Doug Pensinger/Getty Images Sport/Getty Images

Lessons About Perseverance From 9 Olympic Athletes That Will Seriously *Move* You

By
Share
Ad failed to load

To compete in the Olympics is probably the most remarkable, extraordinary achievement in an athlete's life. To reach that level, they must train for years and years, on a path that is filled with intense training and physical exertion. However, some athletes have stories that go even beyond that norm. It's a testament to their character when you hear these lessons of perseverance from the stories of these Olympic athletes.

As the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Games in South Korea are upon us, it's amazing to look back at some of the athletes that have become Olympians and to hear about what they overcame to be there. Some grew up in abject poverty, some overcame physical disabilities, and still others had traumas they needed to conquer.

Here are a few of their inspiring stories.

Ad failed to load

2006, 2010, 2018: Lindsey Vonn (USA) — Skiing

Vonn is one of the most decorated and most recognized female skiiers, but this path hasn't been without bumps, falls, and even an airlift off a mountain during the training run for the 2006 Torino Olympics (she competed anyway). Vonn has suffered several major injuries throughout the course of her professional career, according to NBC Sports. For example, a knee injury prevented her from racing in 2014, but she has rehabbed herself back to world class form and is ready to compete in PyeongChang.

2016: Jillion Potter (USA) — Rugby

Jillion Potter had two major events tried to dash her Olympic rugby dreams. The first was an accident. While playing in a game in 2010, Potter broke her neck. Four years later, she was diagnosed with Stage 3 synovial sarcoma, and received chemotherapy for it, reported NBC. She was able to recover from both of those traumas to go on to compete in the 2016 Rio Summer Games.

Ad failed to load
Wilma Rudolph by Getty Images/Getty Images Sport/Getty Images

1956 and 1960: Wilma Rudolph (USA) — Track

Wilma Rudolph grew up in extreme poverty in Tennessee and overcame childhood polio to win medals in the 1956 Melbourne Games and the 1960 Rome Games.

Ad failed to load

2012: Im Dong-hyun (South Korea) — Archery

Im Dong-hyun isn't your average archer. He's remarkably accomplished and set two world records in the 2012 London Olympics. What's extra-amazing about that is that he is legally blind and competes without corrective eyewear, covered The New York Times.

Kerri Strug by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images Sport/Getty Images
Ad failed to load

1996: Kerri Strug (USA) — Gymnastics

In 1996, with her team trailing the Russians, Kerri Strug but landed on her ankle in a way that caused tremendous pain while performing the vault, recapped Healthcare. She knew for her team to win, she had to do it again and to land perfectly and not buckle. Strug did it, landing beautifully and scoring a 9.712, which helped her team win the gold.

2008: Natalie Du Toit (South Africa) — Swimming

Natalie du Toit was a gifted competitive swimmer in Cape Town, South Africa. She was so talented that she started competing in international competitions at the age of 14. Unfortunately, when she was 16, she got a hit by a car on her way to school from practice while on her scooter, resulting in having her leg amputated at the knee, profiled The New York Times. It didn't stop her. She was determined to walk and swim again, achieving Olympic status at the 2008 Beijing Games.

Ad failed to load

1948 and 1952: Károly Takács (Hungary) — Pistol Shooting

In 1938, while serving in the Hungarian army, a grenade went off in Károly Takács's his hand during a routine training exercise, according to Bed Times. His right arm had to be amputated below the elbow and any Olympic hopes he had were blown up at the same time. Takács went on to learn to shoot with his left hand. He competed in the Summer Olympics in 1928 and 1952, London and Helsinki, respectively.

2012 and 2016: Allison Schmitt (USA) — Swimming

After earning five medals at the 2012 London Olympics, Allison Schmitt should have been on top of the world. Instead, Schmitt opened up to the Associated Press that she struggled with clinical depression, shared US News. She was able to overcome it and compete in 2016, but more importantly, she became an advocate for depression awareness and used her story to help others get help.

Ad failed to load

2016: Abbey D’Agostino (USA) and Nikki Hamblin (New Zealand) — Track

This one isn't just a lesson in perseverance getting these athletes to the games. It's a story of amazing character and grit in an adverse situation. Both women were running in the 5000 meter run, when Hamblin tripped and fell. Most of the other runners were able to run around her and avoid a collision, but unfortunately, D'Agostino was not. Instead of freaking out or screaming or worse, D'Agostino pulled herself up, pulled up Hamblin and urged her to finish the course, with the two of them crossing the finish line, reported The L.A. Times. It was a fabulous demonstration of the Olympic spirit and in kindness and sportsmanship.

Ad failed to load

Check out Romper's new video series, Bearing The Motherload, where disagreeing parents from different sides of an issue sit down with a mediator and talk about how to support (and not judge) each other’s parenting perspectives. New episodes air Mondays on Facebook.

