When you know you won’t win …

In spite of the “snowflake” that failed to open as the fifth Olympic ring, Vladimir Putin has declared the Winter Olympic Games open, and the first full day of competition is now in the history books.

More than 2,800 athletes from 88 countries have descended on Sochi, Russia to compete in the winter games. Yet, before ever marching in the opening ceremony, the majority of the athletes already knew they would not win a medal in their sport.

That’s right, many of the athletes came to the Olympics knowing they would not win, but they came to compete. For these athletes, they know they have never had a performance that equals or seriously challenges the frontrunners. They know everything would have to go right for them, and everything would have to go wrong for many of their competitors, for them to ever have a real shot at a medal. Others might could capture a Bronze medal if they had their best ever performance and a few of their competitors had their worst. Others have a chance, if they really perform at their best. And others still know they are in contention for a medal.

So why do so many show up if they know they won’t win?

They come to be Olympians.

It’s about the journey they have spent their lives pursuing, and this is the pinnacle. They have won a lot to get where they are, but their best may be reached by being an Olympian, not an Olympic champion.

Although they know they won’t win, they compete as if they could. It’s an attitude that is forged among those who are champions in life, and it’s one the Apostle Paul urged all of us to live out …

“Don’t you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize? So run to win! All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize. So I run with purpose in every step. I am not just shadowboxing. I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified,” 1 Corinthians 9:24-27.

Do you run with purpose in your steps? Are you living as a champion for Christ? Or have you yet to seriously get in the game?