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What's the significance of the Olympics to you?

I remember being at the long jump [in the 2004 Olympics], and I lost it. I started crying. I got down on my knees and I prayed, "Lord, no matter what happens here, I'm so thankful that you allowed me to come here. This is everything that I've ever dreamed of." Being at the Olympics stadium, hearing the crowd, knowing that I'm competing for the United States, this is what I've always dreamed about. It's not about winning the gold medal — that's a goal — but the purest part of the dream wasn't about winning the gold medal. It was about that moment. At that moment everything was perfect in life. I said, "I thank you so much for this, no matter what the outcome is, I thank you, I praise you, I give you all the glory. Whatever happens from this point on, just enable me to glorify you no matter what."

Have you been able to maintain that mentality?

I think I have. That's the attitude I've been trying to maintain throughout my career. When you have to do [well] to continue to put food on the table for your family and pay the bills, it definitely gets tough. But I think that's why God has surrounded me with the people who are around me here. I don't think God meant for you to do it on your own.

If I can keep modeling my career after my spiritual life, the sky's the limit.

What do you hope people are praying for you?

It's hard to say, because one side of me doesn't want to ask people not to pray that I would win. [Yet] God has shown me that if I can keep my priorities in order — keep God first, family second, track third — that he takes care of everything else. It sounds kind of unreal, but if I can get up and do my devotions and plug in my iPod with my worship music ...

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August 2008

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