100 Inspirational Quotes for Athletes

Being an athlete is not easy. To be a top performer, you must train hard and compete with others to win. There are days when you feel you should quit and move on, but the true sports lover will persist and keep going when the going gets tough. Here I have shared 100 inspirational quotes for athletes that will motivate and inspire you to become one of the best.

The best part is that I have also included quotes from top world athletes such as Serena Williams, Muhammad Ali, Michael Jordan, Pat Riley and many others. You should read these best inspirational quotes for athletes to keep your head cool in tough situations.

Also Read75 Best Inspirational Ted Lasso Quotes

100 inspirational quotes for athletes

1. “The man who has no imagination has no wings.” – Muhammad Ali

inspirational quotes for athletes - man who has no imagination

Also Read125 Inspirational Quotes for Cancer Patients

2. “Age is no barrier. It’s a limitation you put on your mind.” – Jackie Joyner-Kersee

3. “Most people give up just when they’re about to achieve success. They quit on the one yard line. They give up at the last minute of the game one foot from a winning touchdown.” – Ross Perot

4. “A trophy carries dust. Memories last forever.” – Mary Lou Retton

inspirational athlete quotes - trophy carries dust

Also Read80 Best Funny Real Estate Quotes

5. “I’ve failed over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.” – Michael Jordan

6. “The only way to prove that you’re a good sport is to lose.” – Ernie Banks

famous quotes of athletes - way to prove good sport

Also Read60 Best Funny Quotes by Betty White

7. “There may be people that have more talent than you, but there’s no excuse for anyone to work harder than you do.” – Derek Jeter

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

9. “The five S’s of sports training are: stamina, speed, strength, skill, and spirit; but the greatest of these is spirit.” – Ken Doherty

10. “I always felt that my greatest asset was not my physical ability, it was my mental ability.” – Bruce Jenner

best quotes for athletes - always felt physical ability bruce jenner

Also Read60 Best Funny Quotes About Weight Loss

11. “I’d rather regret the risks that didn’t work out than the chances I didn’t take at all.” – Simone Biles

12. “I just knew if it could be done, it had to be done, and I did it.” – Gertrude Ederle

13. “An athlete cannot run with money in his pockets. He must run with hope in his heart and dreams in his head.” – Emil Zatopek

14. “It is not the size of a man but the size of his heart that matters.” – Evander Holyfield

motivational quotes for athletes - size of man but size of heart matters - evander holyfield

Also Read150 Best Buddha Quotes on Love

15. “Always make a total effort, even when the odds are against you.” – Arnold Palmer

16. “If you fail to prepare, you’re prepared to fail.” – Mark Spitz

inspiring quotes for athletes - fail to prepare you are prepared to fail

Also Read120 Best God Loves You Quotes

17. Somewhere behind the athlete you’ve become and the hours of practice and the coaches who have pushed you is a little girl who fell in love with the game and never looked back… play for her.” – Mia Hamm

18. “Overpower. Overtake. Overcome.” – Serena Williams

quotes for athletes - overpower overtake overcome - serena williams

19. “Somebody gives you an opportunity, say yes to it. So what if you fail? you won’t know if you fail or succeed unless you try.” – Ann Meyers

20. “The harder the battle, the sweeter the victory.” – Les Brown

athlete quotes - the harder the battle the sweeter the victory

Best Quotes for Athletes

21. “Never say never because limits, like fears, are often just an illusion.” – Michael Jordan

inspirational quotes for athletes - never say never

22. “Make sure your worst enemy doesn’t live between your own two ears.” – Laird Hamilton

23. “You win some, you lose some, and some get rained out, but you gotta suit up for them all.” – J. Askenberg

24. “Many times, I had to dig deep and perform. All of that adversity helped me and drove me to want to be the best.” – Hayley Wickenheiser

25. “Victory is in having done your best. If you’ve done your best, you’ve won.” – Billy Bowerman

best athlete quotes - victory having done your best

26. “The road to Easy Street goes through the sewer.” – John Madden

27. “Courage, sacrifice, determination, commitment, toughness, heart, talent, guts. That’s what little girls are made of; the heck with sugar and spice.” – Bethany Hamilton

28. “A champion needs a motivation above and beyond winning.” – Pat Riley

29. “Today, you have 100% of your life left.” – Tom Landry

athlete quotes - today you have 100 of your life left

30. “You have to expect things of yourself before you can do them.” – Michael Jordan

