You don’t have to be an elite athlete to appreciate the Olympics (though it probably doesn’t hurt). And while we’re sure you could turn on the TV or hop online and find inspiration from all sorts of sports at any given time of day as long as the Games are on, we figured we’d take a few minutes to share with you some of the most inspirational Olympic moments from modern sports history. Because it doesn’t matter if you’re training for a gold medal, a personal best, or to cross that 5k finish line for the first time, we can all take something powerful away from the great runners who have come before us.
Here are four powerful stories that just might inspire your next workout.
Michael Johnson causes lightning to strike (twice). Every once in a while, an athlete will come along who completely redefines what is possible in a sport. Michael Johnson did just that in 1996 when he took gold in both the 400 and the 200, making him the first man to every accomplish that feat. Check out Johnson and tons of other inspirational (non-running) stories at greatist.com.
Moral of the story? Take the most you could ever imagine accomplishing with your training. Then double it. You can do it.
Derek Redmond finishes the race (with his dad). Redmond had dedicated his life to training for the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona. His dreams of gold were shattered mid-race when a pulled hamstring yanked him from contention in a heartbeat. With victory off the table, Redmond pushed through the pain to finish the race, crossing the line finally with the help of his dad. Here’s the video, which is well worth a watch.
Moral of the story? Winning really isn’t everything, but sometimes finishing is.
Jesse Owens stares down Hitler himself. It was 1936 and the Olympics were in Berlin. African American Jesse Owens faced the toughest crowd of his career when he made history in the face of the Führer himself. He was given a once-in-a-lifetime shot and performed at his best. Read the whole story over at Olympics30.com.
Moral of the story? Don’t let anyone intimidate you on race day. Win or lose, you’ve earned your place in the competition.
Wilma Rudolph beats the odds, every single day. It was the 1960 Olympics in Rome and to make a long story short, Rudolph dominated like no other. She set records and won gold medals. But the truly remarkable story is the one that starts the day she was born — premature, small, and weak. Her childhood was plagued with illness and injury, sometimes making walking — never mind competitive running — nearly impossible. If you ever feel like the deck is stacked against you when it comes to getting fit, Rudolph’s story might be just the motivation you need. You can read the whole story now on ESPN.com.
Moral of the story? Life may not be fair, but no matter what challenges your body throws at you, you can find a way to succeed.
Hope you guys are enjoying the Olympics as much as we are. Get inspired!