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Determinator / Real Life

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    Politics and Civil Rights 
  • Abraham Lincoln. Let's look at the man's record: He was born into a poor family. He only had about eighteen months of formal schooling, becoming what he was almost entirely by self-education. His mother died when he was young, and he was never close to his father. As an adult, he tried to run for state assembly. He lost. He later opened a store with a partner. It failed and went bankrupt. He became a member of the U.S. House of Representatives. He was considered a failure as a member of that group and didn’t try to run for a second term. He tried to run for vice president. He lost the nomination to someone else. Yet, he never gave up, and after all that, he had a LOT to show for it.
  • Winston Churchill, who survived any number of setbacks and humiliations and yet prevailed. Because of this, he is also the Trope Namer for defiant determination on a large scale on this wiki.
    "Even though large parts of Europe and many old and famous States have fallen or may fall into the grip of the Gestapo and all the odious apparatus of Nazi rule, we shall not flag or fail. We shall go on to the end, we shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our Island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender, and if, which I do not for a moment believe, this Island or a large part of it were subjugated and starving, then our Empire beyond the seas, armed and guarded by the British Fleet, would carry on the struggle, until, in God's good time, the New World, with all its power and might, steps forth to the rescue and the liberation of the Old."
    • Also attributed to Churchill is the adage, "If you're marching through Hell, keep marching."
  • Say what you will about Those Wacky Nazis, but they may have been some of the biggest Determinators in history. Nazi Germany was grossly outnumbered in WWII , plus they were the only true superpower of the Axis, while the Allies had the Soviet Union, Great Britain, and America. During their series of battles with the Soviet Union, the Germans soldiers were often outnumbered four to one. But despite all that, they refused to give up until Berlin was completely surrounded and all hope was truly lost.
    • The part about the Nazis being outnumbered and fighting against great odds is factually false and is part of the many pieces of Nazi propaganda that are still popular in pop-history today. At the start of the invasion, they had 4 million troops assigned to Operation Barbarossa of which were their most well-equipped and high readiness units, while the Soviet strength was almost half that and consisted of very poorly equipped and trained forces. In fact, despite the Soviets poor state and vast losses sustained in the early stages of the war, the first mass surrender (rather than piecemeal as units were destroyed or ran out of supplies) on the eastern front was a German one once the war stopped going their way.
    • Certain individual Nazis also lived up to the trope. Hitler had numerous health problems because of stress brought about by the war. But instead of giving up so his health could return, he simply had his doctor dope him up on whatever meds he thought would help.
      • Then there's the infamous Rudolf Hess flight. Hess, knowing that there was no realistic way Nazi Germany could beat the odds against them, flew on a solo peace mission (that Hitler may or may not have known about) to Great Britain to try to end the war. Considering Churchill repeatedly turned down Hitler's peace offers, it was pretty much a suicide mission. But Hess figured if there was a one percent chance of it working, he had to try.
  • King Edward VII was in poor health after staying in France to help mend ties with the nation. One week after returning, he suffered many heart attacks while performing his kingly duties, repeatedly uttering "No, I shall not give in; I shall go on; I shall work to the end." while refusing to rest. He did not stop to the very end of the day upon hearing his horse won a nation race. He then reportedly said "I am very glad" and then passed out. He was pronounced dead fifteen minutes later.
  • Charles de Gaulle. An officer of an army which had completely collapsed and who saw one half of his country occupied while the other half was turned into a puppet state, he was never really taken seriously by Churchill and Roosevelt. Though he started with a lot of handicaps, he still managed to organize the French Resistance, recreated from nearly nothing a French army — hundreds of thousands of men strong — and thus accomplished that France, though defeated earlier, was considered to be one of the victors after the war.
  • George Washington. They found bullet holes through the clothes he was wearing in battle ... but he lived on to become President.
  • Theodore Roosevelt. He was actually quite sickly but forced his body to be more powerful and athletic than most through sheer willpower. Was once shot right before a speech and kept on talking, with a bullet in his chest, for an hour and a half.
  • Ulysses S. Grant deserves a mention. Being a Determinator is what led to him being known as "Unconditional Surrender Grant" in the Civil War. After having to deal with an investment scam not too long after his presidency, he endured the pain of old age and throat cancer to write his memoirs, and leave his family well-off.
  • Theobald Wolfe Tone, an 18-century Irish revolutionary and basically the father of Irish republicanism. Heck, he even made Catholics and Protestants work together for the sake of Irish independence!
