I would like to express my appreciation for the International chaplaincy program and what it offers me as an athlete. In Greece (2004) they were very important to me with their pastoral counselling and Bible Studies.
Vania Silva, Portugal, Hammer throw
A major championship is a time when you definitely rely more on your faith. The Bible studies that the chaplain has done with the US team have been a help to me. Allyson Felix, USA, Athletics (three-time world champion in the 200 metres) strength and my faith in God and really believe why I’m here”. “One of the chaplains helped me to know how to face fear, success and failure”.
Zulia Calatayud, Cuba, 800 metres (Former World Champion)
In two Olympic games, I felt alone. My familiar support environment was not there. In this emotionally charged situation, trusted mentors (chaplains) helped me to perform to the best of my ability, in spite of the tension and the pressure that weighed on me. The balance between the strain, which is an integral part of the competition and the support of the chaplains, who were on the spot and shared the experience with me, did me good and helped me to keep my goals in focus
Kordula Striepecke, Germany, Kayak
When I competed in the 2004 Olympics I valued the support of the chaplains, especially the chaplain from my own country whom I had known beforehand. There have been a team of international protestant chaplains in the Olympics since 1988 to fulfil the freedom of worship stated by the Olympic Charter, and they are a vital part of competing at the Olympics. As a protestant Christian my spiritual needs consisted not just of attending religious services. I also valued the opportunity of bible studies and pastoral support from a Christian chaplain. I am convinced that the presence of a team of international sports chaplains is vital in ensuring that Olympians have counsellors from their own part of the world who really understand them, their culture, and are able to help them integrate their faith and their sport.
Debbie Flood, Rowing, Double Olympic silver medallists, Rowing
The whole Olympic Games 2002 was very stressful for me personally as an athlete. After the first final in synchronized diving from the 3 meter springboard, I got very high fever. A few days later the 1 meter competition was before me. I felt very alone. My body was sick and doubts came through my mind. The only one who helped me in that situation was not a liturgical service but a Christian chaplain who supported me with pastoral counselling and bible studies. He helped me to integrate my faith and my athletic goal.
Jacqueline Schneider, Switzerland, Diving
I have competed for the USA swim team in 2 Olympic Games, 2 World University Games, and 1 Pan American Games. At each of these major sporting events I was so encouraged by the sport ministers who were either from my country or who I already had a previous friendship with. Meeting personally with my chaplain from 1991 to 2000 at these various Games was a big part of my success. Our times together were short and personal but so helpful.
Josh Davis, USA Swimming