Winning an Olympic medal is a truly admirable achievement. But some Olympic champions really stand out from the crowd. Here are some of them:

Athlete: George Eyser

Olympic Games: 1904 St Louis
Outstanding Achievement: Eyser competed as a gymnast with an artificial leg made out of wood. Despite his disability, he won six medals in one day.

Athlete: Eric Moussambani

Olympic Games: 2000 Sydney
Outstanding Achievement: Moussambani was invited to the games under a special program for amateur athletes. Having taken up swimming just a few months earlier and with only a 20m pool to train in his homeland, Moussambani did not stand a chance against the other swimmers. He bravely took up the challenge and gave his best in the 100m. While he will probably remain the slowest Olympic swimmer ever, he is remembered for his courage and determination.

Athlete: Eric Liddell

Olympic Games: 1924 Paris
Outstanding Achievement:Liddell was a favourite for the 100m sprint but withdrew from the race because it was set for a Sunday, which went against his convictions to honour God in everything. He raced in the 400m instead. Against all expectations, Liddell won gold and even set a new Olympic record. His surprising success was seen as a reward for his uncompromising commitment to God.

There is more behind Eric Liddell’s story than his outstanding athletic performance. He understood that standing at the top of the world’s elite does not give lasting fulfilment. Therefore he did not seek to win at all costs. His first aim was not Olympic gold, but honouring his creator. Liddell had found his real identity in a personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ. Later, he even abandoned his athletic career and dedicated his life to telling others how to live with a lasting purpose. That makes Liddell a truly outstanding person.

Destined to win

We might never become an Olympic champion. Nor might we ever be remembered for an outstanding achievement in any other field. Instead, we are likely to experience failure and disappointment at some point in our lives. Not everyone can be a winner in this competitive world. Still, nobody is truly a failure, because there is a greater purpose to live for than the world’s fame and honour.

God our creator fully revealed the true purpose of life by becoming a human being in Jesus Christ. In all he did, Jesus was motivated by honouring God and serving others. He made it clear that our main problem is that we live independently from our creator. Instead of seeking God’s will, we try to compete in the race of life according to our own rules. As a result, we not only fail to achieve lasting satisfaction and fulfilment, but also become guilty before God.

Life with a purpose

Jesus Christ was ready to give up everything in order to save us from our failure and sin. When he died on the cross, he voluntarily suffered for the consequences of our mistakes and rebellion. His death and victorious resurrection opened the way for us to enter into a living relationship with the Holy God. Jesus Christ calls you today to turn to him and to receive his free gift of salvation. Confess your sins to God, and he will completely forgive you. Ask Jesus to become your personal Lord and Saviour. He longs to give your life a new direction. He desires to unfold his great purpose for you: eternal fulfilment, joy and peace in God’s perfect kingdom. That is truly outstanding!

Matthias Roggli