Your Daily Dose: 10 athlete stories to keep you inspired

1 WILMA RUDOLPH

OLYMPIC ATHLETICS, 1960

Diagnosed with polio as a child, she was told she would never walk. In Rome, the American won the 100m, 200m and 4x100m relay golds in Olympic-record times. She only started walking without the aid of any medical devices just eight years prior to the 1960 Games. The 20th of 22 children, she overcame more challenges than she had siblings, including pneumonia, scarlet fever and racism.

• Watch: youtu.be/FPVdpJZJi-o

2 TYRONE ‘MUGGSY’ BOGUES

NBA, 1987-2001

Bogues lived in poverty while his father was in prison, got hit by a stray bullet when he was five, and grew up to be all of 1.6m. None of that stopped him from being the shortest player in National Basketball Association (NBA) history. He had 6,858 points, 6,726 assists and 1,369 steals in a 14-year NBA career. And just the small matter of 39 blocks – none more uplifting than the one against 2.13m-tall centre Patrick Ewing.

• Watch: youtu.be/__jcf4dCIjw

3 JOHN STEPHEN AKHWARI

OLYMPIC MARATHON, 1968

The Mexico City altitude made conditions difficult – 18 of the 75 runners pulled out. Tanzania’s Akhwari was already suffering from cramps when he fell, injuring his knee, shoulder and head. He received medical attention and kept going, crossing the finishing line in 3hr 25min 27secs – more than an hour after the champion Mamo Wolde. “My country did not send me 5,000 miles to start the race,” he said. “They sent me 5,000 miles to finish the race.”

• Watch: youtu.be/eNt_jynuAtI

4 PETE SAMPRAS

AUSTRALIAN OPEN, 1995

After Sampras fought back from two sets down to force his quarter-final against Jim Courier into a fifth set, a fan inside Rod Laver Arena yelled: “Do it for your coach!” He won amid plenty of tears. His coach Tim Gullikson died the following year from brain cancer.

• Watch: youtu.be/LdewrdPNS4I

5 MAN KAUR

WORLD MASTERS GAMES, 2017

She was 101 years old when she won 100m gold in the centenarian category. It might have taken her 74 seconds but sprinting is not necessarily her forte. The Indian runs 20km every day because there is no reason not to. She told The Hindu last year: “I am running well, why should I stop?”

• Watch: youtu.be/r_njy29iJ7c

6 ALLYSON FELIX

WORLD ATHLETICS MEET, 2019

With a resume that includes six Olympic golds, what else could motivate Felix to keep competing?

“Now the purpose behind (winning) is wanting to share these moments with her and tell her about overcoming adversity,” she said, referring to her daughter Camryn.

Felix had an emergency C-section in November 2018. Camryn spent her first 29 days in a neonatal intensive care unit and was in Doha, where the United States won the mixed 4x400m relay, earning Felix a record 12th world title.

• Watch: youtu.be/8eJPDtQ0icQ

7 KERRI STRUG

OLYMPIC GYMNASTICS, 1996

With two torn ligaments in her ankle and the weight of a nation on her 18-year-old shoulders, Strug sprinted down the runway, vaulted into the air, and landed on two feet. That effort was enough for the US to win team gold. She said: “Persistence, perseverance, precision – those are key elements that are critical to not only being successful in the athletic arena, but also in the arena of life.”

• Watch: youtu.be/Bwa5Bf656As

8 ALJONA SAVCHENKO

OLYMPIC FIGURE SKATING, 2018

Fifteenth in 2002, sixth in 2006, third in 2010, third in 2014 and fourth with partner Bruno Massot after the first round of the pair skating competition at the 2018 Pyeongchang Games. Gold looked elusive again, yet 34-year-old Savchenko approached the free skate with belief. “I said to Bruno: ‘We will write history today.’ And then everything happened as I had imagined, and it came true.” They produced a world record score of 159.31 and Savchenko won gold at her fifth Olympics.

• Watch: bit.ly/2UhcFlz

9 MICHAEL PHELPS

OLYMPIC 200M BUTTERFLY, 2008

Phelps had to race 17 times in nine days for the chance to win a record eight golds at a single Olympics. Something could and did go wrong. During his fourth final at the Water Cube, he experienced a goggles glitch. “I dove in and they filled up with water, and it got worse and worse during the race,” he said. “From the 150m-wall to the finish, I couldn’t see the wall. I was just hoping I was winning.” Win he did, in a world-record time. He left Beijing realising his 8/8 vision.

• Watch: youtu.be/2Fez4am5j4g

10 STEPHEN VALENCIA TORRES

NEW JERSEY PRESIDENTS CUP, 2019

The Union SC Spartans goalkeeper came out of his box. He misjudged a cross and mistimed his attempted clearance but did not misplace his attitude, sprinting back to prevent a certain goal. The 17-year-old proved that hustle often gets rewarded at any level.

• Watch: bit.ly/2UwSChN

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