    Tone (after the British government has sentenced him to death by hanging): From my earliest youth I have regarded the connection between Ireland and Great Britain as the curse of the Irish nation, and felt convinced, that while it lasted, this country would never be free or happy. In consequence, I determined to apply all the powers which my individual efforts could move, in order to separate the two countries. That Ireland was not able, of herself, to throw off the yoke, I knew. I therefore sought for aid wherever it was to be found… Under the flag of the French Republic, I originally engaged with a view to save and liberate my own country. For that purpose I have encountered the chances of war amongst strangers; for that purpose, I have repeatedly braved the terrors of the ocean, covered as I knew it to be with the triumphant fleets of that Power which it was my glory and my duty to oppose. I have sacrificed all my views in life; I have courted poverty; I have left a beloved wife unprotected, and children which I adored, fatherless. After such sacrifices, in a cause which I have always considered as the cause of justice and freedom - it is no great effort at this day to add the sacrifice of my life.
  • Alexander Hamilton. Practically the only American Founding Father not to come from a land-wealthy family. Hamilton went from a poor orphan boy in the West Indies to Revolutionary War hero and father of American finance.
  • Pick any African-American who's broken the color barrier in any field, be it business, the military, sports, whatever. We're talking real men and women who've taken abuse that would reduce whole platoons of Marines to tears. Famous examples: The Navy's first Black Master Diver Carl Brasher, as portrayed in Men of Honor, Malcolm X, Jackie Robinson, and most obviously Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
  • Mohandas K. Gandhi, on whom King and others drew for inspiration.
  • The Little Rock Nine. Made even more awesome by how relatively young they were during their ordeal.
  • Nelson Mandela. 20 years in government jail makes the average tough person into an empty shell, provided he/she survives. 20 years in government jail made terrorist Nelson Mandela the President of South Africa, as well as a hero the world over.
  • William Wilberforce was determined to see slavery abolished and the character of the British people reformed. And he never faltered, though it took his whole life; he was in the final stages of a terminal illness when Parliament finally voted to outlaw slavery.
  • Many in Canadian Politics, but an especially memorable example is Jack Layton of the NDP; several elections in a row he had been campaigning as federal NDP leader for the job of Prime Minister, and most times popular opinion dismissed him as the guy who didn't have a chance. But he kept going anyway, and managed to make it at least to official opposition leader status in the 2011 election but died a couple of months afterward.
  • Despite his opinions. Strom Thurmond's 24 hour, 18-minute filibuster against the Civil Rights Act of 1957 deserves credit for his sheer determination.
    • To that end one should recognize the efforts of the pro-civil rights Senators during the 1964 debate. Unlike in 1957, the 1964 Act was facing a much tougher filibuster from the southerners, who also engaged in quorum calls to help kill the bill (as an absence of quorum could kill the legislation). The pro-civil rights Senators, led by Hubert Humphrey, managed to answer every quorum call and eventually see the act passed. Though most of the pro-civil rights Senators were exhausted from having to answer quorum calls on little to no sleep, they made the effort and eventually won out.
  • Franklin D. Roosevelt. He was President of the United States for 12 years, and governor of New York for four, while hiding the fact that he was paralyzed below the waist. He taught himself to walk by a combination of laboriously rotating his torso and leaning on a cane. FDR felt that if the public knew the full extent of his disability, he would have been unelectable; later on, with World War II raging, he felt that a paralyzed leader would have made America look weak.
  • Japanese history has quite a few cases of absolutely ridiculous persistence, often including cases where the determinator not only refuses to give up but refuses to let the issue die with him instead teaching and guilting his children to continue the hopeless struggle.
    • The Mori clan (also called Choshu clan after their domain) lost most of their land when the Shogun redistributed land, the clan lost more than half of their holdings. According to one tradition, they were so bitter with this treatment that the most important men of the clan met every year to ask the head of the clan if it was time for rebellion against the shogun. Every year the answer was the same: "No, the shogunate is still too strong." This went on for more than 250 years. Until finally the head of the clan said: "Yes, now is the time." In 1869, they did overthrow the Shogunate together with their enemy-since-at-least-three-bloody-centuries Shimazu (also called Satsuma after their domain) despite being ridiculously outnumbered. You might think it was finally time to take their lost land back, but they did the exact opposite. They gave all their remaining land to the Emperor. (Eventually, all daimyo did the same, but Mori were first or second, depending on who you believe). It was never about the land. It was about the principle. Beware of the wrath of a patient Japanese clan.
  • The current President of Finland, Sauli Niinistö. He has survived a hideous automobile accident which claimed the life of his wife, and the South-East Asia Tsunami 2004 (by climbing to a lamp post and clinging there to the very life), failed political career and being stamped as a lame duck even amongst his own party... only winning the popular election in 2011.
  • President Barack Obama would not give up on health care reform. Despite the constant opposition from the Republican and Tea Parties (to the point where it seemed like their only real goal was to be anti-Obama), he managed to push through Obamacare.
