Breaking Records in the 200 metre Run

Written by Karen Stiller

Profile on: Allyson Felix, Olympian runner in the 200-meter race in 2004 Olympic games in Athens, Greece.

faith_felixIt was the 2004 Olympic games in Athens, Greece. An 18-year-old girl stepped into the blocks for the women’s 200-meter competition. This was a sprint, a demonstration of pure running power by some of the world’s most highly trained female athletes.

The young American girl on the track was Allyson Felix. She had defied all odds by beginning her training—her entire running career—just a little more than one year earlier as a high school senior, a minister’s kid from Los Angeles. Her high school track coach thought his stopwatch was broken the first time he saw her fly around the school track.

“When I saw the potential on track, it was pretty clear that was going to be my thing,” says Allyson. “It was where I could have a future.”

Allyson’s parents saw her potential as she began to compete internationally—and win—against much older athletes. “She just wants to be the person God created her to be,” says Allyson’s father, Paul. And it’s pretty clear that God created this young girl to run like the wind.

By the end of the 2003 running season, Allyson had broken a number of records, including one set by five-time Olympic medal-winning sprinter Marion Jones. A difficult choice lay ahead. Allyson’s parents wanted her to attend university. Her coaches said Olympic gold glittering on the horizon. The family prayed. “I think that was why the decision took so long,” says Allyson, “just constantly asking for God’s guidance through it.”

Allyson chose to begin university but did not join the school’s running team. She would take classes and study elementary education to reach her goal of becoming a teacher, all the while preparing for the Olympics.

She’s been able to balance it,” says her mother Marlean. “It’s difficult, it’s extremely difficult and I wouldn’t recommend it for the average person.”

But Allyson is far from average. And her corporate sponsor Adidas knows that well. They helped Allyson compete in international competitions to prepare for her Olympic moment. Training required four to five hours of warm-ups, workouts and running each day. It was all worth it in Athens. Allyson ran the 200 meters in 22.18 seconds, bringing her to a silver medal finish.

“Obviously you want her to win the gold,” explains Paul. “But at eighteen years old, to win the silver medal is an amazing accomplishment.”

Allyson describes the moment after the silver medal was hung around her neck as a “low point.”

“It took my family to put things back in perspective for me,” says Allyson.

Her father explains: “She understands that even though she’s won all these medals and she’s done these great accomplishments on the track, the ability did not come from herself, that it was God given ability.”

That attitude helps Allyson to be both graceful and humble when winning or when she does not perform to the level she expects of herself.

“I’m proud of her humility, most which stems from her relationship with the Lord,” says Marlean.

Allyson brings that relationship into her running career. “If there’s the opportunity to have a Christian example, it’s just so much better.”

Being a Christian athlete does not mean Allyson does not still strive for the gold. But Allyson knows that is not the most significant thing. “You have to have this passion and you have to have a reason for doing what you’re doing. And there really has to be a purpose there. And I think that’s what drives success. I know that my talent is from God. And that’s my purpose. To run. To glorify Him.”

Are you using your God given talents? Would you like to be all that Jesus meant you to be and know him in a personal way like Allyson does?  If you don’t know Jesus, we encourage you to pray the following:

Lord Jesus, I want to know You personally. Thank You for dying on the cross for my sins. I open the door of my life and receive You as my Savior and Lord. Thank You for forgiving my sins and giving me eternal life. Take control of my life. Make me be the person You want me to be.

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