Every two years we have the awesome opportunity to marvel at some of the most dedicated people on the planet—Olympians. When the Games come around, there’s an influx of stories about athletes who woke up every morning at 4 a.m. to work out or surmounted horrifying injuries just to come back and dominate their sport.
These athletes work years with the goal of just a few moments of glory, so they’re the perfect people to look to when we’re trying to get some motivation. Read ahead for some of our favorite Olympians’ inspirational quotes.
“Nothing is impossible. With so many people saying it couldn’t be done, all it takes is an imagination.” -Phelps, after winning a record eight gold medals at a single Games.
“I can’t control my competitors…I can’t change what they do. I go out to do the best I can do.” –Thorpe
“I used to think that losing made you more hungry and determined but after my success at the Olympics and the U.S. Open, I realize that winning is the biggest motivation.” –Murrary
“Never let success get to your head. Never let failure get to your heart.” –Grasse
“I use fear of failure a lot – it’s a powerful tool.” –Bolt
“I’d proven to the world that maturity, experience, dedication and ingenuity can make up for a little senescence. Muscle tightening is not the only thing that happens to our bodies over time. We gain knowledge, focus and understanding, and those things can help us win.” –Torres, who kicked off her Olympic comeback at age 41
“That was a sporting event. The last few days [doing the Vanity Fair cover story that revealed her transition] is about life, O.K., about living your life. About being true to yourself…It’s not about the fanfare, it’s not about people cheering in the stadium, it’s not about going down the street and everybody giving you a ‘That a boy, Bruce,” pat on the back, O.K. This is about your life and about who you are.” -Jenner, on her decision to transition.
“I always use my failures to get through and push past.” -Jones
“Prepare for the best and the worst. You are going to have people who are patting you on the back, and you are going to have people who are gunning for you no matter what.” –Hancock
“With any kind of disappointment, I see it as a learning period. What did I do wrong? How can I fix it and show everyone what I’m actually made of?” -Johnson
“When you give up something you really do like, you cannot see it go away from you.”–Watts, on coming out of retirement at age 46 to revive the Jamaican bobsledding team
Photo Credit: Playbuzz