Olympic swimmer Madeline (Maya) DiRado is an accomplished woman in and out of the pool, but she says her faith is worth more to her than anything else.
In an interview with Christianity Today, DiRado spoke about her swimming, her future plans, and how her Christian faith shapes all aspects of her life.
DiRado has already made a name for herself in the Rio Olympic Games. She won gold as part of the women’s 4 x 200-meter freestyle relay team. She also earned silver in the women’s 400-meter individual medley, and bronze in the 200-meter individual medley. Tonight, she will race in her final event, the women’s 200-meter backstroke.
In addition to her swimming career, DiRado excels in academics. She graduated high school at the age of 13, got into Stanford University at age 17, and now, after graduating with a degree in management science and engineering, has landed a consulting job at McKinsey & Company which she will start this fall.
Despite her impressive resume, DiRado remains humble and knows that all her talents are from the Lord.
“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 said.
DiRado said she grew up in a Christian home, questioned her faith as a young adult, and later made a decision to put her faith in Christ.
She said she believes God cares more about how she shows His love to others than her swimming or any other accomplishements:
“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?” she asks herself.
DiRado has announced that, whatever the outcome in Rio, she will not be returning to swimming. However, she hopes to fully appreciate her time as part of the U.S. Olympic team.
"For my time in Rio, I hope to meet some new athletes, continue to appreciate all the little joyful moments of this trip, and do my best on the biggest stage in my sport. Of course I hope to learn new things from this experience but I don’t think it will change me drastically as a person. This has been a dream of mine and of so many others, so I just want to make sure I get all the delight out of the journey as possible,” she said.
Photo courtesy: Thinkstockphotos.com
Publication date: August 11, 2016