In addition to training and natural talent, many of the world-class athletes competing in the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea, also draw motivation and inspiration from the legacies of great competitors who have come before them.
Whether you’re up against a tough competitor, tight deadlines, or just a general lack of motivation at work, here are a few inspirational stories from past champions to help give you an inspirational boost.
Never give up
It’s 1980, and the Winter Olympics in Lake Placid, New York, is well underway. Never regarded as a top team in the sport, the United States men’s hockey team found themselves with the odds stacked against them. Made up of amateur and collegiate players, the U.S. team was pitted against powerhouse Russia. In an unexpected, stunning display of commitment and strength, they beat the Soviet team and went on to win gold. Now recognized as the “Miracle on Ice,” the victory went down in history as an example of grit that continues to inspire today. If you’re up against incredible odds, take a lesson from Lake Placid and remember that anything is possible.
Let nothing stand in your way
Figure skater Scott Hamilton won the 1984 gold medal in Los Angeles, after taking home numerous U.S. and world championship titles. Known for his backflips and entertaining athleticism, Hamilton went on to make history in his sport. In 1997, however, Hamilton was diagnosed with cancer. With renewed perspective and goals, he continued to perform professionally until he retired four years later. In 2004, Hamilton received a brain tumor diagnosis, and yet again overcame his odds. His unyielding courage and strength is proof that, when you have your mind set on a goal, nothing should stop you from reaching it.
Accept help from others
After his own athletes had been eliminated early in the competition, Canadian cross-country ski coach Justin Wadsworth still made history at the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, Russia. During one of the races, Wadsworth noticed Russian Anton Gafarov struggling to complete the course. He had crashed and broken a ski, which wrapped around his foot and caused him to drag across the course. When no one, including Gafarov’s own coaches, stepped in to help, Gafarov jumped into action. He grabbed a spare ski from his Canadian team and ran onto the track, where he pulled off the broken equipment and replaced it. Gafarov was able to cross the finish line with Wadsworth’s help, a reminder that even the best of the best need a little help every now and then.
A daring, stunning athlete, snowboarder Shaun White shocked spectators during the 2010 Vancouver snowboarding halfpipe finals when he completed the world’s first Double McTwist 1260. The trick, which is the most difficult in the history of the sport, earned White the gold medal and instant fame. White recognized the risk and reward of being the first to accomplish a groundbreaking feat, and his Olympic run is a reminder that giving it your all can put you on top.
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