114 Inspirational Sports Quotes from Great Athletes for Becoming a Champion in Your Field

In this article, you will discover 114 highly enlightening sports quotes from top athletes, which illustrate the essence of a champion’s spirit and winning mindset.

This glimpse into the world of sport perfectly highlights the mechanisms of success that apply across all areas of life, helping you to achieve those ambitious goals of yours!

discover 114 highly enlightening quotes from top athletes

The high demands of a sports career require the honing of exceptional skills. The road to podium success is long and arduous. When it comes to staying motivated and focused over the long term, managing the pressure of competition, andto enduring the difficulty and intensity of training sessions, top athletes realize how important it is to prepare themselves physically, technically, tactically, and mentally.

In this sense, top athletes have a lot to teach us about goal achievement!

These sports quotes provide insight into the transcendence, self-drive, and performance of such athletes.

Rigor, courage, respect, responsibility, attentiveness, positive thinking, resilience, audacity, work ethic, confidence, perseverance, self-esteem, self-control, commitment, concentration, the ability to create mental routines, to manage anxiety and emotions – these are just some of the assets that sports icons bring to the fore in this collection of sports quotes.

How did Kobe Bryant, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Usain Bolt, Serena Williams, Conor McGregor, and so many others become the champions they dreamed of being? How did they manage to break all records, achieve the unattainable, reach the very top, and live out their dreams? You’ll find out in this article of sports quotes, in which 25 sportsmen and women share their thoughts, tips and tricks – in short, the keys to making their dreams come true!

1. Sports quotes: Muhammad Ali, American boxer

  • “The man who has no imagination has no wings.”
  • “The fight is won or lost far away from the witnesses, behind the lines, in the gym, and out there on the road, long before I dance under those lights.”
  • “Impossible is just a word thrown around by small men who find it easier to live in the world they’ve been given than to explore the power they have to change it. Impossible is not a fact. It’s an opinion. Impossible is not a declaration. It’s a dare. Impossible is potential. Impossible is temporary. Impossible is nothing.”
  • “Champions aren’t made in gyms. Champions are made from something they have deep inside them – a desire, a dream, a vision.”
  • “Only a man who knows what it is like to be defeated can reach down to the bottom of his soul and come up with the extra ounce of power it takes to win when the match is even.”
  • “It’s the repetition of affirmations that leads to belief. And once that belief becomes a deep conviction, things begin to happen.”
  • “What keeps me going is goals.”

2. Sports quotes: Serena Williams, American tennis player

Serena Williams, American tennis player
  • “You have to believe in yourself when no one else does.”
  • “I am lucky that whatever fear I have inside me, my desire to win is always stronger.”
  • “A champion is defined not by their wins but by how they can recover when they fall.”
  • “The success of every woman should be the inspiration to another. We should raise each other up. Make sure you’re very courageous: be strong, be extremely kind, and above all be humble.”
  • “I’ve always considered myself the best and the top. I never considered that I was out of it.”
  • “I’ve had people look down on me. I’ve had people put me down because I didn’t look like them – I look stronger. I’ve had people look past me because of the color of my skin. I’ve had people overlook me because I was a woman. I had critics say I will never win another grand slam when I was only at number seven and now here, I stand today with 21 grand slam titles and I’m still going.”

3. Sports quotes: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Austro-American bodybuilder

Arnold Schwarzenegger, Austro-American bodybuilder
  • “If there is one thing I have learned in all of this training, it is that we are always better than we think.”
  • “Strength does not come from winning. Your struggles develop your strengths. When you go through hardships and decide not to surrender, that is strength.”
  • “The resistance that you fight physically in the gym and the resistance that you fight in life can only build a strong character.”
  • “Boys always need inspiration. They will look to their father, and many times this is not enough because he’s the father, so they will look also to other men. This is actually good.”
  • “As long as the mind can envision the fact that you can do something, you can do it, as long as you really believe 100 percent.”
  • “Bodybuilding is much like any other sport. To be successful, you must dedicate yourself 100% to your training, diet, and mental approach.”

