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World News

Audience of One: Christian sportspeople that praised Jesus in 2023

by Will Hobbs

In 2023, a number of believers at the highest level of elite sport have shared their hope in Jesus under the world's spotlight.

Here are a few we've particularly enjoyed covering and giving God thanks for:

Siya Kolisi, South Africa, Rugby - Kolisi became the second man in history to captain his country to back-to-back Rugby World Cup victories when the Springboks edged the All Blacks in the Paris final. Bruce Nadin, a sports chaplain who's studied the Bible with Kolisi, told Premier why Kolisi's discipleship story is so unique and inspiring.   


A post shared by Siya Kolisi (@siyakolisi)

Ardie Savea, New Zealand, Rugby - The World Rugby individual Men's Player of the Year accolade was also won by a Christian. The loose forward used his Instagram and Ireland post-match interviews to "give Jesus all the glory" after possibly the tournament's most epic contests, in which he was named Man of the Match. 


A post shared by Ardie Savea (@ardiesavea)

Katie Taylor, Boxing - Ireland's greatest world champion athlete performed to a sold-out 3Arena, Dublin, for the first time in May, in what was billed her 'homecoming.' She did so with 'Psalm 18' written on the back and Elevation Worship's 'You are more than able' blaring around the arena. Relive the electrifying scenes here. 

Adam Peaty, Swimming - The 14-time world record breaker revealed a newfound faith this year, symbolized on his torso with a cross tattoo featuring the words 'Into the Light.' Peaty told reporters he'd begun attending church and finding peace through faith, after reaching out to an Olympic chaplain about mental struggles he was facing.


A post shared by Adam Peaty OBE (@adam_peaty)

Coco Gauff, Tennis - This year's US Open champion celebrated her first mjaor title by kneeling down at her chair to pray, after she'd rushed into the stands to embrace her box. The 19-year-old, who has often spoken of her faith publicly, talked about how blessed she felt, as well as the "trials" she believed God put her through during her French Open defeat.

Gilles Yapi Yapo, Ivory Coast, Football - The former international made global headlines when revealing that his Christian faith freed him from visits to a voodoo doctor during his career. The now pastor said he was cheated out of €200,000 by a witch doctor, whom he paid for animal sacrifices to help better his perfromances. Notts County's John Bostock shared insight with Premier of how commonplace it is for footballers to turn to dark magic. 

Texas Rangers, Baseball - After winning their first-ever World Series baseball championship, many players and coaches publicly attributed their success in the postseason to God. Post-victory, coach Tony Beasley declared, "Anyone that interviews me or gives me an opportunity to speak, God's going to receive the glory." During the World Series, a number of players could be seen wearing "Jesus Won" warm-up t-shirts, created by outfielder Evan Carter and his wife, Kaylen.


A post shared by EC (@evancarter)

Hulk Hogan, WWE - Arguably the sports' most iconic figure, the 70-year-old WWE hall of famer described his baptism in December as "the greatest day of my life," pledging "total surrender and dedication to Jesus." Hogan revealed he found faith at 14 but made this a public declaration via social media in April. 

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