Gold medalist Carly Patterson called 'young woman of faith'

ATHENS (BP)--Gymnastics gold medalist Carly Patterson is "a young woman of faith," according to a report by Sports Spectrum, a Christian sports media organization.

Sports Spectrum's daily e-mail newsletter Hot Corner stated on Aug. 24:

"Although SS [Sports Spectrum] has not interviewed Carly, we know this much about this young woman who has captured hearts and gold in Athens. Her favorite Bible passage is Philippians 4:13, 'I can do all things through Christ, who gives me strength.' Her favorite reading material is the Left Behind series by Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins. And she likes to listen to Christian music."

Sports Spectrum's two-paragraph item on the 16-year-old Patterson, who won the women's gymnastics all-around gold medal, began with this introduction:

"This latest diminutive gymnastics favorite follows in the footsteps of Mary Lou Retton in more ways than one. Retton, who came from West Virginia to capture American hearts at the 1984 Games, is a Christian who readily talks about her faith (Sports Spectrum magazine, July-August 1999). Carly Patterson is a 16-year-old who was born in Louisiana but who trains in Texas, and she too is a young woman of faith."

The link between Retton and Patterson is mentioned on the official website of the Olympics under her listing in the Athletes Bios section.

For Patterson's "Hero/Idol," the website notes that she "admires former Olympic medalist and fellow American Mary Lou Retton for sticking with the sport and reaching her goals."

However, no mention of faith is made on the website under such headings as "Superstitions/Rituals/Beliefs" or "Ambitions."

Nor is there a mention of faith on her two bios at the USA Gymnastics website, except a reference to her listening to Christian music. "Patterson's role models," the site notes, "are her parents, sister and coaches."

Sports Spectrum, on the Web at sportsspectrum.com, publishes a magazine with the same name focusing on Christian athletes; produces a daily radio broadcast; and circulates the Hot Corner newsletter.


Compiled by Art Toalston.

Download Story