It was 2006 and Rebecca Dussault was living in one of the villages at the winter Olympics in Turin, Italy. Every day, she and her team—her husband and son—headed off to daily Mass. She was almost always the only athlete in attendance, but Rebecca was accustomed to deviating from the norm.
As Catholic athletes, we have to “be uniquely and firstly Catholic,” she told The Cardinal Newman Society in an interview on February 18. The culture wants us to “bow to sport as a god” but we need to “reclaim” the game for Christ.
Never missing Sunday Mass was one of the many ways that Rebecca lived out her Catholic faith as an elite athlete, in an environment that she describes as “missionary” territory. She found that she needed to compete to the best of her ability to be a Catholic athlete, but she still needed to live a life of “balance.”
As a teenager traveling with a team of skiers, Rebecca often had to compete on Sundays. So she would tell her coach that she was going to attend the Saturday night vigil Mass. As she went off to Mass alone, her team would sit down to a delicious, hot cooked meal to prepare for the final round of competition the next day. But, Rebecca knew that she was getting the “real team dinner.” When Rebecca returned after Mass, she would eat food that she had bought earlier at the grocery store in her room.
Gunnison's Rebecca Dussault cross-country skis. The Olympian will speak at the next Theology on Tap in Denver Feb. 10.
BY NISSA LAPOINT
FEBRUARY 05, 2014
If there was any doubt a world-class athlete could find fulfillment in the increasingly secular world of competitive sports and pursue a virtuous life, Olympian skier Rebecca Dussault could make a good case for it.
Colorado-native Dussault has traversed the world claiming championships and competing in the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin, Italy. She finished sixth in the Triathlon World Championships in Germany, the best-ever finish for an American woman. She is an eight-time U.S. National Cross Country Ski champion and top-ranked U.S. Women’s Nordic skier.
Through it all, she’s found sports nourish her faith and vocation.