Michael Phelps is a very gifted young man on many levels. If you watched the 2008 Beijing Olympics, you saw his remarkable story, along with scores of other Olympians from all over the world. My wife and I watched numbers of events and were impressed by how our talented athletes competed against others who had similar hopes and dreams.
I read a story about Michael’s appearance on the Oprah Winfrey Show yesterday. Apparently, Michael was an honored guest as Oprah hosted 175 Olympic athletes at Millennium Park at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion. Phelps, the eight-time gold medalist, and the rest of the swimming team were interviewed by Oprah.
Phelps wasn’t the whole show, as other great Olympians were featured, too. Our outstanding gymnasts Nastia Liukin and Shawn Johnson, and swimmer Dara Torres were also featured during the grand event. Kobe Bryant and the men’s basketball team and both men’s and women’s volleyball teams also took featured roles during the show. What an event!
We should be proud of our athletes, and thankful they competed against the best in the world. Many did exceptionally well, and others suffered some embarrassing failures, but that is just what life is about. None of us win all the time; sometimes we fall down, but it is important we pick ourselves up by the bootstraps and go on again.
The Apostle Paul knew what failure was about. He knew the pain of defeat and had many scars due to countless battles he had fought. Just like our athletes, Paul never gave up and never quit. Read his story in II Corinthians 4:7-10:
7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us. 8 We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; 9 Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; 10 Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.
The Apostle Paul also understood how wonderful heaven would be, and his desire was to make it to that heavenly city at all cost. During the interview with Oprah, Michael said, “I need to get back home.” That’s exactly what Paul said in Philippians 3:14 “I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”
Go home, Michael, and enjoy your self. You and the other Olympians have done a remarkable job in representing the United States of America. Congratulations.