clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

'Just don't give up.' Powerful, Insightful and Inspiring quotes from the 2018 Olympic Games

PYEONGCHANG, South Korea — Their words have power.

They reveal the secrets of success and the difficult truths of not just enduring hardships and challenges but in embracing, overcoming and celebrating them.

Throughout the 2018 Olympics there have been moments where athletes have found words that not only describe their extraordinary experiences, but offer some inspiration and insight into how the non-Olympians among us might learn from their journeys.

Here are some Deseret News favorites:

“Just don’t give up,” he said. “I can’t decide the results, but I can still put my best foot forward and try the best I can.”

Nathan Chen on what he would tell his 7-year-old self.

“She just told me, you know, tomorrow is a new day. Just attack everything and fight for everything. She’s sort of saying, ‘This isn’t who I am. So just go for everything.’”

Nathan Chen on what his mother told him after his disastrous short program.

“No, I’d say last place is the worst to finish. I mean, you’re still at the Olympics. I guess it could be (depressing), but I wasn’t really expecting it. So I’m optimistic about it. Fourth is awesome.”

Joey Mantia when asked if fourth place is the worst spot in which to finish at the Olympics.

“It’s the American experiment, and it’s working. You can see other countries here at the Games, and the French teams look like the French, the Japanese look Japanese. But the American team, we’re a patchwork of different looking people from different backgrounds. From athlete to staff, it is what makes us unique. I’m really proud to be part of that patchwork, to fit in that diverse appearance of Team USA. We’re that experiment itself.”

Alan Tran, head chef for U.S. Ski and Snowboard team and the child of refugees on what it’s like to be part of Team USA at the Olympics.

“When I put on the Team USA gear, and the flag is on there, what I see is the flag of a nation of immigrants,” he said. “Unless you’re Native American, your family came here hoping to better themselves. Going to the Olympics and representing that kind of ideal, it’s heartwarming.”

Alan Tran, head chef for U.S. Ski and Snowboard team and the child of refugees on what it’s like to be part of Team USA at the Olympics.

“I was at an all-time low. But when I’m feeling down, my instinct is to work harder. (The secret to doing what no one else has done is) just not giving up.”

Chris Mazdzer, after becoming the first American man to win an individual luge medal.

“We have some young girls coming up, and I was lucky enough to watch them compete in their first World Cup a couple of weeks ago. It was almost like I was passing the torch to them. And it was such a cool feeling for me to experience that and to be able to cheer those young girls on. And going through what I’ve gone through I can help guide them. Because I didn’t have that growing up, and it’s a really special thing that they can look up to us and pursue their dreams.”

Abby Ringquist, one of the pioneering U.S. ski jumpers who fought for women to be able to compete in the Olympics.

“I was 19th place, and I think I’m smiling more than some of the people who beat me. That’s what Abby and I do really well. We’re always smiling and having fun. We’re ski jumping; this is supposed to be fun, and this is the Olympics. There is nothing better than that.”

Sarah Hendrickson on what her goals were in her second Olympic competition.

“It’s helped me through a lot of hard times in training and skating, Being an elite-level athlete, there are a lot more lows than highs, there are a lot of disappointments, setbacks and hard training. And having that religious background helped me to get through those hard times. I don’t know if I can say why, but it does. Knowing I have that religion, that life isn’t all about my sport, there are things that I can turn to that help me get through those hard times.”

Jerica Tandiman, on how faith and family help her succeed in speedskating.

“I am so excited to be part of yesterday To win our medal on the same day as some of these incredible women, it was 'Yes, girl power! Women roar!’ A magical day to be a part of. That’s such an honor. And hopefully it does inspire more young girls to do what we do, and to go out there and live their dreams.”

Elena Meyers Taylor, on winning her silver medal on the same day that Team USA’s three other medals were won by women.

“When I think about reading it as a story, something I might read to my son someday, it’s a fairytale, I remember competing in my first Olympics in Salt Lake City and finishing 44th and feeling so far from that podium. And yet, still feeling that glimmer of hope.”

Kikkan Randall the day after she and Jessie Diggins won gold in the cross-country team sprint.

“So, yeah, you can accomplish whatever you want, kids — and adults!”

Lauren Gibbs, on her journey from 30-year-old businesswoman to Olympic silver medalist.

