Prohibited in workplaces and public places under British law religious symbols were nevertheless worn with pride during the Olympics. From the sign of the cross of Jamaican runner Usain Bolt ( invited to the Vatican for next April) to Victoria Douglas who praised God in an interview with NBC: many athletes, before or after the races, sought strength and courage in prayer- with a gesture, an image, a witness. Faith has certainly won this edition of the Olympics. Irish Olympic gold medal winner boxer Katie Taylor publicaly thanked God for her victory. Indeed she thanked God after all her fights.
While Shaherkani Wojdan,Saudi Arabia, was the first participant in the games wearing the veil during the 82 seconds of Olympic wrestling, for 27 year old Carlos Ballvé-a Spanish hockey player this was the last Olympics before joining the priesthood. In 2005, during the World Cup under-21 hockey competition, the athlete had become aware of the importance of God in his life, following a trip to Medjugorje. After hearing the Lord's call, Carlos made a wish to God: "Let me make my dream of participating in the Olympic Games" . So, he continued to train with his team as he began his studies at the seminary.
The team of Brazilian volleyball players together with the entire coaching staff, knelt to pray together an emotional "Our Father", after winning the gold medal. Meseret Defar of Ethiopia having crossed the finish line in the 5,000 meters race to win the gold, showed the image of the Virgin Mary pulled out of her shirt. Numerous other examples deserve mention. The coach of the Brazilian national volleyball team Jose Roberto Guimaraes told reporters that he was ready to walk the Camino de Santiago in Spain whilst Leonel "Leo" Manzano who won a silver medal for the United States in the 1500 meters after crossing the finish line fell down on the track to pray and thank God. The Spanish swimmer Mireia Belmonte has offered the two silver medals won (800 meters freestyle and 200m butterfly) to Our Lady of Montserrat.
Indeed this was not confined to the Olympics. In 2011 Alex Giorgetti a member of the Italian national men's water polo team which won the world championships in the same year visited Medjugorje. Young Alex had meeting first with Fr. Miljenko Šteko, the Head of the Information Office in Medjugorje and gave him the water polo ball signed by all of the players of Italian team. He later shared his life experience with a journalist of Radio Station “Mir” Medjugorje. He spoke about the conversion that he experienced when he met Jesus and Mary and is very happy after having completely changed his life. He had lived without prayer and sacraments before his conversion: "Since Italy had not won the world championship since 1994 I decided that if we had a good result I would come to Medjugorje to thank Jesus for that. Well, we have not only become world champions, but I was also awarded as the best player in the league. That's why I decided to come and thank Jesus and Our Lady for all the graces He has given me. I climbed the Apparition Hill and Cross Mountain barefoot and it was a really nice experience for me. I feel happy and satisfied and can not wait to return to Italy to witness the beauty of this place." Returning to God was his greatest victory.