Summer 2024

Faith in God fuels U.S. women's gymnastics in Rio

Beyond shared athletic interests and abilities, three of the women on the U.S. Olympic gymnastics team — Gabby Douglas, Simone Biles and Laurie Hernandez — also share something deeper.

Biles, Sports Spectrum’s 2016 Female Athlete of the Year, remains actively vocal about her Christian faith on social media. The all-around gymnast — favored to win potentially five gold medals this week in Rio — doesn’t hesitate to share her faith in God on Twitter.

On January 18, she tweeted, “faith: it does not make things easy, it makes them possible. luke 1:37.” On December 26, a few weeks earlier, she tweeted, “look back & Thank God, look forward & Trust God.”

Biles’ teammate, Gabby Douglas, who won the all-around gold medal at the 2012 Olympics in London has echoed these beliefs of her teammate. In an interview with Religion News Service (RNS), Douglas expressed the role that faith and prayer plays in her gymnastics competition.

“Faith plays a very big role in my life,” Douglas said in the interview with RNS. “I don’t know where I would be without it today. I’ve always been praying for everything. And my mom always exposed me and my siblings to being a Christian and the Bible. I was watching back and looking at the Olympics and my mouth is moving — and that’s me praying.”

While both Douglas and Biles — being on the older half of the team at 20 and 19 years of age, respectively — have had extensive experience in international competition, their youngest teammate — 16-year-old Hernandez — has not. Thus, when the Olympic trials came along earlier this year, Hernandez’s nerves may have been a bit more prevalent than Biles’ or Douglas’.

But that didn’t stop Hernandez. She knew where to direct those nerves.

“I’m coming in, training as hard as I can,” Hernandez said in an interview with Athletes in Action. “If I make it that would be amazing, but if I don’t then that’s a different path that God wants me to take, and I know that there are better and great things that God wants me to do.”

Now as all three of these young women prepare to perform in the women’s team all-around competition today, they all will have a place to “cast their cares,” as it says in 1 Peter 5:7 — onto their Lord and Savior, the Creator of the universe.

To read more on Biles and her faith, click HERE. To read the full article and interview with Douglas, click HERE. To read the full feature on Hernandez’s Olympic trials, click HERE. All three gymnasts are set to compete for the team all-around gold today and will perform for individual medals on Thursday. Tune into NBC to follow their Olympic journey.