My Story: Rebekah Bradford
No other gods. U.S. Olympic Speed Skater Rebekah Bradford's life in Christ.
I’ll never forget the date December 30, 2009. I was competing for the last spot on the 1,000 meter speedskating team for the 2010 Vancouver Olympics.
That day I prayed Psalm 31:5, "My times are in Thy hands." Little did I know the entire Psalm was a foreshadowing of the day ahead.
On my final try, 20 feet from the finish line, I supermanned, sprawling onto the ice. My skin suit tore down the backside and I skated off the ice in tears. My dream seemingly shattered.
I was embarrassed and mortified. I thought, That’s it. That was my career. I'm done.
The chief referee approached me, offering a re-skate, if desired. U.S. Speedskating rules permit one re-skate. I was so tired, I didn’t want to do it.
Seeing my 3-year-old nephew sitting in the stands with 9 other family members, I had to go for it. I didn’t want my nephew to think you can fall and just not get up.
I changed into a new skin suit and text-messaged a few people asking for prayer.
When the gun went off, everything became a blur. I couldn’t see that the entire Utah Olympic Oval had stopped what they were doing to cheer me on.
I finally looked up and read my time of 1:16:03. I made a personal record and the Olympic team!
Shortly after graduation from high school, I moved to Salt Lake City to pursue my dream of competing in the Olympics. My life was lived with total disregard and reckless abandon from God.
There came a point where I felt I needed to spiritually define my life and gain perspective.
In the past, skating was my religion. I used my talent to gain status and appear successful within my social network. But inside I was tormented from depression and anxiety.
I couldn’t understand the purpose of life. My self-worth and self-image were completely wrapped up in my performance and ranking.
Exhausting what I thought were all means for me to find happiness, I reluctantly went to the last place I expected to find peace -- church.
I remember stepping into my first service as a complete cynic, determined to squeeze this congregation into my paradigm of hypocrites. I can’t remember what was said, but I knew that everything I was taught from the Bible as a child was truth.
That night I chose to have God as the center of my life.
Now I use skating as a means of worship to God. Athletes in Action posted my biography on Beyond the Ultimate website to encourage other athletes to consider a relationship with God.
It isn’t about me or skating, but about God and His love. He sent His Son, Jesus, to take away the condemnation that was on me and to give me life to the full.
He offers that love and relationship uniquely to everyone.
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Rebekah lives in Salt Lake City, Utah. She is training and hopes to land a spot on the US Speedskating team for the 2014 Olympics.