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An Olympic Chaplain

The head Christian chaplain at the Vancouver Olympics draws on years of playing professional hockey in U.S. and Sweden.

The fatal crash of Nodar Kumaritashvili, a 21-year-old from Georgia, weighed heavily on the opening ceremonies, and chaplains made themselves available to athletes. In a small office in the Olympic Village, Paul Kobylarz leads this year's Christian chaplaincy program, his fifth Olympics to serve as a chaplain.

"There's been a lot of confidence displayed toward us being there as a support to handle the questions that come along with a situation like this—the purpose of life and questions about our mortality," Kobylarz told Christianity Today on Saturday. "We are here to try to answer those questions for the athletes and delegations and to give support in those areas."

Like many of the chaplains, Kobylarz speaks to athletes from personal experience, having spent three years in Sweden playing professional hockey and 20 years working in sports ministry. Working with athletes at the Olympics is different from other kinds of sports ministry, such as acting as a team chaplain for a professional ...

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