CHRISTIANITY DAILY

Maya DiRado: Rio Olympics to Be First and Last; Faith Gives Her a 'Quiet Confidence'

Maya DiRado
(Photo : Chan-Fan/Wikimedia/CC) Maya DiRado before the 400m medley final at the 2015 World Aquatics Championships

The 23-year-old Madeline (Maya) DiRado won three medals in the US swimming team to qualify for the Rio games which will be her first as well as last Olympics.

DiRado had made it clear earlier that she will retire after this Olympic season, because swimming was not everything for her and that she has set her priorities knowing that there are more important things in life.

"As for my swimming career, my faith has helped me remember that there are so many more important things in life worth doing. Swimming is a pretty selfish activity, and so I've always known that it can't be my whole world," DiRado told Christianity Today.

"Knowing that I'm a child of God and that his love for me is determined by nothing I can achieve or do on my own has given me a quiet confidence. I think that my faith has helped me chart my own course and pursue my goals when people around me may be going in different directions. Jesus' love for me and all humanity is something that always helps me better love people around me when things get difficult," she quipped.

She is competing in the 400-meter and 200-meter medley, and 200 meter backstroke at the games.

Her coach Greg Meehan told Mercury News that DiRado, knowing that this will be her first and final big game, has taken up the challenge with an open heart.

"It is rare, but special nonetheless. And I think the fact that she knows this is going to be her final year of competition really allowed her to embrace the challenge that our sport presents and just embrace the workload that is required to get here," said Meehan.

She also said that she is motivated just by setting high goals for herself and working towards them.

"I'm motivated by seeing how good I can be. That applies not just at race time but during every practice: Am I preparing as well as I possibly can, even when we're nine months out from the big meet? I set high goals for myself and then enjoy the process of working toward them," she said.

DiRado says that she knows God was in control and he cares for other things about her, not just her winning or losing.

"I don't think God really cares about my swimming very much," she told Yahoo Sports. "This is not my end purpose, to make the Olympic team. My God is powerful and in control, but I don't think he cares whether I win. It's interesting theology you can get into when it's a God of victory in your sport."

Her parents, Ruben and Marit, are both Christians. DiRado's mother Marit is an oncology nurse who volunteered to help victims of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, and also went to Africa to help the Ebola virus patients.

She graduated from Stanford with a degree in management science and engineering, and will join McKinsey & Company this September after the Olympics.

When asked by Christianity Today about what God truly wants for her, she said: "I think God cares about my soul and whether I'm bringing his love and mercy into the world. Can I be a loving, supportive teammate and can I bless others around me in the same way God has been so generous with me?"

Tags Madeline (Maya) DiRado, Rio Olympics 2016, faith

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