“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”
Michael Hartfield always knew that making it to the Olympics was a far reaching dream. He had been told it was a long shot, but he was also willing to work harder than anyone else to get himself there. That mindset would pay off as nothing would stop Hartfield from chasing his dreams. Since becoming a member of the 2016 USA Olympic team, Michael Hartfield has made it his focus to inspire those around him and leave a lasting legacy on all those that he interacts with.
Born in Hartford, Connecticut, Michael Hartfield has always been a natural athlete. After competing in track during his high school years and making a name for himself, Hartfield ended up at a junior college in Ina, Illinois. It was there that Hartfield says he was tested more than ever, as he experienced many hardships throughout his time at junior college. But Hartfield would end up graduating with 2 associates degrees, and then choose to enroll at Ohio State University for the next 3 years. While there he would become a Big Ten star and found his name on leaderboards throughout the country. As he continued to grow both physically and mentally, he earned his spot on the United States Olympic Team in 2016 on their way to Rio. For Hartfield, he credits his faith for bringing him to where he is today. “It takes faith to accomplish any goal that one might set. Especially a goal that is as improbable as becoming an Olympian. With the odds of you accomplishing a goal being so minimal, it takes mental stamina and faith to continue believing and pursuing an outcome you believe to be real and attainable for you. I believe that God is the author of my life and if there is something that He would like to happen in my life, it will eventually come to fruition.”
The road to the Olympics was not always easy for Hartfield. He faced setbacks and many doubted his capabilities as an Olympian. Hartfield says, however, that trusting in God and going to him in prayer helped relieve the doubts that he had. “I still had my moments where doubt would try to weigh on my belief in my desired outcome. In those moments, I would do my best to battle those thoughts and replace them with positive affirmations about my desired outcome. I noticed that I would feel almost immediate alleviation from anxiety once I would go to God in those moments. Soon after, things that would happen would turn out even better than what I would have hoped. And they would happen in ways that I would know that these things only happened because God made them happen. It’s like, all signs would be pointing back to God and it was up to me to notice and give him praise for it!”
While Hartifeld treasures his role as an Olympian, he says that who he is at home to his wife and his child on the way is what matters most. Michael and his wife, Rachael, say that faith is a priority in their marriage. Rachael, who also says faith has been a part of her as long as she can remember, says, “My faith has played a huge role with my relationship with Mike. Throughout our relationship Mike has helped me not only strengthen my relationship with God but has been able to show me the love of God through his actions and the way he shows me that he loves me.” Michael reflects those same words, too. He says, “My faith has a huge influence on how I perform my role as a husband. Just as I know myself to be a child of God, I know that my wife is one as well. I treat her with a love and respect that I believe God would want his daughter to have and experience. I think about my own thoughts on how I want my hypothetical future daughter to be treated so I gotta know and operate with an understanding that God has standards for how He wants His daughter to be treated as well. It is my job to love her with an unconditional love to the best of my ability, and that’s what I do.”
For Michael Hartfield, the accomplishment of being a USA Olympian will forever be one that he treasures. But what Michael and his wife, Rachael, value even more than that is the impact that they leave on those around them. They say that each day they are committed to loving those around them and being vessels of God’s love.