To make it to the Olympics, athletes need more than superhuman strength and agility: they need grit, willpower, and the determination to keep getting back up every time they fall. Maybe that’s why the Olympics strike a chord with so many people who would otherwise never devote weeks of their lives to watching sports. We know that most of us will never be world-class athletes, but we can all learn something from watching the Games.
After all, as the father of the modern Olympic Games, Pierre de Coubertin, once said: “The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not winning but taking part; the essential thing in life is not conquering but fighting well.”
These inspirational quotes from Olympic athletes might motivate you to fight harder for your professional goals, even if your playing field is a cubicle farm.
“Never underestimate the power of dreams and the influence of the human spirit. We are all the same in this notion: The potential for greatness lives within each of us.” – Wilma Rudolph, Track & Field
“He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life.” –Muhammad Ali, Boxing
“Never put an age limit on your dreams.” –Dara Torres, Swimming
“There’s always a point where you get knocked down. But I draw on what I’ve learned on the track: If you work hard, things will work out.”–Lolo Jones, Hurdles
“If I wasn’t dyslexic, I probably wouldn’t have won the Games. If I had been a better reader, then that would have come easily, sports would have come easily… and I never would have realized that the way you get ahead in life is hard work.”—Caitlyn Jenner, Decathalon
“We all have dreams. But in order to make dreams come into reality, it takes an awful lot of determination, dedication, self-discipline, and effort.” –Jesse Owens, Track & Field
“If you fail to prepare, you’re prepared to fail.” –Mark Spitz, Swimming (quoting Ben Franklin)
“We all naturally want to become successful… we also want to take shortcuts. And it’s easy to do so, but you can never take away the effort of hard work and discipline and sacrifice.” –Apolo Ohno, Speed Skating
“As simple as it sounds, we all must try to be the best person we can: by making the best choices, by making the most of the talents we’ve been given.” –Mary Lou Retton, Gymnastics
“Nothing is impossible. With so many people saying it couldn’t be done, all it takes is an imagination.” —Michael Phelps, Swimming