Last year Nick Willis shared his story one night at church – tonight he runs again at the Olympics. His faith in Jesus is important to who he is as an athlete, husband and father. He won Bronze – with the silver medal he won in the same event at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, it makes Willis New Zealand’s first ever multiple medallist in the 1500m. He also becomes the oldest podium-finisher there has been in the event’s long history, surpassing the silver-winning efforts of then 32-year-old Kenyan great Kip Keino at the 1972 Games.
In a Herald interview Nick answered the following questions
Your Twitter profile describes you as a proud Kiwi first, a Christian second and a husband third: has this always been the order of importance? Kiwis are my biggest supporters, so I use Twitter primarily to keep connected with them. My identity as a follower of Jesus is the most important aspect of my life however, without which I could never have married such an amazing woman.
Have you ever had times of doubt with your faith? I had doubt for all of my youth, and not until I was 20 did it suddenly click for me. Since then I am challenged on an almost daily basis, as I live in a very academic and liberal town. Ann Arbor [where Nick and Sierra live] has 76 per cent of its adult population with tertiary degrees. This provides a very stimulating environment where you are forced to really explore your views on life, and provide sound reasoning for your beliefs.
What was the darkest part of your life? When I was 14 I was riding my bike on my paper delivery, when I just completely broke down in tears. The death of my mother nine years before had found its way back to my conscience after my efforts of hiding those thoughts away. I was lonely and terribly angry at God for allowing such a fate to have happened to our family. Early teens are hard for a lot of people I have learned.
Have a listen.