With the 2014 Winter Olympics underway in Sochi, Russia, athletes from around the world are prepared to fight for a spot on the podium.

In the past, Olympic athletes have surpassed all odds to earn a medal and have shared their mantras that helped them on their respective journeys. Even coaches, like Herb Brooks that guided the 1980 U.S.A. men’s ice hockey team to victory against the Soviet Union, had some words of advice to share. “You were born to be a player. You were meant to be here. This moment is yours.”

Many athletes train for years in a competition that can last just seconds. With this reality in mind, Olympians from all walks of life have shared their words of advice on the sports they love, the challenges they overcame and the joy they experienced in achieving their Olympic dreams.

While not everyone can be an Olympic athlete, much can be learned from their determination, drive and will to succeed. Below are 15 motivational quotes to help you set and achieve your personal goals.


“Each of us has a fire in our hearts for something. It’s our goal in life to find it and keep it lit.” -- Mary Lou Retton, winner of gold medal at 1984 Los Angeles Summer Olympic Games

“I am building a fire, and every day I train, I add more fuel. At just the right moment, I light the match.” -- Mia Hamm, gold medalist in women’s soccer

“Never put an age limit on your dreams,” -- Dara Torres, U.S. gold medalist in swimming

"When anyone tells me I can't do anything, I'm just not listening anymore."-- Florence Griffith Joyner, gold medalist in athletics in 1988 and silver medalist in 1988 and 1984

"The first thing is to love your sport. Never do it to please someone else. It has to be yours." -- Peggy Fleming, gold medalist in figure skating in 1968


“If you fail to prepare, you’re prepared to fail.” -- Mark Spitz, winner of 7 gold medals at 1972 Munich Olympic Games

“Never underestimate the power of dreams and the influence of the human spirit. We are all the same in this notion: The potential for greatness lives within each of us.” -- Wilma Rudolph, U.S. gold medalist in track and field

“Nothing is impossible. With so many people saying it couldn’t be done, all it takes is an imagination.” -- Michael Phelps, U.S. gold medalist in swimming

“There’s always a point where you get knocked down. But I draw on what I’ve learned on the track: If you work hard, things will work out.” -- Lolo Jones, Olympic hurdler

"You have to train your mind like you train your body."-- Bruce Jenner, gold medalist in decathlon in 1976


"I was not talented enough to run and smile at the same time" -- Emil Zatopek, Czech long-distance runner best known for winning three gold medals at the 1952 Summer Olympic Games

“Curling is not a sport. I called my grandmother and told her she could win a gold medal because they have dusting in the Olympics now.” -- Charles Barkley, U.S. gold medalist in basketball

"Sometimes it's just the beer and bikinis that get people to come and watch, but it's the competition that's keeping them there." — U.S. beach volleyballer Kerri Walsh Jennings

"They picked me for a doping test. They simply cannot believe that such a great body can be built without any banned stuff." — Zoltan Szcesi, Hungarian water polo player

"I have been dubbed 'the girl who puts the glamour into hammer'" — British hammer thrower Sophie Hitchon