The Final Countdown Songs of Praise


The Final Countdown

Rower Debbie Flood talks about winning at the Olympics and Aled Jones introduces some winning hymns.


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The Games of the 30th Olympiad 2012...

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The biggest sporting event the UK has ever seen starts this week.

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And it all begins here.

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# It's the final countdown... #

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..the City of London!

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It's the final countdown.

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So this week, as we count down to the start of the Olympic Games,

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we speak to one competitor about her medal hopes for 2012.

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We take a sneak preview at some of the Olympic venues

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and we enjoy winning hymns that will take us to the finish.

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MUSIC: "Waiting For A Star To Fall" by Boy Meets Girl

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This Friday, the eyes of the world will be on the stadium behind me

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as London launches the 30th Olympic Games.

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This whole area will be buzzing with excitement

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as London welcomes the best athletes in the world.

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All of them going for gold.

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The lucky winners will stand on top of the podium for the special moment

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when their national anthem is played in celebration.

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Our first hymn has become the unofficial national anthem of Wales.

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It's Guide Me, O Thou Great Jehovah.

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The Olympic Park is home to nine competition venues,

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including the Aquatic Centre, the Basketball Arena,

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the Velodrome and, of course, the Olympic Stadium.

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The area it covers is equivalent to 357 football pitches.

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And over 46,000 people have worked on the project

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to get it ready for this spectacular sporting event.

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Construction began on the stadium behind me back in 2008.

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And with less than a week to go, it looks impressive, doesn't it?

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As the location for the opening and closing ceremonies and the athletics,

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the stadium will be the centrepiece of the Games.

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It'll be broadcast around the world

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as races are fought on the track and records are rewritten.

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Let's hope Team GB win plenty of medals.

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COMMENTATOR: It's going to be Britain one and two...!

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As the winner of two Olympic gold medals,

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Lord Coe knows all about glory.

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His vision for London 2012 is just days away from becoming a reality.

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We started with three people sitting in a pub thinking it's a good idea.

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When we get to the opening ceremony,

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we'll have 6,000 people in the organisation.

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It's a sobering thought you've done the count down from seven years,

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but really, now it's close, it's going to be there.

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The story really only starts at the time of the Games, in terms of legacy.

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I really want people to feel they came to London, had fantastic sport

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and went away feeling they'd had a big celebration.

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In a funny sort of way, it feels a bit like

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being thrown back 30-odd years to my competitive days

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where I'm now thinking I'm in the countdown to an Olympic final.

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I hope that we are able to say that we delivered a fantastic Games.

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I really want the athletes to be able to look at me

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and genuinely say, "Look, there were no stones left unturned."

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And I guess I see this through the eyes of a former competitor

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because every time you see an athlete walk out here,

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you just have to remember they've probably

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devoted half their young lives to that one moment.

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You can't, by conscience, give them anything other than

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the very best level of service that you can possibly provide them.

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COMMENTATOR: Coe wins!

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Second is Straub, third is Ovett, fourth is Busse.

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And what a comeback for Sebastian Coe!

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The sound inside locations like this velodrome will be electric

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as spectators cheer on their athletes as they strive for victory.

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Our next hymn is about overcoming the odds.

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It's become a sporting anthem, particularly for English rugby fans.

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It often echoes around stadiums.

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It's Swing Low, Sweet Chariot.

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MUSIC: "Waiting For A Star To Fall" by Boy Meets Girl

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The finishing touches are being put in place.

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At Friday's opening ceremony,

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the best athletes in the world will enter this stadium.

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And all of them will have huge ambitions for London 2012.

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I don't know about you, but it's making me nervous thinking about it.

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Well, for all those athletes in it to win it,

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our next hymn is one of great hope.

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The Aquatics Centre is one of 34 venues

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that will host sporting events during the Olympic Games.

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At all the venues, athletes will compete who've spent years

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preparing for their moment to shine.

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All eyes will be on Great Britain hopeful Tom Daley

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as he takes to the diving board in the hope of winning his first Olympic medal.

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And having won eight, yes, eight medals at the Beijing Olympics,

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American swimmer Michael Phelps

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will be hoping to make waves in this very pool.

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It's an opportunity for us to be inspired.

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With venues like this one opening to the public at the end of the Games,

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a legacy will of course remain.

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Look out for me in Rio in 2016(!)

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Someone else taking to the water and going for gold

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is Team GB veteran Debbie Flood.

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I've done sport all my life. I did lots of things through school.

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It wasn't until I started on a rowing machine that somebody said, "You're really good."

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And that really showed the potential there.

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But in the boat, it was so, so different.

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It really is not easy.

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I spent most of my first week swimming because I fell in so much.

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-It sounds horrendous.

-THEY LAUGH

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But you love it.

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I train three times a day and it's full-on all year round.

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I don't want to be sat on the start line thinking,

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"I should have trained harder this year."

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I want to be sat there knowing I've done everything possible

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to be the best that I can be and have no regrets, really.

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-Do you think what you've got is a God-given gift?

-Definitely.

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I really believe that God has given me my abilities.

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Everyone has something they're good at.

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And for me, God's given me the gift to be able to row

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and the opportunity to do that.

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I definitely feel this is where God wants me at the moment.

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London 2012 will be Debbie's third Olympic games.

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Having already won two silver medals, let's hope it's a gold.

