The state of mind of elite athletes is a huge part of their athletic achievement. Can we gain something from their words? Absolutely! Let’s consider attitude, effort, fulfillment, preparation, commitment, and more through some truly inspirational quotes.
A Good Attitude and Taking Chances
“One shouldn’t be afraid to lose; this is sport. One day you win, another day you lose. Of course, everyone wants to be the best. This is normal. This is what sport is about. This is why I love it.” – Oksana Baiul, Olympic Gold Medalist, figure skating
How to Measure Ourselves
“I didn’t set out to beat the world. I just set out to do my absolute best." – Al Oerter, Olympic Gold Medalist, discus
“When I go out and race, I’m not trying to beat opponents, I’m trying to beat what I have done... to beat myself, basically. People find that hard to believe because we’ve had such a bias to always strive to win things. If you win something and you haven’t put everything into it, you haven’t actually achieved anything at all. When you’ve had to work hard for something and you’ve got the best you can out of yourself on that given day, that’s where you get satisfaction from.” – Ian Thorpe, Olympic Gold Medalist, swimming
Gratification and Fulfillment
“I still can’t believe I won the Olympics. That’s what I feel right now – completely alive as a human being. It’s a really beautiful moment.” – Clara Hughes, Olympic medalist, cycling, speed skating
Mental Preparation and Respect for the Competition
“In training everyone focuses on 90 percent physical and 10 percent mental, but in the races it’s 90 percent mental because there’s very little that separates us physically at the elite level.” – Elka Graham, Olympian, swimming
Visualization to Reality
“I have been visualizing myself every night for the past four years standing on the podium having the gold placed around my neck.” – Megan Quann, Olympic Gold Medalist, swimming
Commitment and Perseverance
“Workouts are like brushing my teeth; I don’t think about them, I just do them. The decision has already been made.” – Patti Sue Plumer, Olympian, running
“Strength does not come from winning. Your struggles develop your strengths. When you go through hardships and decide not to surrender, that is strength.” – Arnold Schwarzenegger, Mr. Olympia, bodybuilding
“Running is a lot like life: only 10 percent of it is exciting; 90 percent of it is slog and drudge.” – David Bedford, Olympian, running
The Big Picture
“Being your best is not so much about overcoming the barriers other people place in front of you as it is about overcoming the barriers we place in front of ourselves. It has nothing to do with how many times you win or lose. It has no relation to where you finish in a race or whether you break world records. But it does have everything to do with having the vision to dream, the courage to recover from adversity and the determination never to be shifted from your goals.” – Kieren Perkins, Olympic Gold Medalist, swimming.
Kieren Perkins really says it all; a wise, truly inspirational quote from one of the world’s elite athletes.