"Here you are doing this really wonderful thing, travelling around the world. But you feel depressed because the pressure to perform beats you down, you feel relegated to a number or you are lonely. … If you are 1.5 seconds off (the lead), that's a blink of an eye, but you feel like less of a person."

Alpine skier Tim Jitloff, on the mental challenges elite athletes face.

“He’s too young to realize we’re in 21st place. Which is probably a good thing. It’s great to have their support, to have him be able to watch me keep trying and not quit even though we’re not where we want to be.”

Bobsled brakeman Chris Fogt about what he hopes his son takes from his willingness to continue to give his best when a medal is out of reach.

“It takes a lot just to get here in the first place, no matter what country you’re from. And just showing that off here is super special.”

U.S. speedskater and three-time Olympian Mitchell Whitmore, on what makes the sacrifice worthwhile when athletes don’t win medals.

“I gave it my best shot. I tried so hard, worked my butt off, and I’m so proud to have competed with such amazing girls, my teammates. We help each other. Most us us have been injured pretty severely, and I’m so proud and happy to have been training with them. It’s been fun.”

Alpine ski legend Lindsey Vonn, after winning bronze in her last Olympic downhill race

"The reason I take the risks is I like the reward. And when you seize the reward, everybody is all happy, dandy-go-lucky and when you don’t, either it hurts or it hurts — physically or emotionally. And this is an emotional pain right now.”

Aerial skier Ashley Caldwell on why it’s so hard to commit to your best when less might earn you success in the eyes of everyone else

“I think I’ve learned how short life is. I think that you have to learn to make the most out of every day, and sometimes life sucks. A lot. But even when you’re down, and at the lowest you can get, there are always things that you’re passionate about that you can use as a ladder to pull yourself out of those dark moments. And that’s really what’s important.

“And that’s really what I would say to anybody in any situation. If you’re in the bottom of yourself and the worst time in your life, just find that thing — and aerials is that for me — that you can use to pull yourself out.”

Aerial skier Jonathon Lillis, on what he’s learned in the wake of his teenage brother Mikey Lillis’ death.

“This is a snapshot of everything we have been through. I could sit here and speak for hours on what my team is all about. … What this group has been able to accomplish is way beyond sport, and it is something that is never going to fade.”

Three-time Olympic hockey player Gigi Marvin, on what the U.S. women’s team accomplished by winning a World Championship and Olympic gold after fighting for a livable wage.

“I want to tell (my) story so that when people graduate from college, they can make decisions they are passionate about instead of what they feel like they’re supposed to do. Because I think life is to short to do what you’re supposed to do.”

Lauren Gibbs, on giving up her career in business at 30 to chase Olympic dreams in bobsled

“She’s pioneered the sport. She’s a really talented snowboarder. … People constantly ask, ‘So you feel bad for her? Don’t you think she deserves it?’ She’s done incredible for herself. There are a lot of athletes whose results don’t measure up to who they are. … She’s the best at this sport.”

Faye Gulini, on teammate and fellow snowboard cross Lindsey Jacobellis never winning an Olympic medal

"I hope it turns around and that instead of tearing people down we can build people up."

Alpine skier Lindsey Vonn on the social media bullying she endured throughout the Games.

"It really just helps so much in life, brings you joy, gets you outside, breathing fresh air, less computer action and phone time and more freedom."

Womens big air silver medallist and slopestyle gold medalis Jamie Anderson, on why young people should take up snowboarding.

"Five days a week in the gym, five days a week in the steam room, five days a week on the trampoline, two times a week in the sports psychologist, three times a week for PT — every single day of my life."

Ski halfpipe silver medallist Alex Ferreira lists his dizzying schedule for success.

"It's just six races of my life that have gone completely wrong."

Short track speed skater Elise Christie, Great Britain, a two-time world champion, admits she may have an Olympic curse after suffering two disqualifications and a crash in Pyeongchang after three disqualifications at Sochi in 2014.

"It’s not always a fairytale."

Two-time aerials medalist Lydia Lassila, Australia, on crashing and missing out on a medal in her final Olympics.

“Sometimes it takes a team to get it done.”

Heather Bergsma, on finally winning an Olympic medal in speedskating, which came in Team Pursuit, a first for the U.S. women.