4. Sports quotes: Usain Bolt, Jamaican sprinter

Usain Bolt, Jamaican sprinter
  • “Competition is the easy part. Behind the scenes, that’s why the work is done. Everything is done to get that one race you need to run.”
  • “I know what to do and I go and execute.”
  • “Worrying gets you nowhere. If you turn up worrying about how you’re going to perform, you’ve already lost. Train hard, turn up, run your best and the rest will take care of itself.”
  • “Know what it is you want, then do whatever it takes to get it.”
  • “Don’t think about the start of the race, think about the ending.”

5. Sports quotes: Laure Manaudou, French swimmer

Laure Manaudou, French swimmer
  • “I never liked swimming. What I loved was winning. Arriving first, touching the wall and raising my arms to the sky again and again. I wanted to be the best. I put everything I had into it.”
  • “For a long time, love has motivated my choices. It’s love that decides for me, for better and, sometimes, for worse.”
  • “To journalists, I say it out loud: I want to be Olympic champion. I say it without false modesty or vanity. It’s what I want, that’s all. I didn’t come here to just show up, and I’m certainly not here for sightseeing.”

6. Sports quotes: Ayrton Senna, Brazilian racing driver

Ayrton Senna, Brazilian racing driver
  • “Ideally we are what we think, in reality we are what we do.”
  • “If a person has no dreams, they no longer have any reason to live. Dreaming is necessary, although in the dream reality should be glimpsed. For me, this is a principle of life.”
  • “I am not designed to come second or third. I am designed to win.”
  • “The past is just data. I only see the future.”

7. Sports quotes: Teddy Riner, French judoka

Sports quotes: Teddy Riner, French judoka
  • “If you don’t have the desire, it’s over! Desire allows you to get back up. To push yourself when the going gets tough.”
  • “The preparation I put in removed any doubts I may have had.”
  • “You don’t get something for nothing. If you don’t put yourself through hell in training, if you don’t force yourself to push the limits, you’re not going anywhere.”
  • “I think about the Olympic Games morning, noon, and night. I dream about them, and I have nightmares about them.”

8. Sports quotes: Cristiano Ronaldo, Portuguese footballer

Cristiano Ronaldo, Portuguese footballer
  • “Dreams are not what you see in your sleep; dreams are things which do not let you sleep.”
  • “I didn’t get to where I am by chance. It’s the result of a lot of hard work and a dedication to football.”
  • “You have to think big. I still believe no one is better than me, at least on the field.”
  • “Talent without working hard is nothing. Success is more a combination of how hard one is willing to work or practice than the God-given talents we are born with. Practice makes you a better professional.”

9. Sports quotes: Conor McGregor, Irish mixed martial artist

Conor McGregor, Irish mixed martial artist
  • “Doubt is only removed by action. If you’re not working. then that’s where doubt comes in.”
  • “Excellence is not a skill. Excellence is an attitude.”
  • “Failure is not an option for me. Success is all I envision.”
  • “Losers focus on winners, and winners focus on winning.”
  • “I’m cocky in prediction, confident in preparation, but always humble in victory or defeat.”

10. Bernard Hinault, French cyclist

Bernard Hinault, French cyclist
  • “An athlete must be a killer, a tiger! At the start of a race, you have to set off with the fact in your mind that you’re going to win, and if you fail, you start again the next day.”
  • “I race to win, not to please people.”
  • “As long as I breathe, I attack.”

11. Tiger Woods, American golfer

Tiger Woods, American golfer
  • “There’s no sense in going to a tournament if you don’t believe that you can win it. And that is the belief I have always had. And that is not going to change.”
  • “People don’t understand that when I grew up, I was never the most talented. I was never the biggest. I was never the fastest. I certainly was never the strongest. The only thing I had was my work ethic, and that’s been what has gotten me this far.”
  • “My failures have made me look at myself in a way I never wanted to before.”

