Nearly 100 LDS athletes have competed in the Olympics, with another 14 participating in the 2016 Rio Games. While many stood for their faith while they made history, there are some who were still searching for truth when they showed up on the world stage.
Here are five famous Olympians who converted to the LDS Church.
Ambrose Gaines IV
Ambrose Gaines IV, better known by his friends as “Rowdy,” was one of the world’s fastest swimmers in the 1980s.
A 22-time NCAA All-American who broke several world records from 1978 to 1984, no one would guess Gaines had a rough time with sports as a boy—that is, until he tried swimming as a junior in high school.
In the 1980 Moscow Olympics, Gaines was predicted to win no less than five gold medals up until the United States decided to boycott the Olympic Games.
Thinking his Olympic run was over, Gaines retired shortly after graduating from Auburn in 1981. But when Gaines’s father encouraged him to keep swimming, he recommitted himself to the sport, and within a year he broke his own world record in the 200m freestyle at the World Championships.
See the others on LDS Living.
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