
Allyson Felix, who won the 200-meter dash, on Wednesday is also quite vocal in expressing her faith as a committed Christian. She is one of the featured athletes who connect sports to a life of faith in a film showcasing Olympic athletes and their stories of "Struggle and Triumph."
Produced by International sports ministry Athletes in Action, the 26-minute film is available for free online streaming in 33 languages. Click here, to read about this project and to view Felix's testimony.
In an interview with about.com, when asked how her faith influences her as an athletic competitor, Felix said, "My faith inspires me so much. It is the very reason that I run. I feel that my running is completely a gift from God and it is my responsibility to use it to glorify him. My faith also helps me not be consumed with winning, but to see the big picture and what life is really all about."
According to About.com, Felix grew up in a Christian home where her father was a pastor. She accepted Christ as her savior at age six and continued to grow in her understanding of what it means to be a Christian as she matured into adulthood.
She claims to attend church every Sunday she is home, but listens to various pastor's sermons while she is traveling.
In her testimony given to runtheracedaily.com,
Felix states that she tries not to focus on the pressure surrounding her.
"I love Philippians 4:6-7 that says, 'Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.' That verse always [encourages] my heart when I am dealing with any kind of pressure, and throughout the struggles of life my faith calms my heart. I try to stay in the [Bible] and I pray a lot, just talking to God. He provides my strength and wisdom."
So, is God the secret weapon? Well, it's not so much a secret anymore.