Alumna reflects on journey to Olympics, glorifying God
Nearly every athlete grows up with the dream of playing in a major championship and someday even representing their country in the Olympics. At Biola, students are groomed to influence the world for Christ. Amy Atkinson, a 2011 Biola graduate, was able to live out her athletic dreams while producing a powerful testimony for nearby athletes, media personnel and her fans at home.
She broke her home country Guam’s national record in the women’s 800-meter with her time of 2:18.
“I was just overwhelmed by the honor and privilege it was to be there and to represent my family, friends, island and most of all, God,” Atkinson said.
Running on a global stage like that allows her to put God's work on display. The road to the Olympics requires tremendous talent and hard work, which Atkinson consistently attributed to Christ.
Seeking God and dealing with injury
“My job is to respond in thankfulness by leaving everything I have on the track. My soccer team used the phrase ‘total release,’” she said in an interview with Pacific Daily News, a newspaper in Guam.
Her goals were not based on statistics, but effort. Her plan was to leave that track knowing she had given everything Atkinson said.
“Therefore, failure in my event means giving up when it gets tough or not giving my best and success means that I have no regrets about what I did that day,” she said.
Throughout her training, she faced many challenges, making her success even more powerful.
“I struggled with a severe foot injury in March earlier this year and thought my Olympic dreams were over. I questioned God and was discouraged but continued to seek his strength and direction,” Atkinson said.
Pool and bike exercises, however, allowed her to continue her training, and remain on course to compete in London.
Encouraged by time in London at the Olympic village
While in London, she was amazed by everything that came with the Olympics. Atkinson was encouraged by numerous volunteers looking to support the athletes, and the many opportunities the athletes had to interact with each other.
“The dining hall seats up to 5,000 at one time and there were 10,000 of us living in the same village. It was like a little city of the most elite athletes in the world all hanging out together,” Atkinson said.
In an environment like this, every athlete seeks places and opportunities to continue their regular routines.
“There were the Chinese gymnasts doing five-minute handstand repeats in the middle of a sidewalk, wrestlers and race walkers cruising around the village, and boxers practicing moves underneath the apartments … plus we could get free medical treatment, physio, massages, ice baths, hair cuts, dental work any time,” she said.
Atkinson was able to share her encouragement with teammates and even students in the area. Now that she has returned to Guam, she embarks on her latest journey as a 7th-grade teacher. After this summer, she brings with her a new lesson plan to reach her students and an opportunity to inspire many to chase their dreams.