Are you watching the 2016 Summer Olympics? Before the athletes went to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, we talked with some of the competitors from Team U.S.A. about their hopes, their faith, and the incredible obstacles they overcame in order to make their dreams come true. Click through to read our collection of original Guideposts.org interviews.
Christen Press knows what it's like to win. She was part of the U.S. Women's Soccer team when they dominated the Women's World Cup in 2015, but Rio marks the first time Press will be playing for her country in the Olympics. After struggling with self-doubt, watching her dreams of playing on the National team collapse stateside and moving half-way across the world to play the sport she loves, Press is ready to leave it all on the field in Brazil.
Shakur Stevenson is just 19-years-old but he's not letting his age define him. The young athlete may just be America's best chance at gold in men's boxing and he's ready for the pressure facing him in Brazil. Growing up the oldest of nine in New Jersey, Stevenson fell in love with the sport thanks to his grandfather, who's also his coach. He hopes to make his family proud when he steps into the ring at this year's Olympic Games.
Dagmara Wozniak began fencing when she was just nine years-old. At first, the sport offered her a way to connect to her Polish roots, now it's giving her the chance to represent her country at the 2016 Summer Olympics. Wozniak's road to Rio is the quintessential American dream come true -- her parents were immigrants and worked hard to instill in her the values of dedication and committment. She hopes to make them proud in Brazil.
Rio marks the second time gymnast Danell Leyva will be representing the U.S. at the Olympics but this time around, he's determined to win gold. The athlete's roots in the sport run deep -- both of his parent's served on the Cuban National gymnastics team when they were young before fleeing to the States in search of a better life. Now his coaches and biggest fans, Leyva's determined to make his parents' sacrifice worth it at the Summer Games.
Brooke Sweat's journey to the Olympics didn't begin the way many other athletes' did. Though she played some volleyball in high school, Sweat didn't step foot on a sandy court until college when her future husband first introduced her to the sport. Sweat found love and a new life thanks to beach volleyball and come Rio, she's ready to dig, dive and spike for her chance on the podium.
Marathon runner Meb Keflezighi has won both the Boston Marathon and the New York Marathon, plus a silver medal in the 2004 Summer Olympics. He'll be competing again this year in Rio but it's his story of resilence, determination and faith that makes his Olympic career -- and his life -- so special.
Olympic hopeful Joe Kovacs' biggest fan has always been his mom. After his father lost his battle with colon cancer, the track and field athlete found strength and hope in his faith, his sport and the woman who would drive him to practices, take his late night phone calls and do anything to make his dreams of gold possible. Joanna Kovacs was mother, father and even coach to her shot-putting son. And now that he's made the U.S. Olympics squad, she'll be cheering him on from the stands in Rio de Janeiro.
In a first person piece written for Guideposts.org, Olympic diver David Boudia remembers his failure in the 2008 Games and how it caused him to spiral into depression. He describes his suprising journey and how a conversation with friends about faith led him to change his life, his priorities and to return to the sport he loves. (You can get more of his story in his new book, Greater Than Gold.)
Laurie Hernandez may be the youngest member on the U.S. women's gymnastics team, but she's full of spirit. A crowd favorite thanks to her energetic and artistic floor routines, Hernandez heads to Rio with just one thing on her mind: winning gold. The teen sensation explained to Guideposts how she had to fight back from injury in order to make the team and shares some inspiring words of advice for anyone else following their dream.
Guideposts Editorial Assistant Allison Churchill might not be an Olympic athlete, but she did head down to Brazil to volunteer for this summer's Olympic games. Her first assignment: that incredible Olympic Opening Ceremony. While watching the first Olympic team of refugees march in the parade of nations, Churchill was overcome with emotion. Their inspiring stories are exactly what the Olympics should be about.
Click on a picture to enjoy more inspiring photos and stories.
Explore the collection of slideshows and discover inspirational quotes, beautiful photos, and powerful stories of hope.