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What drives someone to become one of the world's greatest athletes? Someone with no lofty connections? Who comes from the middle of nowhere? Who may even be physically challenged?

No matter how many times we see someone rise from obscurity and overcome obstacles to achieve greatness, we'll always want to know: What drove them? We asked some Tokyo Olympic athletes that very question. Here are their answers.

What drives me are the lofty goals I have for myself. I think continuing to push towards those really drives me to reach the highest level of the sport and to, hopefully, inspire others along the way

I have also been extremely inspired by Venus and Serena Williams as minorities in the sport of tennis. They have continued to push towards their goals and, not only reach those goals, but inspire others. And that also kind of motivated me to do the same.

It's just to prove to myself; to see how far I can take this. You know, kids from Greencove Springs [Florida] have no business taking the sport as far as I have.

I don't want to be compared to anybody. It's not about beating anyone in particular. It’s trying to prove that greatness is within all of us, no matter what you do, what field you're in, what sport you're in. It’s just really about trying to reach our full potential.

When I think about what drives me to be an Olympian I think about myself when I was young—the first time I watched the Olympics, the first time I was really like, wow, starstruck. I hope to inspire and motivate some young athlete to be greater than I was. And I think being an Olympian is something that gets me closer to that goal of leaving a legacy and inspiring those young athletes.

I love challenging what is perceived as impossible and making it possible. 

Jessica Long
Women's Paralympic Swimming

What drives me to be a Paralympian is inspiring the next generation of athletes, especially the next generation of female athletes and Paralympic athletes. Also, I just really want to be a better version of myself as an athlete and as a person than I was yesterday or last year.

Brown, left, with his guide runner, Jerome Avery.

Honestly, I've always been an athletic kid. Growing up, I played different sports—basketball, football... One thing that drives me to be a Paralympian, specifically in track, is the speed. You know, I love going fast. I love running and being able to represent my country. If I had my sight, I would be a sniper in the Navy.

I love competing. I love being a part of this movement. I love challenging what is perceived as impossible and making it possible. And I really love inspiring the next generation of girls, or just anyone. I think we're gonna see more amputees. Growing up without my lower legs, I didn't know there's something out there for me. So it's so exciting.

So, what drives you? If you’re looking for inspiration, Northern California Toyota Dealers can guide you. Click here to see what they have to offer.

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