The Best Inspirational Athletes of The Last 100 Years

The Best Inspirational Athletes of The Last 100 Years


The Best Inspirational Athletes of The Last 100 Years


Every athlete of the current generation wants to break out and be the next big thing in sports. Perhaps that next big thing needs a little motivation from some of the most inspiring quotes from athletes of the last 100 years.

This is not something hard as many people often use sports as a metaphor in real life endeavors and activities. Most of the time, sports also offers a bunch of life lessons into their games or into ideal soundbites to summarize once achievement in what they do. 

So, without further ado, let’s take a gander at some of the most motivational and inspirational quotes from athletes of the years gone by.

Feb 24, 2020; Los Angeles, California, USA; NBA legend Michael Jordan speaks during the memorial to celebrate the life of Kobe Bryant and daughter Gianna Bryant at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

Best Inspiring Quotes From Athletes

1. Tim Notke

Quote – “Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard.”

There are lots of talented people in the world, but it just isn’t enough to get you through life’s challenges when it comes down to it. Some of the athletes that we have high expectations due to their potential, never turn out to be significant in the end. In reality, it is hard work and determination that separates the good from the great.

2. Muhammad Ali

Quote – “I don’t count my situps. I only start counting once it starts hurting.”

Mohammed Ali was the pioneer of the modern overconfident athletic persona, which is why he went on to become a multi-time world champion in boxing. He also had several moving quotes that are still treasured even after his passing. The quote mentioned here talks about how Ali never gave up when he competed in the ring until his objective (which was winning the match) was achieved. 

Mar 26, 2020; Baltimore, Maryland, USA; A fan takes a photo of the Babe Ruth statue outside of the main entrance gate on what was supposed to be opening day between the New York Yankees and Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Mandatory Credit: Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

3.Babe Ruth

Quote – “It’s hard to beat a person who never gives up.”

Babe Ruth may have had his demons to deal with. Still, there was no denying the athlete’s caliber whenever he was on the field—known as the Colossus of Clouds; Ruth was considered one of the hardest working athletes in the history of baseball and sports in general. When he went out there, he would lead the league in home runs and strikeouts every year. That’s because he never found a pitch too challenging to hit. In other words, he just didn’t give up.

4. Emil Zatopek 

Quote – “No athlete can run with money in their pockets. They should run with their dreams and hearts in their heads.”

Nicknamed the “Czech Locomotive,” Zatopek is highly regarded as one of the best runners of the 20th century and was revered for his intense training procedures. Besides being an incredible athlete, Zatopek was also a sincere human being as he gave one of his gold medals from the 1952 Olympics to Australian Ron Clarke. According to his quote, it is the heart and one’s dreams that translate to success in life and never money or fame.

5. Knute Rockne

Quote – “Even one person who practices sportsmanship is better than 50 who try to preach it.”

Knute Rockne was considered one of the most excellent coaches in college football history. He was so great that his wisdom extended the various facets of life. It’s one of these reasons why was this quote he gave is so relatable. It emphasizes that those who practice sportsmanship instead of preaching it are those who truly succeed in life.

6. Vincent Lombardi

Quote – “winners don’t quit, and quitters don’t win.”

Lombardi is another renowned coach in football history who is also considered one of the best leaders in American sports. Apart from that, Lombardi was also known for his unbiased nature and was very accepting of people from various cultural and religious backgrounds. His quote is the personification of people who strive hard to succeed in life without faltering in the middle. 

7. Les Brown

Quote – “the harder you fight for your goals, the sweeter your victory will be.”

You know you have worked hard to achieve your goal when you feel satisfied with victory. The more effort you put into whatever you set your mind to, the better the satisfaction you get when you finally taste the fruit of your labor. You’ll hardly find any team or individual players who say, “Man! This was an easy win.”

Feb 24, 2020; Los Angeles, California, USA; NBA legend Michael Jordan speaks to the audience during the memorial to celebrate the life of Kobe Bryant and daughter Gianna Bryant at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

8. Michael Jordan

Quote – “I failed many times in my life. But that’s exactly why I win.”

When you have an athlete almost as dominant and competitive as Michael Jordan was in his prime, you would never imagine someone like that would ever taste defeat in their life. And yet, it was his failures that helped him become the star performer he went on to become later in life. 

9. George Halas

Quote – “nobody that gave their best regretted it.”

Strong words that best explain the feet of people who give it they’re all. You don’t compete in sports by holding back and hoping that you’ll walk out with just enough for tomorrow. Real competitors are those who contribute everything they have in their bodies and souls and thus have no regrets. That’s precisely the reality of every player of any sport for any match. 

10. Jim Valvano

Quote – “Don’t give up! Defeat and rejection are the stepping-stones to winning.”

Impactful but straightforward is what this quote delivers from a legendary college basketball player and coach Jimmy Valvano. He is known for his impeccable coaching skills, teaching a variety of schools, especially North Carolina State University. Once he had retired, Valvano gave a truly memorable and inspirational speech at the 1993 ESPY Awards, where he encouraged his listeners to “don’t give up. Don’t ever give up.”


So, if you’re an athlete yourself or aspire to be one sometime in the future, just remember these inspirational quotes from athletes from several generations of our time.

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