After finishing first in the 100-meter dash at the U.S. Olympic track and field trials, English Gardner hugged her competitors and mimed scooping food from a plate to her mouth. It was a nod to her coach, whom she had told, "If you can get me to the dinner table ... I promise I'm going to eat."
And then, for a moment, that playful bravado gave way to gratitude as Gardner dropped to her knees. She beat the ground, thanking God.
"Thank You, Jesus. Thank You, Jesus. Oh, God, I praise You. I give You so much glory. Thank You, Jesus," she said.
Gardner's faith in God is where she draws her confidence from.
Her parents both are pastors, and, the 24-year-old told The Washington Post, "I was taught to speak things into existence."
"There's life and death in the power of your tongue. You're the controller of your fate, and life is about choices. So I always choose to put that positive energy out there."
Her mother, Monica Gardner, even chose her name because she believed one day it would sound good over a loudspeaker, ESPN reported.
So, Gardner said, she knows she's going to be on that podium at the Rio Olympics, where she will compete in the 100 and in the 400-meter relay.
That's despite the fact she didn't make the Olympic team four years ago and hasn't won a world championship, and despite tearing her right ACL, MCL and lateral meniscus in 2008.
She's inspired by stories of the underdog, of the biblical accounts of Noah and Daniel in the lion's den, she told the Oregonian.
And she told CBN News she hopes her story will inspire others too.
"I think that's what Christianity is all about, going through the highs and lows with God and experiencing everything that He has to offer and being able to share your story because people relate to stories," she said.
© 2016 Religion News Service. All rights reserved.
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