Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Love and Olympic Gold Shine in Japanese Region Hit by Tsunami

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Love and Olympic Gold Shine in Japanese Region Hit by Tsunami

Article excerpt

Olympic figure skater Yuzuru Hanyu, gold medalist at the Sochi Winter Games, is from the Tohoku region of Japan, where the Great Eastern Japan Earthquake and tsunami hit three years ago today. The effects of the disaster hindered Hanyu's opportunities to pursue his Olympic goals. But his tenacity prevailed. In spite of the setbacks and need to keep moving - finding "home" and skating rinks outside his town - he had the goal of not only bringing back an Olympic medal to his hometown, but also of performing as much as he could for those who are still in the area where the disaster took place.

In his interviews he talks about what he could give back to those who have been working to rebuild this area, as well as to those who were driven away from their home to find new life and stability in towns unfamiliar to them. He said he might not be able to do much himself but hoped that his performance would inspire others to think about what they could do to make a difference in Tohoku. And, as a proof of his gratitude, he announced that he would donate his prize money - nearly $60,000 - to revitalizing the communities affected by the tsunami (Sponichi, Feb. 27).

When he returned to his home prefecture, the mayor of Sendai asked him, "I heard you eat very little. Where does your power come from?" To this Hanyu answered that his "power" came not only from his love for skating but also from remembering how he had been supported by so many people who helped him continue skating in spite of the destruction (NHK, Feb. 26).

As I watched these interviews, I felt the power that truly moved Hanyu was love - his love for skating and love of all those who supported him, starting with his family and those who made it possible for him to skate. The love that moved him, I strongly believe, has a divine origin; its source is God, divine Love. It is the love that the Bible talks about when it says, "Perfect love casts out fear" (I John 4:18, New King James Version). …

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