Better than Olympic Gold

An athlete with an excellent chance for an Olympic medal won't be participating in this summer's games in Athens. She has decided it's more important to follow faithfully her biblical beliefs. As Britain's top hurdler, Tasha Danvers-Smith has won silver and gold medals in the 400-meter hurdles in several European competitions. She ran in the finals at the Sydney Olympics four years ago, and last year she was rated number six in the world and rising. Last fall she married her coach Darrell Smith, and the couple devoted full time to honing Tasha's skills. Both sensed that she was in the best condition of her life, and 2004 could be her year for the top medal. But something wasn't quite right. Tasha felt tired all the time, "feeling flat for no reason," as she put it. In early May a physician confirmed she was nine weeks pregnant. An Olympic medal is more than the proverbial "fifteen minutes of fame." It often produces a lucrative series of product endorsement contracts. Since they were both devoting full time to honing her athletic abilities, their hopes for financial security were riding on an Olympic victory this summer. As Tasha put it, "When my body is my business, then if my body is not functioning, there is no business." And pregnancy meant no business. The couple knew that all Tasha needed to do to get back into the hurdling business quickly was to visit the local abortion provider. After all, "it wasn't the right time" for a baby -- not convenient. The Olympics are coming, and they didn't have the financial security for a baby either. With so much riding on this summer's Olympic competition, the idea was tempting. But Tasha recalls, " . . . this line from the Scriptures kept coming into my head: 'For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world and lose his own soul?' For me, the whole world was the Olympics. At the same time, I felt I would be losing my soul." She phoned her father as he was about to book tickets to Athens to watch his daughter compete. When she told him the news, he replied that it is bad news, but it's good news. The affirmation of family and friends is fortifying her resolution to be a mom even if the time didn't seem right. Darrell points out that missing the 2004 Olympics needn't be the end for Tasha's athletic career. He said, "We will definitely prepare for the Commonwealth Games in 2006" and hope to participate in the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. Tasha and Darrell's story to a point is not all that uncommon. Couples make plans, and a pregnancy gets in the way. The pro-abortion forces would have women think that the choice is an easy one and the way is clear. You can hear them say, "You can always have another baby, but the Olympics at your peak comes only once in a lifetime." This is why Christians need to come alongside women with crisis pregnancies and support them in the choice for life. Whether or not she wins medals in a future Olympiad, Tasha has already exhibited a strength of character that is more enduring than an Olympic medal, and she provides an example of what it means to see life and then act on it from a Christian point of view -- and just when I wondered if there were any heroes left. Thank you, Tasha. For further reading and information: "Danvers-Smith Misses Olympics,", 11 May 2004. "Mum-to-Be Tasha a Champ To-Be,", 13 May 2004. Caroline Davies, "'Pregnancy came as a shock. Now I'm happy to give up the Olympics'," Telegraph(London), 13 May 2004. Tom Knight, "Athletics: Danvers-Smith puts baby first," Telegraph (London), 12 May 2004. Tim Moynihan, "Motherhood 'A Sacrifice' as Athlete Gives Up Olympic Hopes," Scotsman, 12 May 2004. Life Issues Institute awarded Tasha Danvers-Smith the "Hero at Heart" award. Care Net supports over 700 pregnancy resource centers across the United States and Canada. The BreakPoint Culture of Life Packet includes the booklet from Family Research Council "Building a Culture of Life" and a CD interview with William Saunders of FRC discussing what we can do to influence the culture to respect the sanctity of all human life. This is a great resource for pastors and other church leaders, as well as all those concerned with the sanctity of life. Call 1-877-322-5527 to order.


Chuck Colson


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