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Helen Maroulis: God Made Me Enough

An Olympic freestyle wrestler talks to Mo Isom about her gold medal match and how she learned that, despite flaws, she has always been enough. Read Transcript


HELEN MAROULIS: I brought all my flaws on that podium

when I stepped up.

All the flaws in my wrestling are still there.

You can still get a gold medal with all of it.

On the outside, people might view me differently

because now they know I have a gold medal.

That might change their view of me.

But I'm like God I'm like not different.

I was gold medal worthy this whole time,

because I don't feel any different.

This didn't change me.

This didn't add something.

My name is Helen Maroulis and God made me enough.

[MUSIC PLAYING]

Take us back to what really drew you into wrestling

and that journey there.

I started wrestling when I was seven years old, actually,

in this room.

Oh neat.

HELEN MAROULIS: This is where the beginner's kids

club started and my brother had just joined.

And there wasn't enough kids on the team,

so he was looking to have a partner.

And instead of him having to quit and come back next year,

my mom just told me to take my shoes off and to jump in there.

And to--

And you're the only girl at this time, correct?

HELEN MAROULIS: Yeah.

INTERVIEWER: So you're seven years old.

You jump in the ring.

You compete.

I'm assuming you won, because you kept wrestling?

Only match I won all year.

INTERVIEWER: OK.

so then you lost the rest of the year.

I was a 1 in 30.

Oh, my gosh.

That's kind of awesome.

That you can say is an Olympian with pride.

And I started and I was 1 in 30.

But you won the one that was important.

Yeah.

INTERVIEWER: I want to talk a little bit about the gold medal

match because I know there's a history there in who

you were competing against.

HELEN MAROULIS: Here's this woman

that's never lost in the last 16 years

at a World or Olympic stage.

So you know that if you're going to do it at this weight class,

she will be there.

So you just can't ignore that fact.

You have to train and study.

And so I was studying and I was studying.

And I would watch film.

And I would translate her interviews from Japanese

to English.

And I was trying find weaknesses.

I'm like, yeah, God, when I find the weakness,

then boom I'll train for that specific thing

and I can capitalize on it.

But It was like I wasn't finding any.

And I felt like God was like instead

of trying to bring someone down to a level

you feel like you can reach, why don't you just respect them

for where they are and try and surpass that level?

INTERVIEWER: So you stepped onto the mat with her

in Rio for the gold medal match.

What was running through your head?

What was running through your heart even?

I mean were you in conversation with God even then?

Oh, yeah.

INTERVIEWER: What was really going on?

The whole day, the whole day, all I was saying

was Christ is in me.

I'm enough.

I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.

I'd spent four years just studying and preparing and so

badly wanting to wrestle this girl.

And I was like I know she's going to retire.

So if I don't wrestle her now, I spent all this time.

So for me, when I got to wrestle her,

I felt like that was God-- you know,

it's like here's your gift to you.

You wanted to wrestle her.

You worked for it.

Here you go, enjoy it.

You asked for it.

Here it is.

[MUSIC PLAYING]

INTERVIEWER: Then you win.

Time expires.

It's 4 to 1.

You have a decisive victory.

I feel like if I were in those shoes,

I probably wouldn't even be able to process what was going

through my mind in that moment.

I didn't.

INTERVIEWER: But what, after all that

you've put into it, after all God's taught

you, after the things He's broken in you to rebuild

in you, this whole journey, and you

have the gold around your neck on the podium, take us there.

You know it's so much emotion and no emotion

at the same time.

It's like my head was full and blank at the same time.

And I just remember it was like I

was 7-year-old, 8-year-old, 9-year-old, 10-year-old Helen

all over again.

It was like I got to remember every single year

on the journey.

And I was like God, me?

Really?

Like me?

Like little, ole Helen?

Like what?

I'm not this.

And I'm like, wow, normal people really do win gold medals.

It's not some secret club that you have to be in.

You don't have to be special.

Like this is so cool.

On the outside, people might view me differently

because now they know I have a gold medal.

That might change their view of me.

But I'm like, God, I'm not different.

This is awesome.

I was like I really was enough before

and I really am enough now.

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