Jonathan Edwards

On this date in 1966, Jonathan Edwards was born in London, England. Edwards became a born-again Christian as a teenager. He decided to pursue a career as a track and field triple-jumper starting in 1987. Edwards competed for many years, retiring after the 2003 IAAF World Championships. He is the most successful medal-winning athlete in British history, having won the gold in the Olympics at Sydney in 2000, at the Commonwealth games in 2002 at Manchester and the World Championships in 2001 at Edmonton, among many awards. Since 1995, he has held the world record in men's triple jump, with the record holding steady at 18.29 meters as of March 2011. During his athletic career, Edwards was very public about his Christian faith. In 1991, he even refused to compete in the World Championships because the triple jump meet was held on a Sunday. After retiring from competition, Edwards worked as a presenter for a BBC television program on faith, "Songs of Praise," during which time he lost his faith, as he announced publicly in 2007. Since leaving his religion behind, Edwards has offered some insight into the psychology of athletes' prayers for success, telling The Times of London, “I was always dismissive of sports psychology when I was competing, but I now realize that my belief in God was sports psychology in all but name” (June 27, 2007). Edwards has also stated that he held onto his faith so long as an athlete because until then he never felt the need to question his preconceived notions. Edwards and his wife Allison have two sons, and they reside in Derbyshire, England.

“If there is no God, does that mean that life has no purpose? Does it mean that personal existence ends at death? They are thoughts that do my head in. One thing that I can say, however, is that even if I am unable to discover some fundamental purpose to life, this will not give me a reason to return to Christianity. Just because something is unpalatable does not mean that it is not true.”

—Jonathan Edwards, The Times, June 27, 2007 

Compiled by Eleanor Wroblewski

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