Ad failed to load
Must Reads

15 Baby Names With Unique Nicknames, So Your Family Has Options

I love a good diminutive name, also known as a nickname. I believe I’m partial to them because of my own name, Abigale, but I go by Abi. And since they’re both uniquely spelled, everyone thinks my name is pronounced Ah-bee for some reason — but even …
By Abi Berwager Schreier

The Entire Family Can Enjoy These Movies & Shows Coming To Netflix In June

It's just one of those sad facts of life: every month, shows and movies vanish from Netflix, their varied excitements no longer at your fingertips. But luckily the streaming service is always prepared to fill that content void with lots of new things…
By Megan Walsh

The Reason Why Babies Smile At You Will Seriously Make You Smile

Whether you're currently the recipient of your own baby's sweet smiles or you just seem to be a magnet for baby grins in general, you might find yourself wondering why babies are always smiling at you. Sure, you could be a 'smile whisperer' but scien…
By Kate Miller

8 Ways Your Baby Is Trying To Say That, Yes, You Are Their Favorite

For a baby to show a preference for a specific person is not only normal, but an essential part of their development. Babies need to form strong attachments to their caregivers for their emotional, social, and physical wellbeing. Usually, but not alw…
By Kimmie Fink

10 Reasons Why I Won't Apologize For Giving My Toddler A Pacifier

My first child had no interest in a pacifier. I tried a couple times to get him to take one, but he always spat them out and gave me an incredulous, judgmental look. But my second? It was love at first suckle. And after a while, the incredulous, judg…
By Jamie Kenney

Being A Dog Parent Prepared Me For Having A Baby, Really

I’ve always wanted kids; I was never as sure about raising a puppy. Then I spent six months living with someone who brought home an eight-week-old golden retriever puppy, and I see no way to make it out of that experience claiming not to love dogs. I…
By Heather Caplan

20 Of The Most Popular Unisex Names Of All Time, That You'll Be Hearing More Of For Sure

You might think of unisex names as a fairly recent trend, but the truth is these versatile monikers have been commonly used throughout history (well, some more commonly than others). That's why the team over at Names.org recently compiled a list of t…
By Jacqueline Burt Cote

How To Have A Date Night With No Babysitter, Because It's Easier Than You Think

After having children, many couples feel that their love lives immediately go out the window, but it's so important to make your romantic life a priority so both you and your partner can be the best versions of yourselves you can be. As we all know, …
By Abi Berwager Schreier

9 Ways Baby No. 3 Made My Family Feel Complete

My husband and I decided to have another baby right after we got married and, well, we had no idea what we were getting into. I got pregnant right away, endured a high-risk pregnancy, and, before I knew it, my third baby had arrived. Together, we emb…
By Steph Montgomery

8 Stereotypes About New Dads That Are *Totally* True

Much like new mothers, new fathers have a lot on their plate. Parenting can be scary and complex, especially at first and regardless of your gender. People want to do right by their kids, after all. And since all new parents are a hot mess, dads are …
By Priscilla Blossom

8 Differences Between Being Pregnant In Your 20s Vs 30s, According To Science

Whether you're planning a pregnancy, or just thinking about your future family, it's typical to think about things like child-spacing, how many kids you want, and when to start trying to conceive. When making your pro/con list, you might also conside…
By Steph Montgomery

16 Moms Share Remedies For Their Most Intense Chocolate Cravings During Pregnancy

For better or worse, pregnancy is usually synonymous with odd cravings. Sure, there are the stereotypical combos like pickles and ice cream that plague gestating women the world over, but there are other mind-boggling combinations, too, including but…
By Candace Ganger

Putting Sunscreen On Your Kid Doesn't Have To Be A Fight — Here's How To Do It

I am almost translucent, so me and sunscreen are basically besties at this point. Even though my children are beautifully deep brown thanks to my husband's genetics, I still slather them like biscuits being buttered because I refuse to take risks wit…
By Cat Bowen

19 Moms Share The Way They Cured Their Pregnancy Comfort Food Cravings

I was obnoxiously sick during the first trimester with, "lucky" for me, both of my pregnancies. For the first three months I lived on saltines, lemonade, and fresh bread. Once I was able to eat, however, all I wanted was savory and sweet comfort food…
By Dina Leygerman

I Used To Judge Formula-Feeding Moms — Until I Became One

The other patrons in the hip Brooklyn restaurant probably couldn’t care less what I was feeding my baby, but I’ll always remember the shame I felt as I quickly mixed up his bottle of formula in front of them. I admitted to my childless friend that I …
By Katherine Martinelli

7 White Lies It’s Necessary To Tell To Keep Your Relationship Healthy

Telling lots of lies typically isn't associated with a healthy, strong, lasting relationship, and that's still certainly true, but not all lies are exactly the same. Though you've probably heard from someone at least once or twice that the lie they t…
By Lauren Schumacker

The Skinny Jeans That Saved Me Postpartum

Accepting my post-pregnancy body is hands-down one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done. It’s something that I still work on every single day. During my first pregnancy, I was 20 years old, so I managed to bounce back quickly. In fact, I dropp…
By Allison Cooper

7 Ways Your Baby Is Trying To Say They Feel Safe

In those first weeks of new motherhood, it can feel like you need an interpreter for your newborn. With their limited means of communication, figuring out what message your baby is trying to get across to you can be a challenge. With time, however, y…
By Kimmie Fink

Here's Why Dogs Are Obsessed With Babies' Poop, According To Science

Most family dogs seem to understand babies, and they're more than happy to make friends with the newest member of the pack. It's adorable... for the most part and until you go to change your little one's diaper. Suddenly, you're wondering why dogs ar…
By Lindsay E. Mack

6 Signs You're Meant To Have A Big Age Gap Between Kids

There's a five year age difference between my two children, to the day. Their age gap wasn't planned but, for a variety of reasons, works well for our family. And since I was so focused on having a second baby, I totally overlooked the signs that wou…
By Candace Ganger

My Dog Knew I Was Pregnant Before My Family Did

Growing up, I was 100 percent sure I'd be a mom one day. To a dog, that is. My baby plans came later. And once my husband and I were sure we wanted both a dog and a baby, we'd add to our joint dog-and-baby name list over Sunday brunch or on date nigh…
By Melissa Mills
)}