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Youth Devotional - What

Makes an Olympic
Champion?
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Nothing is impossible to Him who


believes. God has an amazing calling
and destiny for every one of us. Are
there dreams we have given up on
because they seemed too hard?

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You may never have heard of Kieran Behan before. In


fact, if you dont follow gymnastics, you probably
wouldnt know he won a few medals in gymnastics
last year. You may not even think his performance was
all that special in the field of competitive sports. Yet,
what is truly remarkable about Kieran isnt his
achievements its the story behind the man and the
size of his dream.

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The Dreams of a Youth

While other boys his age dreamed of soccer and


playing in the big leagues, Kieran dreamed of
gymnastics. Strange dream for someone coming from
Ireland to have. After all, its not exactly known for
the sport. But that never stopped him from
dreaming.

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He Never Stopped Dreaming


At 10, a tumor was discovered in his left thigh. What
was to be a routine surgery took a disastrous turn for
the worst when the operation messed up big time. He
woke screaming in excruciating pain from the
catastrophic nerve damage he suffered. To this day, he
still experiences limited feeling in one foot. He was
wheelchair-bound for 15 months.

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And he recounts, The doctors said youll never walk


again and I had to see a psychiatrist who said you have to
accept the worst. But that just drove me on; I wanted to
prove them wrong. They were saying it was over but I
wasnt having it. He never stopped dreaming. He made
tremendous progress in his physiotherapy and before
long was back in the gym.

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Who knew, tragedy would strike twice. Within a few


months, he slipped from the high bar and smashed his
head, suffering severe damage to the part of his brain that
controls balance. The slightest wrong movement would
make him pass out. For the second time in his childhood,
Kieran was back in a wheelchair, this time not just having to
learn how to walk again but how to eat and make the
simplest movements.

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Again, the doctors said its the end; again, he went


back to the gym. Only this time, just to spend hour
upon hour trying to retrain his brain doing simple
exercises like throwing a ball against a wall and
catching the rebound. Some days, he could not
even manage that.

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He was out of school for a year and when he finally


returned with a walking stick, he was ridiculed and taunted
mercilessly. In spite of it all, he persisted. Through the hard
work and determination, it took him three whole years to
again become the athlete he was before the accident. All
that time, he never stopped dreaming.

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But thats not all. In the relentless pursuit of his dream, he


suffered a broken arm, a fractured wrist, and a torn ligament in
one knee. And two years ago, just after he qualified to make his
debut professionally at the European Championships, the ligament
in his other knee snapped. It was the nearest I ever came to
quitting, Kieran admits. Sheer despair really but Id been through
a lot worse and knew that, whatever happened, I could always
come back. And he did. He never stopped dreaming and now
represents Ireland as its first Olympic gymnast for 16 years.

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The challenges didnt just begin and end with the physical as if that
wasnt bad enough. He received no funding for his training. He worked
at his fathers building site or cleaned the gym where he trained in the
mornings and then flipped and jumped in that same gym in the
afternoon. Thankfully, he wasnt all alone in this. His parents and
community rallied to raise the 12,000 a year he needed. Car washes,
cake sales, collection jars; you name it, he and his friends organized it. A
few months ago, he finally said goodbye to the times he had to carry a
jar full of coins to the bank hoping there would be enough to cover the
airfare to an overseas competition.
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His father fondly recalls his sons tenacity, Through all this, hes
been the one whos had the determination, belief and heart. Weve
all just been swept along on his wave. Hes guided us all the way.
We believed every day because he believed, because he told us
everything would be all right.

And hes still got that Olympic dream on his mind.

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Take It to the Next Level


Nothing is impossible to Him who believes. God has an
amazing calling and destiny for every one of us. Are there
dreams we have given up on because they seemed too
hard? Too out of reach? Surrounded by insurmountable
circumstances? The problem isnt that our dream is too big,
too audacious. Joseph had a big dream himself and the road
that took him to that dream was full of obstacles.

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Sold as a slave by his own brothers, framed for an


indiscretion he didnt commit, left to rot in jail. Yet in all
those dark moments, he clung to his dream and the
God that birthed it in him. He believed, just like Kieran
did. And it was God that met Josephs belief and faith
with His power.

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But God goes one giant step further. He not only loves us, but
also believes in us. He cheers us on when were at our weakest
and most broken. He gives us the supernatural ability to believe
in Him and the dreams He gives us. It is through Him, we can do
what the world says is impossible. And thats why we testify of
His goodness and faithfulness, giving Him the glory for all Hes
able to do. If Kierans earthly parents loved him so much that
they would support him in his dream no matter what, how
much more will God, our heavenly Father do for us?

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Now to him who is able to do immeasurably


more than all we ask or imagine, according to
his power that is at work within us, to him be
glory in the church and in Christ Jesus
throughout all generations, for ever and ever!
Amen. (Eph 3:20-21)

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Creative Youth Ideas


Go for the Gold
Need an evangelistic Youth Camp/ Bible
Study Series with an Olympic Theme?
What is salvation all about? What does it
mean to be saved? This sports themed
Bible Study / Camp Curriculum uses the
Olympic Flag to introduce the concepts of
sin (black circle), forgiveness (red circle),
purity (white background), spiritual growth
(green circle), heaven (Yellow Circle) and
(Baptism) blue circle.

-> Tell me about Go for the Gold

www.creativeyouthideas.com/goforthegold.html

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Creative Youth Ideas


Destined to Win
Need a Youth Camp/ Bible Study Series
on Running the Christian Race?
The race as a metaphor for the Christian
life is used in several places in the Bible.
This series is a great follow up for new
Christians or to re-emphasize the basics of
our spiritual Journey in the Faith. This
Bible Study / Camp Curriculum has a
sports theme and is great for athletes as
well as a tie in to the youth Olympic
Games.
->Tell me about Destined to Win

www.creativeyouthideas.com/destinedtowin.html