News Story

Mormon Olympian Competes for Canada in Sochi Olympics

A handful of Mormon athletes are competing in the Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia, including Canadian bobsledder David Bissett.

For Bissett, a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, this is his third time competing for the Canadian Olympic bobsledding team. In the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Winter Games, he won a bronze medal in the four-man sled event with teammates Lyndon Rush, Chris Le Bihan and Lascelles Brown. Although they missed a silver medal by one-hundredth of a second, it was Canada’s first medal in the event since the 1964 Olympic Winter Games in Innsbruck.

Bissett made his Olympic Winter Games debut in 2006 in Turin, Italy, as a brakeman for the Canada 2 sled, finishing 11th in the two-man event and 18th in the four-man event.

Between Olympic appearances, Bissett was also part of the Canadian four-man team that captured a silver medal at the 2007 World Championships in St. Moritz, Switzerland.

A former Canadian football star at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Alberta, Bissett now resides in Calgary with his wife and two young children. His quick speed on not only the football field but also the icy bobsled tracks around the world was developed while he was a member of his university’s track team, for whom he competed in the 60-metre sprint.

Bissett comes from an athletic family. His mother Kim was a champion speed skater in her youth. Bissett’s grandfather Gordon Strate played as a defenceman for the Detroit Red Wings in the 1950s, and his great-aunt Doreen Ryan was a two-time Olympian, competing as a speed skater in the 1960 and 1964 Winter Olympics.

But Bissett is more than an Olympian to his family. “Although he may be considered a world-class athlete and an Olympian by worldly standards, he has always been a spiritual Olympian to me,” says his father, Ron Bissett. “There were times I passed by his room and through the door saw him on his knees either reading his scriptures or praying.”

Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are known not only for their dedication to scripture study and prayer but also for their healthy lifestyles. The Church’s health code — which is followed by many other Mormon Olympians, past and present — advises against the use of alcohol, tobacco and other harmful substances and also promotes the practice of balanced nutrition.

Bissett will compete in his first two heats on 22 February and his second two heats on 23 February 2014, the last day of the Sochi Olympic Winter Games.


Style Guide Note:When reporting about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, please use the complete name of the Church in the first reference. For more information on the use of the name of the Church, go to our online Style Guide.