100+ Quotes from Olympians for the Competitor in You

Quotes from Olympians

There are so many lessons to be learned from the Olympics: the dedication to goals, the perseverance, the hard work and determination, the grit, the fight to overcome pain and challenge to finish.

Every Olympian has a unique story worth sharing. Here are 101 quotes from Olympians to inspire you today.

You may not be competing in the next round of the games, but each of these quotes offers a motivational opportunity to fuel your own goals.


“The hard days are the best because that’s where champions are made.” –Gabby Douglas


“When you see someone win gold, you want to get out there and do the same thing.” –Andy Murray


“Remember all things are possible for those who believe.” –Gail Devers


“Part of being a champ is acting like a champ. You have to learn how to win and not run away when you lose.” –Nancy Kerrigan


“I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.” –Michael Jordan


“Working hard becomes a habit, a serious kind of fun. You get self-satisfaction from pushing yourself to the limit, knowing that all the effort is going to pay off.” –Mary Lou Retton


“Being an Olympian, I always have this strong belief in excellence.” –Debi Thomas


 “If you don’t have confidence, you’ll always find a way not to win.”–Carl Lewis


“I really think a champion is defined not by their wins but by how they can recover when they fall.” –Serena Williams


“I don’t run from a challenge because I am afraid.  Instead, I run toward it because the only way to escape fear is to trample it beneath your feet.” –Nadia Comaneci


“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


“True heroes are made of hard work and integrity.” –Hope Solo


“For me, it seems to help me take the pressure off if I don’t pay attention to what other people are telling me.” –Missy Franklin


“Rather than focusing on the obstacle in your path, focus on the bridge over the obstacle.” –Mary Lou Retton


“It’s lack of faith that makes people afraid of meeting challenges, and I believed in myself.” –Muhammad Ali


“Failure I can live with. Not trying is what I can’t handle.” –Sanya Richards-Ross


“The experience of being an Olympian is one that can never be taken away from you.” –Hannah Kearney


“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


“Practice creates confidence.  Confidence empowers you.” –Simone Biles


“I work hard, and I do good, and I’m going to enjoy myself.  I’m not going to let you restrict me.” –Usain Bolt


“Obstacles don’t have to stop you. If you run into a wall, don’t turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it, or work around it.” –Michael Jordan


“The world never puts a price on you higher than the one you put on yourself.” –Sonja Henie


“Everything that I’ve ever been able to accomplish in skating and in life has come out of adversity and perseverance.” –Scott Hamilton

“Gold medals aren’t really made of gold.  They’re made of sweat, determination, and a hard-to-find alloy called guts.” –Dan Gable


“A trophy carries dust. Memories last forever.” –Mary Lou Retton


“One word: ‘Fight.’  Anyone can do it when it feels good.  When you’re hurting, that’s when it makes a difference, so you have to keep fighting.” –Erin Cafaro


“To uncover your true potential you must first find your own limits, and then you have to have the courage to blow past them.” –Picabo Street


“The trials on the road to world harmony are no greater than the courage of those who accept the challenge.” –Carl Lewis


“If you dream and you allow yourself to dream you can do anything.” –Clara Hughes


“Awards become corroded, friends gather no dust.” –Jesse Owens


“Always work hard, never give up, and fight until the end because it’s never really over until the whistle blows.” –Alex Morgan


“Luck has nothing to do with it, because I have spent many, many hours, countless hours, on the court working for my one moment in time, not knowing when it would come.” –Serena Williams


“I won’t predict anything historic.  But nothing is impossible.” –Michael Phelps


“This is my day. This is my purpose. I’m not afraid to win.” –Kayla Harrison


“Keep your dreams alive.  Understand to achieve anything requires faith and belief in yourself, vision, hard work, determination, and dedication.  Remember all things are possible for those who believe.” –Gail Devers


“Never put an age limit on your dreams.”–Dara Torres


“Find something you love, then it doesn’t feel like work.” –Aaron Peirsol


“If you think you’re done, you always have at least 40 percent more.” –Lauren Crandall


“Don’t put a limit on anything. The more you dream, the further you get.” –Michael Phelps


“I don’t play any tournaments to come second best.” –Andy Murray


“I don’t think you’re human if you don’t get nervous.” –Sidney Crosby


“You’ve got to look for tough competition.  You’ve got to want to beat the best.” –Grete Waitz


“You get to the point where you decide that you don’t want to be a victim anymore and you’re not going to live your life like that.” –Kayla Harrison


“When anyone tells me I can’t do anything, I’m just not listening any more.” –Griffith Joyner


“The only one who can tell you ‘you can’t win’ is you and you don’t have to listen.” –Jessica Ennis


“My dad taught me to be a leader or a follower, and he said follower ain’t fun.” –Bubba Watson


“Setbacks have an upside; they fuel new dreams.” –Dara Torres


“The key is not the will to win.  Everybody has that.  It is the will to prepare to win that is important.” –Bobby Knight


