Inspiring Quotes by Women Athletes from the Tokyo Olympics
The games may be over, but these women athletes changed history forever!
The 2020 Tokyo Olympics may be over, but the incredible female athletes who won medals, broke records, and made history are legends forever. Catch up on all the most talked-about stories of female empowerment and prowess at the games, and inspire yourself to achieve your own Olympic-sized feats with these badass quotes from women athletes.
Here are the most inspiring quotes and stories from the top female athletes who made waves literally (see: surfer Carrissa Moore) and symbolically at the Tokyo Olympics.
American Tamyra Mensah-Stock is the first Black woman to win wrestling gold in Olympic history. She plans to use some of the money she won at the games to invest in her mother's dream of owning a food truck. Talk about women supporting women!
Simone Biles needs no introduction as a standout gymnast for Team USA. Biles experienced mental health concerns and decided to remove herself from competition in Tokyo, allowing her teammates to take the spotlight and medal in multiple events. Biles later decided to take on the balance beam and brought home a bronze medal. She has forever changed the game for female (and male) athletes by speaking up about mental health.
MyKayla Skinner came out of retirement to win silver in the women’s vault events as a last-minute replacement for Simone Biles. It is Skinner’s first medal of her career at the Olympics. Skinner's willingness to start again when she thought she was finished shows that it's never too late to achieve your goals!
Hidilyn Diaz scored the first-ever gold medal for the Philippines. Stuck in Malaysia due to travel restrictions before the games, Diaz created a makeshift training routine with water bottles attached to the ends of a wooden pole. Her determination and resilience paid off in dividends: not only can she return home to her family, but has been offered two houses by the Filipino president.
“It’s just crazy that people look up to me like that, and I wouldn’t be here without them. They sacrificed their life for me, so I’m really, really grateful for them, and I’m super proud of myself for just not giving up.” -Sunisa Lee
Sunisa “Suni” Lee made history as the first Hmong American to win a gold medal for the all-around gymnastics event. She dedicated her medal to her father, an immigrant from Laos, who supported her from an early age by building a balance beam in their backyard.
13-year-old Momiji Nishiya from Japan took gold in the women’s street skateboarding competition and became one of the youngest gold medalists in Olympic history. It will be amazing to see her progress in future games.
Carli Lloyd is the oldest woman to play on the U.S. women’s soccer team and was essential in bringing home a bronze medal this year, scoring two goals against Team Australia. Though it wasn't the gold medal she was hoping for, Lloyd is a great example of how to play your best even when you don't win. She is now the first U.S. women's soccer player to score in four Olympics.
Carissa Moore, who is half Native Hawaiian, took home the gold in the first-ever surfing event held at the Olympics. Moore’s inspiration, Hawaiian surfing legend Duke Kahanamoku, campaigned to have surfing included in the Olympics. She dedicated her win to the Hawaiian community.
Coming from a small town in Alaska, 17-year-old swimmer Lydia Jacoby didn’t expect to win gold at the Olympics. She did, and her whole town went viral as they reacted to her race. Now she hopes that an Olympic-sized pool will be built in her hometown of Seward, so that she won’t have to train in a bigger city.
U.S. fencer and med student Lee Kiefer brought home the first American medal—a gold one at that—in the individual foil event. Keifer trained for the games with her husband, Olympic fencer Gerek Meinhardt, who is also in medical school. Even their love story is Olympic gold!
World-record holder and U.S. swimmer Katie Ledecky dominated her swimming events and won two gold medals and two silver medals in Tokyo. She is now one of the most decorated athletes with 10 individual Olympic medals and holds the world record for 400, 800, and 1300 meter races.
Erica Sullivan won silver in the newly-added 1500 meter swimming event at the Tokyo Olympics. The 20-year-old is a queer Asian American woman, who also (briefly) made history by breaking the Olympic record in the 1500 meter before U.S. teammate Katie Ledecky broke it in the next heat.
Costa Rican gymnast Luciana Alvarado made headlines for dedicating her floor routine to the Black Lives Matter movement, which she ended with a fist raised to the sky. Alvarado says she was inspired to bring people together with her history-making demonstration. She is also the first-ever gymnast from Costa Rica to qualify for the Olympics.
The second-fastest woman in history, Elaine Thompson-Herah broke records and won three gold medals for Jamaica in the Olympic track and field events. She beat the record set by American icon Florence Griffith Joyner by 0.01 second in the 100-meter race.
New Zealander Laurel Hubbard made history as one of the first openly trans athletes to compete in the Olympic games. Though she did not win a medal, her bravery for competing in the cis-dominated world of sports is inspiring. She joined a handful of other trans and/or non-binary athletes at the Tokyo games. In total, there were at least 179 out LGBTQ athletes at the game—an Olympic record in itself.
Archer An San became the first Korean athlete to win three gold medals at the Tokyo Olympics. However, her short hair and refusal to wear makeup caused controversy with misogynists in her home country. In her defense, Korean women started posting photos with short hair to honor her unique style.
American track and field star Raven Saunders won silver in shot-put and used her time on the podium to make an inclusive statement about identity. Saunders crossed her arms in an “X” to signify “the intersection of where all people who are oppressed meet." Unfortunately, the International Olympic Committee began to launch an investigation into the gesture. They suspended their inquiry after Saunders announced her mother suddenly passed away.
British BMX biker Beth Shriever overcame multiple injuries to compete in the Tokyo Olympics, including breaking her wrist three times and fracturing her tibia and fibula. It paid off for Shriever and she took home gold in her event.
35-year-old Allyson Felix completed what is probably her last Olympics before retirement with a bang: she beat Carl Lewis to become the most decorated U.S. track and field star in history with 11 Olympic medals. She previously made the news when she cut ties with Nike, her former sponsor, for not supporting her during her pregnancy. Her advocacy for women in sports makes her a living legend.
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Who was your favorite women athlete at the Tokyo Olympics?