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What drives someone to become one of the world's best athletes? To dedicate their lives and constantly push themselves to reach the next goal or milestone? To get to the top, regardless of the challenges they may face?

The Winter Olympics are underway, and when we witness athletes smash records, clinch medals and become the best at their sport, we may ask ourselves: What drove them? Well, wonder no more. We asked some Beijing Olympic athletes that very question.

I love making people around me happy. After runs, I feel like everyone’s super stoked, and I just love that. I love that I make people happy.

Figuring out ways to make it work and get me there, makes me realize how fortunate I am to have such a supporting, loving family and team, and how everyone just really wants the best for me.

Sometimes you’ve just got to fail. I mean, sometimes you’ve got to be told 'No' a bunch of times to really know if you want it. I didn’t make the team in 2010, and here we are. I’ve made the team, and I’ve got two gold medals. Sometimes you got to have a couple of setbacks. And just not give up, constantly tell yourself it’ll happen, you will do it, you’re gonna make it happen.

It's the people behind you that actually bring life to your dreams and make it possible.

I think I could write a book-length encyclopedia of the village behind me of people that have helped me be to where I am. In some ways I feel so guilty when they say 'Oh you own 10 Paralympic medals' because I don't own them myself, it's those people behind me that made it possible.

I got lucky over the past few years. At every competition that I go to, every competitor has the highest chance to be able to win. We’re all very high-quality skaters. We all are really the best of the best. I’ve been really lucky that I’ve been able to have the opportunities to compete and skate the way that I have skated. If I win or if I lose, it’s not going to necessarily define my career. It's more about the journey of getting to where I want to be.

I think it’ll be great having the Olympics during Black History Month. I think the focus for Black History Month can be on people of color from any walk of life. So, you’ve got the people in the civil rights movement. You’ve got doctors and scholars and athletes, so I think it’ll just be awesome to be one of those faces that people can look at.

There are a lot of people who have believed in me throughout my career, and people that thought that I was going to do very well, even when I wasn't so sure of it. I think my mother is one big one. You know, she never liked my skiing. But when it came down to it, she loved me and wanted me to win, and she wanted me to do my best.

Walking into the opening ceremony is one of those once-in-a-lifetime things where your adrenaline just goes through the roof. I remember feeling my heart just pounding out of my chest. And you hear the noise and get excited, but then you come into the stadium, and you're surrounded by your teammates, and people that you've just met from all these different sports, which is so cool because we finally get the chance to all to come together for one country.

I compete because I truly believe that sports make this world a better place. I compete for myself, my friends, my family, my teammates. I want to involve as many people as I can in this amazing sport, in this amazing movement because I think it helps bring out the best of everybody. I think it’s the best way to show the next generation that working hard, staying dedicated and persevering, is the best way to approach life and live a happy, successful, relationship-filled life.

So, what drives you to be the best? If you're looking for the right set of wheels for the journey, Northern California Toyota Dealers can guide you. Click here to see what they have to offer.

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