The 2018 Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea will witness athletes from 92 country committees compete in 102 sporting events. For the first time ever, countries like Ecuador, Nigeria, and Singapore are competing in the winter games. We can’t wait to watch Olympians compete in our favorite winter sports. It’s incredible to watch Catholics athletes compete and witness as well – talk about running the good race!
Have you ever wondered what happens to our favorite Catholic Olympian athletes after the Olympics? Here are 4 Catholic athletes who’ve retired from their sport, but are lighting a fire in the Catholic world.
Keep an eye out – we may see more Catholics as the 2018 games continue!
1. Yuna Kim
Yuna Kim is a retired South Korean professional figure skater. This year, you may have watched her light the torch at the Opening Ceremony for the Olympic Games in South Korea. Although she retired from competitive ice skating, she served as an ambassador for this year’s Olympic games, which are hosted in her home country.
Yuna converted to Catholicism in 2008 after a devout Catholic doctor helped her heal from several skating injuries she experienced between 2006 and 2007. She chose the name ‘Stella’ as her confirmation name, in honor of Our Lady, Star of the Sea.
We loved watching Yuna compete in the 2010 Olympics. She wore her rosary ring during competitions, and often made the sign of the cross, too!
2. Curt Tomasevicz
Born in the small town of Shelby, Nebraska, Curt Tomasevicz is a seasoned and decorated bobsledder. He’s taken home an Olympic gold and bronze medal, as well as three gold, two silver, and five bronze medals from World Championship races.
“If I weren’t Catholic, I think my life would be the equivalent of a bobsled crash,” Curt told the National Catholic Register this year. “Being Catholic allows me to get my priorities straight and know that, despite what most people will tell you, athletic competitions are fleeting and you should not measure your self-worth through them.”
Curt retired from bobsledding, but now spends his time giving secular and spiritual talks. He speaks about the start of his athletic career, his first crash, and his retirement. He’s currently in the process of getting on the speaker’s bureau of Catholic Athletes for Christ. Curt is discerning a vocation to marriage, and is excited for where Christ is calling him in this next stage of life. Keep your eyes on Curt – he’s going to do some amazing things for the Lord and the Church.
3. Rebecca Dussault
Rebecca Dussault was an American cross-country skier. Born and raised in Colorado, she participated in the 2006 Winter Olympics. We loved seeing her compete – remember how she wrote “Blessed Frassati” across her skis as a tribute to Pier Giorgio Frassati? She’s an eight time national ski champion, and a winter triathlon national champion. Now she’s a mom to four kids, and says that her goal in life is to create a holy and healthy household!
Check out what Rebecca wrote to Olympians athletes headed to the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro: “I strongly encourage you to avoid the debauchery offered in plenty, which will dumb down your participation and leave your baggage much heavier than an Olympic medal around your neck, the only weight worth packing home…so keep it straight and narrow! Fulfill your dream to reach a peak human experience by your very competition in and example at the Greatest Games on Earth.”
Rebecca now is a fitness trainer and wellness coach. She daily encourages people to find inspiration and live a life of significance. Want to hear more about Rebecca’s life as a Catholic woman? She spoke at the Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh Women’s Conference – you can watch her inspiring witness here!
4. Kirstin Holum
Kristin was born to Olympic skier Mike Devecka and Olympic speed skater Dianne Holum. Olympian athleticism ran in her blood – and her mother coached her throughout her entire career as an american speed skater athlete. In 1997, Kirstin won the World Junior All-Around Championship and set three national records. She competed in the 1998 Winter Olympics. People had high hopes for her returning the next Olympics, but Kirstin told inquires that she “had this incredibly strong calling that it was time to move on and take a different path in life.”
When she returned home from the Olympics, she retired from skating and worked on completing her degree in the arts (her thesis was on art and the Olympics!). But soon after, she joined the Franciscan Sisters of the Renewal, and dedicated her life to helping the poor and homeless. She now lives in Leeds, England! She took the name Sister Catherine.
“It is strange for me to think that things could have been different for me and I could have been at the Olympics again,” Sister Catherine told Yahoo News. “But it wasn’t the Lord’s path for me and I have no regrets.”