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Where Was God When Lolo Jones Placed Fourth?

Where Was God When Lolo Jones Placed Fourth?


Aug 9 2012
We need a theology that accounts for Christian athletes' on-the-field failings.

Gabby Douglas had "a good feeling" when she arrived in London last week.

"It was raining and I thought, It's going to be a great day," she toldPeople. "My mom used to tell me when I was little, 'When it rains, it's God's manifestation, a big day's waiting to happen.'

"I texted my mom, 'It's raining. You know what that means.'"

For most of the athletes at that day's Olympic events, the London drizzle meant an outstanding performance quickly forgotten amid the other, slightly more outstanding performances. For Douglas, it meant a gold medal in the women's gymnastics individual all-around, making her the first black woman in Olympic history to achieve this accomplishment.

The buoyant 16-year-old Christian from Virginia Beach thanked God in a live interview following her triumph: "I give all the glory to God. It's kind of a win-win situation. The glory goes up to him and the blessings fall down on me." Shortly thereafter she tweeted Psalm 103:2: "Let all that I am praise the LORD; may I never forget the good things he does for me," before receiving Twitter shout-outs from Oprah Winfrey, Lady Gaga, and the President of the United States. While the public seems more interested in Douglas's hair than her steadfast faith, her public display of thanking God for such a win—especially given her many challenges in life—was inspiring to this Christian.

On Tuesday, another world-famous Christian athlete stared down the possible win of her life. Lolo Jones, the 29-year-old runner who grew up in poverty in Baton Rouge, has spent the past four years training for the 100-meter hurdles after a stumble at the 2008 Beijing Games caused her to fall from the lead to seventh. The current American record holder in the 60m hurdles, Jones frequently speaks of her faith in Christ, tweeting as she arrived in London, "I'm overwhelmed with emotions. Thank you Lord for another chance and for holding me as Iwaited." As she stood on the line for the 100-meter race yesterday, fans could see her mouthing, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."

She needed that strength yesterday, after a nasty, conspicuously timed New York Times article ran over the weekend suggesting that Jones was using sex appeal—not real athletic talent—to get press. "If there is a box to check off, Jones has checked it. Except for the small part about actually achieving Olympic success as a hurdler," wrote Jere Longman. While the NYT has since been pounded even by liberal media for Longman's thinly veiled misogyny, the negative press couldn't have helped Jones, who placed fourth. After hundreds and hundreds of hours preparing for this day, Jones saw a dream shatter in .10 seconds. Last night she tweeted, "In room Singing Desert song by Hillsong. Its on repeat. Lord Jesus please comfort me , guide me & heal my broken heart," and this morning nearly broke down in a live interview with the Today show.

Related Topics:Olympic Games

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Where Was God When Lolo Jones Placed Fourth?