Anytime the Olympics come around it leaves many of us reminiscing about past Olympians. We’re extremely fortunate in the US to have had so many incredible athletes represent the country in the Olympics for many, many years. Since the Summer Olympics are about to begin it has us wanting to take a little walk down memory lane to celebrate some of the inspiring US Olympians. While there are so many truly inspiring US Olympians, we chose a few that really stuck out to celebrate and remember (but if we’re honest we had a really hard time narrowing the list down, because there are so many!).
If you were around during the 90’s and recall the 1996 Olympics, you have to remember the powerhouse gymnast. Strug was the last on the US team to perform on vault, and the pressure was really on her to perform since the US team was neck and neck with Russia. In her first run on her vault performance she actually hurt her ankle, but instead of giving up she went in for another attempt landing it PERFECT. You may remember seeing videos or images of her being carried by the Olympic coach because she really hurt her ankle badly in the first run. Her determination to power through the pain and perform regardless, lead the US Gymnastics team to win the gold medal that year, and has left so many inspired for years!
Another icon in the Olympian world. Jesse Owens is often referred to as one of the best athletes of all time. He actually won four Olympic gold medals, despite overcoming major obstacles. It’s said he grew up quite sick as a child and dealt with quite the obstacles because of his race. He overcame them all and really showed the world he was capable of so much more. Owens was actually THE most successful competitor when he performed in the Berlin games in 1936. It’s so inspiring when an athlete is able to prove others wrong and show them that their background and ethnicity truly have nothing to do with their abilities to succeed in their goals.
Another memorable performance from a US athlete made by Greg Louganis in the 1988 Olympics. Louganis performed in the diving board events, and in the preliminary rounds of the events, he actually hit his head on the diving board leaving watchers with their jaws dropped and Greg needed temporary stitches. He continued on competing regardless of his injury and actually ended up winning the gold medal for his event. Watching an athlete push through what could have been enough to stop someone from continuing on, has landed Louganis a spot on our inspiring US athletes.
It really goes without saying that anyone who’s able to make it to the Olympics is a true inspiration. The determination, hard work, and ability it takes to make it to that level is not something that goes without notice. Do you have a favorite US Olympic athlete from the past?