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It’s been quite a year for Jewish athletes.

In October 2009, Omri Casspi of the Sacramento Kings became the first Israeli-born basketballer to play in the NBA. Weeks later, Orthodox rabbinical student Yuri Foreman won a world boxing championship, the first Israeli to do so. Then in March, tennis player Shahar Pe’er became the first Israeli woman to compete in a professional sporting event in the United Arab Emirates, which had denied her a visa a year earlier. Though unseeded, Pe’er advanced to the semi-finals, where she fell to eventual champion Venus Williams.

If Jewish athletes seem rare, what about those who believe in Jesus? In this edition we profile three—a major league baseball player, an Olympic cyclist, and an aspiring basketball player—with religious backgrounds as diverse as their chosen sports. But their common faith has helped them overcome some formidable obstacles, both athletic and personal.