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Olympic Quotations

The Olympics are a lifetime of training for just ten seconds.

—Jesse Owens

I am building a fire, and everyday I train, I add more fuel. At just the right moment, I light the match.

—Mia Hamm

All I’ve done is run fast. I don’t see why people should make much fuss about that.

—Fanny Blankers-Koen

I swam my brains out.

—Mark Spitz, on winning seven gold medals

To anyone who has started out on a long campaign believing that the gold medal was destined for him, the feeling when, all of a sudden, the medal has gone somewhere else is quite indescribable.

—Sebastian Coe

It is the inspiration of the Olympic Games that drives people not only to compete but to improve, and to bring lasting spiritual and moral benefits to the athlete and inspiration to those lucky enough to witness the athletic dedication.

—Herb Elliott

The Olympics are a wonderful metaphor for world cooperation, the kind of international competition that’s wholesome and healthy, an interplay between countries that represents the best in all of us.

—John Williams

The Olympics remain the most compelling search for excellence that exists in sport, and maybe in life itself.

—Dawn Fraser

The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not winning but taking part; the essential thing in life is not conquering but fighting well.

—Pierre de Coubertin

For athletes, the Olympics are the ultimate test of their worth.

—Mary Lou Retton

Finishing second in the Olympics gets you silver. Finishing second in politics gets you oblivion.

—Richard Nixon

Stretch pants: the garment that made skiing a spectator sport.


Curling is not a sport. I called my grandmother and told her she could win a gold medal because they have dusting in the Olympics now.

—Charles Barkley

Here’s a good practical joke: get hired as an Olympic judge. Then, when somebody sets a world record, pretend you didn’t see it and announce, “Okay! Everybody ready to start now?”

—Jack Handy