At the Olympics, Interfaith Center Provides Worship Space for Athletes

August 20, 2004

Source: The Guardian,14912,1287178,00.html

On August 20, 2004 The Guardian reported, "Tucked away in a corner of the athletes' village is the Olympic Religious Services Centre, a spiritual escape for the competitors away from the prying eyes of journalists, a place where, in theory at least, they can let go of the impulses that got them here in the first place... Details of what exactly goes on inside the religious centre are hard to come by as the IOC is intent on protecting the privacy of the athletes. But this much is known. There are five rooms serving the main (as designated by the IOC) global faiths: Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Judaism and Hinduism... 'There are 17,000 athletes at the games and many of them have deep religious convictions so it comes as no surprise to me that we have been busy. It is only natural that people who worship every day when they are at home would want to continue with their worship even though they are in this pressurised situation,' says Rev [John] Boyers, ...who is in Athens to offer spiritual guidance to athletes. He is also the Manchester United chaplain. 'The Olympic Games is about sport but for many athletes sport has a spiritual dimension and we are here to serve them.'"