  • In the U.S., political third parties are definite embodiments of this trope, especially the Libertarian and Green Parties. In spite of draconian state ballot access laws, limited financial resources, and media coverage that ranged from dismissive to nonexistent, the Libertarian Party got their 2016 Presidential ticket (Gary Johnson/William Weld) on the ballot in all 50 states, plus the District of Columbia. Facing the same barriers, the Green Party's ticket (Dr. Jill Stein/Ajamu Baraka) got on the ballot in all but 6 states (they did achieve write-in status in three of those states). Johnson received over 4 million votes, while Stein received over 1 million - record high Presidential vote totals for both parties.
  • During the 2000s, the Brazilian government used the motto 'Sou brasileiro e não desisto nunca' (I'm Brazilian and I never give up) as a stimulus for the people to work harder.
  • Roy Pearson Jr. got his pants late from a dry cleaning service and sued them. When the initial court did not see the dry cleaners doing anything wrong or illegal and ruled in their favor, Pearson then appealed to a higher court. And he kept doing it for years until they finally started ignoring him, one step short of the U.S. Supreme Court. Remember: This is over a pair of pants, and not a particularly valuable or rare pair for that matter.
  • John Lewis, one of the biggest faces of the American Civil Rights Movement, was arrested over 40 times and was physically assaulted countless times, yet never gave up in his nonviolent protest efforts, especially throughout The '60s. He spent the last 33 years of his life as a US Representative from Georgia, continuing in his protests and other activism, still willing to risk arrest for what he believed in, until his passing in July 2020.
  • On a lighter note, one aspiring presidential candidate in the Philippines named Pascual Racuyal was so insistent in running for public office that he campaigned eleven times (1935, 1941, 1946, 1949, 1953, 1957, 1961, 1965, 1969, 1981 and 1986) with the promise that he will build roads made with plastic to prevent deterioration and govern the country via satellite. Undeterred by his (obviously) futile presidential campaign in 1935, with just 158 votes, he has since tried to run office in the years that followed, though out of all the elections he was involved in, the 1969 polls was the only other election he qualified, scoring third place against Ferdinand Marcos and Sergio Osmeña, Jr. with 778 votes. Suffice it to say, he was unable to fulfill his dream of sitting in the Malacañang Palace, and the Commission of Elections barred him from campaigning for good in 1986.
  • Stacey Abrams. Formerly a member of the Democrat side of the House of Representatives, she retired from that to run for governor of Georgia. However, her campaign came to an end when she lost to Georgia Secretary of State John Kemp in what was believed to be through major voter disenfranchisement. Instead, Abrams went to form Fair Fight Action, a non-profit organization to help minorities get registered and vote. Her actions are considered to be the reason Georgia flipped blue and helped Democrats regain control of the Senate after six years of Republican Senate Majority Leader being an Obstructive Bureaucrat.

    Artists, Entrepreneurs, and Scientists 
  • Arnold Schwarzenegger, the product of an unhappy home in Austria, has done a little bit of everything: bodybuilder, businessman, movie star, politician, etc. Say what you want about him, but there's no denying that his formidable will power practically makes him a force of nature unto himself.
  • Walt Disney was one of the most ambitious men in screen entertainment, going through the failures of two studios, losing his first successful star character, finally getting some success from 1928 to the early 40s, which despite making his most ambitious works yet, he wound up going through major financial problems and loss of staff due to the war effort, which was not helped by the disastrous 1941 studio strike which robbed Walt of many valuable animators. It wasn't until 1950 when he finally got back up to his former stride with Cinderella, and even then he had to contend with the flop of Sleeping Beauty, which was such a costly failure that Walt had to lay off his entire inking department and switch to xeroxing, as well as produce black & white films (during the early 60s, no less!) just to stay in business.
  • Jonas Salk. He was determined to invent the vaccine for poliomyelitis - so determined that he first tested the vaccine on himself and then his own family. It was a success. It brought him the Nobel Prize of Medicine.
  • Almost any actor who has to go on a press tour needs steel resolve to finish them. For one example, there's a good chance that Doctor Who star Matt Smith doesn't have to sleep. Simply filming the show seem like no easy task on its own. Aside from that, he's hosted two Doctor Who proms, filmed two episodes of The Sarah Jane Adventures, done voice recording for the Doctor Who Online Game and audiobooks, films behind-the-scenes segments for Doctor Who Confidential, and has gone on a two-continent press tour that would leave most people curled in the fetal position.
  • Sarah Bernhardt was the original modern theatre Large Ham, even taking on Large Ham male roles. Not even being one-legged with almost no mobility could stop her from being an acclaimed actress.
  • Thomas Alva Edison would well be one of the Trope Codifier s. His theoretical understanding of sciences was next to nil, so he simply applied the trial and error method (also known as "brute force method") until he got something working. His famous maxim Genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration implies just that - when you don't have the faintest theoretical idea on how to get things to work, just try, try again until it works - and never give up.
