After waiting four years, the Olympics are finally almost here. On Friday night, the two week long party kicks off in London, England for the 2012 Summer Olympic Games. The Olympics is one of my favorite sporting events because of all the nationalistic pride that is involved and the hard work that all these Olympians have put in for these four years to get a chance at their one shining moment.
Yes, I am pulling for the United States in basically every event, but there is one event where that might just not be the case. As I was coming up with more interview topics for you guys, I thought about trying to find an Olympian who was serving Christ with their talent. Last month, I was able, by God’s grace, to get in contact with such a person and it was a blessing to talk to her.
Her name is Jennifer Pinches. Pinches is eighteen year old from Bristol, United Kingdom. She will be competing in artistic gymnastics for Great Britain. In June, she competed at the British Championships in Liverpool to try to qualify to the national team. It turned out she had great success, which included a second place finish in the all-around competition and a gold medal on the balance beam. It is amazing to see the hard work she has put in and even serving Christ while doing it is amazing and makes you just want to praise God for it!
So, here is my interview with Olympic Gymnast Jennifer Pinches:
1. How did you come to know the Lord?
Jen: I was dedicated by my parents when I was little (instead of Christened) and given the opportunity to go to church and Sunday school each week when I was growing up. I am lucky in the respect that I have been given an easy route to knowing God, rather than having to discover Christianity without my family support, which I think is becoming increasingly difficult nowadays. It seems tome that in our society today, many people say they’re ‘a Christian’ simply because they say they’ve been christened, but most people haven’t actually been given the opportunity to learn and get to really know God or go to church with their parents, other than maybe when they were little or with school or onoccasions like Christmas day…
Also, places I have been on holiday such as Spring Harvest festival in Mineheadhave given me the chance to really explore my faith and ultimately become closer to God!
2. Who have been some of your role models on and off the mat?
J: My biggest role model is my dad, who copes with an extremely hectic life looking after me and my three little brothers and working, yet always has a positive outlook and smile. He helps me stay sane through my training and home life, and I couldn’t have achieved what I have so far without his support. He also plays the piano at our church on Sundays occasionally.
In gymnastics, gymnasts I look up to are… Beth Tweddle and Hannah Whelan my training partners and Beijing 2008 Olympians (of course). They have great attitudes to the sport and are so talented too! Other gymnasts I love to watch include Aliya Mustafina of Russia, Youna Dufournet of France and (although nowretired) Shawn Johnson of the USA.
3. What is your favorite Bible verse and how has it exemplified your walk withChrist?
J: I don’t have one favorite but here’s one I like that could be relating to sport:
‘Philippians 4:13- “I can do everything through him who gives me
4. You are 18 and living for Christ. Talk about your walk with Christ as a teenager and if you had any fellowship opportunities on the mat as well.
J: Unfortunately, religion has not touched the life of any of the other gymnasts I know. I have been able to introduce my boyfriend to Christianity however as hewas brought up in an agnostic environment where religion was never considered!
5. You live in England and are on the British team. Talk about the atmosphere in England as the London Olympics begin next month?
J: I am in the gym training 6 days and over 30 hours a week so I am generally sheltered from the growing public interest and excitement building ahead of the Olympics but this is good as focusing on my training is the most important thing I can do in order to hopefully achieve my dream of performing well at the London 2012 Games. It seems the Olympic Games are being talked about everywhere you go at the moment though, in shops, on the news… I really hope that Britain will get behind our selected athletes this year and enjoy it!
6. If someone came up to you and were curious about your faith, what would you say to them?
J: I would tell them a little about myself but then suggest that if they are interested in Christianity they should try out their local church or find some Bible notes and start reading the Bible- the best place to start must be to read the most important stories and messages in the world in the Bible!
We, at Jesus N Sports, wish Jennifer the best of luck at the 2012 London Games! We pray that she does her absolute best and that to always remember that whether in success or in failure, to God be the Glory!