Pause For Thought
With Madeline Manning Mimms; US Olympic Gold and Silver medalist and Chaplain for London 2012
October 16, 1968 was a rainy, dismal day in Mexico City. The humidity was high and so was the altitude.
A hometown reporter approached me saying, “People back home want you to know they are pulling for you. Do you think you will make it?” I was speechless; stunned by the question. What did he mean? My response was, “Since I’ve been here, no one wants to be second, and I’m no different, so you just watch me.” He abruptly said good luck, and walked away.
I had never entertained the thought of ‘IF’ I would make it. I was unaware of the myth that many people believed, that women of color could not run long distances, and therefore, did not expect me to win.
I had worked really hard to make it to the Olympics, I did not know what the outcome would be. I began to question, “Who REALLY cares?” I mean, there would be many happy people celebrating if I won, but there would also be many unhappy people who supported other runners. I wondered if anybody cared about me, not just my results. Would my results make a difference in the lives of others?
I was in deep reflection when I heard a still, small voice inside me say, “I CARE! I created you to be right where you are today.” Tears flooded my eyes as I felt the love of my Lord melt away every doubt in my mind. His tender, gentle words touched my heart, reminding me of His great love. I responded, “Okay then, from now on, I’m running for Jesus.”
I walked out onto the track and commenced to break all myths by winning the gold medal, breaking the world and Olympic records, and obliterating my competition by 40 meters. This set a precedent for women of color worldwide.
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