Sunday, March 24, 2019

Part III of my “Yes, You Can” Inspirational Sports Moments Series. These posts are also available as an amazing slideshow on The Bleacher Report. I think they may look even better over there!

If you look up “to inspire” in the dictionary you get answers like “to affect or touch; elicit or arouse; guide or motivate; bring about.”

But it is so much more than that! The feeling behind inspiration is so complex, multi-faceted and subjective, I don’t feel it can be summed up by half a line in a dictionary.

Instead, I think it requires quite a few lines and some pictures to really nail down what it means “to inspire.”

To me, there is nothing more inspiring and motivating then hearing the words, “never” or ‘”No. You can’t.” Maybe it’s the petulant child inside of me that always got her way when she was little and dislikes the word no. Because those words make me want to stand up, fight back and say, “Oh yes, I CAN.” ~Jennifer Taglione (me!)

“To do something, however small, to make others happier and better, is the highest ambition, the most elevating hope, which can inspire a human being” ~ John Lubbock

In the 1988 World Series, the Los Angeles Dodger’s were down 4-3 in the bottom of the ninth with 2 outs and one runner on base. The Dodger’s brought in Kirk Gibson to pinch hit. Gibson was not expected to appear in the game becaus he had injured both knees and could barely walk, plus he had a stomach virus. On the final pitch of the game with the at count was 3-2, Gibson hit the winning homerun. Unable to run, he hobbled around the bases.

The Dodger’s won the World Series and Gibson’s homerun became one of the greatest sports moments of all time.

“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” ~John Quincy Adams

How do you even begin to describe Lance Armstrong’s success? He is one of the most inspiring athletes of all time.

He has won seven consecutive Tour de Frances, more than any other person, and he won the battle against testicular cancer that had also spread through his body to his brain and lungs.

Oh, and those wins? They came after his battle with cancer.

“Our greatest glory consists not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.” ~Oliver Goldsmith

In the 1996 Olympics, it seemed like nothing would stand in the way of the U.S. gymnastics team, nicknamed the Magnificent Seven. But during the final event, the vault, they were neck and neck with.

In her first vault attempt Kerry Strug landed awkwardly and severely damaged her ankle. She had :30 to decide if she could vault again and post a higher score to secure the gold medal for her team.

She rose up, vaulted again and landed beautifully with a salute to the judges.

She nailed a 9.7.

The U.S. Magnificent Seven won the gold.

Kerry Strug’s had to be carried to the medal ceremony.

“To succeed, you need to find something to hold on to. Something to motivate you. Something to inspire you.” ~Tony Dorsett

In the 1992 Olympics during the 400-meter race, Derek Redmond tore his hamstring. Rather than give up, he continued to try to make it around the track. With the help of his father, and a standing ovation from the crowd, he was able to make it around one lap.

Visa has made this moment a key part of their “courage series” and their Go World commercial says it all so I am just going to quote it. Pretend I sound like Morgan Freeman because his voice really makes the commercial that much more poignant.

“Derek Redmond didn’t finish in first place in the 1992 400 meter. He didn’t finish in second. Or third. Or fourth. He, and his father, finished dead last. But at least, he, and his father, finished.”

“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 Grey

It’s now impossible to hear the word “Olympics” and not think of Michael Phelps and his remarkable accomplishments in 2008.

For me, it’s impossible to hear the words “Inspiring Athletes” and not think of him as well.

Up next tomorrow: Believe

Go back to: Hope

Go back to: Imagine

You can also view these as an amazing slideshow on The Bleacher Report

About the author: Jennifer Taglione is the owner of this fabulous website Stiletto Sports. Despite writing well over 500 posts, she still maintains that she is not a sports writer! She is however a huge fan of Kurt Warner, Larry Fitzgerald, Mark Sanchez, the Celtics, and totally kicks butt on March Madness brackets! Connect with her by following her on Twitter @StilettoSportsJ and subscribing to her weekly newsletter. For more info check out the About the Editor page!

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5 Responses

  1. Derek Said,

    How can you not include Dwight Schrute!? :p

    Posted on January 23rd, 2009 at 5:02 pm

  2. Stiletto Jen Said,

    Hey come on, you are lucky I know who Derek Redmond and Kirk Gibson are! 🙂 But I will take that under advisement

    Posted on January 23rd, 2009 at 6:17 pm

  3. Derek Said,

    You’re right. I had no reason to throw a reference from The Office smack into your photos of the hilarious Kerry Strug.

    Posted on January 23rd, 2009 at 6:48 pm

  4. saint3 Said,

    that’s one of my driving force in life in my work – to inspire!

    Posted on January 23rd, 2009 at 10:48 pm

  5. Stiletto Jen Said,

    Me too—and to make people cry 🙂

    Posted on January 26th, 2009 at 4:24 pm

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