Team GB Olympic Hurdler, Cindy Ofili took time out to talk to us about her Rio experience and how God is the reason for her growing success on the track.
So Cindy, let’s start with where you are at right now, what’s next in the competitive calendar?
So I’ve just started running professionally for Adidas and that means I am now able to compete in the Diamond Leagues. I don’t know exactly what will be next for me but I have the full indoor circuit and then the outdoor afterwards.
Looking back at the summer, you’ve had time to ponder it, are you chuffed with your performance in Rio?
It’s weird because going into it I didn’t realise set any expectations, I just wanted to reach the final and have fun with it. At the same time though I am a very competitive person and so I always go into every single race wanting to win. I did a way better job than I thought I would do but I would have really enjoyed a medal, so to be that close is a bit bitter sweet.
Could you tell us how you came to know God for yourself?
I was born into a Christian household and was raised Catholic, we went church every Sunday and really had that base that God is who we put our faith into. I have really known God my whole life and I have gotten stronger in my faith over the years as I have actually understood the word. I think Athletics has helped me to grow in my faith each day because it allows me to see the blessings that God has given me. Just for me to be able to show what belief and prayer can do for you and having the opportunity to know God, has helped my success. He has helped me through the good times and the bad times.
Competing alongside your sister Tiffany, in the 100m hurdles final, what’s that like? Does it get any better than that?
It’s great, she is my competitor so I treat her like I would treat everybody else but I still want the best for her. I want her to do well but also have the opportunity to do my own thing at the same time, we got to guide and support each other in Rio so it was really great. How many people can say that they have a sister in the same sport, let alone in the same event? I am pretty blessed to have that and we do help each other out even though we are competitors. We both want each other to do our best.
So obviously the back story is that you decided to represent GB rather than the US, how have people generally received that, I mean you are studying at Michigan?
People have their own opinions and can believe what they want to believe, I have received a lot of positive feedback and some negatives, which is ok. In a way I don’t really focus on what other people are thinking and I would rather just think about my own experience and the choice to represent Great Britain was a great decision for me. I wouldn’t have had it any other way.
What would you say God is teaching you at the moment, through your track career?
I have been learning a lot about patience and actually about praying for what you want. I have learned personally this year that when I’m speaking to God on a conversational level, to listen to him, taking in what he wants for me and to have patience. Rio was something that showed me how patience is key with the Lord because I was going through some downs this year and was feeling low before the Olympics. Having the faith that I do has helped me to feel a level of happiness that God wanted me to have.
Who would you say is the best hurdler that you have ever competed against and why?
That is a very hard question. All of the hurdlers at the top right now are getting great times and doing a great job. I never competed against Sally Pearson but I have against Dawn Harper-Nelson who won a gold medal a few years ago. It is hard to pinpoint just one athlete right now.
How does God feature in your pre-race time, do you have any routines?
Yes the night before and the morning of the race I will pray and then even before the race I will pray again. That’s a big one, just relaxing my mind and getting music into my head, sometimes I will listen to hip hop and other times to gospel music.
How do you use the platform that He has given you, to point people towards him?
Before my race I cross myself and then try to give him glory in interviews that I do because my success is from him. I just try to show the world that you can be successful by glorifying God, these gifts are not mine, they are from him.
What do you like to do away from the track, any hobbies?
I like to just do any relaxing things that a normal person would do. I tend to go to the movies, go to the shopping mall and really enjoy eating, that is one thing that I love.