|Gold medallist Meseret Defar with image of the Virgin Mother |
and baby Jesus after winning the 5000 meter race
Ethiopian runner Tirunesh Dibaba. But it didn't end there.
The real story goes much deeper then the athletic accomplishment. Had the announcers known a little more about Defar's life they would have totally understood why she acted the way she did just after winning the race. And why she carried with her a picture of the Virgin Mary as she ran and then broke down in tears and knelt in humble gratitude holding that image before the cameras and millions of viewers worldwide. This was truly an Olympic moment of athleticism, faith, grace and beauty.
What the media failed to report and understand at the London Games 2012 is that many athletes are people of faith. Many of them attended daily Mass which was celebrated every day during the games. The wonderful and moving story of Meseret Defar and the expression of her faith is something worth reporting. What a model athlete this woman is for our young people! What the Olympic Games needs is more athletes who are not afraid to openly share and live their faith. We need more people like Meseret Defar, not just because she won gold, but more so because her public witness of her belief in God and the Virgin Mary. Our congratulations to all these athletes and may God's blessing be with them.