Athlete Profiles:

Sam Hornish Jr

From the little town of Defiance, Ohio, comes a big name in the world of racing: Sam Hornish, Jr. Like Defiance, Hornish is soft-spoken and reserved. But more importantly, Hornish characterizes a real genuine spirit born from his securely planted faith in Jesus Christ. This keeps him grounded in a racing world where he has, at times, consistently found himself near or at the top.

Even from the victory circle after winning the Indianapolis 500 in 2006, Hornish was still the same guy, deeply rooted in his small-town mentality. It is in that hometown where Hornish not only first developed his love for his, but also his relationship with his Savior. Hornish still attends the same church he's gone to his entire life, Poplar Ridge Church of the Brethren. Glen Whisler, the retired pastor there, has been impressed with Hornish's ability to allow his faith to shine. It affects even his driving style-aggressive, but not cheap. "That's a good testimony," says Whisler.

Hornish has a bright future in racing, but his future in the Lord is even brighter. "I feel like I've been very blessed," he says, "and there's no reason why I shouldn't continue to move forward with...Him."

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Tim Tebow

As the current quarterbacks for the last two national championship teams, Colt McCoy and Tim Tebow have taken center stage in two of the most intensely scrutinized college football programs in America. Even as sophomores, this concept is not lost on McCoy and Tebow. They know they are being watched. They also know that with the immediate access they have to so many people, the opportunities to be a model and a spokesperson for Jesus Christ are preeminent. "In some places it's not the cool thing to do or the popular thing to be and God is not No. 1," says McCoy.

Tebow and McCoy were both hatched from close-knit, deeply Christian upbringings that saw them come to faith at an early age. Tim Tebow's fater, Bob Tebow, heads the Bob Tebow Evangelistic Association, which claims to be the conduit of close to 9 million people coming to faith in Christ in the last 8 years.

An NFL career is a goal for both of these young quarterbacks, but they are realistic enough to know there are no guarantees. McCoy looks forward to what God has in store. "God willing, I'd like to be in the NFL, but the important thing to do is His will."

Shaun Alexander

Whether Shaun Alexander spends his Sunday morning wearing a football jersey on a field or a suit in a pew, he's the same guy. "Shaun is a Christian 24/7," says close friend and teammate Mack Strong. "He's a great example. It's a testimony to him, to God."

Alexander has made a lasting name for himself in the NFL. The accomplishments and praises he's received are only dreams for many. He's not surprised by his success; he's always set lofty goals and worked hard. Now he's a household name, but he says, "This is no time to say, 'Look at me.'" That's because, for Alexander, it's not just about football. "I play football to make a difference in people's lives."

The difference he wants to make is a difference for Christ. He has a heart for providing hope, especially for youth, and giving to others as unto the Lord. That's the purpose of his foundation and the community center he started with his brother. "You can't outgive God," he says.

The best day in his life? Being valedictorian of his graduating class? Setting NFL records? Becoming 2005 MVP? No. "It was the first time I led someone to Christ," says Alexander. What else would we expect?

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