I was able to minister to so many athletes and officials in Athens. It was a delicate situation but what a harvest field. I found a lot of athletes with problems, to use as a point of contact.
The long days in the Olympic Village were very hot, tiring days but very fruitful, with a lot of sharing the Lord with different people. I had to watch my step in the Olympic Village, as it was not only against Olympic law to “convert or proselytize”, but it’s against Greek law. The folk had to request help.
A lot of chaplains and counsellors gave up before getting to Athens, because of the frustrating restrictions, and weighed up that it wasn’t worth the cost and the effort
I enjoyed ministering to South African athletes, Namibians, a Turkish athlete, Estonians,Greek reporters, a Ugandan boxer, Latvian athletes, Nigerian athletes, USA athletes, Russians, a South African swimmer , Darian Townsend, who won gold medal with his team in the 4x100mtrs freestyle relay (I even got to wear the gold medal), and also a German lady discus thrower, Franka Dietzsch – she was a giant, mind you they were all big next to me.
I had a great time talking with Ian Thorpe, the Australian swimmer. He really is a nice young man and very appreciative of prayer.
I met up with Glory (ex Nigeria).She runs for Spain now. She’s 5’1″ of dynamite. I prayed with her for her races (100 metres hurdles). This young lady flew into Sydney to compete at the 2000 Olympics to find that her childhood sweet- heart and fellow athlete had been killed by a car in
Sydney a few days before. No one had informed her of the tragedy. She was devastated and for two weeks didn’t feel like running, eating or sleeping. With the help of a fellow chaplain, Anne Iuliano, who counselled her, Glory bounced back to win silver medal in the 100 metres hurdles. Since then changed nations when Nigeria refused to fly her fiancé’s body back for burial – she had to do that at her own expense. She’s gone on to win in many competitions around the world. A truly amazing story of tragedy and victory.