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My first Olympic medal in Athens,

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that was my first competitive Olympics.

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COMMENTATOR: Great Britain are coming! It's a sprint to the line!

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But Germany will get it...!

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The four of us in our crew, we'd never won a senior medal before.

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We'd never won a world championships' medal or anything.

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On the medal podium, we stood there with our arms around each other.

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We all knew how much it meant. How many years we'd put into it.

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The ups and downs we'd gone through to get there.

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And you share that as a team.

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How do you cope as an athlete when the medal isn't gold?

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I really trust in God that he's got my life in his hands.

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And winning or losing, you know,

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will define me in people's eyes temporarily,

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but, um...for me, it's not going to shape me inside or change who I am.

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COMMENTATOR: They now move into a territory

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they've never been in before here

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in this women's quadruple scull!

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What springs to mind is Beijing. My second silver Olympic medal.

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And Great Britain now have allowed China to go through!

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We crossed the line and we were absolutely gutted.

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Inconsolable, really.

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It is China for the gold medal!

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It will be another time, another silver for Great Britain!

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I'll always look back on that race and be disappointed we didn't win.

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That's what we wanted to do.

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Medals are fantastic and I love winning,

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but I'm not going to take my medals with me when I pass away.

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In the light of eternity, Jesus surpasses everything else.

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Let's talk some more about the all-important Olympics

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after we've heard from the Maria Fidelis Convent School

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and their singing in the glorious setting of St Paul's.

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We Shall Overcome.

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# We shall overcome

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# We shall overcome

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# We shall overcome

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# Some day

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# Deep in my heart

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# I do believe

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# We shall overcome

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# Some day

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# We'll walk hand in hand

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# We'll walk hand in hand

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# We'll walk hand in hand

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# Some day

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# Deep in my heart

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# I do believe

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# We'll walk hand in hand

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# Some day

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# We are not alone

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# We are not alone

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# We are not alone

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# Today

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# Ohhhhhhhhh

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# Deep in my heart

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# I do believe

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# We are not alone

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# Today

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# Deep in my heart

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# I do believe

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# We shall overcome

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# Some day. #

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Debbie has her eyes firmly on the finish line

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and is hoping for an extra-special win on home soil.

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My ambition for 2012 is to come back with a gold medal, definitely.

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Training is going really well. It's very full-on.

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But we're really, really excited about racing.

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For me, it's going to be the greatest honour of my career

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to represent my country in front of a home crowd.

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The atmosphere will be electric.

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When you're on that start line, do you pray for a win?

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I would never pray for a win. I would always pray that

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I can absolutely do my best and glorify God in that.

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I think to pray for a win would be wrong.

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Because in sport, if someone else is better than you, then they win.

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We have that will to want to do it and belief that we can do it, but

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win or lose will depend on how fast everyone else goes.

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Do you find that as you are getting closer to the main event

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that you return to your faith more?

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Yeah. The pressure is building.

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For me, I come back to my favourite Bible passage in Proverbs -

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"Trust in the Lord with all your heart.

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"Lean not on your own understanding.

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"But in all your ways, acknowledge him and he will direct your path."

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We know that you've got a faith. What about Christian music?

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-Do you have a favourite hymn?

-Yeah.

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My favourite hymn is In Christ Alone.

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-It's a fantastic song.

-By Stuart Townend.

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It just sums up everything for me.

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"From life's first cry to final breath, Jesus commands my destiny."

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It's just fantastic words.

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All these venues will be bursting with activity over the coming weeks.

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Almost 15,000 athletes will take part

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in the Olympics and Paralympics.

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Competing for just 800 gold medals.

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They'll all be hoping to make their mark in history.

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Just imagine being a member of Team GB

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and stepping out in front of your home crowd.

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It doesn't get better than that, does it?

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Eternal God, we pray for those preparing for the London Olympic

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and Paralympic Games.

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For the competitors, their loved ones,

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and for the thousands who will support them.

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We pray for the spirit of humility, both in success and defeat.

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And may the love of God transcend all competition.

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Amen.

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# Amazing grace

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# How sweet the sound

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# That saved

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# A wretch

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# Like me

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# I once was lost

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# But now I'm found

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# Was blind

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# But now

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# I see

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# 'Twas grace

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# That taught

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# My heart to fear

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# And grace

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# My fears

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# Relieved

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# How precious

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# Did that

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# Grace appear

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# The hour

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# I first believed

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# When we've been there

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# 10,000 years

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# Bright shining

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# As the sun

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# We've no less days

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# To sing God's praise

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# Than when

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# We'd first begun

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# Than when

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# We'd first

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# Begun. #

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It's really not that long now.

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The final team selections have been made,

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the training is nearly complete and the tickets have all been sold.

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Up to 80,000 spectators will fill that stadium on Friday

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to welcome the world's finest athletes.

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The final countdown to an event

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that will go down in sporting history really has begun.

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I don't know about you, but I can't wait.

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Let's finish on a high note with a great hymn, To God Be The Glory.

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On next week's programme, a subject we've not dared talk about before,

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even though many experience it. We'll be thinking about loneliness.

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We'll discuss the agonies of waiting for Mr or Mrs Right

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and hear about a Bible-based initiative

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that tackles loneliness head-on.

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Plus, of course, more heavenly hymns.

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