A skater’s ‘extra grace’
Tim Ellsworth, Baptist Press
February 18, 2010

A skater’s ‘extra grace’

A skater’s ‘extra grace’
Tim Ellsworth, Baptist Press
February 18, 2010

VANCOUVER — With only 30

feet to go in her 1000-meter race at the U.S. speedskating championships in

December, Rebekah Bradford’s Olympic dreams seemed to tumble away when she suffered

a nasty fall.

Photo courtesy of U.S. Speed Skating

Rebekah Bradford is thankful God answers prayers.

Not only had her Olympic aspirations taken a hit — her pride had as well.

“I was pretty emotional in the raw moment of it,” Bradford recalled. “It was a

pretty embarrassing experience. I tore a hole at the seam in the (rear) of my

skin suit.”

Bradford was devastated. She had worked so hard and wanted so much to make the

Olympic team. It was all over.

Or so she thought, until a referee approached her with a question that lifted

her spirits. “Are you aware that you have a reskate?” the referee asked.

Bradford hadn’t even thought of that. The rules allow, at the referee’s

discretion, for skaters who fall to be given a chance to skate again. Even with

the reprieve and the second opportunity, given the circumstances, Bradford wasn’t

hopeful that she’d be able to post the time needed to qualify for the Olympics.

Kelly Gunther held the time of 1:17.12 that Bradford had to beat.

With friends and family cheering her on from the stands in Kearns, Utah,

Bradford turned in the performance of her life. She skated a personal best,

1:16.36, to nab the Olympic spot up for grabs.

Earlier that day, Bradford had sent a prayer to a couple of friends that was

her request of the Lord as she competed that day.

“I was asking God for confidence and to calm my mind,” Bradford said. “I want

His name to be glorified out of asking the impossible. I also asked Him to put

me in a position of extra grace.”

By “extra grace,” Bradford was thinking about strength and endurance to finish

the last lap of her race strongly.

“I never thought it would mean extra grace to do a second race within a

half-hour of my first race, and then skate a personal best on top of that,”

Bradford said. “I never expected that God was going to answer my prayer in that


(EDITOR’S NOTE — Ellsworth, director of news and media relations at Union

University in Jackson, Tenn., is covering the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver for

Baptist Press.)