• Drew Bratton

Inspiring Success Stories in Sports


(nytimes.com)


When you think of sports, you probably don’t realize or think about what kind of journey and adversity some of the top athletes have had to face in their careers. Whether it is because of the color of their skin or their childhood, some of the top athletes in the world have had to face many things in their path to success. This article will highlight five inspiring stories of the triumph of athletes who have ended up changing the world of sports.


Lionel Messi - As a young child, Lionel had to face an extreme amount of adversity—he struggled with a growth hormone deficiency at the age of 11. In case you’re wondering, this is a condition in which a person’s growth has been restricted. This was financially hard on Messi’s family. Luckily, the soccer club that he later played for was able to help provide financial support for his treatments. He had a growth hormone deficiency throughout most of his childhood. Since these struggles, he has been very generous in giving back to those who need help just like he did. According to many reports, he has made a 1.1 million dollar donation to a hospital clinic in Catalunya, Spain, and health centers during the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. He also runs the Lionel Messi Foundation. His donations for this foundation go to places like Kenya that are desperately in need of help. Through all of this, Lionel has become a top name in the discussion of the best soccer players to ever play.

(credihealth.com)


Muhammad Ali - Ali is a historical boxer who battled with dyslexia. This caused him to barely graduate high school and be labeled by many people as dumb. One of the main things that he had to battle through was reading difficulties. This caused him to not be able to succeed as well as others in his school. By battling through these challenges in life, he made an effort to help disabled children by working with Scholastic to make a book series that would be more understandable for disabled kids. Not only did he do this in his life, but he was also a civil rights activist. He was not afraid to express his devotion to working toward equality. Later on in his life, he went on to receive the Liberty Medal for his work on humanitarian causes and civil and religious freedoms. In terms of his success in boxing, he is known as one of the best. Seeing that his professional boxing record was 56-5, that would make absolute sense. Seeing what sort of challenges he had to face and how far he made it in his sport, proves that you should never limit yourself based on what circumstances you have to face.

(pambazuka.org)


Tiger Woods - Tiger has had to overcome so many things, ranging from health to marital issues. He also has made a huge name for himself in a white-dominated sport. In a recent speech of his, he said that there used to be tournaments that did not allow him to enter the clubhouse because of the color of his skin. Outside of the worldly issues that he has faced, he also has had to show resilience from all of the injuries he has faced. Getting five back surgeries and five knee surgeries do not sound easy to come back from. He has continually shown what it means to get back up on your feet. Not everyone casually wins 82 PGA Tour level events and 15 majors. He was also the PGA Player of the Year a record 10 times. He is known for playing the game of golf better than anyone ever.

(telegraphindia.com)


Serena Williams - A legendary tennis player, alongside her sister, Venus Williams, has faced a wide variety of challenges to become one of the best tennis players ever. Her amazing story started at a very young age when she was growing up in Compton, California. This town was by no means a tennis area, and it made it very difficult for her to be able to succeed at a high level. Once she finally made it to the professionals, her struggles didn’t stop. From facing people booing at her and being called out for cheating in one of the biggest tennis matches in history, she has been through it all in the lead-up to where she is today. She also had a baby in 2017, and in her birthing process, she faced life-threatening complications. After an emergency C-section, Serena developed a pulmonary embolism. The doctors later found clots of blood that were swelling. Because of this, Serena was forced to spend the first few weeks of motherhood in a bed. With all of these challenges and adversity Serena has had to face, she has made a mark in the history books. Winning a total of 23 grand slam singles titles, she has been ranked at number 1 in the world for a total of 319 weeks. Obviously, this has put her in a spot where many (including myself) believe that she is the best female tennis player to ever step foot on this earth.

(nypost.com)


Jackie Robinson - When he was 28 years old, he became the first African American player in the modern era of Major League Baseball playing first base for the Brooklyn Dodgers. This occurred after the Brooklyn Dodgers were searching for players from the Negro leagues. Since Robinson stood out so much to the general manager of the team, he made an offer to Jackie but not without risk. He told Jackie that he would have to undergo much racial abuse, but Jackie was not afraid of this. Therefore, he accepted the offer. This was very important in the lead-up to the modern-day sport since this officially broke the color barrier that was in place. Not only did Jackie succeed in the world outside of baseball, but he was also an incredible baseball player as he became the first African American to ever be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. Even though he had to face racial abuse and segregation, he led the path for many black athletes who followed him. Without his sacrifice, some of the other athletes mentioned earlier may never have been able to achieve what they achieved.

(people.com)


As you can tell, there have been incredible stories about how some of the world’s top athletes got to where they are today. With this in mind, it is important to remember how they can be role models for us in our lives. The main point that can be taken from these stories is that nothing is impossible. Even though in all five of these personal stories, the athletes had less than ideal circumstances, they still ended up in glory. This tells us that no matter what is going on or how low on life you may be feeling, all it takes is believing in yourself to achieve big things.


Citations:

https://www.britannica.com/biography/Jackie-Robinson

https://sportsaspire.com/famous-athletes-who-changed-world-of-sports

https://jackierobinson.com/

https://sportsmuseum.org/2021/02/serena-williams-most-influential-athlete/#:~:text=She%20shared%20her%20story%20on,and%20had%20a%20second%20surgery.

https://www.espn.com/golf/player/_/id/462/tiger-woods

https://www.etonline.com/tiger-woods-a-timeline-of-the-many-adversities-hes-overcome-in-his-life-161056

https://www.businessandleadership.com/leadership/item/muhammad-ali-the-goat-the-greatest-of-all-time/

http://dyslexiahelp.umich.edu/success-stories/muhammad-ali#:~:text=Ali%20was%20diagnosed%20with%20dyslexia,the%20literacy%20of%20African%20Americans.

https://www.goal.com/en/news/2466/goal-50/2015/12/03/17852742/messis-childhood-struggle-much-more-than-a-few-injections

https://bleacherreport.com/articles/1492546-lionel-messi-and-hgh-the-truth-about-the-best-footballer-in-the-world#:~:text=Messi%20was%20diagnosed%20with%20a,modest%20family%20could%20not%20afford.


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