Athlete took Virgin Mary on run for gold

Ethiopian athlete Meseret Defar took the Virgin Mary with her when she won gold in the women’s 5000-metre race at the London Olympics.

As soon as she crossed the finish line she pulled a representation of an icon of the Virgin Mary and Jesus out from under her track top, showed it to the cameras, kissed it and held it up to her face, apparently in deep prayer.

An Orthodox Christian, Defar entrusted her race to God with a sign of the cross before she began.

She convincingly bettered her fellow Ethiopian Tirunesh Dibaba, her rival for supremacy over 5000 metres for almost a decade, who had been favoured to win gold.

The silver medal went to Vivian Cheruiyot of Kenya and the bronze to Dibaba.

Defar has also twice been world champion in the 3000 meters. In Athens in 2004 she won the gold in the 5000 meters and in Beijing in 2008 she earned the bronze.

Both Muslim and Christian athletes have noticeably acknowledged God before and after their events at the London Games. The Muslims have also been observing Ramadan and praying together.

After Usain Bolt broke the Olympic record for the 100 metres, he tweeted: “I want to thank GOD for everything he has done for me cause without him none of this wouldn’t be possible.”

Bolt, the first man ever to win six Olympic gold medals in sprinting, is a Protestant and his second name is St Leo.

Somali-born British athlete Mo Farah, a Muslim, prayed on the track after winning his two gold medals. And when the Egyptian Alaaeldin Abouelkassem, also a Muslim, won a fencing silver, he knelt and prayed.


Catholic News Agency

New York Times

The Spectator

Image: Zimbio

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