American snowboarding champion Kelly Clark has shared how she found her true identity and purpose when she welcomed Jesus Christ into her life, and now credits her Christian faith for her sustained achievements in sports.
Clark, 34, is one of several Olympic athletes whose stories of faith were featured in the January/February 2018 issue of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes magazine. In her story titled "Purpose Found," the American snowboarder shared how everything she accomplished - including all the awards she had accumulated since age 16 - had failed to fill a certain void in her life which later pulled her into a depressive state, Christian Headlines detailed.
In December 2003, Clark's fellow snowboarder Natalie McLeod wrote her name down in her journal along with a prayer that Jesus would save her. When the 2003-2004 season started, coach Rick Bower noticed that Clark was struggling because she did not feel "connected to anything."
After Clark had qualified for the finals despite her overwhelming feeling of emptiness, she heard one woman consoling a friend and saying it was alright if she did not qualify because "God still loves you." That night, she knocked on the woman's door since she was coincidentally booked at the same hotel and asked to be told about God.
For Clark, the favor she asked for paved the way for a radical change in her life. After several months, she found out about McLeod's journal entry and thanked her for praying for her. The snowboarding champion was invited to McLeod's church, where she learned so much about the Christian faith and later got baptized.
"[Her faith] helped her focus," Bower said of Clark. "It gave her some perspective that was beyond just herself," She found a purpose in life."
Some other openly Christian athletes who are also competing at the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, are world champion bobsledder Elana Meyers Taylor and husband Nic Taylor. The latter shared to FCA how he had embraced Christ in 2005 after surviving three car accidents and realizing that walking away from those car wrecks was a miracle from God, The Christian Post reported.
Skiing Halfpipe champion David Wise, on the other hand, was proud to label himself as a "Truth Follower" on his Twitter profile. He previously said that God made him feel confident through all the pressures in his life since he knows the Lord will always take care of him in every situation.