christian testimony

KIRSTY BALFOUR

Kirsty Balfour
THE SIMPLE VERSE THAT INSPIRED OLYMPIC STAR

Kirsty Balfour made a. splash on the world stage of swimming, but her faith was the secret to her stroke…

Former European swimming champion Kirsty Balfour has revealed the importance that Scripture has played during her competitive career.

Scottish breaststroke ace Balfour won gold in the 200m at the European Long-Course Championships in 2006 before claiming silver in the same event at the 2007 World Championships in Melbourne.

At 18 years of age Balfour had already been a Scottish champion and Commonwealth Games finalist — but she puts her success down to a healthy relationship with God.
“I prayed before competitions and when I was in the water,” she reveals. “One of my favourite verses in the Bible has to be Philippians 4:13, ‘I can do everything through him who strengthens me’.

“It is a very simple verse, but when I was l training or competing, feeling like I am just about to die, I know God was there in the water with me, and he would see me through.”

Edinburgh-born Balfour, who was part of the Team GB squad for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, became known for her humility in the pool and gives God all the glory for her success.

“I know that God has given me a talent, it’s something not of myself, and I am ultimately using that talent for his glory,” she once said.

Balfour’s journey saw her become the first British gold medallist in the pool at a European Championships since Anita Lonsborough’s 1964 success, though her path to the podium has seen her grow closer to God. “I think I was about seven when I gave my life to Jesus,” she remembers.

However, it wasn’t until just a few years ago that she started to think more seriously about what she believed. “I came to a point where I had to think through everything I believed again, and I have now made a firm commitment to follow Jesus Christ.
“Over the years my relationship with Jesus has grown a lot stronger and I feel closer to God.”

As many professional athletes would understand, Balfour was exposed to numerous temptations but always remained determined to express her faith when quizzed by her team-mates.

“Being a Christian is sometimes hard as there are things you feel are not right for you to do,” she adds. “Unlike a lot of my friends I don’t drink, but my friends know why and they respect what I believe. My swimming mates have asked me questions and it is good to be open about your faith.” .,

Following the 2008 Olympic Games Balfour revealed she would be retiring from the sport at just 24 to focus on serving her local church.

After eight years at the top of international swimming, Balfour married and announced she would be ‘doing a lot with the church and youth work’.

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