“Focus, discipline, hard work, goal setting and, of course, the thrill of finally achieving your goals.  These are all lessons in life.” –Kristi Yamaguchi


“This ability to conquer oneself is no doubt the most precious of all things sports bestows.” –Olga Korbut


“We can push ourselves further.  We always have more to give.” –Simone Biles


“The advice I will give to my children, if and when they have Olympic aspirations, will be to go for it.” –Kerri Walsh


“Steady, ready, poised, winning.” –Arielle Martin


“I am lucky that whatever fear I have inside me, my desire to win is always stronger.” –Serena Williams


“Life is a fight from the minute you take your first breath to the moment you exhale your last.” –Ronda Rousey


“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


“I’ve made a promise to myself to be a 100% healthy person if nothing else.” –Picabo Street


 “I didn’t set out to beat the world; I just set out to do my absolute best.”–Al Oerter


“I don’t have a specific mantra; It’s more about believing that I’m tough.  I’ve been through a lot, and I’m not willing to let myself get beat.” –Katie Hoff


“It’s not the destination, it’s the journey.” –Missy Franklin


“The water doesn’t know how old you are.” –Dara Torres


“I want to do something special, that is historical and unforgettable.” –Tirunesh Dibaba


“I don’t want to live my life too cautiously.” –Rickie Fowler


“A person’s view of you is not important.  What is important is your view of yourself.” –Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce


“The first thing is to love your sport.  Never do it to please someone else. It has to be yours.” –Peggy Fleming


“Adversity, and perseverance and all these things can shape you.  They can give you a value and a self-esteem that is priceless.” –Scott Hamilton


“Don’t practice till you get it right, practice till you can’t get it wrong.” –McKayla Maroney


“They may become harder to achieve, but your dreams can’t stop because you’ve hit a certain age or you’ve had a child.” –Dara Torres


“To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift.” –Steve Prefontaine


“…but I always believed.  And when you do that, life can get unbelievable.” –Jessica Ennis


“If you fail to prepare, you’re prepared to fail.” –Mark Spitz


“To exercise at or near capacity is the best way I know of reaching a true introspective state.  If you do it right, it can open all kinds of inner doors. “–Al Oerter


“Taking a few breaths and knowing that it won’t last forever really allows me to focus on the present moment and task at hand.” –Betsey Armstrong


“Nobody needs to prove to anybody what they’re worthy of, just the person that they look at in the mirror. That’s the only person you need to answer to.” –Picabo Street


“Breathe, believe & battle.” –Kerri Walsh Jennings


“A true competitor works the hardest, cares the most, and makes the best of what they have.” –Kerri Walsh


“Everybody has a talent, but it’s what you do with that talent to make it great.” –Alex Morgan


“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


“In the sports arena I would say there is nothing like training and preparation.  You have to train your mind as much as your body.” –Venus Williams


“Failure happens all the time.  It happens every day in practice.  What makes you better is how you react to it.” –Mia Hamm


“Worrying gets you nowhere.  If you turn up worrying about how you’re going to perform, you’ve already lost.  Train hard, turn up, run your best and the rest will take care of itself.” –Usain Bolt


“He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life.” –Muhammad Ali


“I love people doubting me.  I’m more motivated by proving people wrong than fulfilling everyone’s expectations.” –Ronda Rousey


“What makes something special is not just what you have to gain, but what you feel there is to lose.” –Andre Agassi


“If you want to be the best, you have to do things that other people aren’t willing to do.” –Michael Phelps


“Sometimes we complain, but there is something beautiful about waking up before everyone to get better at what we love.” –Missy Franklin


“Each of us has a fire in our hearts for something, it’s our goal in life to find it and keep it.” –Mary Lou Retton


“It’s all about the journey, not the outcome.” –Carl Lewis


“I was 12 when I started and 34 before I achieved my dream.  That should give people hope.” –Kelly Holmes


“You have to believe in yourself when no one else does—that makes you a winner right there.” –Venus Williams


“I am building a fire, and every day I train, I add more fuel.  At just the right moment, I light the match.” –Mia Hamm


“One chance is all you need.” –Jesse Owens


“I don’t want to be better than you or her or him—I want to be better than I am right now.” –Kerri Walsh


“The ultimate goal should be doing your best and enjoying it.” –Peggy Fleming


“The integral part of being a star is having the will to win.  All the champions have it.” –Betty Cuthbert


“Don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.” –Muhammad Ali


“Pain, tolerance, endurance—when it comes to that point, there’s always something left.  You just have to find it.” –Ryan Lochte


“Falling in life is inevitable—staying down is optional.” –Carrie Johnson


“If you don’t practice, you don’t deserve to win.” –Andre Agassi


“I’d rather regret the risks that didn’t work out than the chances I didn’t take at all.” –Simone Biles


“My message is to never quit, never give up.  When you have a little trouble here and there, just keep fighting. In the end, it will pay off.” –Gabby Douglas





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