On Target?: Religion and the Olympics

by Phillip Luke Sinitiere

A recent thread on H-World alterted me to yet another story on religion and the Olympics.

I posted about the topic a few weeks back, Art offered his reflections, and I'm sure many readers saw Louis A. Ruprecht's thoughts here and here at Religion Dispatches.

The H-World post cited an August 19 New York Times article that discussed American archery coach Kisik Lee, who reportedly targeted his own athletes with evangelism. And in the weeks leading up to the Olympics, Lee baptized several athletes.

The article begins:

Two weeks before leaving to compete in the Olympics, the archer Brady Ellison waded into a pool not far from the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, Calif., and was baptized in the Christian faith.

In the water with him was Kisik Lee, the head coach of the United States archery team and a Christian who has become a spiritual guide for Ellison, 19, and the larger group of athletes who train and live full time at the Olympic Training Center. He has also served as a sponsor in the baptism of three other resident archers.

During the Olympics, Lee and at least three of the five United States archers who qualified to compete in Beijing met every morning to sing hymns and read from the Bible, and to attend church together in the chapel at the Olympic Village. Lee believes having a strong faith makes for better archers because it helps quiet their minds. To that end, he tailored Ellison’s Olympic schedule to include spiritual and athletic objectives.

Read the full article here.


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