In the world of athletics, the competition is fierce and challenges are constant. There are individuals who rise above the odds to achieve greatness.These athletes demonstrate an unwavering spirit and an unyielding determination that proves that giving up is never an option.
Amidst adversity, setbacks, and even failures, these remarkable individuals showcase the power of persistence and the subsequent rewards that come from never giving up.
Here are inspiring stories of five such athletes who have proven time and again that with dedication and perseverance, the human spirit can achieve remarkable feats on and off the field.
Michael Jordan: Widely regarded as one of the greatest basketball players of all time, Jordan faced multiple setbacks early in his career, including being dropped from his high school basketball team. Success and failure are two sides of same coin but the roads to triumph are always paved with setbacks.
Jordon’s story is a testament to the importance of failure in achieving success.
"I've missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I've lost almost 300 games. Twenty-six times I've been trusted to take the game-winning shot and missed.”
Jordon understood this process very well as each time he would fail, he would carefully assess his performance, pinpoint the areas that need development, and work tirelessly to hone his abilities. His dedication to lifelong learning process and improvement enabled him to turn setbacks into stepping stones on to the path of success.
“I failed over and over again in my life and that is the reason why I succeed.”
However, he continued to work hard and became a six-time NBA champion.
Serena Williams: Serena Williams has overcome injuries and health issues throughout her career but has consistently come back stronger. She holds numerous Grand Slam titles and is considered one of the greatest tennis players in the history of the game.
Being African-American women, in a predominately white sport, she has an inspiring figure for all aspiring athletes. She shattered racial and gender barriers which paved her way for future generations to dream big and strive for greatness.
Bethany Hamilton: After losing her arm in a shark attack at the age of 13, Hamilton didn't let it stop her from pursuing her passion for surfing. She became a professional surfer and an inspiration to many.
“I guess my passion for surfing outweighed my fear of sharks, and I was just waiting until the doctor said I was OK to get in the ocean.”
Hamilton’s mindset played a big role in her journey to the top of surfing. “This is what I dreamt of, and the loss of my arm didn’t stop that dream,” she reflects.
“It’s just my mindset and my approach to the obstacle and thinking on what I can do and how you know what is possible versus what’s the challenge of it.”
Usian Bolt: After getting diagnosed with scoliosis at the age of 17, his spine was bending due to over training. This resulted in his performance as he was eliminated from the 200 sprint in the Olympics held in 2004.
He defied all odds to become the only sprinter to win Olympic 100m and 200m three consecutive Olympics. (2008, 2012, 2016)
Ms Dhoni: Born in small town of Jharkhand, Mahendra Singh Dhoni had gone through several obstacles in quest to achieve his dream of playing cricket for his nation. Dhoni's dedication to his profession, rigorous training regimens, and never-ending improvement were crucial in his transformation into a world class player.
Dhoni frequently demonstrated wise decisions he took under pressure situations. He led his team to victory in 2007 WT20, 2011 ICC World Cup and 2013 Champions Trophy.