Vai's View: Olympics filled with inspiring moments — on and off the court
Andy is Jewish and a convert to the church. He met his wife, Shari, when she interned for NBC at the 1988 Olympics in Seoul, South Korea. He returned to New York and investigated the Church and the rest is history. When I first met Andy, he was serving in a bishopric in his Connecticut ward.
In Athens, I'd meet Andy every Sunday morning for services before we both hurried to our events. On our final Sunday, the little branch in downtown Athens was filled with athletes as most of their events were finished. They came in track suits with their countries stamped across the back. Volleyball players from Brazil, track athletes from the U.S., Venezuela, South America, etc.
When the opening hymn was announced as "We Thank Thee Oh God for a Prophet," Andy and I opened the hymnal only to find we couldn't make heads or tails of the Greek alphabet. We simply closed the hymn and sung in English. Soon, it occurred to us, that the athletes and others in the international congregation, were also doing the same thing - singing a familiar LDS hymn in their native tongues. At the song's conclusion, the prayer was offered by an Iranian convert in Farsi.
Here we were in Athens, Greece with my Jewish friend singing in English as others around us sang in their native languages followed by a benediction offered by a Arab in Farsi.
I think the Olympics have God's fingerprints all over them. At its core, it promotes world peace and is there another event of its kind that brings nations together in the way and manner the Games uniquely does?
Few things are as breathtaking as the super-human feats we've seen in the last two weeks - Usain Bolt, Michael Phelps, Mo Farah.
Truly inspiring. Like a good FHE.
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