Rosalynn Sumners

Many professional athletes look like they have everything-money, popularity, excitement, and security. What people don't understand is that athletes often experience deep internal struggles. Loneliness creeps in when you spend countless nights on the road. There's also a tremendous amount of pressure to perform day after day. And it's not easy to ignore the criticism that often accompanies a professional sporting career.

I realize how fortunate I am to be a professional figure skater. The other Stars on Ice performers and I know how fortunate we were to peak in our careers at the same time ice-skating was peaking in popularity. We were at the right place at the right time.

But even in the midst of the glamour, I have times when I long for circumstances to be different. I've found that money and fame don't give me the security and sense of purpose I long for. It's hard to explain this, even to your closest friends, because people don't feel sorry for you when they see how much money you've made. I haven't wanted sympathy. But I have wanted to meet the needs that go deeper than my Olympic experiences and my career.

Ten years ago, after I missed Olympic gold by one tenth of a point, I decided I was going to find the missing piece in my life. Because I felt God had let me down at the Olympics, I chose not to look to him during my search. Instead I looked to friends, skating, partying, my boyfriend, and other things to fill the emptiness inside me. My life started unraveling at the seams.

Then, in 1995, a friend told me what it means to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. To my surprise, I acknowledged God was what was missing in my life. At that point I asked the Lord to take the reins of my life. I've found that Jesus Christ is the only person I can be completely vulnerable and raw and honest with. No matter what, I know he forgives me and is there to pick me up. Now I'm experiencing genuine purpose in life. I skate with more passion because I know my talent is a gift from God.

Though I will always wrestle with various trials and times of loneliness in life, I have a friend in Christ who is with me wherever I travel and whenever I need him.

(Rosalynn Sumners won a silver medal in figure skating in the 1984 Winter Olympics. The past several years she has skated professionally with the Discover Stars on Ice.)

If you would like to know more about Jesus and what He can do for you, just click the button on the left side of your screen to change your life.

Read more in the feature article: