There were a number of Christ-following athletes who made impacts on and off the field in 2018. While some may be household names, others have less name recognition but still put in the long hours of daily training to earn a chance to be called the best in the world.
(1) Drew Brees- The New Orleans Saints quarterback finished the 2018 regular season in contention for the National Football League’s MVP award. In addition to leading the league in quarterback rating and leading the Saints to the NFC’s top seed heading into the playoffs, Brees also broke Peyton Manning’s record to become the NFL’s all-time career passing yards leader. Brees has been vocal about his Christian faith throughout his career. After breaking Manning’s record in October against the Redskins, he said in an ESPN that, “Nothing is given. Everything is earned. God has equipped us all for great works.”
(2) Alexa Scimeca Knierim- Alexa Scimeca Knierim and her husband, Chris Knierim, helped the U.S. team take home the bronze in team figure skating at the Pyeongchang Winter Games. The Knierims were able to make the Olympic team despite the fact that Alexa was less than two years removed being diagnosed with a life-threatening gastrointestinal condition that required her to have three surgeries. Alexa told reporters that her Christian faith is the “the reason [she] was able to get back on the ice. Faith has taken a big kind of role in my life and Chris’ and I truly believe that’s why we were able to get here,” Knierim said.
(3) Nick Foles- In the wake of Carson Wentz’s season-ending injury in December, 2017, backup quarterback Nick Foles took over at the helm of the Philadelphia Eagles and led the Eagles through a successful playoff push to bring Philadelphia its first Super Bowl victory in February of 2018. Foles was awarded the Super Bowl LIII MVP as he threw for 373 yards and three touchdowns in the game. He was even given an ESPY award for best championship performance. Foles is not afraid to let his Christian faith be known. In a press conference prior to Super Bowl LII, Foles told the media that he hopes to one day become a pastor. Foles said at the time, “I want to impact people’s hearts.”
(4) Jennie Finch-Daigle- Although Finch-Daigle is best known for her time as a dominant force leading Team USA to a gold medal in 2004 on the softball diamond, the impact she made in 2018 came when she took a stand for her religious convictions while participating in the popular reality show “Dancing With the Stars.” In May, Finch-Daigle refused to dance to a song some considered to be sexually suggestive and a “bisexual pop anthem.” “I want to glorify God out there, and that just wasn’t a great choice for me to do that,” Finch-Daigle told Us Weekly.
(5)Trevor Lawerence- Clemson’s star quarterback Trevor Lawrence delivered a beautiful post-game message to match his stunning performance in the Tigers’ huge win against Notre Dame Saturday, December 29. Clemson romped to a 30-3 victory at the Cotton Bowl with the freshman QB throwing 327 yards and three touchdowns. But, along with his clearly displayed talent on the field, it was his faith-filled comments in the post-game presser that caused many to sit up and pay attention. Speaking about how he keeps grounded when so much media attention is turned his way, he said: “Football is important to me, but it’s not the biggest thing in my life, my faith is.” Lawrence added that he continues to place his “identity in what Christ says” and “who He thinks I am and who I know that He says I am.”