Could you imagine standing amidst your international competition, bearing your nation's colors, and representing it in your given field as one of those chosen among millions to compete against the best in the world? 

Believe it or not, the percentage of people in the world that earn the right to be called Olympians is 0.0001 percent. You could say that it's a unique journey. 

Here are some of the stories behind a few of those Olympians' journeys that so few of the world's athletes get to go on.

Kerri Strug

Strug is a gymnast who won a gold medal as part of the “Magnificent Seven” Women's Gymnastics team in 1996, culminating her Olympic career with a legendary and historic vault. 

Her remarkable Olympic career certainly ended with a crescendo.

Kerri began practicing gymnastics at the tender age of three and was competing by age eight. As with all aspiring gymnasts, she left home at a young age to train in another part of the country with the best coaches. 

In 1992, after spending virtually all of her time and energy preparing for the biggest stage, she earned a bronze medal at the Olympics in Barcelona, as the youngest member of the entire US team.

By the time the 1996 Olympics arrived, Strug had earned her place among the nation's very best after years of training, competing, and winning. 

When it was her turn to the vault, all the complexities of her career came down to one simple fact: if she struggled on the vault, the US will surrender the Gold medal; if she sticks the landing, the US will win Gold. 

Oh, and she had to do this on an ankle that she had broken on her previous vault, moments before. Needless to say, she stuck the landing and the rest is history.

Billy Mills

Billy Mills won gold in the 10,000-meter run at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics. He is an Oglala Lakota Sioux whose traditional name is Tamakoce Te'Hila. 

When he burst onto the scene and engineered one of the greatest upsets in Olympic history because of his largely unknown status, his sudden victory belied his years of dedicated training. 

Billy was the first non-European to win the 10,000-meter event and is the only American to have done so.

Attending college at Kansas on an athletic scholarship, Mills was a 3-time All-American NCAA cross-country runner. In 1959 and 1960, he helped lead Kansas to two outdoor national championships. 

Billy Mills wasn't just an outstanding athlete. After graduating with a degree in physical education, he showed his patriotism by joining the US Marine Corps. 

When he took the gold after approaching each race as an underdog, he did so as a First Lieutenant in the Marine Corps Reserves.

Wilma Rudolph

Rudolph was an American sprinter and a world-record-holding Olympic champion, competing in the 1956 and 1960 Olympic Games

In the 1960s, she was declared the fastest woman in the world and became the first American woman to earn three Gold medals in a single Olympic Games. 

As incredible as her track career was, she has also earned worldwide respect as a determined spirit of the civil rights and women's rights movements.

Rudolph is proof that nothing is impossible. She was born prematurely in a family of 21 children, contracted polio, and had no resources to embark on any sort of career. 

On the other hand, she had heart, commitment, and talent.

Michael Phelps

Phelps is the most decorated Olympian of all time, holding 28 medals. Pool construction companies, and probably even pool loan companies, would love his endorsement. 

Phelps' journey has become the symbol of an athlete rising above intense pressure and crippling bouts of depression.

The journey to becoming an Olympian must be like a kind of tightrope when these brilliant athletes look back on their careers. 

To remain committed and healthy, to keep improving, and to be legitimately counted among the finest athletes over any prolonged period takes determination, support, luck, and an awful lot of little things to go right. 

Reading their stories is a window into the minds of those who saw their visions ascend to the greatest heights.


Low price, available in multiple styles and colors!