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TED2016 - Dream, February 15-19, 2016, Vancouver Convention Center, Vancouver, Canada. Photo: Marla Aufmuth / TED


Athlete inspired TED talks

TED offers endless inspiration for athletes but with so many talks compiled online, it’s hard to know where to look. Trizone has found the best, most motivational talks for triathletes looking for that extra push.

Janine Shepherd – A broken body isn’t a broken person

Athletes struggling with injury and set back

Injury and upset are part of every athlete’s life, but some bounce back better than others. Olympic cross country skier Janine Shepherd was hit by a truck while out for a training bike ride in the Blue Mountains, Australia, and her life was forever changed. After being told by her doctors she’d never walk again, rather than drown in despair, she created a new dream – to be a pilot.

Janine is the ultimate inspiration for athletes struggling with the set back of injury, or those in even deeper depths of struggle. Not only did she walk again, but after being told she’d never have children, she’s now the mother of three.



Ray Zahab – My trek to the South Pole

Athletes who need to believe the impossible is possible

If you’re a triathlete in a pit of low motivation, this TED talks is for you. Ray Zahab is the fastest man to make the journey from the Hercules Inlet to the South Pole, and the only man to do so on foot. Not only did he and his two friends defy all weather conditions and deep crevasses along the way, they also made the 33 day and 24 hour journey all uphill as the South Pole is at 10,00 feet!

Ray is inspirational not just because of his endurance feats (including a 110 day run across the Sahara Desert) but because he does these challenges for charities. Plus! Before his first expedition, he was a pack a day smoker and lead a very sedentary life. He completely turned his life around through endurance sport.

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If you’re not inspired by the end of the talk, you will be by the closing words: “What I know is we can make the impossible possible. I’m learning this at 40. Imagine being 13 and hearing those words and believing them.”



Sarah Lews – Embrace the near win

Athletes looking to value the near wins

Coming second, missing Kona qualification by a few seconds, or forgetting something vital at the transition can be frustrating, and regarded as failures. Sarah Lewis says though, it’s often when we appreciate the near wins, the ‘not good enoughs’ that we come closer to mastery.

She says “success is just a label. Mastery is knowing it doesn’t matter if you don’t hit the bulls eye every time. It’s not a commitment to a goal, but a constant pursuit.”

As an athlete watching Sarah’s talk, you’ll start to appreciate all those times you thought you’d really messed up, and look at them as not just lessons, but stepping stones on the journey to becoming a master of your sport.


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Christopher Mcdougall – Are we born to run?

Athletes looking running motivation

Every triathlete knows being able to run off the bike is key to the race, but sometimes finding the drive behind the run can be tough. Christopher Mcdougall’s TED talk investigates the essence and power of running. He gives you plenty of inspiring anecdotes about championship runners, plus everyday people who draw power from running.

If you’re a female triathlete, you’ll enjoy Mcdougall’s exploration into the idea that “women get stronger as distances get longer.” He tells a story of a female runner who ran 100 miles and came eighth out of 500 people, despite stopping to breastfeed her young baby at every aid station.

If you need some extra drive for your running training or racing, give this talk a listen.


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Diana Nyad – Extreme swimming with the world’s most dangerous jellyfish

Athletes looking to overcome an obstacle they can’t quite crack

One of the world’s best long distance swimmers, Diana Nyad will inspire you to push harder and overcome the obstacle you can’t seem to crack. For 10 years, Diana was known as the world’s best long distance swimmer. In 1979, she made history, crossing the 102.5 miles between Bimini Island in the Bahamas, all the way to Florida. She also broke numerous world records, including what had been a 50-year mark for circling Manhattan Island, setting the new time of 7 hrs 57 min.

That might seem like ancient history to you, and it did to Diana too. So at 60 years old she confronted the one obstacle she hadn’t yet cracked; the swim from Cuba to Florida. She’d attempted it years ago, but her effort was halted by brutal jellyfish stings.

At 60 years old, this second attempt was a huge success. This women is so inspiring, this talk is one of the most inspiring in the list.

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