Professional athletes have some of the toughest jobs in the world. Athletes make a lot of personal sacrifices to find success. They are also under public scrutiny and must perform well under pressure all while upholding their status as a role-model and icon in popular culture.
The physical and mental strength of an athlete is what draws many people to sports and sports-related careers. We’re fascinated by their endurance and love the thrill of sport. In fact, a research suggests that fans even feel a surge of dopamine watching their favorite team or athlete do well. That’s why comeback stories tug even more at the heart strings. Here are a few of the most inspiring stories of perseverance in professional sports:
This famous American tennis player was at the top of her game before a crazed fan stabbed her on a changeover during a tournament in Hamburg, Germany. Seles was ranked number one in the world at the time of the attack and was one of the brightest young stars on the tour having already won seven grand slam titles. The young athlete underwent surgery and lots of therapy before returning to the court two years later. After the attack, Seles was able to win one more major title showing exemplary courage and competitiveness.
Michael Jordan is one of the best examples of resiliency in modern sports. This legendary icon was cut from his high school basketball team before moving on to become one of the greatest and most recognized faces in all of sports. In addition, he overcame emotional trauma after the brutal murder of his father. Jordan took a hiatus from basketball after his father’s attack, but later returned to lead the Bulls to three consecutive NBA titles.
This boxing great defied the odds and returned to boxing at the age of 45 after a five year retirement. Many critics thought he wouldn’t be able to hang with the younger generation and the new style of boxing, but he quickly showed his spirit and quickly climbed the ladder. Two decades after winning his first world title, the aging Foreman once again claimed the crown.
Hamilton’s story is extremely inspiring. The young surfer was attacked by a shark and lost one of her arms in the brutal event. Most people thought this trauma would be career-ending, but Hamilton underwent surgery and returned to the water. Shortly after her return, the young surfer claimed her first National Title and turned pro full-time. Her tale is the ultimate story of bravery and survival.
Although Armstrong touts a lot of controversy, he is universally admired for his comeback after a fight with testicular cancer. The cancer was advanced and had attacked most of his core. After undergoing a rigorous and aggressive form of chemotherapy the champion cyclist got back to work and started a foundation as a testimony to his survival.
These are just a few of the many comeback stories in professional sports. These athletes have inspired millions of people around the globe, and have drawn people to the sports arena for ages.