Allen James

I will never forget the summer of 1992. I was in Barcelona, Spain fulfilling my childhood dream of competing in the Olympics.

I remember as an 8-year-old boy watching the 1972 Summer games in Munich, Germany on television. I thought the greatest thing in the world would be to participate in the Olympics.

As a youngster growing up in Seattle, my days were packed with activities. I loved sports and competed in cross-country , track, swimming and soccer. I also played three musical instruments: piano, trombone, and bagpipes. I had enough things to keep me busy from 7:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. That was a typical day!

As I continued to improve my running skills, I was introduced to the unique event of racewalking while I was in the fourth grade. I quickly latched on to racewalking and became successful at it.

After high school I took my talent to Western Washington University (Bellingham, WA) where I was a four-time NAIA All-American in the 10K walk. I was also a two time Academic All-American as well as the WWU Athlete of the Year as a senior.

Since that time I have garnered a number of achievements; 1990 U.S. Olympic festival silver medalist, 20K walk; 1991 U.S. Olympic Festival gold medalist, 20K walk; 1991 TAC/USA Capt. Ron Zinn Memorial Award winner for outstanding 20K walker; personal record in the 20K walk -- 1:25:01 (4th on all time U.S. list); 1992 Olympic Trials 20K winner (New Orleans); 1992 Summer Olympics participant (Barcelona, Spain).

As impressive as the accomplishments may seem, I can't rest on my laurels to reach higher goals. I desire to be a world-class competitor and hope to improve my time and position in future Olympic competition.

The key to reaching that plateau is working hard and being faithful to my training schedule. Even though I want to be successful, it might surprise you that racewalking is not the most important thing in my life. Taking care of my family ranks ahead of my sport, and my top priority is to serve God with the talents He has given to me.

That's important because of what God has done for me. When I began to know God through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, He gave me a real purpose for living, lasting contentment and, best of all, eternal life in heaven when I die. He'll do the same for you, too.

When I was in college, I remember some people talking to me about the Christian life. I thought I was a good Christian at the time because I was a good person and had gone to church as a youngster. But there was something different about them.

Then a friend invited me to a church, and that's when I became more aware of the void in my life. I could tell the whole congregation had something I didn't. They were warm, caring, confident and secure, and they had peace as well.

Was Christ really the answer to my inner emptiness? Three weeks later I asked Christ to come into my life, and today I can honestly say that I have never regretted that important decision.

If you would like to know more about Jesus and what He can do for you, just click the button on the left side of your screen to change your life.