The feeling of accomplishment welled up inside of me, three Olympic gold medals. I knew that was something nobody could ever take away from me, ever.
I had a series of childhood illnesses; scarlet fever, pneumonia, polio. I walked with braces until I was at least nine years old. My life wasn't like the average person who grew up and decided to enter the world of sports.
Winning is great, sure, but if you are really going to do something in life, the secret is learning how to lose. Nobody goes undefeated all the time. If you can pick up after a crushing defeat, and go on to win again, you are going to be a champion someday.
I ran and ran and ran every day, and I acquired this sense of determination, this sense of spirit that I would never, never give up, no matter what else happened.
When the sun is shining I can do anything; no mountain is too high, no trouble too difficult to overcome.
Never underestimate the power of dreams and the influence of the human spirit. We are all the same in this notion: The potential for greatness lives within each of us.
When I was going through my transition of being famous, I tried to ask God why was I here? what was my purpose? Surely, it wasn't just to win three gold medals. There has to be more to this life than that.
Sometimes it takes years to really grasp what has happened to your life.
The triumph cannot be had without the struggle. And I know what struggle is. I have spent a lifetime trying to share what it has meant to be a woman first in the world of sports so that other young women have a chance to reach their dreams.
Believe me, the reward is not so great without the struggle.
My doctor told me I would never walk again. My mother told me I would. I believed my mother.
I believe in me more than anything in this world.
I loved the feeling of freedom in running, the fresh air, the feeling that the only person I'm competing with is me.
No matter what accomplishments you make, somebody helps you.
The triumph can't be had without the struggle.