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Conor Dwyer: An Olympic Gold Medalist On Why Hard Work Beats Talent That Doesn’t Work Hard

By March 19, 2017January 26th, 2024No Comments

You can never really dream too big. Just open up your mind and if you really do want it bad enough, you can achieve it through hard work.”

Conor Dwyer

I know what you’re thinking. It’s rather convenient for any Olympic athlete to say that hard work trumps talent.

For perspective, take a glance at the palmarès of this week’s guest:

  • 2012 London Olympics: Gold in the 4×200 meter freestyle relay
  • 2016 Rio Olympics: Gold in the 4×200 meter freestyle relay
  • 2016 Rio Olympics: Bronze in the 200 meter freestyle

In total, Conor Dwyer has won seventeen medals in major international swimming competitions: nine gold, six silver, and two bronze. I could geek out on his statistics forever but you get the picture. The dude is super fast in the pool; one of the fastest swimmers of all time.

An extraordinary athlete, Conor is obviously immensely talented. So this idea that hard work beats talent can’t possibly apply to him, right?

Not so fast. Conor was the furthest thing from a natural talent right out of the gate. His performances out of high school were so mediocre in fact, he couldn’t even get the attention of college coaches let alone a swimming scholarship. I simply cannot overstate how rare it is in competitive swimming that an athlete of his current caliber had yet to distinguish himself by 18. It just doesn’t happen.

But Conor refused to give up. Through persistence and a robust work ethic relentlessly applied, a series of circumstances slowly aligned. A believing coach appeared to mentor him, followed by training partners to push him to new levels of possibility and further fuel his self-belief in potential. Over time, all the important ingredients alchemized to bake the cake that is the superstar athlete we know today as Conor Dwyer.


This week Conor shares his extraordinary story from bench warmer to Olympic champion. A story that lays bare a simple core truth I have experienced myself:

when the heart is pure and fueled by self-belief, extreme faith, unwavering patience and an unabating work ethic, the universe conspires to support the dream.

One of the good guys, Conor lives it with every breath. A recipe for success that has fueled his accomplishments and will support anyone — irrespective of talent level — in the pursuit of an audacious dream.

I sincerely hope you enjoy the exchange.

Peace + Plants,


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Background, Context & Reference

Notable People Discussed in today’s podcast

Related Podcasts With Olympians You Might Enjoy

Thanks to Jason Camiolo for production, audio engineering, show notes and interstitial music; Shawn Patterson for graphics. Theme music by Ana Leimma.

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