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Inspirational Quotes from Olympic Athletes

Gold Medal Advice for Success

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Check out these inspirational quotes from some of our favorite Olympic athletes. These talented men and women shared their secrets on how they have become true champions, how they balance it all, and what keeps them motivated. Read on and feel inspired to achieve your own goals!

Live Life at 100%, But Enjoy Every Minute

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"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, Runner

Have a Backup Plan

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"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, Fencer, Yale '06, Michigan Law School '11

Focus on What You Can Change

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"I wouldn't allow myself to obsess over the physical pain or the heartbreak of missing the games; I wanted to focus on what I could, do—get ready to come back in 2010."

Noelle Pikus-Pace, Skeleton Racer, after suffering an accident four months before the 2006 Olympics forcing her to forgo the games

View Changes As Opportunities

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"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, Retired Gymnast

Keep Striving For Your Dreams

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"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, Swimmer

Make Time for Family and Friends

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"Being a triathlete can be really self-absorbing. You have to make so many sacrifices—missing friends' weddings, staying behind on family trips. Getting together after a race is how I reconnect with the people who are important to me. I have to build that into my life—otherwise it's easy to let it slide. After being so focused on a race, it's nice to sit back and enjoy simple pleasures like a good laugh with the family."

Laura Bennett, Triathlete

Give Back

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"Getting started as a volunteer anywhere can be a challenge to a lot of people. The biggest hurdle is that people think they have to give all of their spare time. But if you only have a half hour, you can still make a difference. Assisting with small tasks is invaluable."

Jackie Joyner-Kersee, Veteran Track and Field Star, Founder of Jackie Joyner-Kersee Foundation

Pinpoint Your Motivation

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"I think of my 2-year-old daughter, Lacee. I have to do my best to justify the important moments I'm missing with her."

Noelle Pikus-Pace, Skeleton Racer

Enjoy the Process

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"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, Swimmer

Whatever You're Doing - Do it Well

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"Training for the Olympics was much easier than balancing my life now! When practice was over, there was time for me. But with four kids and a career, I have no downtime. When I'm not on the road, I finish my workday at 2:30 p.m. Then I pick the kids up from school and they get 100 percent Mommy, not part Mommy and part Mary Lou Retton."

Mary Lou Retton, Veteran Gymnast

Constantly Push Yourself

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"I love what I do and I love being an athlete, but I also love all the things that have come with it. I want to be better at the things I do. I'm never standing still and that makes my life pretty exciting."

Maria Sharapova, Tennis Player

Envision Yourself as the Best

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"I always believe I can beat the best, achieve the best. I always see myself in the top."

Serena Williams, Tennis Player

Be Confident

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"If you don't have confidence, you'll always find a way not to win."

Carl Lewis, Track and Field

Clear Your Mind

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"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, Alpine Skier

Do Better Than the Last Time

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"Surpassing my achievements feels incredible; I want to replicate that again and again."

Katherine Reutter, Speed Skater

Believe It Can Be Done

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“Nothing is impossible. With so many people saying it couldn't be done, all it takes is an imagination.”

Michael Phelps, Swimmer


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