Yes, I had intended to be done with Olympic blogging. Turns out my last thought wasn't as final as it seemed.
So, Ryan Hall! Why am I a fan? Because he makes running a marathon look easy? Because of the sweet way he talks about his wife? Because he is a blond-headed Californian, and I have one of those, too?
Okay, those are good reasons. (Except that Chad's hair is actually a lot darker than Ryan's.) But here is the convincing reason: Ryan loves Jesus. A lot. So much so that Runner's World magazine made his combination of faith and running their cover story last month.
I remarked to Chad during the Olympic coverage how much I appreciate the athletes who make a point of mentioning their faith during post-event interviews. I don't care if it's trendy, postmodern, a way of scoring points-- who cares? It's not my job to gauge sincerity. (Thank goodness.) False motives or pure, God is given the glory.
The reason I appreciate the faithful athletes (apart from the obvious) is that they almost have to push to thank God. The interviewers aren't going to ask, and when the subject is mentioned, the good newscasters at NBC skate away from it as quickly as possible. No dwelling on any one's faith in the Lord who gave them their talent in the first place; Bob Costas and his cohorts don't get their ratings by giving glory to God.
Which brings me back to Ryan Hall. The only-- and I mean only-- time I heard any commentators, interviewers, etc., mention an athlete's faith was in the middle of the men's marathon, when one of them said, "Ryan Hall is a man of faith," and before I could express my disbelief and delight, he continued: "And right now he probably has faith that the leaders will slow down."
Oh, well, that's probably as good as we'll get. But unless Ryan is a gifted actor, I think we can all be assured that his faith does not lie in himself or in his fellow athletes. He wants to follow Jesus, and that includes his running.
Way to go, Ryan.