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Brazilian church member carries Olympic torch

Dayse Lopes says it was an honor and an exciting experience to be a part of the Olympic tradition.

As the Olympic torch — a symbol of peace and unity, competition and sportsmanship — made its way from Greece to Rio de Janeiro, it passed through the hands of Dayse Lopes.

Dayse Lopes poses with the Olympic torch. (PHOTO PROVIDED)Lopes, a member of a Church of Christ in Niteroi, Brazil, was one of the runners who carried the torch during its journey across the South American nation — a journey that ended at Maracana Stadium at the Rio Olympics’ opening ceremonies.

Lopes was chosen for the honor as part of a contest hosted by Nissan Brazil. The car company was looking for torch runners who had overcome adversity, she said.

“My story is that I could not be a biological mother, so I decided to adopt,” Lopes told The Christian Chronicle.

Being a part of something so big, so special, is difficult to explain, Lopes said.

“(To carry) a flame that stopped the war is something very exciting,” she said, referencing the Olympic truce, a tradition dating back to the ancient Olympics in the eighth century B.C. To allow athletes and spectators to travel safely to the games, wars would cease for periods of up to three months. In 1998, the International Olympic Committee renewed the tradition and called on the nations of the world to lay down arms during the games.

Lopes said that her two daughters and her husband were proud to see her carry the torch. The church member, meanwhile, is happy to see her home nation hosting the summer games.

“The world is in Brazil,” she said, “and we are very happy. It’s an amazing time.”

Brent and Jill Nichols with their children, Titus and Jack. (PHOTO PROVIDED)Her congregation, the Igreja O Caminho (Portuguese for “Church of the Way”) meets in Niteroi, just seven miles away from the games in Rio. Brent and Jill Nichols, missionaries who serve the congregation, made the short trip several times this week to watch Olympic events with their sons, Titus and Jack. The Lamar Avenue Church of Christ in Paris, Texas, sponsors their work.

Brent Nichols attended the opening ceremonies.

“The show was incredible and so different in person from what you saw on TV,” Brent Nichols said. “We were so proud of Brazil and how much hard work they did to make everything go smoothly.”

A picture of the Team USA basketball team taken by Jill Nichols during a game against Venezuela.The family has attended events including basketball, swimming, soccer and beach volleyball.

“It’s really crazy to be in a place where all of the world’s elite athletes are in such a small physical space,” Jill Nichols said.

The games give Christians the chance to be a part of something that brings cultures together in a world where there’s so much that typically divides, she added.

“It’s been so exciting to cheer for our country, our host country, and to meet people from everywhere,” she said.

Filed under: Headlines - Secondary International

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