31. “The harder the battle, the sweeter the victory.” – Les Brown

quotes for athletes - harder the battle sweeter the victory

32. “Never give up, never give in, and when the upper hand is ours, may we have the ability to handle the win with the dignity that we absorbed the loss.” – Doug Williams

33. “It’s not the will to win that matters—everyone has that. It’s the will to prepare to win that matters.” – Paul “Bear” Bryant

34. “No matter the circumstances that you may be going through, just push through it.” – Ray Lewis

inspiring quotes for athletes - no matter the circumstances just push through it

35. “You’ve got to be confident when you’re competing. You’ve got to be a beast.” – Gabby Douglas

36. “Stubbornness usually is considered a negative; but I think that trait has been a positive for me.” – Cal Ripken, Jr.

37. “There are only two options regarding commitment. You’re either IN or you’re OUT. There is no such thing as life in-between.” – Pat Riley

38. “It’s not whether you get knocked down; it’s whether you get up.” – Vince Lombardi

motivational quotes for athletes - whether you get knocked down vince lombardi

39. “I don’t plan on being disappointed. We plan on being really good, and obviously, we plan on winning.” – Gregg Troy

40. “To uncover your true potential you must first find your own limits and then you have to have the courage to blow past them.” – Picabo Street

best quotes for athletes - uncover your true potential -picabo street

Positive Quotes for Athletes

41. “Never let your head hang down. Never give up and sit down and grieve. Find another way.” – Satchel Paige

famous quotes of athletes - never let your head hang down

42. “If you are afraid of failure you don’t deserve to be successful!” – Charles Barkley

43. “Persistence can change failure into extraordinary achievement.”

inspirational athlete quotes - persistence can change failure to achievement

44. “Today I will do what others won’t, so tomorrow I can accomplish what others can’t.” – Jerry Rice

45. “I became a good pitcher when I stopped trying to make them miss the ball and started trying to make them hit it.” – Sandy Koufax

46. “Make sure your worst enemy doesn’t live between your own two ears.” – Laird Hamilton

inspirational quotes for athletes - worst enemy doesnt live between two ears

47. “Passion first and everything will fall into place.” – Holly Holm

48. “You might not be able to outthink, out market or outspend your competition, but you can outwork them.” – Lou Holtz

49. People ask me what I do in winter when there’s no baseball. I’ll tell you what I do. I stare out the window and wait for spring. – Rogers Hornsby

50. “When you’ve got something to prove, there’s nothing greater than a challenge.” – Terry Bradshaw

inspirational quotes for athletes - when you have got something prove

51. “You were born to be a player. You were meant to be here. This moment is yours.” – Herb Brooks

52. “What do you do with a mistake: recognize it, admit it, learn from it, forget it.” – Dean Smith

53. “Most people never run far enough on their first wind to find out they’ve got a second.” – William James

best athlete quotes - mot people never run enough

54. “You can’t get much done in life if you only work on the days when you feel good.” – Jerry West

55. “I’ve got a theory that if you give 100% all of the time, somehow things will work out in the end.” – Larry Bird

athlete quotes - got theory that 100 somehow things

56. “You can motivate by fear, and you can motivate by reward. But both those methods are only temporary. The only lasting thing is self-motivation.” – Homer Rice

57. “Continuous effort — not strength or intelligence – is the key to unlocking our potential.” – Liane Cardes

58. “The difference between the impossible and the possible lies in a person’s determination.” – Tommy Lasorda

59. “Good is not good when better is expected.” – Vin Scully

quotes for athletes - good is not good when better expected

60. “It’s not whether you get knocked down; it’s whether you get up.” – Vince Lombardi

61. “Nobody who ever gave his best regretted it.” – George Halas

inspiring quotes for athletes - nobody who ever gave his best regretted

Inspirational Quotes for Young Athletes

62. “Without self-discipline, success is impossible, period.” – Lou Holtz

motivational quotes for athletes - without self discipline success is impossible

63. “It’s not the will to win that matters — everyone has that. It’s the will to prepare to win that matters.” – Paul “Bear” Bryant

64. “Once you give them the power to tell you you’re great, you’ve also given them the power to tell you you’re unworthy. Once you start caring about people’s opinions of you, you give up control.” – Ronda Rousey

65. “My motto was always to keep swinging. Whether I was in a slump or feeling badly or having trouble off the field, the only thing to do was keep swinging.” – Hank Aaron

