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Katie Taylor and other Olympians speak openly of their faith

Wednesday, August 8th, 2012

Irish boxer Katie Taylor thanked God just minutes after winning a fight at the Olympics that guarantees at least a bronze medal. 

“Thanks be to God,” said the openly Christian Taylor in a post-fight RTÉ interview.  “He [God] is my strength and my shield.”

Katie is a born-again Christian who regularly attends St Mark's Pentecostal Church on Dublin's Pearse Street.  On the red boxing robe that she wore at her first fight she has written, “The Lord is my shepherd and my shield.” 

Katie not only scored highest in the ring at the ExCel boxing arena with a 26-15 win, but the cheering of her fans reached a decibel level of 113.7, the highest recorded at London 2012 so far.  The noise of a jet engine is around 140 decibels.

Katie is not the only Christian at the Olympics to speak openly about their faith.  Last week a young Spanish hockey player told his country’s national newspapers that he plans to join the seminary after this Olympics.

Carlos Ballve plays defence on the Spanish field hockey team, but as soon as the games end, he plans to go to a Belgian seminary to begin the process of becoming priest. 

He told his story to the Spanish daily El Pais, stating that even though he always considered himself a believer, it was only in 2005 that he became aware of the importance of God in his life.  In the summer of that year, everything began to change while he competed at the under-21 World Championships.

“We began the competition terribly.  It was so bad that one Sunday I went to Mass and made a deal with God: I told him that if he fixed that championship, I would go to Medjugore with my father.  We made history.  Never before had a U-21 team won a medal, and we came in third,” he said.

Ballve kept his promise and visited Medjugore.  However, he said his life still did not change, as he continued, “to go to parties with girls, spend money left and right, and had little or no intention of praying.”  He added that even though he was free to do anything he wanted he was not happy.  He was at the top of his game, but decided to quit again and go in search for God. 

His life began to change, and he only asked the Lord to let him fulfil his dream of playing in the Olympics.

Ballve called his time at the games so far, “an incredible and precious experience.” 

He said he hopes, “not only to win, but to grow in my living of the faith, sharing this with people from so many parts of the world,” the newspaper reported.

by Ann Marie Foley