Olympic Gold Medalist shares life lessons with students
Twelve years ago, Brandon Slay rose to worldwide acclaim by winning the Gold Medal in freestyle wrestling at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia. Two years before that, Slay had graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a degree in finance and management from the prestigious Wharton School of Business.
This past Friday, Slay spoke at high schools in New Haven and South Adams, conducted a wrestling clinic on Saturday and then spoke at Grace Bible Church on Sunday.
But it wasn’t only Olympic success that had the popular wrestler sharing the Gospel in area colleges and schools. Thanks to seeds sown by a grandmother and the faithful example of Christians at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, Slay launched on a campaign to bring people to Jesus Christ through nationwide appearances.
With Slay having come in second at the NCAA Nationals and capturing two All-American awards, the champion wrestler eventually boarded a train that would take him to training for the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, Australia.
For many years, Slay attempted to accomplish his wrestling dreams without God
and he only got so far. In 1999, Slay finished sixth in the U.S. Nationals by clinging to his own life and doing things his way. At that point, he felt that his life had no purpose.
At the end of 1999, he gave his life completely to Jesus Christ. With his new spiritual strength, he was able to go from sixth in the USA to first in the world in 2000. His motto became, ‘do your best and let God take care of the rest.
“When I made the big time move to the training center, I really understood what a ragamuffin I was,” said Slay. “I understood what Christianity was all about. Over a five-year period, I realized that I was really in need of a Savior.
“As I was going to the Olympics for the first time in my life, I realized that it was not all about a Gold Medal,” said Slay. “Win or lose, I wanted to glorify Him. My motto was that, ‘I would do my part and God would do the rest.’
“You go for the gold in sports, music, occupation and realize that there is something far greater such as family, friends and integrity,” said Slay. “When Paul spoke to us in I Cor. 9:24-27, he didn’t say that training was bad, he said that we should consider those most important things that won’t fade away.”
Slay referred to the parable about the talents and stated that the guy that had five talents wasn’t worse than the person with lesser talents.
“I’ve always perceived myself as a two-talent guy,” continued Slay. “The most important thing is that which honors Him.”
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