The tumble took everyone by surprise, even Amanda herself. She landed heavily, sprawled across two lanes, runners behind swerving to avoid her, all chance of a medal gone. This week was supposed to be her hour of glory. The hard work and focus of the last two years was supposed to deliver gold.
Amanda and her sister had always been running.
“I can’t keep up with you,” their mother exclaimed many times when they were little.
“You can outrun us every time,” said Amanda’s friends at College, and she went on alone to train towards her goal.
“Running is everything,” said Amanda. “I’m going to be the best.” At last, a place at the Olympics was in sight.
Then the accident happened, a drunk driver smashing into her car.
As Amanda regained consciousness, she didn’t want to listen to the doctors.
“You’ll never walk again,” they said. “You’ll be in a wheel chair for the rest of your life.”
Amanda was having none of that. Her body may be smashed and her emotions see sawing up and down, but her mind was intact. Through several operations and long months of recovery her mother sat by the side of her younger daughter.
“Remember when you were little,” she said, “you and Jenna played often on the see saw?”
Of course Amanda remembered.
“When you were down you needed two things to get up,” reminded her mother. Amanda waited.
“One - your own desire; two - someone to help you. When Jenna pushed against the ground, you flew up, and when she was down, you helped her up.”
It was a year before she walked again and another year before she was running, but run she did. Technology, miracles, and Amanda’s courage and determination set her on the path once more. Again a punishing training schedule was devised, her coach urging her on, encouraging her, helping her find inner strength.
There was also a new dimension in her life. Throughout her months in hospital she had found God and a new focus.
“Running is my life and career,” said Amanda, “but God is everything. He is with me in all my ups and downs. I now run for Him.”
Ups and downs there were in plenty, but Amanda persevered. At last she was ready.
At the peak of her fitness, she was selected for the next Games in Christchurch, New Zealand. As the plane descended, Amanda could hardly contain her excitement. Team members, officials and coaches all had high expectations for this long-awaited week. They recalled the work, tears, highs and lows of years of training to get them to this point. Now the week of competition had arrived. Would it all be worth it? How many medals would the team take home?
The hotel was comfortable and regular buses provided transport to the sports venue. Amanda and the team did their final training and at last the Games were on. Competitors did well and medals were awarded; running, triple jumps, javelin, shot and discus throws. Amanda’s speciality came on the third day; the two hundred metre sprint.
In her heat Amanda came first, and when she checked results of all heats, she had the fastest time. Gold was within her grasp.
Late in the afternoon the finalists lined up for the starter’s gun, and they were off with a clean start. As they came out of the bend and down the home straight Amanda was aware of runners ahead. She lifted her pace and strained with extra effort.
Just before the finish line, disaster struck! Her prosthetic leg flew sideways and she tumbled awkwardly and painfully to the track.
Paramedics came running and Amanda was carried to the medical room. As she lay with her dream shattered, she knew that, this time, she would need God’s help like never before.
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