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TOKYO, JAPAN – AUGUST 04: Peruth Chemutai of Team Uganda celebrates as she wins the gold medal in the Women’s 3000m Steeplechase Final on day twelve of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Olympic Stadium on August 04, 2021 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo/Courtesy)

‘It’s by Your Grace’: Several athletes give thanks to God in Tokyo

When The Tokyo Olympic Games 2020 began in July this year in Japan,  Jesus Film Project and Athletes in Action (AIA) developed a 17-day Virtual Global Prayer Journey with a vision to see thousands of believers praying for each country of the day, lifting up the same requests before the throne of God.

The games are almost coming to an end, and several athletes representing their countries continue to credit God for enabling them to achieve athletic success on the international stage. 

On Wednesday, Peruth Chemutai became the first Ugandan woman to win an Olympic gold medal in any sport when she triumphed in the women’s 3,000m steeplechase. The 22-year-old clocked a time of 9:01.45 to finish over three seconds ahead of American silver medallist Courtney Frerichs with Kenya’s Hyvin Kiyeng taking the bronze.

Reports show that several participants who have been vocal in their faith during the games, whether it was breaking world records or simply for the chance to compete.

USA wrestler Tamyra Mensah-Stock also won a gold medal for her country, Tuesday. When asked to comment on her athletic achievement, she responded: “It’s by the grace of God I’m even able to move my feet.”

Tamyra Mariama Mensah-Stock of Team USA celebrates defeating Blessing Oborududu of Team Nigeria during the Women’s Freestyle 68-kilogram gold medal match on day 11 of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Makuhari Messe Hall on August 03, 2021 in Chiba, Japan. (Photo: Courtesy)

“I just leave it in His hands, and I pray that all the practice, that the Hell that my freaking coaches put me through pays off. And every single time, it does,” she added. “I get better and better, and it’s so weird that there is no cap to the limit that I can do. And … I’m excited to see … what I have next.”

Mensah-Stock is only the second American woman to win gold in freestyle wrestling, the Christian Post reported.

According to NPR, Mensah-Stock became the first black woman to win wrestling gold in its relatively short history.

Still in America, Athing Mu, who won a gold medal for Team USA in the 800-meter dash Tuesday, praised God after becoming the first American woman to win the event since the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City. 

“God definitely took the battle for this one!” she tweeted shortly after her victory. “So, thank you Lord!”

The Guardian reported that breaking into praise and worship songs is not uncommon for the Fiji men’s rugby team.

According to team captain Jerry Tuwai, “We always start with our prayers and songs, and we always end with our prayers and songs.”

“That song says that our God is a loving God, and that while we always tend to go stray from what He expects from us, He still loves us, and gives us good things,” he said.

The gold medal won by the Fiji team is one of two medals that the Pacific island nation has captured in the 2020 Summer Olympics thus far.

On Saturday, Olympic runner Raevyn Rogers sent out a tweet proclaiming that “I made this final for a reason. It’s all according to His plan, and I know it will be revealed.” Rogers secured a bronze medal for the U.S. in the 800-meter dash three days later.

Aug 3, 2021; Tokyo, Japan; Gold medalist Athing Mu (USA) and bronze medalist Raevyn Rogers (USA) react after the women’s 800m final during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Summer Games at Olympic Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Nelles-USA TODAY Sports

Like Mu, Rogers uses her social media platform to profess her faith, with her Twitter biography reading “Led by His guidance,” accompanied by an emoji of praying hands.

Mu, a student at Texas A&M University, elaborated on her faith in an interview with her college’s student newspaper, The Battalion, in June. She discussed the importance of Deuteronomy 28:13, which reads, “The Lord will make you the head, not the tail. If you pay attention to the commands of the Lord your God that I give you this day and carefully follow them, you will always be at the top, never at the bottom.”

“As a follower of Christ, our main goal is to live in the image of Jesus in order to connect to God and ‘get’ to God,” Mu asserted. “I believe when God is ready to give you blessings, He gives it to you with all intentions. In this case, ‘keeping one at the top, never at the bottom.’” 

The Olympic games will end on 8 August,2021 at 8 p.m. local time in Tokyo, with the closing ceremony.


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