United States Track and Field Olympic Team gold medalist Allyson Felix stressed that “faith leads my life” when discussing the road that led to her upcoming races next week at the Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Felix insists that her world-class speed around the track is a gift of God for which she is truly grateful.
Even though she is currently focused on being presented with Olympic gold medals around her neck next week, Felix insists that wearing the crown of life while living every day for Jesus Christ is her main goal.
“I came to know Jesus Christ as my personal Savior at a very young age,” Felix told the Los Angeles Times. “Ever since then, I have continually been striving to grow in my relationship with God.
Hurdles on and off the track
Helping other Olympic hopefuls to not give up in the race of life, the dominating athlete admits that she has run into her share of hurdles along her path to the Olympics.
“I was nowhere close to the perfect child,” Felix conceded. “I had my share of difficult times, along with some disappointing choices that I made, but thankfully, God never stops loving me.”
The Olympian maintains that God is the key provider and sustainer of the skills and talent she displays on the track.
"Faith leads my life," she expressed. "I definitely feel like I've been blessed with this gift, and so that's something that helps me to see the bigger picture.”
Felix warns how easy it is for athletes to be led down the path of fame and self-aggrandizement when they reach success.
“It's so easy to get caught up in winning everything and just the kind of the grind of what professional sports is, but it definitely helps me to kind of pull back and see that there's a greater purpose," she maintained.
Other obstacles can also work to get athletes off track, as Felix also recounted a couple of trials she recently faced, including the death of her grandfather and a hamstring injury that kept her from making the women’s 200-meter team – a setback that precluded her from competing in the 200- and 400-meter races next week in Rio.
"I think a lot of times you want faith to kind of be the answer to everything, and it's still a struggle to get there, you know?” the devoted athlete shared. “There are very real moments that are hard, but I think that it helps me to be able to learn the lesson that there is a purpose, a reason why maybe that happened, and it can create something in you and it might be preparing you for something better in the future."
Having won gold at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games in the 4x400-meter relay and silver in the 200 meters, along with another silver in the 200 meters at the 2004 Athens Olympic Games and wining six world championships, Felix is one America’s most seasoned athletes competing in Rio. But she concedes that being a Christian doesn’t mean God will clear away all of one’s challenges in life.
“I think a lot of times you want faith to kind of be the answer to everything, and it's still a struggle to get there, you know?” Felix related. “There are very real moments that are hard, but I think that it helps me to be able to learn the lesson that there is a purpose, a reason why maybe that happened, and it can create something in you, and it might be preparing you for something better in the future.”
Rooted in the Rock
Felix’s Christian upbringing coming from her father, who is a seminary professor, and her mother, who has consistently provided a loving Christian throughout her life, have played an essential role in her success on and off the field.
"Our family was very involved in our church,” Felix shared. “I am so blessed to have my family and the upbringing that I did. It means so much to me to have two very godly parents who both have so much wisdom. They are amazing role models that I have had the privilege to watch as I grew up."
She added the mention of another crucial stage in her Christian testimony.
"I came to know Jesus Christ as my personal Savior at a very young age,” the experienced athlete recounted, according to the Christian Examiner. “Ever since then, I have continually been striving to grow in my relationship with God.”
She admitted that her flawed and sinful human nature has led her astray at times, but expressed that being anchored in her relationship with Jesus Christ has kept her on His straight and narrow path.
“I was nowhere close to the perfect child,” Felix conceded. “I had my share of difficult times, along with some disappointing choices that I made, but thankfully, God never stops loving me."
Anchor of hope
At times when fear and anxiety set in for many athletes before the gun sounds, Felix says that she relies on a foundational verse given by the Apostle Paul in the New Testament so that she experiences peace and calm before every race.
"Do not be anxious about anything but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." –Philippians 4:6-7
Felix says that she always draws strength from this Bible passage – even off the track.
"That verse always [encourages] my heart when I am dealing with any kind of pressure, and throughout the struggles of life, my faith calms my heart,” she impressed. “I try to stay in the [Bible] and I pray a lot, just talking to God. He provides my strength and wisdom."
The decorated world-class athlete stresses that it is not all about donning an Olympic gold medal around her neck at the end of the day; it’s about honoring God and living to bring Him praise.
"I know my talent is from God,” Felix concluded. “And that's my purpose: to run to glorify Him."