ST. CLOUD, Minn. (BP) -- Anne Schleper, a defenseman on the United States women's Olympic hockey team, is an Olympian with a plan.
Schleper, 24, said she approaches her team's quest for a gold medal in Sochi, Russia, as a Christ follower who invites Him onto the ice with her.
The U.S. will play Thursday (Feb. 20) in the finals.
"I'm a Christian and nothing happens in my life that isn't filtered through God's hands first," she wrote Feb. 6 on her Twitter account.
Hockey players who compete internationally, as Schleper has been doing since 2008, can struggle at times with trying to impress teammates, coaches, family and friends, she said. More than anything her walk with Christ helps her to overcome pressures that may come on the Olympic stage.
The United States and Canada have owned the medal platform in women's hockey, winning all four of the gold medals, three silvers and a bronze since it became an Olympic sport in 1998. Now with the U.S. advancing today (Feb. 17) to the finals after defeating Sweden 6-1, they could come away with gold.
But "it's not about that," said Schleper, talking about the pressure of playing in the big game. "It's all about my Audience of One and playing only for God."
She learned how to do that at an Athletes in Action training camp that "absolutely changed [her] life." She was raised in church but had missed out on having a personal, daily time with Him. The Holy Spirit moving through the athletes at the camp helped her put it all together.
"That was kind of my game-changing moment," Schleper said. "That's when I really got to know the Lord. I developed that personal relationship with Him which I was missing all along growing up."
Born in St. Cloud, Minn., Schleper said she was a typical Minnesotan in that "you pretty much learn how to skate before you learn to walk." She won numerous honors with the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers including: All-America; Big Ten Medal of Honor; all-conference all-academic team (three times); ... Read More