66. “Make each day your masterpiece.” – John Wooden

inspirational athlete quotes - make each day your masterpiece

67. “If you can believe it, the mind can achieve it.” – Ronnie Lott

68. “If you aren’t going all the way, why go at all?” – Joe Namath

69. “Do not let what you can not do interfere with what you can do.” – John Wooden

inspirational quotes for athletes - do not let what you can not do

70. “Run when you can, walk if you have to, crawl if you must; just never give up.” – Dean Karnazes

71. “It’s hard to beat a person who never gives up.” “Heroes get remembered, but legends never die.” – Babe Ruth

72. “A champion is someone who gets up when he can’t.” – Jack Dempsey

inspirational quotes for athletes - champion is someone who gets up

73. “Winning isn’t everything, but wanting to win is.” – Vince Lombardi

74. “Adversity causes some to break; others to break records.” – William Ward

75. “Do what needs to be done, when it needs to be done the best way it can be done, and do it that way every time.” – Bob Knight

76. “Just play. Have fun. Enjoy the game.” – Michael Jordan

best athlete quotes - just play have fun

77. “Only he who can see the invisible can do the impossible.” – Frank L. Gaines

78. “Never let your head hang down. Never give up and sit down and grieve. Find another way.” – Satchel Paige

79. “Football doesn’t build character, it reveals character.” – Marv Levy

athlete quotes - football doesnt build character

80. “If you fail to prepare, you’re prepared to fail.” – Mark Spitz

Inspirational Quotes for Track Athletes

81. “Today I will do what others won’t, so tomorrow I can accomplish what others can’t.” – Jerry Rice

quotes for athletes - today do what others wont

82. “Never limit yourself, never be satisfied, and smile… It’s free!” – Jennie Finch

83. “Leadership is a matter of having people look at you and gain confidence. If you’re in control, they’re in control.” – Tom Landry

84. “Self-praise is for losers. Be a winner. Stand for something. Always have class, and be humble.” – John Madden

inspiring quotes for athletes - self praise is for losers

85. “Moment of victory is much too short to live for that and nothing else.” – Martina Navratilova

86. “I learned that if you want to make it bad enough, no matter how bad it is, you can make it.” – Gale Sayers

87. “Excellence is not a singular act but a habit. You are what you do repeatedly.” – Shaquille O’Neal

motivational quotes for athletes - excellence is not singular act but habit

88. “If you think it’s hard to meet new people, try picking up the wrong golf ball.” – Jack Lemmon

89. “Finding good players is easy. Getting them to play as a team is another story.” – Casey Stengel

90. “When you’re riding, only the race in which you’re riding is important.” – Bill Shoemaker

best quotes for athletes - riding only the race in which riding

91. “Skill is only developed by hours and hours of work.” – Usain Bolt, Gold medal Olympic sprinter.

92. “Do not undervalue yourself. Be able to express your value and what impact you can make. Show how your experiences translate and can help a company.” – Katie Smith

93. “Procrastination is one of the most common and deadliest of diseases and its toll on success and happiness is heavy.” – Wayne Gretzky

94. “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.” – Michael Jordan

95. “Many men go fishing all of their lives without knowing that it is not fish they are after.” – Henry David Thoreau

famous quotes of athletes - many men go fishing all their lives

96. “I want to rip out his heart and feed it to Lennox Lewis. I want to kill people. I want to rip their stomachs out and eat their children.” – Mike Tyson

97. “I am building a fire, and everyday I train, I add more fuel. At just the right moment, I light the match.” – Mia Hamm

inspirational athlete quotes - building a fire and everyday i train

98. “ A good hockey player plays where the puck is. A great hockey player plays where the puck is going to be.” – Wayne Gretzky, hockey icon (1978–1999)

99. “My sports made me a more focused, sharper, more determined and stronger person than I was before. It’s a mental game — the stronger you are the better you are.” – Kiran Khan, Olympic swimmer.

100. “When you fail you learn from the mistakes you made and it motivates you to work even harder.” – Natalie Gulbis

inspirational quotes for athletes - when you fail you learn from the mistakes


I hope you loved these best inspirational quotes for athletes. If yes, then please don’t forget to share which quote you like the most in the comments section. Also, please share these quotes with your friends and loved ones.

All the very best for your athletic journey!

Scroll to Top