Inspiration from stories of athleticism, determination and passion.

Without the Olympics this year, it seems athletes may have a little more time on their hands than usual. Nevertheless, their busy lives never kept them from sharing their story. Valuable lessons can be found between their pages as they open our eyes to the world of professional sports. We find at the core of every athlete is a journey that is meant to be told. And frankly, we’re dying to listen to anything they have to say. Here are five of our favorite Olympic athletes and their stories: 

  • My Life by Earvin “Magic” Johnson with William Novak
    • Magic Johnson- even the name gives us chills. He earned the respect of every sports enthusiast with his passion for basketball and success on the court. Winning the gold in the 1992 Olympics was one of the many peaks in his career. In his autobiography, he discusses his athletic career and inspires readers with his journey of becoming more than just HIV positive.  
  • No Limits: The Will to Succeed by Michael Phelps with Alan Abrahamson
    • Feeling a lack of inspiration? We’ve been there. Michael Phelps’ No Limits will snap you right out of it. The swimming finactic is crowned as the most decorated Olympic athlete. His book gives us a peer into his work ethic that’s led him into his idolized role and how he stays motivated to achieve his goals. We are planning on taking a few lessons from him back into our own lives. 
  • Forward by Abby Wambach
    • In her own memoir, Abby Wambach touches on the highlights of her soccer career and how she is using her platform for good. She is spreading an overdue message on gender equality rights and her personal struggles with the issue. As a two-time gold medalist, she doesn’t back away from competition. Her drive and perseverance inspire us to work hard for what we believe in. 
  • Jesse: The Man Who Outran Hitler by Jesse Owens with Paul Neimark
    • The 1936 Olympics can be boiled down to 3 words: turmoil, apprehension and hope. Jesse Owens falls in to the latter of those categories. As a young black man, he outperformed his competition and brought home the gold medal that year… 4 times. His attitude towards performing did not waiver under the jurisdiction of his surroundings. No matter what his competition was, Jesse Owens stayed composed under pressure and gave us a story worth hearing. 
  • On The Line by Serena Williams
    • We all know her name, but do we know her story? Truth be told, we didn’t but we quickly came to the realization that we should. Her stardom on the tennis courts did not come to her easily. The testimonies of her past paint her in a new light as we learn the hardships and setbacks she faced. Did any of them keep her back? Not a chance. Her memoir is sure to empower you to face what’s next and offer a good read in the meantime. 

Despite this last book not being a memoir or autobiography, it was impossible to cut from our list. 

  • The Perfect Mile by Neal Bascomb
    • Impossible. Absurd. Hopeless. We are sure these words were often thrown at Roger Bannister for thinking he could run a sub-four minute mile. In 1954, he proved everyone wrong. Words we would now use to describe him: ambitious, determined and a visionary. His story inspired us so much that we created a shoe named after him. Read his story as told by Neal Bascomb.


Not a big reader? We’ve got you covered. Get to know Ashton Eaton, a gold-medalist in track & field’s decathlon, with this short video covering the bases of his life through 20 questions. 

20 Questions With Ashton Eaton from Wolf & Shepherd on Vimeo.