Jonathan Edwards takes leap from faith: ‘I just stopped believing in God’

Olympic and world champion athlete on why he gave up on his religious faith

Jenn Selby
Friday 28 February 2014 18:41

Jonathan Edwards was the first man on the planet to jump more than 60ft.

He was also an Olympic and world champion triple jumper and a deeply devout Christian, who went as far as to bow out of the 1991 World Championships after he refused to compete on a Sunday.

But 16 years after that career-defining statement, he lost his faith.

"I just stopped believing in God and I don’t think it was anything more complicated than that," he told the Daily Mirror.

"I was always very vocal about it when I was competing that I was a Christian. It would be a bit weird to talk about it when I wasn’t," he says. "I don’t go to church any more. Not at all."

His sudden decision also increased the media scrutiny surrounding his marriage to evangelist wife Alison. However, the athlete insisted that the pair have managed to maintain their relationship, despite their now conflicting beliefs.

"Alison is still very involved with church and she actually works for the church," he says. "But neither of our boys go to church. They’ve made their own decisions. It’s all fine."

But you’d be wrong in thinking that Edwards, who has just come back from presenting the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics, is a man in the midst of a personal crisis.

"I am happy," he said. "And actually it’s fine. I don’t miss my faith. In many ways I feel more settled and happier in myself without it. I don’t know if that is related to losing my faith or would have been the case anyway, but it’s a non-issue as far as I am concerned.

"Seven years on I don’t feel a gap in my life and I suppose that’s the proof of the pudding isn’t it? Had I suddenly thought that life doesn’t quite feel right, maybe I’d re-examine that – re-examine my faith. In fact, more than ever, I feel comfortable with where I am in life."

Read More: Jonathan Edwards - My Life In Travel
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