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CBN.com “Being 16 years old and growing up on the road by yourself without supervision, you get into some pretty bad things.”
Champion snowboarder Kelly Clark is at the top of her game literally. She won Olympic gold in 2002 as the youngest member of the U.S. team. In February 2005, Kelly boarded her way to first place at the World Cup competition in Italy.
You’d think that with all this success, Kelly’s life was ideal. But if you ask her, you might not get the answer you expect.
“I achieved the highest in my sport. I was famous,” she says. “I had money. I had an Olympic gold medal. Everything that anyone could have wanted, and I found out that wasn’t what I was looking for.”
So Kelly did what she thought would fill the void in her heart.
“I strived to drink the most. I strived to be the rowdiest... all this silly stuff. That didn’t seem like a very good idea, but at the time that was what I thought was gonna make me cool. I wanted people to like me.”
Neither Kelly’s gold medal nor her partying was enough to take away her deep sense of emptiness.
“I had spiraled into this depression and into this place that was just real dark. I was at this contest, and I was staying by myself. I spent the morning writing about how I didn’t want to live anymore and how it wouldn’t even matter.”
Kelly didn’t know it, but she was about to find out just how much her life did matter and to Whom.
“Snowboarding’s still going great from the outside perspective. My life’s great. I’ve got it made. I’m living the dream, but on the inside I’m dying. I’m standing at the bottom of the pipe.
“This girl comes down, and she’s crying ‘cause she fell on both of her runs and she didn’t qualify. This other girl goes up to her, [and] I’m standing there. They didn’t know anybody was listening. She was like, ‘Hey, it’s all right. God still loves you.’ I was blown away. If there’s a God who loves me like I need to know Him.
“She was staying in my hotel, and I found out what room number she was in. So that night I knocked on her door. She told me about having a relationship with Jesus, and she started telling me that was what it was about. My Creator wanted a real relationship with me, and He loved me very much.”
After taking some time to think about what she’d just heard, Kelly made a decision.
“I gave my life to the Lord that day," Kelly says. "It was pretty cool. The Lord really apprehended me at that point.”
United States snowboarder Kelly Clark is one of the most aggressive riders on the team. Usually in a competition like the half-pipe, a rider drops into the pipe along with their board. But according to Kelly, this year she’s not going in alone.
“Now having a relationship with the Lord, I find that there’s a lot more freedom in snowboarding for me," she explains. “I’m just so in love with Him. Every time I think about Him I have to tell Him I love Him ‘cause I’m head over heels. He makes me smile.”
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