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In the sports world, Sunday is prime time for competitions. And the Olympics are no exception. With preliminaries, games, competitions, and finals all falling on Sundays, many Latter-day Saints are presented with a very personal choice as they come face-to-face with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to compete in the pinnacle of sports competitions.
For New Zealander Saints Charmian Purcell and Nonila Wharemate, their decision to not play on Sundays came early in their professional careers. In fact, when prospective recruiters approached Wharemate in college, she made it clear from the outset she would not practice or play on Sundays.
But that decision was put to the test when it endangered Purcell and Wharemate’s chances of even making it to the 2008 Olympics. That’s a frightening prospect for two female basketball players who come from a country that rarely competes in Olympic women’s basketball.
When asked whether she thought she would ever be competing in the Olympics, Wharemate told UTEP Athletics, “I really didn’t think we would. Australia is a basketball superpower, and we normally need to beat them to make it to the Olympics.”
But with Australia winning the world championship in 2006, the Australian team got an automatic bid, meaning New Zealand didn’t have to face them when they competed for, and won, the Oceania placement.
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