The Olympics and Catholicism – what do they have in common?

The Olympics have a way of uniting people. Americans stayed up late on Wednesday night and watched with baited breath as the United States’ women’s Hockey team skated to victory against Canada. It’s simple moments like this when we’re proud to be American and we aren’t thinking about the political, racial, social, and religious divisions throughout our nation. We’re all on the same side, just cheering for our team.

Have you noticed Catholic athletes competing at the Olympics? Just this week, Sofia Goggia of Italy won her nation’s first Olympic gold in women’s downhill skiing, and just before her run she made the Sign of the Cross!

Curt Tomasevicz is an Olympic gold and bronze medalist; an American bobsledder who competed at the 2010 and 2014 Winter Olympic Games. He joined Morning Air® to discuss what it’s like to be a Catholic Olympian. “Our races—not just during the Olympics but throughout our World Cup season—are always on the weekend. We compete 2-man on Saturday and 4-man on Sunday, usually. At the Olympics, our races are 2-man on one weekend, 4-man on a completely other weekend. So it made it difficult to get to Mass,” explains Tomasevicz.

“I did this for ten years, and so I found partway through my career that I was—I don’t want to say pulling away from the Church—but I just wasn’t having the good practices that I had when I had a routine and I could be at one location all the time. So I found a way that I could try to read more scripture or try to participate in a different way,” says Tomasevicz. “And I guess that helped me to kind of explore my faith a little more, too!”

Tomasevicz and Morning Air show host John Harper compared Olympic training to our Lenten journey. “What we did physically as far as training and waking up and focusing, everything we did was revolving around trying to become a better athlete. I think Lent is kind of the same way—it should be focused around being a better Christian and just a better person.”

Much like our faith journey, becoming a gold medalist is not an easy road. “My career was ten years and we don’t just compete ten minutes at the Olympics every four years. Our World Cup season happens every year and even in the summertime, we’re preparing for those seasons,” says Tomasevicz. “I’m not going to say I loved every minute of it because a lot of it was painful, agonizing, the blood, sweat and tears that go into it. But the reward is always worth it.”

Lindsey is a wife, mother, and contributing author at Relevant Radio. She holds a degree in Journalism and Advertising from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Lindsey enjoys writing, baking, and liturgical living with her young family.