A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

Recent entries:
Entry forthcoming—B.P. (10/22)
“There’s no ‘I’ in denial” (10/22)
“I walked past a homeless guy with a sign that read, ‘One day, this could be you‘“ (10/22)
“Your bank account is the adult version of your report card” (10/22)
“Why did the girl sit on her watch?"/"She wanted to be on time.” (10/22)
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Entry from June 26, 2012
“Champions are made when nobody is watching” (sports and exercise adage)

"Champions/winners are made when no one/nobody is watching/looking” is a popular sports adage to encourage practice and training—things that sports fans usually don’t see. “Champions are made when no one is watching” has been cited in print since at least 1992. The authorship of the saying is unknown.


10 May 1992, Pittsburgh (PA) Post-Gazette, “Volleyball Title Goes to Farrell,” pg. C8:
“I told the kids every day in practice that champions are made when no one is watching,” rookie Coach Chuck Fleet said.

Google News Archive
6 September 2000, Pittsburgh (PA) Post-Gazette, “Don’t look now; Shaler off to good start” by Jim Wexell, pg. N13, col. 2:
The banner in the Shaler football locker room reads: “Champions are made when no one’s watching.”

18 December 2001, Pittsburgh (PA) Post-Gazette, “Sharon picks Duke,” pg. C3:
“You know, they say players are made when no one is watching.”

Google News Archive
14 March 2002, The New Era (Parker, SD), “Athletes prepare for upcoming track seasons” by April Christensen, pg. 6, col. 3:
One of the themes of the girls’ track team is practice. Two such quotes are “Champions are made when no one is watching” and “Do you set the same standards when you’re by yourself as you do when others are watching you?”

Google Books
Good Sports:
Character Lessons For Life

By Mark L. Gensic
Bloomington, IN: AuthorHouse
2004
Pg. VII:
Good Sports reinforces what we have taught our children about patience, tenacity and determination… that champions are made when nobody is watching.”
Teb and Candy Thames – Friends and Parents of a NCAA D-1 athlete, former USA T&F Youth National Team member and USA T&F National Champion
Texas


Google Books
Who Wants to Be a Champion?:
10 Building Blocks to Help You Become Everything You Can Be!

By Pat Williams with David Wimbish
West Monroe, LA: Howard Pub.
2005
Pg. 127:
As it says on the sign hanging in the Cincinnati Reds’ spring training clubhouse in Sarasota, Florida: “True champions are made when no one is looking.”

Neil—Changes and Growth
Monday, January 16, 2006
What makes a ‘champion?’
(...)
“Champions are made when nobody is watching.”
What did this mean? It wasn’t what you did while you were with the team practicing that made you a better player - it was how hard you were pushing yourself on the last half mile of that 5 mile run...it was how many push-ups you did at home every night before you went to bed. THAT is what drives an athlete...what he does when he is alone. It’s not hard to push yourself when a coach is screaming up your tail(and coaches LOVED to scream at me) - but it is harder when you are saying to yourself “I could just stop now...nobody would know.” And only you and God know if you stop. But you don’t get any better by stopping. You prepare for when you are around others. You are preparing for the game, you are preparing for the season.

University of Nebraska Athletic Department
Football Practice Fields Named in Honor of Ed and Joyanne Gass
Release: 06/08/2006
(...)
“One of the phrases Steve Pederson has used with this project is ‘Champions are made when no one is watching’, and Joyanne shared with me that Ed really believed in that philosophy. The naming of this practice facility is a very fitting tribute to the Gass family.”

Google Books
The Gigantic Book Of Running Quotations
By Amby Burfoot
New York, NY: Skyhorse Pub.
2008
Pg. 448:
Champions are made when no one is watching. — Anonymous

ChalkBucket
Thread: Gymnastics Poems!!
gracefulone
01-19-2008, 10:57 AM
(...)
True winners are made when nobody is watching."Author Unknown

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityExercise/Running/Health Clubs • (0) Comments • Tuesday, June 26, 2012 • Permalink