So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified. (1 Corinthians 9:26-27 ESV)
A very, very fast man has that verse tattooed on his back. A man fast enough to qualify for the Olympics.
A man without legs.
Oscar Pistorius has already won Olympic gold medals, in the 100m, 200m (twice) and 400m. All were won in the 2004 and 2008 Paralympics.
This year he has qualified for the Olympics – something never before accomplished by a person with his disability – and he will run the 400m and 4x400m relay for South Africa.
Not only did he have to run on his prosthetic legs fast enough to qualify, four years ago he had to fight a court battle with the International Association of Athletic Federations that said his prosthetics gave him an unfair advantage! Imagine that – a man with no legs having an unfair athletic advantage. The Court of Arbitration for Sport overruled that decision after doing a more thorough investigation of his prosthetics. In other words, they determined he was fast because he was fast, and not because he had some technological advantage.
He is not likely to medal; his times qualify him for the Olympics, but he’s not top three fast. But he’s going to attempt to defend his medals at the London Paralympics next month.
Because he’s so unusual an athlete, thousands of articles have been written about him. And it appears that hundreds of those articles have referenced that tattoo.
I wonder how God has used the scripture reference in such an usual way to bring others to himself? Someday we’ll know.
In the meantime, I’m rooting for a South African double amputee to do well at the Olympics, for God’s glory and in recognition that disability is not the same thing as being dead.