The London 2012 Olympic Games officially open tomorrow, so what better time to reflect on the impressive achievements of record-breaking Olympic medalists?
Participating in the Olympic Games is an honor that doesn’t come from luck or lottery. These athletes possess a level of commitment, discipline and determination that most of us can only imagine, but they all have words of wisdom that can IINspire us in our own fitness and personal pursuits. Let’s hear it from the athletes!
Seeing the Bigger Picture
"If my dreams can happen to me, your dreams can happen to you. Champions are not made on the track or field; champions are made by the things you accomplish and the way you use your abilities in everyday life situations." – Bob Beamon, world record holder for long jump from 1968 to 1991.
"The things you learn from sports – setting goals, being part of a team, confidence – that's invaluable. It's not about trophies and ribbons. It's about being on time for practice, accepting challenges and being fearful of the elements." – Summer Sanders, Olympic gold medalist in swimming.
“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.” – Pierre de Coubertin, founder of modern Olympic Games.
Believing in Yourself
"If you don't have confidence, you'll always find a way not to win." – Carl Lewis, 10-time Olympic medalists in Track and Field events.
"I always believe I can beat the best, achieve the best. I always see myself in the top.” – Serena Williams, two-time tennis Olympic gold medalist at women’s doubles.
“Nothing is impossible. With so many people saying it couldn't be done, all it takes is an imagination.” – Michael Phelps, 16-time Olympic medalist in swimming events.
It’s All About Balance
"When I was younger, Jackie Joyner-Kersee was a mentor to me and gave me great advice. The best was to 'work 100 percent, but enjoy every moment along the way.' Sometimes you get so in the zone, you forget to enjoy your passions. I love running—but I also love the movies, relaxing on the beach, shopping and spending time with my friends. Enjoying my life helps me enjoy my running." – Allyson Felix, two-time silver medalist at the 200 meters, gold medalist at women’s 4x400 meter relay team.
"My parents knew fencing wasn't going to pay the bills. They encouraged me to get the best possible education so I'd have plenty of options when my athletic career was over." – Sada Jacobson, Yale '06, Michigan Law School '11, Olympic silver and bronze medalist at fencing.
Keeping a Positive Attitude
"Something my mom taught me when I was little is that everything happens for a reason. Retiring was scary and it was tough to give up gymnastics, but so many great opportunities have come from it that I never expected. And those wouldn't have happened had I not accepted my injury as a way to try something new." – Shawn Johnson, gold and silver medalist at gymnastics balance beam and floor exercise at the 2008 Olympic Games.
"The moment I think about past letdowns or future hypotheticals, I mentally put myself on shaky ground. If I clear my mind of chatter, I can succeed, just like I did in 2006." – Julia Mancuso, 3-time Olympic medalist in skiing.
Perseverance and Determination
"I've worked too hard and too long to let anything stand in the way of my goals. I will not let my teammates down and I will not let myself down." – Mia Hamm, Olympic gold medalist at women’s soccer.
"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, 12-time Olympic medalist in various swimming events.
"Failure I can live with. Not trying is what I can't handle!" – Sanya Richards-Ross, 2008 Olympic bronze medalist at 400 meters.
These Olympic quotes apply not only to fitness, but also to the rest of our lives. What are the inspiring words that keep you motivated to reach your goals?