12. Florence Arthaud, French sailor

Florence Arthaud, French sailor
  • “I always think that nothing is impossible, and that although I’m not immortal, I’m indestructible.”
  • “I’ve never made any plans or forecasts, and I’ve never stopped racing down life’s slopes. No dead time. I did everything with passion, I lived outrageously. I’ve given it my all. I like risk, excess, fear; I like burning my fingertips or my wings. I like extremes and I enjoy testing my limits.”
  • “For me, the fear of dying is the only real terror. What else is there to be afraid of? Missing a plane or an appointment? Running out of money? Life is a gift; you have to live it to the fullest and always believe in your destiny.”
  • “Race finishes are always the same thing in my head. I’ve been thinking about this moment for days, but now that it’s here, it’s heartbreaking. It should be a great moment of exhilaration, moments of immense joy. But these are in fact painful minutes, like a new page that has just been turned for good. It’s never easy to live through a chapter that’s coming to an end.”

13. Jean-Claude Killy, French alpine skier

Jean-Claude Killy, French alpine skier
  • “To win, you have to risk losing.”
  • “You have to try to do a little more than you think you’re capable of.”
  • “When you want to accomplish exceptional things, it necessarily involves risk, and therefore gambling.”

14. Kobe Bryant, American basketball player

Kobe Bryant, American basketball player
  • “If you’re afraid to fail, then you’re probably going to fail.”
  • “Everything negative – pressure, challenges – is all an opportunity for me to rise.”
  • “‘If you see me in a fight with a bear, prey for the bear.’ I’ve always loved that quote. That’s the ‘mamba mentality,’ we don’t quit, we don’t cower, we don’t run. We endure and conquer.”
  • “I’m reflective only in the sense that I learn to move forward. I reflect with a purpose.”
  • “When I was 15, I promised myself one thing. I said to myself, ‘At the end of my career, I want people to remember me as someone talented who exceeded expectations, someone who was blessed with talent but worked like he had none.'”

15. Edson Arantes do Nascimento, known as Pelé, Brazilian footballer

Edson Arantes do Nascimento, known as Pelé, Brazilian footballer
  • “He who thinks victory doesn’t matter will never win anything.”
  • “There are many musicians, but only one Beethoven.”
  • “Success is no accident. It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice and most of all, love of what you are doing or learning to do.”
  • “Enthusiasm is everything. It must be taut and vibrating like a guitar string.”
  • “Success isn’t determined by how many times you win, but by how you play the week after you lose.”
  • “The head talks to the heart and the heart talks to the feet.”

16. Michael Jordan, American basketball player

Michael Jordan, American basketball player INSPIRATIONAL SPORTS QUOTES
  • “Some people want it to happen, some wish it would happen, others make it happen.”
  • “If you give up once, it can become a habit. Never give up.”
  • “Obstacles don’t have to stop you. If you run into a wall, don’t turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it, or work around it.”
  • “I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game-winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”
  • “You can practice shooting 8 hours a day, but if your technique is wrong, then all you become is very good at shooting the wrong way. Get the fundamentals down and the level of everything you do will rise.”
  • “I never looked at the consequences of missing a big shot … when you think about the consequences, you always think of negative results.”

17. Lionel Messi, Argentine footballer

Lionel Messi, Argentine footballer
  • “I start early and stay late, day after day, year after year. It took me 17 years and 114 days to succeed overnight.”
  • “In football as in watchmaking, talent and elegance mean nothing without rigor and precision.”
  • “You have to fight to reach your dream. You have to sacrifice and work hard for it.”
  • “You can overcome anything, if and if only you love something enough.”
  • “Something deep in my character allows me to take the hits and get on with trying to win.”
  • “I never think about the play or visualize anything. I do what comes to me at that moment. Instinct. It has always been that way.”

18. Sports quotes: Yannick Noah, French tennis player

Yannick Noah, French tennis player
  • “The secret is to live from day to day, here and now, and to prioritize your objectives. There’s the mountain to climb and the steps to get to the top. These steps are your daily life.”
  • “Our limits exist only in our fears.”
  • “The worst thing is not even dreaming of winning.”

