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Music & the Spoken Word: Running with faith

Paralympic gold medalist Jason Smyth shares how he both works hard and trusts God

Jason Smyth holds up Ireland’s green, white and orange flag after the men’s 100-meter — T13 final

Jason Smyth of Ireland celebrates winning the gold medal in the men’s 100-meter–T13 final at the Olympic Stadium during the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games in Tokyo, Japan, Sunday, Aug. 29, 2021.

Bob Martin for OIS via Associated Press


Editor’s note: “The Spoken Word” is shared by Lloyd Newell each Sunday during the weekly Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square broadcast. This was recorded in June 2022 outside of Belfast, Northern Ireland, with Jason Smyth. This will be given Sunday, Sept. 18, 2022.

Here in Northern Ireland, the countryside is famously green and fertile, nourished by beautiful rivers and lakes. But sometimes when a coastal fog settles in, even locals lose sight of familiar landmarks. At such times, we are reminded that faith is believing in things we cannot see (see Hebrews 11:1).

Jason Smyth, who lives just outside Belfast, Northern Ireland, with his wife and two daughters, has long believed in things he cannot fully see. Jason is a world-class runner and sprinter, the fastest man in Northern Ireland’s history. He also has a visual impairment. Jason is unbeaten in 15 years of Paralympic competition. He has 20 championship gold medals, including six gold medals in the Paralympics, and has set world records in both the 100- and 200-meter races.

It all began when a high school teacher saw something in him that Jason did not see in himself.

Jason Smyth: When I was in high school, a school teacher encouraged me to go along to an athletics club. But if I’m honest, I wasn’t that interested, but for some reason I decided to go along. And that changed the direction of my life. I would never be where I am today without that school teacher. You can never underestimate the positive influence another person can have on your life.

Lloyd Newell: In traveling and training throughout the world, Jason has learned other important lessons along the way — lessons about more than just running fast.

Jason Smyth: My advice is to go for your dreams! There will always be reasons why not, but if you never try you will never know. And it is that example that I try to set for my daughters because I would rather them see me try and fail than never try at all.

AP21241232009773__1_.jpg

Jason Smyth of Ireland competes in the men’s athletics 100-meter — T13 round 1 heat 2 at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games in Tokyo Sunday, Aug. 29, 2021.

Thomas Lovelock for OIS via Associated Press

Lloyd Newell: The courage to try when the path ahead is unclear, the courage to pursue that which is beyond our sight — this is faith. And Jason attributes much of his success on the track — and in life — to his faith.

Jason Smyth: I always say a prayer before a race, and I believe my faith is one of my greatest strengths as why I’ve been as successful as I have been. The attributes and characteristics of success for me align nicely to my faith and what I stand for.

I work hard, but I also trust God. It’s that knowledge that lets me know that everything will work out if I just do my very best at all times.

Tuning in …

The “Music & the Spoken Word” broadcast is available on KSL-TV, KSL Radio 1160AM/102.7FM, KSL.com, BYUtv, BYUradio, Dish and DirectTV, SiriusXM Radio (Ch. 143), the tabernaclechoir.org, youtube.com/TheTabernacleChoir and Amazon Alexa (must enable skill). The program is aired live on Sundays at 9:30 a.m. on many of these outlets. Look up broadcast information by state and city at musicandthespokenword.com/viewers-listeners/airing-schedules.

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