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Olympic Quotes to Inspire

An Olympian didn’t say my favorite Olympic quote.  It wasn’t even uttered at the Olympics.  Announcer Frank Zarnowski said it during the decathlon Olympic trials in 1984.

Orville Peterson was competing in the 1500 meters.  He was injured.  His fellow competitors had all wrapped up and had long stepped off the track. But Peterson trudged through.

Most of the spectators were also gone.   But there was Orville Peterson determined to finish what he started… no matter how long it took him.

This is what Zarnowksi who was in the announcer booth said:

“Never ask for victory. Ask only for courage. For if you endure the struggle, you bring honor to yourself.  But more important you bring honor to us all.”

I first heard that quote when I was a high school junior.   A teacher told us the story during a class assembly.  My ears suddenly perked up, my skin was covered in goose bumps and my brain said “aha.”

It’s a quote that has stuck with me and has become somewhat of a mantra.  It’s the quiet voice inside my head that says not to give up, that there’s more riding on this than just me.   There’s my family, my teachers, mentors and everyone who ever believed in me. And now there’s my children.

There are many lessons I will share with my children.  This quote is one of them.

Along with this one, I wanted to post some other great Olympic quotes.  I hope you enjoy!


Great Olympic Quotes:


The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not winning but taking part; the essential thing in life is not conquering but fighting well.

Pierre de Coubertin , Founder of modern Olympic Games


I don’t like to look at it as competition. It’s about me conquering myself… me being able to face my own fears, distractions, and weaknesses and say that I overcame them.

Apolo Ohno, American Short-track speed skater


I tell people I’m too stupid to know what’s impossible. I have ridiculously large dreams, and half the time they come true.

Debi Thomas, American figure skater

And then in life, you always have to try, and today, I may not have succeeded, but I am happy to have tried to beat my record.

Noureddine Morceli , Algerian runner 1500 meter


Honestly, I feel really grateful for everything.

Shaun White, American snowboarder


I made a mistake but I came back to show the world that I’m still the best

Usain Bolt, Jamaican track and field athlete
I am building a fire, and everyday I train, I add more fuel. At just the right moment, I light the match.

Mia Hamm, American soccer player


I don’t run away from a challenge because I am afraid. Instead, I run toward it because the only way to escape fear is to trample it beneath your feet.

Nadia Comaneci, Romanian gymnast


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

Michael Phelps,  American swimmer
The first thing is to love your sport. Never do it to please someone else. It has to be yours.

Peggy Fleming, American figure skater



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Category: Cool Stuff

Comments (2)

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  1. PhotoMom says:

    Great post. I love the Olympics and determination of the athletes. Apolo Ohno was wonderful to watch, & I hope to see him in the upcoming 2014 games. I loved Debi Thomas’ quote, would love to know more about her life now.
    I hope you enjoyed the London games.

  2. [...] a link to another blog (“parents desk”) with some more great [...]

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