CBN.com Courtney Kupets’ gymnastics career overflows with unforgettable moments. Two world championships. Two U.S. national titles. But her heart was still set on one thing -- Olympic gold.
That dream shattered when the elite gymnast took a tumble that would forever change her life.
Courtney Kupets says, “It was a shock to me. I didn’t believe it happened. It was devastating to have an injury like that. You’re at a world competition. It’s something you’ve always wanted to do.”
Courtney’s love for the sport began at the age of three. She followed her big sister into the gym and never looked back.
As Courtney’s talent launched her into tougher levels of competition, she learned to rely on her Divine Coach. Gymnastics helped draw her closer to God.
“It wasn’t until I started more of the elite level that I started believing that Jesus was helping me during every practice and every day. You know I could ask Him to help me when I was hurting.”
And Jesus showed up in the midst of her worst pain. She tore her Achilles tendon while training at the 2003 World Championships in Anaheim. The injury could sideline some athletes for good. It forced Courtney out of the competition.
“It was an injury that years ago would be career-ending,” Courtney says. “But I had a great doctor, Dr. Lar, who sewed it back up and didn’t put me in a cast. You know usually they put them in a cast for three years. Three days after my surgery I was moving my foot again just to start rehab.”
For months Courtney struggled with intense physical therapy and training. Her toughest times sparked a stronger walk with the Lord. She persevered through pain, disappointment and broken dreams.
“I was getting a little impatient at times. I was like, ‘Okay it’s been three months. I have not done anything. I’m done with this. Let me just get back on the bars or something’. I just had to stay with it and keep going.”
She went on to learn a life-changing lesson many people wrestle with all their lives. Courtney never asked why it happened. In her heart she already knew the answer.
The lesson was “having strength in God that this was my destiny to have an injury like this to show people that you can get hurt and you can come back from it. You shouldn’t give up. You should always have faith in what you want to do. God has a plan, and He’ll help you through it if you believe.”
Her faith and determination catapulted her to an amazing comeback. In 2004, less than one year after her injury, Courtney tied for the top spot at nationals. That same year she entered an arena many athletes only dream of -- the Olympic Games. In Athens, Courtney clenched a bronze medal in the uneven bars and took home a silver team medal.
“You do go there to get a gold but you come back and some people were disappointed they didn’t gold,” Courtney says. “I couldn’t believe I came back with two Olympic medals.”
Courtney still has her sights set on another chance at Olympic gold in 2008. She’s relying on her faith to give her strength.
"God is always there. In everything you do, He can help you. It just helps me to believe that because you know you’re not doing it alone. He’ll always be there."
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