"Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard” (or “Hard work beats talent when talent fails to work hard") is a popular sports saying that has been printed on many posters. The earliest citations of the saying come from hockey. “I think Rudy Pilous once told me that hard work beats talent unless talent works” was cited in 1981. Rudy Pilous (1914-1994) was a Canadian ice hockey player and Stanley Cup-winning coach.
Wikipedia: Rudy Pilous
Rudy Pilous (August 11, 1914 – December 5, 1994) was a Canadian ice hockey player and coach, born in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Pilous won a Stanley Cup coaching the Chicago Black Hawks in 1960–61, and was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1985 in the builder category.
Google News Archive
2 May 1981, Star Phoenix (Saskatoon, Saskatchewan), “Work ethic root of success for Bulls’ Mavety” by Ron Rauch, pg. D7, col. 1:
HALIFAX—Larry Mavety, coach of the Belleville Bulls, has a simple hockey philosophy. He believes har work will overcome most obstacles.
“I think Rudy Pilous once told me that hard work beats talent unless talent works,” Mavety said Friday at the Halifax Metro Centre.
January 30, 1984
Ohio State Holds A Pair Of Aces
Twins Paul and Perry Pooley have put Columbus on the hockey map
“Hard work beats talent if talent doesn’t work hard,” says Paul.
10 March 1991, Minneapolis (MN) Star-Tribune, “Strobels inspire with word, deed”:
“You know what they say—hard work beats talent, and that’s us. We don’t have any Mr. Hockey finalists. We just have 20 guys who wanted to play hockey.”
16 May 1996, Philadelphia (PA) Inquirer, “To Flyers, offense is a question,” Sports, pg. C1:
“That cliche that hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work holds true year after year after year.”
Coaching: The Art and the Science:
The complete guide to self management, team management, and physical and psychological preparation
By Dave Chambers
Toronto, ON: Key Porter Books
Remember: Hard work beats talent unless talent works.
Google News Archive
2 December 1999, The Blade (Toledo, OH), “Southview plays over its head, thanks to its heart” by Dave Hackenberg, pg. 33, col. 1:
“There’s the old saying that hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard.”
(Chad Peterson, Southview quarterback—ed.)
By Parker Holmes
New York, NY: PowerKids
When Tebow was a young boy, one of his favorite sayings was, “Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard.”