Best of America

13 Motivational Quotes from Olympic Coaches

Bring home the gold: Follow the winning advice curated from the country's top Olympic coaches to cross your own personal finish line. For more wise words, try these "Dream Big" Quotes to aim higher.

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The quote: “You were born to be a player. You were meant to be here. This moment is yours.”

The coach: Herb Brooks

The team: U.S.A. men's ice hockey, 1980. Coached the team to a gold medal over the Soviet Union, who had won nearly every world championship and Olympic tournament since 1954, which made headlines as a “miracle on ice.”

Photograph by Airman 1st Class Jonathan Steffen via Wikimedia Commons
The quote: “The key is not the will to win. Everybody has that. It is the will to prepare to win that is important.”

The coach: Bobby Knight

The team: U.S.A. men's basketball, 1984 gold medal; a pre-NBA Michael Jordan was a key player on the team. Knight was also coach of the Indiana Hoosiers from 1971 to 2000.

Photograph by David Shankbone via Wikimedia Commons
The quote: "A champion is afraid of losing. Everyone else is afraid of winning."

The coach: Billie Jean King

The team: U.S.A. women's tennis, gold medal winners in both 1996 and 2000. King was an award-winning tennis player herself, with 39 Grand Slam titles.

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Photo by University of Oregon
The quote: "Victory is in having done your best. If you've done your best, you've won."

The coach: Bill Bowerman

The team: U.S.A. track and field, 1972. Bowerman, a former University of Oregon coach and co-founder of Nike, is widely credited with turning the town of Eugene into the running capital of the world (Olympic trials for track and field are currently held there).

Photo by Atlas Clark/Wikimedia Commons
The quote: “I don't plan on being disappointed. We plan on being really good, and obviously we plan on winning.”

The coach: Gregg Troy

The team: Head coach U.S.A. men's swimming. Assisted U.S.A. women's swimming, 1996, and U.S.A. men's swimming, 2008. Troy has coached 68 Olympians, most notably Ryan Lochte, who has won six medals.

Courtesy of Ron O'Brien
The quote: "What keeps me going is not winning, but the quest for reaching potential in myself as a coach and my kids as divers. It's the pursuit of excellence."

The coach: Ron O'Brien

The team: U.S.A. diving, 1972, 1976, 1980, 1984, and 1988. While coaching, O'Brien's athletes collected 12 gold, three silver, and four bronze Olympic medals. 

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© BrokenSphere/Wikimedia Commons
The quote: "I think sports gave me the first place where this awkward girl could feel comfortable in my own skin. I think that's true for a lot of women—sports gives you a part of your life where you can work at something and you look in the mirror and you like that person."

The coach: Teri McKeever

The team: U.S.A. women's swimming, 2012. She is the first woman to serve as the head coach of a U.S. Olympic swimming team. 

The quote: “You have to do something in your life that is honorable and not cowardly if you are to live in peace with yourself."

The coach: Larry Brown

The team: U.S.A. men's basketball, 2004. Brown has won over 1,000 professional games as coach in the ABA and NBA over his career.

Photograph by Department of Defense/William D. Moss via Wikimedia Commons
The quote: “I have a rule on my team: When we talk to one another, we look each other right in the eye, because I think it's tough to lie to somebody. You give respect to somebody.“

The coach: Mike Krzyzewski

The team: U.S.A. men's basketball, 2008 and 2012. Under Krzyzewski, the U.S. team won gold in Beijing, 2008. 

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Photograph by BASWIM via Wikimedia Commons
The quote: “The hardest skill to acquire in this sport is the one where you compete all out, give it all you have, and you are still getting beat no matter what you do. When you have the killer instinct to fight through that, it is very special.”

The coach: Eddie Reese

The team: U.S.A. men's swimming, 2008, 2004, 1992. Reese has coached 26 Olympians who have won 29 gold medals combined, including Michael Phelps. 

Photo by U.S. Army/Flickr Commons
The quote: “It’s always an honor to be able to represent your country at the highest level.”

The coach: Basheer Abdullah

The team: U.S.A. boxing, 2004 and 2012. In 2004, Abdullah coached the light heavyweight Andre Ward to a gold medal. 

Photograph by Taty2007 via Wikimedia Commons
The quote: "This team just wasn't good enough today, but they had the unity I always wanted. To have an American team like this has always been a dream of mine.''

The coach: Bela Karolyi

The team: U.S.A. women's gymnastics, 1996 and 2000. Karolyi was coach to the Romanian team for many years, and has brought nine Olympians to gold. He has worked with Nadia Comaneci, Mary Lou Retton, and Kerri Strug, whom he memorably carried to the podium to accept her gold medal when she became injured at the 1996 Games.

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Photo by David W. Carmichael/Wikimedia Commons
The quote:She's a fighter, and she does the long program well, so we'll see how it turns out. And in figure skating, it's never over until the fat lady sings.

The coach: Frank Carroll

The team: U.S.A. figure skating, 1998 and 2010. The first figure-skating coach to be named Olympic Coach of the Year in 1997, some of his most well-known athletes include Michelle Kwan, and Evan Lysacek who took home a gold medal in 2010.

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