19. Ronaldo de Assis Moreira, known as Ronaldinho Gaúcho or Ronaldinho, Brazilian footballer

Ronaldo de Assis Moreira, known as Ronaldinho Gaúcho or Ronaldinho, Brazilian footballer INSPIRATIONAL SPORTS QUOTES
  • “No matter who you are it’s the simple things in life that lead you to believe that you can achieve anything.”
  • “I still have a video of my father, which I watch before every game I play for Brazil. It gives me strength, makes me determined.”
  • “I learned all about life with a ball at my feet.”
  • “Our confidence comes from our preparation.”

20. Sports quotes: Frederick Carlton Lewis, known as Carl Lewis, American track and field athlete

Sports quotes: Frederick Carlton Lewis, known as Carl Lewis, American track and field athlete
  • “Everyone knows what it takes to win, but only those who win do it.”
  • “If you don’t have confidence, you’ll always find a way not to win.”
  • “I’ve never competed against athletes. I’ve competed against perfection.”
  • “I want to be remembered as a person who felt there was no limitation to what the human body and mind can do and be the inspiration to lead people to do things they never hoped to do.”
  • “Scientists have proven that it’s impossible to long-jump 30 feet, but I don’t listen to that kind of talk. Thoughts like that have a way of sinking into your feet.”
  • “At the end of the day, if you’re a professional athlete in track and field you are the CEO of your company.”

21. Bruce Lee, Chinese-American martial artist

Bruce Lee, Chinese-American martial artist INSPIRATIONAL SPORTS QUOTES
  • “Do not pray for an easy life, pray for the strength to endure a difficult one.”
  • “A goal is not always meant to be reached. It often serves simply as something to aim at.”
  • “If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits.”
  • “If you spend too much time thinking about a thing, you’ll never get it done.”
  • “Knowledge will give you power, but character, respect.”

22. Michael Phelps, American swimmer

Michael Phelps, American swimmer athlete
  • “If you want to be the best, you have to do things that other people aren’t willing to do.”
  • “You can’t put a limit on anything. The more you dream, the farther you get.”
  • “I can’t remember the last day I didn’t train.”

23. Lindsay Vonn, American alpine skier

Lindsay Vonn, American alpine skier athlete INSPIRATIONAL SPORTS QUOTES
  • “It’s amazing. Life changes very quickly, in a very positive way, if you let it.”
  • “If you go around being afraid, you’re never going to enjoy life. You have only one chance, so you’ve got to have fun.”
  • “In the end, it’s a mental maturity to let your best come out.”
  • “I have a race routine. I have a team of people helping me. I have winning habits. I believe in myself. I have balance in my life.”
  • “When you’re young, you develop ways to win, and you think they will always work, but then you get to the top, competing against the other top athletes, and sometimes things don’t work.”

24. Roger Federer, Swiss tennis player

Roger Federer, Swiss tennis player athlete INSPIRATIONAL SPORTS QUOTES
  • “A man who wins, is a man who thinks he can.”
  • “There is no way around hard work. Embrace it.”
  • “You have to believe in the long-term plan you have, but you need the short-term goals to motivate and inspire you.”
  • “When you’re good at something, make that everything.”
  • “Mentally, I’m not ever going to go away.”
  • “Previously I always thought it was just tactical and technique, but every match has become almost mental and physical – I try to push myself to move well. I try to push myself not to get upset and stay positive, and that’s what my biggest improvement is over all those years. Under pressure, I can see things very clear.”

25. Renaud Lavillenie, French pole vault athlete

Renaud Lavillenie, French pole vault athlete INSPIRATIONAL SPORTS QUOTES
  • “Sometimes you think you’ve reached your limits. But the fact is that it’s possible to push them a little further.”
  • “I think the real reason for my success is the pleasure I get from my sport. Pleasure is what makes the difference at the highest level; it’s impossible to motivate yourself and progress without it.”

Now all you have to do is put these words of wisdom to use, and you’ll be on your way to becoming a champion in your respective fields!

If you would like to mention which of these sports quotes speak to you on a personal level, or if you’d like to share some of your own favorite sports quotes, feel free to do so in the comments.

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