While it is impossible to mention all the Latter-day Saint athletes making a difference in the world today, here are a few examples of those who have stood for their faith and the empowering messages they've shared about our Savior Jesus Christ and His gospel.
Image by Jed Wells.
Professional golfer Tony Finau has his sights set on becoming the best golfer in the world, and he's turning that dream into a reality, consistently getting ranked among the top 20 golfers in the world.
About his faith, Finau told LDS Living:
"I take a lot of pride and honor in being a member of the Church but more so just being a disciple of Christ. We’re all disciples of Christ, and we take upon us His name when we enter the waters of baptism. It’s our responsibility and it’s our duty, and it doesn’t matter who you are. I’m a professional athlete, and I love playing the game of golf. Since I do have that type of platform to reach others, I want them to know who I am and who I represent. If they think I’m a good person, hopefully, they know where that comes from. That comes from not only the gospel but also from just learning of our Savior Jesus Christ and who He is and trying to have that light shine through to others in the best way I can."
Image from Getty Images.
A two-time inductee into the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame, Peter Vidmar's name is inseparably connected with gymnastics. Despite having received three Olympic medals, this Latter-day Saint father told the Deseret News that his "greatest joy in life comes from seeing my children find joy."
Concerning his faith, Vidmar testified in the April 1985 general conference:
"Just imagine what it’s like to be an Olympic champion! Imagine the feeling of having that medal placed around your neck as you stand on the victory platform. It’s a feeling I can’t describe. But let’s realize one more thing. We can all have an experience infinitely greater than that. If we prove worthy, we will return to our Heavenly Father’s presence.
"I have a testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ. I know that Christ lives. . . . My temple marriage to my beautiful wife is worth more than all the gold in the world.
"I know I have a long way to go, but I pray that I may always improve and someday be found worthy of all the blessings that Heavenly Father has in store for those that truly serve him."
Image by Jed Wells.
Hall of Famer and Super Bowl MVP Steve Young led a brilliant 15-year career in the NFL. During that time, Young says he "quietly liv[ed] a personal code I had established for myself: never to do anything as a professional athlete—on the field or in private—that would set a poor example for kids."
About his faith, he wrote in an editorial for the Deseret News in 2012:
"I have always strived to see how good I could be — whether in educational or professional endeavors. But my quest to return home also applies to the most precious and vital relationships that define me: husband, father, son, brother or friend. I cannot embark on a quest to be my best in these roles without a Savior, without his gospel, without scripture that teaches me how the Holy Ghost works His heavenly science to wash away sins and renew me. I've always wondered how I could ever come close to fulfilling Jesus' invitation to 'believe in me.' Only by constant refinement, by qualifying for the Atonement through faith and obedience, can I walk that path."
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More recently, Young shared with LDS Living, "At this stage of my life, I’m most grateful for two things: my family and my faith."
Noelle Pikus Pace
Image from July/August 2014 issue of LDS Living.
An Olympian medalist with another five FIBT World Championship medals under her belt, Noelle Pikus-Pace stood for her standards while the whole world watched.
► You'll also like: Sharing the Gospel as an Olympian: The Noelle Pikus-Pace Story
"No amount of medals, fame, or glory could cause me to give up my integrity," Pikus-Pace writes in her book Focused. "I know who I am and what I stand for regardless of what others say or think. Skeleton is a sport. It is just a sport. My integrity is everything."
"I wear a necklace around my neck that has two different pendants. One is a picture of the LDS temple in Salt Lake City, Utah. It reminds me to continually progress and be better each and every day. It reminds me of who I am, where I want to go, and who I want to become. The second pendant is an emblem of a torch. It reminds me to be a light. It reminds me to stand up for what I believe regardless of what others might think or do around me. I want to be an example of righteousness and help others to become their best selves."
Bryce Harper was the first MLB draft pick in 2010. In 2019 he signed a record-breaking, 13-year, $330 million contract with the Philadelphia Phillies. No doubt about it, Bryce Harper has made a name for himself in MLB for a decade and plans to play much longer.
Image from @kayy.harper Instagram.
In addition to making news headlines across the nation, Harper also shares his faith with his fans regularly on social media, testifying of temples, eternal families, living prophets, the Book of Mormon, and so much more. In one post, he shared:
"I have a testimony of my Heavenly Father and I know that my redeemer lives. I know that President Russell M. Nelson is a true disciple of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I know that the Book Of Mormon is the true word and that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is the true church. I believe in the Atonement & that Jesus died for me so that I can live on earth today. I believe in the Eternal families and the amazing blessings that I get from going to the Temple as often as I can and I believe that anybody that is struggling or going through pain or any tough times that if you take two minutes to say a prayer, read a scripture verse (Luke 1:37), or just turn your life to the light of the Lord then he will lift you up and brighten your life in ways you could’ve never imagined. In my life I’ve had many accolades and have won many awards which have been amazing, but nothing has gave me more happiness than marrying my wife in the temple and giving my life to my Savior Jesus Christ. I hope you have an amazing Sunday. Love to all."
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As I sit here in the Salt Lake City airport I’ve been pondering about the last couple days I was able to spend in Utah with all my family. Of course you all know my season came to an end this year quite early & that was very unfortunate, but with that being said I was sitting back & thinking this will be the first year me and my wife will be able to attend General Conference and hear from the amazing leaders of our Church. As we were flying in on Thursday, I was so excited & anxious to get to Utah to enjoy this great weekend with everybody. So many smiling and energetic faces ready to do the same as me. We had some free time on Friday so we were able to do a session in the beautiful Salt Lake Temple. This was my first session in this temple and what an experience we had. The spirit was on my mind so strongly & the craziness that this offseason will bring. But when I am feeling such things or in a frame of mind like that nothing feeds my soul more than learning & being more in tune with my Lord & Savior in His house upon the earth! Later in the day we had an incredible opportunity to meet with President Nelson & the “German Shepard” Elder Uchtdorf. I can’t begin to describe to any of you how much wisdom and knowledge these men have. President Nelson had me in shock. He had an overwhelming feeling around him of the spirit. He walked into the room and I immediately teared up and began to think if it was even appropriate for me to be in the same room as this man because of how incredible he is. He came over and shook my hand, my wife’s hand, and family’s hands and we talked for a couple minutes. By the end I couldn’t help but think when this man talks it is the truth. It is the word of God & everything that I want to be part of. My mind was racing & I didn’t really have much time to catch my breathe or really sit back and think about what I had just heard or what had just happened because up the elevator & down the hallway stood one of my biggest hero’s and the biggest spiritual gangster’s that I’ve seen, Elder Uchtdorf. When I walked into his office he greeted me with the biggest smile & just the most friendly vibe I’ve ever seen or felt. He was so personable ➡️
In his April 2019 general conference talk, Elder Gary E. Stevenson shared this quote from Harper:
“I thought fame, fortune, and an MVP award would make me happy. Something was missing. So, I . . . prepared and [entered] the temple. I am now on a path to [return] to my Heavenly Father and have an eternal family—which is the greatest joy in the world!”