By Tim Ellsworth — Originally published in BCN
“It’s very easy in the world of competitive sports to be defined by what you do. I found that God’s really into what’s in your heart. He just wants your heart. It’s been a great privilege to pursue my dreams and pursue God at the same time.” –Kelly Clark
When it comes to the Winter Olympics, I didn’t think anything could trump my love for watching the various figure skating competitions.
…That is until snowboarding came into the picture.
This year especially, the array of different snowboard-related events have captured most of my attention.
One of the major pioneers in the sport, advancing snowboarding in the genre of women, is American Kelly Clark.
She took a bronze medal Wednesday, in the Sochi Olympics, standing on the podium next to her US teammate Kaitlyn Farrington (who won the gold) and Australian snowboarder Torah Bright (who took silver).
Kelly Clark’s passion for the sport is evident in her all-out approach, landing huge tricks in the halfpipe; but also off the hill, where her Christian faith spurs a desire to give back, by encouraging and helping others in the sport.
‘Faith has given me perspective’
“I honestly think my faith has given me a perspective that helps me separate my identity from what I do,” Kelly said in a Breitbart.com video report. “It’s allowed me to have a perspective that’s much bigger than my performance; that’s much bigger than my career.”
According to a Baptist Press report, the Kelly Clark Foundation was begun by Kelly four years ago, after winning a bronze medal in the 2010 Vancouver Olympics.
Kelly ClarkThe foundation targets high-level, high school aged athletes who are hoping to compete in snowboarding; helping to support them and to open the door of opportunity, so they can reach toward those aspirations.
In the Breitbart report, Kelly said, “I thought the world would be a better place if I didn’t think about myself so much!…It’s an amazing opportunity that I have to lead this sport, to progress this sport, and to hand it off to people who will take it further than I ever could. I want to pour my efforts into something; I want to build something bigger than myself.”
Kelly reportedly found her faith back in 2004, after already winning an Olympic gold medal, she knew there was still something missing in her life.
According to Baptist Press, Kelly sought out a fellow snowboarder one night, telling her, “My name’s Kelly. I think you might be a Christian, and I think you need to tell me about God.”
Fast-forward 10 years, and Kelly is now the one who is sought out by fellow athletes for inspiration and prayer.
Says Kelly, “It’s very easy in the world of competitive sports to be defined by what you do. I found that God’s really into what’s in your heart. He just wants your heart. It’s been a great privilege to pursue my dreams and pursue God at the same time.”