Inspirational Quotes from Famous Gymnasts


Nadia Comaneci

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Inspiring words from the best gymnasts in the sport.

“I don’t run away from a challenge because I am afraid. Instead, I run toward it because the only way to escape fear is to trample it beneath your feet.” -​ Nadia Comaneci, Romania, 1976 Olympic all-around champion
(original source unknown)

Mary Lou Retton

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“As much time as you put into it, that’s what your achievements are going to be when you come out of it.” – Mary Lou Retton, USA, 1984 Olympic all-around champion
(original source unknown)

Olga Korbut

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“Don’t be afraid if things seem difficult in the beginning. That’s only the initial impression. The important thing is not to retreat; you have to master yourself.” – Olga Korbut, USSR, Four-time Olympic gold medalist (1972, 1976)
(original source unknown)

Shawn Johnson

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“I don’t think I’ve ever not gotten nervous. When you work so hard for one special day or routine, you want to perform it better than you ever have. We always say at our gym, If you lose the nerves, you lose the sport.” -​ Shawn Johnson, USA, 2008 Olympic gold medalist (beam)
(told to Yahoo! Sports 1/25/08)

Nastia Liukin

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“Set daily, monthly, and long-term goals and dreams. Don’t ever be afraid to dream too big. Nothing is impossible. If you believe in yourself, you can achieve it.” –  Nastia Liukin, USA, 2008 Olympic all-around champion
(told to Gymnastics 5/1/09)

Dominique Moceanu

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“When I was 14, many said that I was too young and too inexperienced to represent the United States at the Olympic Games. Since then, I’ve accepted resistance as a natural part of life. It’s human nature to be timid in the face of obstacles, but I have learned to believe that challenges are opportunities for genius to shine. In order to feel alive, we have to accomplish things that we once believed we could not.” – Dominique Moceanu, USA, 1996 Olympic gold medalist (team)
(told to Gymnastics 6/1/09)

Dominique Dawes

 Mike Powell/Getty Images

“There will be mistakes, there will be falters. There will be things that are not a part of your plan. See the challenges in your life and accept them and embrace them.” – Dominique Dawes, USA, Three-time Olympian, 1996 Olympic gold medalist (team)
(in a speech at the Capital District YMCA Black and Latino Achievers Awards on 6/13/08)

Kerri Strug

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“It’s important to push yourself further than you think you can go each and every day — as that is what separates the good from the great.” -​ Kerri Strug, USA, 1996 Olympic gold medalist (team)
(told to Gymnastics 4/23/09)

Shannon Miller

Mike Powell/Getty Images

“Go into the sport because you have fun doing it, not because of ‘what ifs’ and dreams of gold medals. That way, no matter what happens, you win.” – Shannon Miller, USA, Seven-time Olympic medalist (1992, 1996)
(from Winning Every Day by Shannon Miller)

Alicia Sacramone

Victor Fraile Rodriguez/Getty Images 

“Wake up every day knowing that today is a new day and only you can determine the outcome of that day. So dream big, accept the challenge, and never look back.” -​ ​Alicia Sacramone, 10-time world medalist (2005-11)
(told to Gymnastics 6/25/09)

Courtney Kupets

Martin Rose/Getty Images

“If you believe you can get through an injury and fight back, and you really love gymnastics enough, you can get through it.” – Courtney Kupets, USA, 2002 world champion (bars), most decorated NCAA gymnast ever
(told to International Gymnast 3/11/09)

Jonathan Horton

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“It’s not about winning or losing a competition, it’s about beating the doubt from within yourself and knowing at the end of each day you are one step closer to your goals.” – Jonathan Horton, USA, Two-time Olympic medalist (2008)
(told to Gymnastics 5/28/09)

Raj Bhavsar

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“Competing in gymnastics is the greatest reminder of being alive as a human being.” – Raj Bhavsar, USA, 2008 Olympic bronze medalist (team)
(told to Gymnastics 4/23/09)

Svetlana Boguinskaya

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“Hard work is always hard work, for young gymnasts and old gymnasts. Whoever can handle this will be a champion.” – Svetlana Boguinskaya, USSR / Belarus, Five-time Olympic medalist (1988, 1992; 1996)
(original source unknown)

Brandy Johnson

Focus On Sport/Getty Images

“Set your goals, follow your dreams, listen to your heart and don’t let anything stand in your way.” – Brandy Johnson, USA, 1989 world silver medalist (vault)
(Brandy Johnson’s Global Gymnastics Academy motto)

Dmitry Bilozerchev

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“Every single element, even the most hair-raising, can be improved.” -Dmitry Bilozerchev, USSR, Two-time world all-around champion (1983, 1987), three-time Olympic gold medalist (1988)
(original source unknown)

Peter Vidmar

Staff/Getty Images  

“Everyone works hard when they want to, when they get quick results, when it’s convenient to put forth effort. The best work hard when they don’t want to, when it’s inconvenient to give it that little extra effort… and that extra effort might be just what they need to place them on top.” – Peter Vidmar, USA, Two-time Olympic gold medalist (1984)
(told to Gymnastics 4/24/09)

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