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Dreams on ice

"Dreams on ice" Continued...

Issue: "The Haiti quake," Feb. 13, 2010

And that's the key to understanding the Winter Olympics. Don't become distracted by the bombast of the opening ceremony or NBC's hype about Team USA. Recognize that this is a two-week-long exercise in giving Norway its due and encouraging our dreams. Because while we know we will never be Olympic-class sprinters, or swimmers, or wrestlers . . . couldn't any of us, with a little money and training, become a curler?

Olympic journeys

By Thomas D. McGlinchey

Kelly Clark at age 18 won a snowboarding gold medal at the 2002 Winter Olympics. She went on to more athletic success-but she lacked contentment.

"I thought if you're successful you would be happy and all of the sudden I had all this success and realized I wasn't truly happy," said Clark. "It left me trying to figure it out."

At the start of the 2004 snowboarding season she overheard a conversation at a competition: "Someone came down who was upset and her friend was trying to get her to laugh, and she's like, 'Hey, God still loves you.'"

Clark went back to her hotel room and thought about the statement: "That one comment kind of stirred something in me. . . . Something was buried in me." She found a Bible in the room, but didn't know where to start, "so I ended up going to that girl's door and said, 'My name is Kelly, I think you might be a Christian and I think you need to tell me about a God.'"

Clark learned that her identity was no longer rooted in being a top-notch snowboarder, but in God: "That kind of freed up my snowboarding. All of a sudden I was enjoying myself and having more fun than I had before. I was free to do it apart from having to do it."

She placed fourth at the 2006 Olympics and was No. 1 on the Swatch TTR 2008-2009 World Snowboard Tour. She now rides with a sticker on her board proclaiming, "Jesus, I can not hide my love."

Another 2006 Olympian, Brock Kreitzburg, had to work exceptionally hard for another shot this year. He was a "push athlete" on the U.S. four-man bobsled team that finished seventh four years ago, but he's had two operations in the past 17 months to repair his hip. He now has two screws in it and went through a challenging rehab that he called "one of the toughest, but one of the best times of my life, just because of my faith walk with the Lord."

Kreitzburg, 33, graduated in 2003 from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. He said he began coming to Christ after his dad died of cancer 20 years ago. He had "an emptiness" that he tried to fill "with so many different things in high school and even in the beginning of college. Putting your success in athletics or friends or girls-whatever I was trying to do, I was trying to fill that void."

He said that void is now filled with "joy, happiness, and peace"-but he'll have to watch the 2010 Olympics on television. This time he didn't make the final cut.

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