“She is not my enemy.”
Helen Maroulis just made history for Team USA by becoming the first woman in Americato win gold in wrestling. To top it off, she beat three-time gold medalist Saori Yoshida to do it.
But it’s her gold-worthy attitude toward the achievement and her respect for her opponent that is gaining worldwide attention.
Maroulis faced a tough set of challenges heading into Rio, as she was used to competing in the 55kg (121 lbs) weight class. Seeing as Olympic wrestling only has 53kg (116.6 lbs) and 58 kg (127.6 lbs) weight classes, she had to choose to either go up or down in weightto compete.
Though it seemed like a risky route to take, she decided tolose weight and compete in the 53kg, knowing full well that meant she’d be facing off with the Japanese reigning gold-medal champ for the last threeOlympics.
But while many Olympic athletes perceive their opponents as “the enemy,” Maroulis’ sentiments about Yoshida were quite the opposite. Heading into the finals, she shared these inspirational words:
In the semifinals, I remember thinking, it is an honor to wrestle Yoshida. For someone to win three gold medals and come back and to risk that and accept that challenge, that is another four years of work and dedication and giving your life to the sport.
Yoshida is an incredible, incredible athlete. The more I studied her, the more it was like, she is not my enemy, no one here is really my enemy.
God taught me that these are women who want the same thing that you do and are sacrificing the same things that you are.
It is not about hating that person that you are going against, but it is about respecting them so much that you give it your all.
AfterMaroulis accomplished the impossible, she posted a series of pictures and comments giving God the glory for her monumental achievement:
“‘Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to your name give glory, for the sake of your steadfast love and your faithfulness’ Psalm 115:1 #christisinmeiamenough”
“Always in my corner, and always in my heart. Simply overjoyed. It’s nothing if not shared. Thank you God for this incredible journey and blessing me with such amazing people.”
“There has been no greater honor in my life than to represent God and my country in the sport that I love to do. Truly grateful.”
Congratulations to this courageous woman of faith! We could certainly use more role models like you who lift up your opponent instead of tearing her down and lift up your praises to God for thevictory. Truly an inspiration!