FORWARD • Dana Vollmer, USA Olympics

Forward foot.jpg

The Olympic Games in Rio are fascinating. I just watched the 100m Women’s Butterfly and am awestruck at the feats of human strength, agility, speed, and voracity.

In the 2012 Olympic games, Dana Vollmer won the gold medal and set a new world record for the 100m Women’s Butterfly event. Today this new mother and favorite for Team USA began her 2016 debut by finishing her heat in first place and the overall first round in second.

One of Dana’s trademarks is that she writes something on her foot, just above her toes, before every race. Dana’s word the world saw this morning was simply, “forward.” After the race, an interviewer asked Dana why she chose the word “forward” to write on her foot before this particular swim. She answered:

“Everything in my body is making me move forward… It symbolizes my whole journey, every day just moving a little bit closer to that end goal. It’s the last thing I see before I dive in and so that’s the one thought I want in my mind.”

With one written word on her right foot, Dana focuses all of her energy, all of her effort, and all of her attention on the end goal. Instead of living in her past victories, or worrying over her new struggles as the mother of a 15 month old child, she makes the conscious choice to be a disciplined athlete with a single-minded, “forward” pursuit.

In Philippians 3:13-14, the Apostle Paul wrote these words:

“Forgetting what is behind and reaching forward to what is ahead, I pursue as my goal the prize promised by God’s Heavenly call in Christ Jesus.” (HCSB)

Maybe believers in Christ need to find a highly visible place to write the word “forward” as a reminder to themselves that we cannot rest in yesterday’s victories or be consumed with today’s struggles. Instead, we must learn to be disciplined and single-minded followers of Jesus Christ, with our eyes fixed on Him alone. He is our prize. He is our end-goal.

Before you dive into life today, remind yourself like Dana did that “forward” is the objective. Let go of what is behind. Reach forward to what is ahead.

Grace and Peace,


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