Gymnast Simone Biles, seen here, is one of several women athletes competing in the 2024 Summer Olympics who inspires us. (Credit: Wikimedia Commons)

The 2024 Summer Olympics are set to kick-off July 26 in a grandiose ceremony on the Seine River in Paris.

As a New York City-based newsroom, we’ll admit that we’re pulling for Team USA. But even more than that, we’re pulling for women. And we’ll have more of them than ever to cheer on, as the International Olympic Committee has ensured that a truly equal number of women and men will be competing in this year’s games. 

IOC president Thomas Bach heralded the milestone as “one of the most important moments in the history of women at the Olympic Games, and in sport overall.” If anything, it’s certainly a far cry from the 1900 Olympics – the first games to ever welcome women athletes, which was also hosted in Paris. Back then, women accounted for just 2% of all competitors.

In honor of the progress, the achievement and the supersized talent, we’ve gathered up five inspiring quotes from five outstanding U.S. women athletes. We invite you to think on their motivational words as we continue to navigate an ever-changing world – and as we prepare to cheer them on to the tops of their podiums.


Swimmer Katie Ledecky. (Credit: Wikimedia Commons)

“You gotta do something that scares you every now and then.”

Katie Ledecky (Swimming) – During an interview with swimming news outlet SwimSwam, Ledecky made this point while discussing some of the ups and downs in her (altogether outstanding) swim career. Even if you “fail spectacularly,” as she puts it, it’s important to push oneself to try.


Track star Sha'Carri Richardson. (Credit: Wikimedia Commons)

“I'm here to stay. I'm not back – I'm better."

Sha’Carri Richardson (Track) – Said during a post-race interview in 2023, these words remind us that endings aren’t always permanent. Suspended temporarily from racing in 2021 for marijuana use, and following a disappointing showing in races throughout 2022, Richardson has made her way back to the top – and even set some new records along the way.


Basketball star Brittney Griner. (Credit: Flickr)

“Tomorrow’s not guaranteed.”

Brittney Griner (Women’s Basketball) – Few understand the importance and preciousness of time better than Griner, who lost 10 months of her life to a wrongful detention in a Russian prison. In a press conference preceding her first game post-return to the U.S., Griner made this simple yet salient point about the value of living in the here and now.


Soccer player Sophia Smith. (Credit: Wikimedia Commons)

“You won’t get far if you don’t love the game.”

Sophia Smith (Women’s Soccer) – While speaking with The Guardian, Smith noted that talent and hard work are undoubtedly critical to success, but added that passion is a key component as well. Especially when embarking upon something challenging – “a grind,” as she puts it – that love and internal fire are what will keep you going.


Gymnast Simone Biles (Credit: Wikimedia Commons)

“We have to protect our body and our mind.”

Simone Biles (Gymnastics) – Passion is indeed critical, but we cannot pour from empty vessels, as Biles bravely reminded the world when she stepped away from Team USA’s final group gymnastics competition during the 2021 Olympics. A difficult decision, especially on an international stage – but as she also noted, “we’re people at the end of the day.