He rises 125 feet into the sky, arms outstretched, welcoming the world to the Rio Olympics.
But after standing up there on Corcovado for the past 85 years, watching all the glowing bodies swarming the sands below, Jesus decided to spend a few days on Ipanema beach, catching a few rays and going for a few practice swims.
Later on, at the Maria Lenk Aquatics Centre, he got ready for the big event. Donning rather unique-looking bathing trunks, he stood on the 3-meter platform, tanned and buff.
I captured this moment just before he bounced off the springboard, performing his signature move, a 4 ½ somersault pike with a twist, with a slight hover at the end.
Announcer #1: “Wow! Jesus really nailed it! I’ve never seen anything like it! It…it’s almost as if he was defying gravity.”
Announcer #2: “Or deifying gravity, as some would say.”
I managed to ask him a question at the end, as he slipped out of the pool.
“Your entry was otherworldly. How do you account for your extraordinary skills?”
“Well, I’d like to thank Father, for all my dad-given talents. Without his support, I’d probably still be a carpenter. I love ya, Dad!” And then he walked away beaming, as though a halo surrounded his hirsute visage.
Every morning, after my early walk with my dog Andi (will he soon have a female companion? More on that later) I go for a bike ride and end up at St. Annes church. There, in the quietude of trees and birdsong, I come to this statue of Christ. He resides atop a stairwell and this is where I begin a second work-out, to the consternation of rosary-beaded worriers below and a priest who drives by in his golf cart, wondering just what in tarnation this long-haired guy is doing, running up and down the stairs beneath the gaze of Christ.
There are 68 steps to the top, and I go up and down them five times, 680 steps in all. It’s quite a workout. And then I pedal home, past the worshippers sitting quietly in the outdoor pavilion, past the votive chapel where, for $5 you can light a large candle, and down the hill to home.
Christ, fresh from his victory, with gold medal around his neck, returned to the pedestal high on the hill.
Trust me, you’ll just have to go there and see for yourself, to witness the brilliance of sunlight reflecting off his hard-earned medal.