We spoke to Olympic 400m gold medalist, Shaunae Miller on her epic summer in Rio 2016, and how her relationship with Jesus is the focal point of her life both on and off the track.
Shaunae, we have to start with your success at Rio last summer, winning 400m Gold in such dramatic fashion, how surreal was the experience?
The experience was a very good one for me. I went into the race with the intention of winning the gold. My Spiritual Mother, prophetess Janice McKenzie, came into my home and prayed with me. She gave me a word from the Lord that I will be victorious in the Olympic Games. I believed the word, and it was established in Rio.
How much has your life changed since getting that Gold in the summer?
My life has been the same. I don’t let medals change me. At the end of the day this isn’t about me it’s about doing the work of God. I have been more of a role model for younger kids. I’ve been approached by many, asking me to give them tips. I always make sure that my first tip is teaching them to always keep God at the centre and the rest will fall in place.
Could you tell us a bit of your story concerning how you came to know God for yourself?
My parents, in particular my mum always instilled Christian values in us as kids and how we must always remember God. From a child I grew up believing in God and learnt to put my trust in Him. My faith has increased over the years and I am seeing and experiencing the manifestation of God.
Now obviously Tokyo is still years away, but are you dreaming about it already? How excited are you to go and defend your crown?
I am looking forward to Tokyo and I am excited to defend my title, but I take each competition one step at a time and make my way up.
How does God feature in your pre-race routine, anything in particular that you do to prepare?
Every time before I compete I pray to God and ask him to take full control of my mind and my body. I do all the training that I could possibly do to prepare for the moment. So when I step on the track I let go and let God use me.
If you could run against any track athlete from the past, who would you choose and why?
If I could run against anyone from the past it would be Marie Jose Perec. She is a double champion and was the best athlete in her era. I would have loved to race with her to see what the competition would be like.
How has your faith helped you in the tough times, when things aren’t going your way on the track?
My faith has always helped me. I knew that in my tough times there was a reason for it and that I just had to be patient and wait on God’s timing.
How testing is it to be a Christian in elite athletics, with media coverage and the watching world?
It is not testing for me as I just try to stay focused. Most people know my belief in God and I express that every time in my interviews. It is because of God, I am where I am today. The more I talk about God, people are seeing His goodness through my results.
How do you use the platform that God has given you to point people to him, is it about setting an example to others?
I usually do school visitations when I return home and I speak to the kids there. I always encourage them to keep God first. I let them know of my success and how God has and still is helping me. I let them know that if God can do it for me, He can do it for them.
Finally, Shaunae, what is the key, in your eyes, to being a world class 400m sprinter? Is it mental? Technique?
To be a world class sprinter, it takes so many sacrifices. You first have to be mentally strong. You have to believe that you can accomplish anything and then go after it. But faith without work is dead, so if you don’t put in the work you won’t see results. Patience is also an important aspect. Track and field is a sport where you experience a lot of ups and downs and things won’t always go your way but you have to learn to be patient and wait on God to bring you through.