My new definition of athlete?

3 minute read

What does it mean to be an athlete?

I always had a jaded opinion of this question. Growing up in South Florida playing every sport I could, going on to play college baseball and eventually finding myself with a Masters in exercise science, I felt I had some authority over the definition. Heck, my first “real world” job was the Director of Sports and Performance at a high end training facility. It was basically an Olympic Training Center for the public. My opinion of what it means to be an athlete has changed as my perspective has.
THEN: An athlete to me was an elite, someone who could run, sprint, throw, jump, and kick better than the rest. They were physical specimens. They didn’t give up and they had an edge. They competed only at the highest levels and with the highest of goals.
NOW: An athlete is all of those things still. Except, much more.
*An athlete is someone who has never competed at a high level and decided it’s time to make a change. To train for an IronMan once he turns 40. To go through all of the same struggles and pain as any elite.
*An athlete is the 15 year old high school wrestler, without a leg, that works hard to be normal without knowing he is extraordinary.
*An athlete is the woman in her late thirties with multiple sclerosis that has gone through so much physical and emotional pain that getting to the gym and riding the stationary bike in and of itself would take the heart of the greatest Olympians.
*An athlete is the 42 year old cerebral palsy afflicted woman who just wants to walk well, and will put in the work that any ultra runner would for 100 miles to walk down the hall of the school she administrates every day.
This is your defining moment, and mine. We are ALL athletes. I created Athlete On Fire to bridge the gap between high level athletes and the rest of us. To give perspective so we can all dig deep and draw from the experience of other. I created it to share stories like the ones above and of course to inspire you all.
I know this definition will change over time as it has to this point but my goal will always be the same. I want to inspire people of every walk to do amazing things. Just like the athletes I speak of above, if you are trying your best and making an effort as often as you can, you might inspire someone else to do great things, they have.
Lastly, those examples above are all real people. The triathlete is Jeff Kern. The woman with MS is Melody Caustrita. The woman with CP is Sarah Watts. The beast man wrestler is Blake Francis. These are all important people to me and I have countless examples of every day athletes that inspire me that I didn’t mention!
Thanks for reading and let me know about athletes that have inspired you.
In Health,



Join the discussion and tell us your opinion.

March 5, 2014 at 7:54 pm

Hey Scott, great website and awesome definition of an athlete. I completely agree an athlete is way more than someone who played a sport and achieved some elite status. It’s a mindset. I came from a similar background of sports and now focus on cycling and triathlon. Check out my site over at when you get a chance. Let’s make the world a better place together!

March 5, 2014 at 9:41 pm
– In reply to: Erica

Erica, appreciate you reaching out and the nice words! I am working my booty off to do just that! I’l go check out the site now. Let me know if you have any recommendations for what I am doing as I always appreciate some good feedback. Thanks, Scott

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