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7 Inspirational Sports Pictures to Keep You Motivated

POSTED ON: 26 November 2018

If you’re ever lacking that get-up-and-go zap of energy you need to kick-start your day, or get you amped up for that next business venture, or fire you up for your Sunday League game, inspirational sport pictures are the way to go.

Each of the below images are iconic in their own right; fatefully photographed with a deft snap of the lens, matched only in their fantastic depictions of sporting history by the mythology that surrounds the events they depict. So for anyone needing a little boost, here we go: seven inspirational sport pictures to give you the kick you need.

Daley Thompson in Athens 1982

Daley Thompson: Last Man Standing, 1982

Do you remember playing games of capture the flag or British bulldogs back in school, and how good it felt to be the last one left standing? Imagine that feeling, but instead of your victory spoils being a pair of grass-stained knees and a congratulatory slap on the back by the P.E. teacher, you’ve just won a gold medal at the 1982 Olympics and set a new world record.

While everyone around him collapsed post-race, British athlete Daley Thompson managed not only to stay on his feet, but to look cool while doing it. Perhaps it was the adrenaline that of knowing he had just smashed a world record. Perhaps it was just sheer grit. If you don’t think this image is inspiring, well, we need to have a serious talk about the definition of the word ‘inspiration’.

Jess Ennis-Hill in 2015

Jessica Ennis-Hill: World Champion, 2015

The UK’s golden girl does it again in Beijing. Bringing home the gold again at the 2015 World Championships in Athletics – just three years after giving the competition at the 2012 Olympics a good shoeing – makes Jessica Ennis one of the world’s most inspiring athletes. And what’s the only thing more impressive than taking home your umpteenth gold medal at an international athletics competition? Doing it only one year after giving birth to your first child. That’s just… is that even possible? Can people do that? Surely there’s some sort of law against being so monumentally impressive. Come Jess, chill out a bit. You’re making to rest of us look rubbish.



Inspiring Sport Images Ian Botham with Cigar

Ian Botham: Cigar at 'Botham's Ashes'

Ah, remember the days when smoking a pack a day and a glittering sporting career were not mutually exclusive? In this eye-catching image, Ian Botham channels his inner James Dean and stares wistfully into the middle distance having just smashed out a cool 149 runs, given England a 130 run lead over Australia, in what had previously seemed a certain defeat. After this comeback, a Botham-led England team, newly emboldened, stormed ahead to a 3-1 Ashes victory, in what is remembered today as ‘Bothams’s Ashes’ for his outstanding performance.

After being made England cricket captain at just 24, Sir Ian ‘Beefy’ Botham was only 25 when he brought home the ashes for his country. After a feat like that, and with so much at stake, his coach would have been hard pushed to deny him a victory cigar in the changing rooms. One of the most inspirational sporting pictures of modern times, this iconic monochrome image and the story behind it capture so much of what makes a great sportsman; skill, leadership, and a gritty determination. An absolute belter of a moustache doesn’t hurt, either.



Serena Williams celebrates victory at Roland Garros in 2015

Serena: French Open Champ, 2015

It would have felt rude to make this list without including Serena Williams. She's one of the greatest tennis players of all time. The difficulty wasn’t in finding an inspirational image of her, but in whittling it down to just one. The tennis star has been thwacking fuzzy green balls in the international limelight since 2002, where she won the US open aged just 21. Sixteen years later she’s competing with just as much passion and flair as ever; even in a sky-blue tutu she is a fearsome opponent. This particular photo of a triumphant Serena celebrating match-point at the French Open in 2015 captures so much of that indefatigable Williams spirit.



Tour de France in Haworth Yorkshire 2014

The Peloton: Le Tour in Yorkshire, 2014

And for our next inspirational sport picture we venture over to the fair land of Yorkshire, where a rabble of sinewy men are peddling frantically up a cobbled slope. This photograph of the second stage of the Tour de France is particularly eye-catching and impressive; it looks a bit like a Where’s Wally cartoon, or one of those vanishing point drawings your art teacher used to show you to stop every building you drew looking like a picket-fenced rhombus. This photo’s got it all; a rolling green backdrop, quaint rural masonry, and a grunting peloton of lycra-wrapped men. How can you not feel inspired?



Ali floors Sonny Liston in 1965

Inspirational Sport Picture: Ali vs Liston, 1965

Muhammad Ali Vs Sonny Liston, KO, first minute, first round: you already knew it. If you’ve ever gone to the gym you’ve seen this photograph, Ali’s “you what mate” glare and chest thump, Liston’s “leave me alone for heaven’s sake” recoil, mitted hands flailing all over. This photograph is a work of art, it is the perfectly-timed capture of an era-defining sportsman at the peak of their ferocity and elegance (er, just to be clear, we’re talking about Ali here, not the semi-conscious man lying spread eagled on the floor).



Brownlee Brothers 2016 modern day inspirational sport picture

The Brownlees: Brothers in Arms, 2016

Assuming you have siblings, there will have been a great many times when you have carried one another home from the pub. It’s the done thing; it’s nice. You grew up together, you probably hated each other for a while in your early teens, but you grew out of it and now you love and support one another and enjoy a rowdy night on the tiles together on occasion, and whenever one of you takes it too far, you know with fair certainty that your flesh and blood will scoop you up and carry you to safety.


That is, to a lesser degree, what is transpiring in this photograph – a photograph which, out of context, does actually look like he’s had an absolute skin-full and is trying to prance his way home. Jonathon Brownlee was suffering from severe exhaustion and dehydration in 2016, Mexico, and his dear brother Alistair Brownlee gave up any chance of taking the gold in order to help his little bro out. That right there, ladies and gentlemen, is enough of an inspirational sport picture to make you fall in love with sport all over again.



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