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Veteran Team USA hockey player Gigi Marvin wants gold and God

Gigi Marvin (19), of the United States, tries to shoot against goalie Noora Raty (41), of Finland, during the second period of the preliminary round of the women's hockey game at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Gangneung, South Korea, on Feb. 11, 2018. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II; caption amended by RNS)

(RNS) — Gearing up with pads and helmets at both the 2010 and 2014 Winter Olympics, Team USA hockey player Gigi Marvin girded herself with her favorite Bible verse, too.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding,” Proverbs 3 reads. “(I)n all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”

With two Olympic silver medals, Marvin hopes her pucks will go straight, too — straight into the goal for a team gold medal.

Gigi — her real name is Gisele Marie — comes from an ice hockey family. Her grandfather, Cal Marvin, coached the U.S. Men’s National Ice Hockey Team in 1958 and managed that team in 1965. She grew up playing hockey in Warroad, Minn., where the town’s nickname is “Hockeytown, USA.”

Marvin, who is 30, remembers watching the USA women’s ice hockey team at the 1998 Nagano Olympics and dreaming about making the team.

“My parents also helped me understand at a young age that God had given me this amazing talent to play hockey,” she told FCA magazine, published by the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. “It was so natural for me, and it was evident it was a gift from Him.”

Marvin played hockey for the University of Minnesota and went to both the 2010 Vancouver and 2014 Sochi games, where the Team USA women took hockey silvers. She plays forward for the team in Pyeongchang.

“After the 2014 Games, I took a year off and enrolled in a discipleship training school,” she said, referring to a kind of Christian immersion program for laypeople. “My experience there transformed my life once again, opening my heart up for who God is, who His people are, and what He’s called me specifically to do.”

At Pyeongchang, Team USA women are going strong. They won their first two matches against Finland and Russia, and meet Canada — a team that has defeated them for the gold twice — on Wednesday (Feb. 14).

Marvin is ready for them.

“I’m back on the ice, proudly wearing the ‘USA’ across my sweater and representing my country,” she said. “But my mission is more than winning another medal or championship. It’s about sharing Christ and leading others to Him.”

About the author

Kimberly Winston

Kimberly Winston is a freelance religion reporter based in the San Francisco Bay Area.


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  • It is very refreshing to FINALLY see a piece written about Christians in a NON-negative bias. Nice! Thanks RNS! Feels good doesn’t it?

  • I think you are confusing two words starting with “p”.

    Privilege (private law = not subject to the common law) is the historic, undeserved and oft misused advantage gained through deceit and corruption by certain (often religious factions) in, amongst other places, Europe and the Americas.

    Persecution is not what happens when privileged people have the degree of privilege questioned or even slightly circumscribed.

  • “My parents also helped me understand at a young age that God had given me this amazing talent to play hockey,” . . . “It was so natural for me, and it was evident it was a gift from Him.”

    So, god chose to give you that gift, but chose to give a boy, Emanuel Zayas, the gift of a 10 pound tumor on his face, then allowed the boy to undergo surgery and then die a few days later. Take a look . . .

    And you worship, praise, and glorify the despicable creep that you characterize as a god!

  • I say as an’s fine she is devout. No problem. But I do not really see a news angle. “Athlete believes the same thing as millions of other people??”

    Now if she had lived in some backward country where they persecute Christians and then had a triumphant escape..that would be a good story. Or maybe how she was a missionary and had some interesting ways that intersected with her hockey”

  • It was a summer Olympics a few months after I became to what I’ve become, a fired-up & die-hard follower of THE Christ Jesus of the gospels, epistles & revelation. I couldn’t remember the score cards on medals won according to countries, but I still remember this extremely weird sports phenomenon: one after one the American Olympian would say or would be said to be a born-again Christian with all these medals around their necks. I looked at myself, a very young infantile born-again Christian, but with no medals around my scrawny neck.

    You know what I decided? Not what’s wrong with me, a loser. But what’s up with these born-again Christian instant celebs – with God & gold on their shoulders? Why parade themselves like this? Instead of with the bloody crown of Jesus on their heads?

    Lesson learned: I was being sucked into the American Evangelicalism, Fundamentalism, Pentecostalism that all this was. I must resist this Temptation. I must renounce this Religion. If I’m to become a fired-up & die-hard follower of Jesus. To the end.