Prominent German sportsmen and women have contributed to a special "sports Bible" that is being distributed to all German-speaking athletes at the Olympic Games in Sydney. The book of Scripture, Das Leben Gewinnen (Win Life!), contains the German-language Good News version of the New Testament, along with testimonies by sportsmen and women. It also contains an index of biblical quotations using sporting metaphors, such as a citation from the First Letter to the Corinthians 9:24-27: "Surely you know that many runners take part in a race, but only one of them wins the prize. … Every athlete in training submits to strict discipline, in order to be crowned with a wreath that will not last; but we do it for one that will last for ever."The book is the brainchild of Klaus-Peter Weinhold, a sports chaplain who ministers to athletes on behalf of the Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD), Germany's main Protestant body. It has been specially produced to mark this year's Olympics, but Weinhold also intends to use it for other sports gatherings."A lot is expected of athletes," Weinhold told ENI before he left Germany for Sydney last week with his Roman Catholic colleague, Michael Kuehn. In Sydney they are joining pastors and ministers from all over the world at the Olympic religious center which will provide assistance and pastoral care to Olympic participants.Ten thousand copies of the book, which has 608 pages of biblical text and 32 pages of testimonies, including photos of the athletes, have been produced by the German Bible Society; 1,600 copies have been bought by the EKD and the German Roman Catholic Bishops' Conference for distribution in Sydney.Weinhold, a former member of Germany's national volleyball team, understands the pressures faced by athletes in international competition. "I am looking after the German-speaking athletes in particular, but I will talk to whoever needs my help," he said. "Sports are only one aspect of life," he continued, adding that winning or losing said nothing about the qualities of a person or an athlete.Veronika Ullmann, spokesperson of the German Bible Society, told ENI, "This sports Bible will not help athletes to win." But, she added, many athletes sought help during the games. They reflected about the ramifications of winning or losing, and some had doubts about their ability to compete."We have produced the sports Bible to offer them a word of guidance or consolation. We hope that they receive special help in difficult times," she said. "The examples, the letters of the athletes, are enclosed in this edition of the New Testament to encourage the members of the team to use the Bible—and not only during the games.""It does not make a difference to God whether I win or lose," Steffen Brand, a runner and past Olympic athlete, writes in his contribution to the book of Scripture. "God accepts me without looking at my performance. I meet him in people who offer comfort if I run badly. I believe that God meets me through other people."Copyright © ENI 2000

Related Elsewhere

Visit the German Bible Society site (in German) or visit the Bible Society International statistical site for Germany (in English).Contact the Evangelical Church in Germany, the Evangelische Kirche in Deutschland (EKD).Visit the official Sydney site for the 2000 Summer Olympics. is the network's official site for the XXVII Olympiad.Yahoo!'s Sports: 2000 Summer Games offers updates, news, pictures, links, and more.A History of the Olympics covers the history and highlights of the games from Athens 1896 to Atlanta 1996 from Christianity Today articles about mixing sports and salvation include:God on the Gridiron | Should there be a wall of separation between the church and football? (Dec. 11, 1999) Muscular Christianity | Sports stars, Graham put grit in the gospel. (July 12, 1999)