athletics inspiration

Inspirational Athletic Stories

With the 2022 UK Athletics Championships Manchester taking place from 24th – 26th June, we at Host thought it would be the perfect time to share some inspirational athletic stories. We have hand-picked several stories about remarkable individuals who have overcome both mental and physical limitations, to reach success of the highest calibre.


inspirational athletic story baseball

Red Sox Third Basemen Mike Lowell

Mike Lowell was a third basemen for the Red Sox and had 13 successful seasons playing baseball. However, this feat did not come easy, and Mike Lowell had to go through several trials and tribulations.

At Florida University, Mike Lowell was a three-time All Conference player, and went on to be drafted in the 20th round of the 1995 MLB Draft by the New York Yankees. After toiling away for several years, he finally made his big-league debut with New York in 1998 as a wide-eyed 24-year-old. After a personally mediocre year, Mike was traded to Florida Marlins.

Several days before spring training with Florida, Lowell discovered that he had testicular cancer. Following the necessary surgery he missed the first few months of the season, but then held his own and performed solidly to become a regular starter.

Lowell’s career went massive after the 1999 season, and he solidified himself as being one of the best third basemen to ever play baseball. Unfortunately, a slow season in 2005 made everyone think Lowell was over and he was consequently traded out to the Boston Red Sox. A broken hand, and another cancer scare did not stop Lowell, who went on to exceed everyone’s expectations by smashing his own records. Mike Lowell never gave up and he was rewarded for doing so.


inspirational athletic stories basketball

Retired WNBA Guard Edna Campbell

Edna Campbell is another inspirational figure in the field of sports. Graduating in 1991, Campbell was the Southwest Conference’s Newcomer over the year while playing for the University of Texas. The success got her into the Women’s National Basketball Association.

Unfortunately, after Campbell was traded to the Sacramento Monarchs in 1999, she was diagnosed with breast cancer on her second season.  Amazingly, this did not stop her, and she lived a normal life during her treatment. Campbell was still playing basketball when possible and was resting when needed.

Campbell became a symbol for survivors by playing despite cancer. This led to her becoming the WNBA’s national spokesman for their anti-cancer efforts with the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation. In 2003, Campbell then received the Kim Perrot Sportsmanship Award. A few years later in 2006 she then announced her retirement.

Her journey was voted one of the most inspirational athletic stories of the decade. Edna Campbell has since gone on to complete her nursing degree and continues to inspire women with her story of survival.


biking inspiration

Phil Hall – Gravity Biking

Phil Hall is a keen motorcyclist and downhill mountain biker. However, in 2003 he was involved in a motorbike accident that left him paralysed below the waist. It’s understandable that Phil thought he would never ride a bike again.  He was wrong.

After viewing an interesting poster when away in America, Phil became inspired. The poster showed a gravity bike hurtling down a hill. An extreme sport called gravity biking in America, which had not yet established itself in the UK.

The inclusivity of the sport in America made Phil determined to bring it home. He said that “I didn’t just buy a bike; I started a club”. The club that he started was the first of its kind in the UK and helped grow the sport globally. Phil’s determinism inspired and unified both disabled and able-bodied riders alike.


canoe inspiration

Jonny Young – Paracanoeist

A skiing incident that broke Jonny Young’s back in 2012 changed his life forever. But Young bounced back and made his own inspirational athletic story.

Prior to the injury, Young was an instructor for a range of sports, such as kayaking and climbing. With sport being such a major part of Young’s identity, he knew that it would be an obstacle. Nevertheless, Young still pursued sport and focused on it during and after his rehabilitation.

The perseverance displayed by Young allowed him to retain his identity. Jonny Young is now an Olympic paracanoeist and double World Championship medal winner. He said that “our bodies don’t have to define us”, embodying a truly inspirational spirit.


Hopefully these stories have inspired you that little bit more to face the hurdles that life throws at you. It all starts in the morning, so check out our blog on being your best self every morning.

Go to the official British Athletics site for further information.

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