Faith of an Olympian…

Ethopian runner and Orthodox Christian, Meseret Defar, shows the image of Our Lady she carried in her shirt after she won the gold medal in the 5000m race. [source]

Russian gymnast and another Orthodox Christian, Ksenia Afanaseva, clutches an icon of her favorite saint.

And lastly, speed skater Kirstin Holum, who participated in the 98 Olympics, is now known as Sr. Catherine Mary.

Related Link: Olympian Mass Attendance – Daily Mass is the most attended religious service within the Olympic Village.

About Katrina Fernandez

Mackerel Snapping Papist

  • Robwardle

    U.S. swimmer Katie Ledecky prays the Hail Mary before each race and Missy Franklin is thinking about converting to Catholicism.

  • Farris 1977

    We have been watching the Olympics with our kids. Many of the Catholic and Ortho-Catholic athletes cross themselves before beginning their competition and it makes an impact on my kiddos. The Olympics are a great way to let my kids see that Catholisim isn’t just for people that look like us. Varying shades of people speaking varying languages all sharing the same faith is a huge help in explaining the universal nature of our church.

  • steve

    God bless this woman..i got emotional for her when she held up the virgin mary and baby jesus icon…it obviously meant so much to her.

  • Patrick

    There is another image floating around of three of the Russian gymnasts lighting candles in a church before they left for the games, heads covered, devout. God bless them. And that isn’t just her “favorite” saint, it is St. Ksenia of St. Petersburg, her patron Saint, as her name is Ksenia.  Did you see the Russian divers all wearing baptismal crosses?

  • Patrick
    • Katrina Fernandez

      Thank you, Patrick, for that fantastic image & the info about the icon.    

  • Pmjerickson

    Thank you! I was wondering if anyone got a picture of Ms. Defar holding the image! Like Steve, I also got tears in my eyes. What a beautiful tribute to Our Lady.

  • Irene

    Some of the
    Romanian athletes hold Christian Orthodox icons.


  • Mtcrowley70

    10,000 meter silver medalist, Galen Rupp, was wearing a Miraculous Medal during his races. He is a 2004 graduate of Portland, OR Central Catholic HS.

  • doughboy

    i have not watched the olympics at all, so this is wonderful to see/read about. all i heard from regular news outlets was that it’s sexy time 24/7 in the olympic village and condoms abounding.

  • ds

    re: gymnast: mmmmm…dat icon.

    • Katrina Fernandez