Find Inspiration in the Stories of the 2016 Summer Olympians

Year after year, the Olympics present us with exhilarating stories of struggle and triumph. If you’re looking for brand motivation, look no further than Rio 2016. Here are just a few moments of inspiration we’ve gleaned from the summer games:

Just because you’re down, doesn’t mean you’re out. For the first time, the Olympic Games feature a team of 10 refugee athletes. The team marched into the Opening Ceremony under the Olympic flag, because conflict has forced them out of the countries they call home. These athletes have awe-inspiring stories of resilience, including Yusra Mardini. Her most important swim wasn’t when she won her preliminary heat in the 100-meter butterfly in Rio. It was when Mardini and her sister jumped in the water to swim for more to three hours, propelling a sinking boat of 20 other Syrian refugees to safety in Greece.

Experience matters. Olympic veterans Michael Phelps and Kerri Walsh-Jennings are familiar faces that have turned in amazing performances in their respective sports: swimming and beach volleyball. Team USA’s David Boudia found a new partner in synchronized diving and took home a silver medal. And Katie Ledecky, a swimmer who came out of nowhere to win gold in 2012 when she was only 15, was so fast in the women's 400-meter freestyle in Rio that she not only broke her own world record time by more than a second, she actually finished so far ahead of her competitors that she was celebrating victory before they finished the swim. These stars of Olympics past weren’t content to stop after success in London.

New faces bring new excitement. A number of new faces on #TeamUSA are fueling excitement in Rio, including first-time Olympian Simone Biles, the three-time world champion who is considered to be the best gymnast in the world. Biles led Team USA with near-perfect routines. She may be new, but everyone is looking for a Nadia Perfect 10. And she got about as close as you can get, helping propel the "Final Five" to a second consecutive team gold medal.

Fans are a big part of the story. One of the biggest breakout social media stars of #Rio2016 isn’t an athlete at all – it’s Saturday Night Live and Ghostbusters actress Leslie Jones. Jones assumed the role of unofficial Team USA cheerleader, posting hilarious and spirited short videos of herself watching the Olympics, screaming at the television. Her tweets became so popular that NBC recruited her to travel to Rio as a part of its team.

Win or lose, Olympians show us that being in the game is what really matters. As the founder of the International Olympic Committee, Pierre de Coubertin said, “The important thing in the Olympic Games is not to win, but to take part; the important thing in Life is not triumph, but the struggle; the essential thing is not to have conquered but to have fought well. To spread these principles is to build up a strong and more valiant and, above all, more scrupulous and more generous humanity.”

But, as Covalent Logic’s Director of Major Account Services said sarcastically, “That’s why they show the medal count 20 times a day. Because it’s all about participation.”

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