15 Motivational Quotes by Olympians

In honor of the 2021 Summer Olympic Games, here are fifteen quotes by current and former Olympians to motivate you any time you need a bit of inspiration.

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Today, July 23rd is the Opening Ceremony of the Summer Olympics! After a year of waiting due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the long-awaited event is finally here. Over the next few weeks, watch some of the greatest athletes from around the world compete for the gold in thirty-three sports and forty six disciplines.



Fun fact: According to History, the first Olympic Games held in ancient Greece happened in 776 B.C. in Elis, a Greek city state. However, historians believe the Games were at least 500 years old at that time. In 393 A.D. Theodosius I, a Roman emperor, abolished the Games. 1,500 years later, on April 6, 1896, the Olympic Games as we know them today were reborn in Athens, Greece.

To celebrate this special event, here are fifteen quotes by current and retired Olympians to motivate you and inspire you any time of the year.




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

“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, Soccer

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




“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, Bobsledding and Track and Field

“Passion is a huge prerequisite to winning. It makes you willing to jump through hoops, go through all the ups and downs and everything in between to reach your goal.” – Kerri Walsh, Beach Volleyball

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




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

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

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




“When I was younger, I always wanted to impress, to be good for my country, to make them feel good, and sometimes that meant I didn’t focus on myself enough. I learned I had to put myself first. And it’s fine because I want for me the same thing that they want for me, which is to win.” – Usain Bolt, Track and Field

“You have to free your mind to do things you wouldn’t think of doing. Don’t ever say no.” – Carl Lewis, Track and Field

“Surround yourself with the dreamers, the doers, the believers, and thinkers; but most of all surround yourself with those who see greatness within you even when you don’t see it yourself.” – Simone Biles, Gymnastics




“Peace is knowing that I did everything I possibly could have done, that something beautiful will come out of this and that I will come back stronger than before.” – Missy Franklin, Swimming

“Whatever brings you down will eventually make you stronger.” – Alex Morgan, Soccer

“Acknowledge your small victories. They will eventually add up to something great.” – Kara Goucher, Running