Kirstin Holum: From Nagano to nunnery

In 1998 Kirstin Holum finished sixth in the women's 3,000-meter speedskating race and seventh in the 5,000. She was considered the next big thing in women's speedskating, and at age 17, she was years ahead of her peers.

In 2010 Holum is now known as Sister Catherine as a nun at a convent in Leeds, England. Interesting career path.

Yahoo! Sports' Martin Rogers has the amazing story:

After completing an art degree, including a thesis on the Olympics at the Art Institute of Chicago, Holum joined the Franciscan Sisters of the Renewal, a faith whose mission is "work with the poor and homeless and evangelization."

Based first in New York, Sister Catherine and her fellow nuns stepped onto the mean streets of the Bronx to work with some of the Big Apple's most underprivileged children in areas steeped in gang culture.

Though Holum no longer skates competitively, her status as an Olympian provides an advantage when speaking to children.

"When I give my religious testimonies, it is fun to watch the reaction of the kids when I tell them I was in the Olympics," she laughed. "Their eyes get really big and they start paying a lot more attention. It is a great thing to share with them and it gives me a lot of pleasure to think back and talk about it.

"It is not exactly something you would normally expect from a sister. But I think it is good for people to see that members of the religious order can come from any background and any walk of life. It is all about your commitment to the message."

Go read the whole story. If you weren't already impressed by a 17-year-old Olympian, then this should push you over the edge.

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