Wrestling Coach, Olympian Enjoys New Perspective
Terry Brands has always been passionate about doing his best. The two-time World Champion and 2000 Olympic bronze medalist is making an impression as the wrestling associate head coach at the University of Iowa. In the past three seasons, Brands and his twin brother, head coach Tom Brands, have guided the team to two NCAA and Big Ten team titles.
Brands won World gold medals in 1993 and 1995 as a member of the only two U.S. teams to win World Team titles in freestyle. He and Tom were both named 1993 USA Wrestling Athlete of the Year, among other honors. Brands is also a two-time World Cup champion (1994 and 1995), and won three U.S. Nationals titles. For these and other achievements, Brands was inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2006.
The desire to win, to give his best, was always there, Brands admits. “Even before I became a Christian, my prayer, even before I began to compete in wrestling, was to do my best, to represent myself well.”
His prayer changed after he became a Christian on a youth group ski trip during his sophomore year of high school. “Then came the other part of that prayer, ‘For your glory, God,’” Brands continues. “I try to live my life, even though I fail miserably a lot, with that mindset moving forward.”
The opportunity to be around like-minded athletes attracted him to Athletes in Action, with which Brands became involved while competing internationally for USA Wrestling. The example of champion wrestlers turned AIA staff members such as John Peterson (Olympic gold and silver medalist), Steve Barrett (former NCAA national champion) and Gene Davis (Olympic bronze medalist) piqued his interest in the organization.
“When I got out of college, I knew there was an [AIA] group here [at Iowa]. But I started traveling, and people like John Peterson, Steve Barrett and Gene Davis – people of that magnitude who were involved – really got my attention. They were great mentor-type people to me.”
These relationships were key for Brands throughout his career. “What AIA has done for me is bring things into a better perspective. Yeah, I have thought about being in heaven, standing on the golden streets and asking God why I lost at the Olympics. How does that bring Him honor and glory?” Brands shares. “But there’s a reason for it. Maybe we don’t have to know it. AIA has helped me to see that I am only a small part of things. I’m not God, and I’m not going to change His mind.”
Ultimately, Brands views his athletic skill as an opportunity to give God glory.
“It’s about representing yourself to the best of your ability for the glory and honor of Jesus,” he says. “That really is my mission, what we’re commanded to do, in everything we do. It’s not just when people are watching, but all the time.”
Read more about Terry Brands and his faith at www.beyondtheultimate.com.
By Katie Neff, AIA Communications
18. October 2012 03:57
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