10 Quotes From Star Athletes to Get You Motivated

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No one knows better the psychic toll of failure than professional athletes. As experts in the field of sports excellence, Venus Williams, Babe Ruth, Muhammad Ali and athletic stars like them impart inspirational words about having a healthy attitude toward winning and the lessons they learned from losing. These quotes from 10 sports luminaries will encourage you to try your hardest and not succumb to the emotional agony of defeat.

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2. Muhammad Ali

"Champions aren't made in gyms. Champions are made from something they have deep inside them -- a desire, a dream, a vision. They have to have last-minute stamina. They have to be a little faster. They have to have the skill and the will. But the will must be stronger than the skill."

The former Cassius Clay took the heavyweight boxing championship in 1964 after winning an Olympic gold medal in 1960. He went on to claim the Heavyweight World Champion title twice more, winning fans worldwide and being named Sportsman of the Century by Sports Illustrated in 1999.

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3. Ronda Rousey

"I love people doubting me. I'm more motivated by proving people wrong than fulfilling everyone's expectations."

The UFC women's bantamweight champion and Strikeforce women's bantamweight champion brought a spotlight to the world of women's mixed martial arts, having convinced the UFC to allow women to compete in the first place. She was awarded the Olympic bronze medal in judo in 2008 and is also an author and actress.

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4. Kobe Bryant

"If you don't believe in yourself, no one will do it for you."

The basketball star surpassed Michael Jordan on the NBA's all-time scoring list in 2014 and has won five NBA titles with the Los Angeles Lakers. He has two Olympic gold medals and was called "one of the greatest players in the history of our game" by NBA Commissioner Adam Silver.

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5. Babe Ruth

"It's hard to beat a person who never gives up."

One of the first five baseball players inducted into the sport's Hall of Fame in 1936, the American icon's 714 home-run record stood until 1974. "To say 'Babe Ruth' is to say 'baseball,'" former American League President Will Harridge said of Ruth, who played for the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees before retiring with the Boston Braves in 1935.

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6. Jerry Rice

"Today I will do what others won't, so tomorrow I can accomplish what others can't."

Considered the greatest wide receiver to play in the National Football League, Rice retired in 2004 with a record 36 football records and three Super Bowl wins with the San Francisco 49ers. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2010, his first year of eligibility.

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7. Venus Williams

"Of course I want to be No. 1, but being happy and healthy is the most important thing."

The four-time Olympic women's tennis gold medalist has won seven Grand Slam singles titles and co-authored New York Times best-seller "Come to Win: Business Leaders, Artists, Doctors, and Other Visionaries on How Sports Can Help You Top Your Profession." Diagnosed with the autoimmune disease Sjogren's syndrome in 2011, Williams changed her diet and training schedule and went on to win her 13th Grand Slam doubles title with her sister Serena Williams at Wimbledon.

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8. Pelé

"Success is no accident. It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice and, most of all, love of what you are doing or learning to do."

A Brazilian national treasure, the soccer legend born as Edson Arantes do Nascimento was known for his remarkable performance on and off the field: "Pele played football for 22 years, and in that time he did more to promote world friendship and fraternity than any other ambassador anywhere," said J.B. Pinheiro, Brazilian ambassador to the United Nations. "O Rei" ("The King") won three World Cups and was named FIFA co-Player of the Century in 1999.

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9. Vince Lombardi

"It's not whether you get knocked down, it's whether you get up."

Considered one of the greatest football coaches of all time, Lombardi starred on the Fordham University football team, eventually becoming a coach there. Later, as head coach for the Green Bay Packers, he led the team to five NFL Championships -- including victories in Super Bowls I and II in the late 1960s -- and gave the Washington Redskins their first winning season in over a decade. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1971 soon after his death.

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10. Mia Hamm

I've worked too hard and too long to let anything stand in the way of my goals. I will not let my teammates down, and I will not let myself down."

Two-time women's soccer Olympic gold medalist and two-time FIFA Women's World Cup winner Mia Hamm competed with the U.S. women's national team for 17 years. She went on to found the nonprofit Mia Hamm Foundation, which raises funds for bone marrow and cord blood transplants and research and provides opportunities for young women in sports.

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