  • Guitarist Jason Becker. Regarded by many as one of the best players to play the instrument, in 1989, after recording two albums in the band Cacophony and building a cult following, playing on friend and bandmate Marty Friedman's first solo album, releasing his own solo album, and gaining arguably the biggest, highest-paying guitar spot at the time as Steve Vai's replacement in David Lee Roth's solo band - worth mentioning he did all of this before his twenty-first birthday - a visit to a doctor for an odd limp in his left leg ended with him being diagnosed with Lou Gehrig's disease, which wouldn't just kill him in three to five years, it'd also cripple his muscular ability, robbing his music as it killed him. So what did he do? He started using lighter, easier instruments, finished the 1991 Roth record (Though he couldn't join the tour), jumped right by that "three to five years" mark with a grin on, releasing two more albums in the 1990's, an enormous feat with his condition, stabilized in 1997, and nearly twenty years after he was told he'd lose his ability to make music, then die, communicating and still writing through a computer even now that he's fully-paralyzed, save for his eyes, in 2008, he released a new album, with the music he wrote played by nearly thirty friends from his early career and fans who'd grown up since his debut in 1980, including his boss at the time he was diagnosed, and an immensely busy man in the midst of a gigantic reunion tour, David Lee Roth. Screw you, ALS.
  • Kathryn Stockett, author of The Help. The woman received 60 rejections. And that's from agents. Usually with good books it's after you get the agent that the rejection letters start piling in from uninterested publishers who are more driven by the bottom line and potential sales than quality writing, but the fact that Stockett kept believing in her story after being repeatedly told it wasn't up to snuff qualifies her.
  • J. K. Rowling. She worked on the first Harry Potter book for five years, writing as she dealt with her mother's untimely death, a failed marriage, hand-to-mouth poverty and being a single mother. Then she went from living off benefits to multi-millionaire status in five years.
  • Many musicians count, especially the black musicians of the '30s, '40s, and '50s who started/changed it all in jazz: Charlie Parker, who was embarrassed at jam sessions one time too many (culminating in the legendary story of a drummer throwing down a cymbal to stop him playing), got sick of it, and practiced 15 hours a day for several months to a year before breaking onto the scene and becoming the most important musician in jazz history, and receiving recognition as one of the greatest geniuses of all time. Partway through Parker's career, Miles Davis arrives, who in addition to being determined to adhere to his own musical concept despite several years of harsh criticism before breaking out on the jazz scene, quit heroin the first time by locking himself in his father's guest house and suffering cold turkey until it was done. John Coltrane, similar to Bird, was a guy lacking in natural talent who practiced incessantly, practicing in the bathrooms during a break on gigs, and fingering the keys until he fell asleep with his horn in his hands in hotel rooms late at night, never going out to hang out, just playing the gig and going straight to practicing. The list goes on, really, nearly every great jazz musician has had some aspects of the Determinator. It's what led them to greatness, or at least wide recognition. And don't get me started on the difficulties related to other styles of music: the difficulty of getting a job in a major orchestra as a classical player, of breaking onto the over-saturated pop and rock scenes, etc.
  • Yoshiki Hayashi. The major labels in Japan wouldn't take his band at the time, so he made his own label. His band became the first Heavy Metal band in Japan to top the charts in competition with non-metal genres. He experienced several health crises and the death of his father from suicide as a child and lived on through them, and experienced even more health crises as a result of his drumming... and still kept on playing. He played through an almost broken neck twice, he survived suicidal feelings and overwhelming grief after the disbandment of the band and the death of hide in 1997 and 1998. He managed to reconcile with the singer Toshi and eventually get him out of a cult that was destroying him, reuniting the band in the process. His neck injuries led to drastic surgery during which he almost died - he would recover to play drums at the same level he had pre-surgery. During the surgery, a cancerous thyroid growth was discovered - and he still went on with touring in 2009 and 2010 while suffering from hyperthyroidism and other illnesses. Despite an ongoing bad physical condition, he completed a world tour in 2011 and plans to tour again - as he works on music for a major project, finishes an album, and manages a charity campaign...
  • Steve Jobs during the 1990s could be seen as a case, given that after being fired from Apple he went on to create other companies, one of which would eventually become the NeXT Apple.
  • Stephen Hawking. Hawking was diagnosed with the degenerative nerve disease amyotrophic lateral sclerosis when he was 21 years old and was given three years to live. Apparently, he disagreed. Nearly five decades later, and with only a muscle fiber or two still under his conscious control, he continued to re-write the world of theoretical physics and used his other time to publish best-selling books until his death in 2018. Not bad for a guy who can require between five and ten minutes to write a long sentence.
  • German film director Uwe Boll keeps making multi-million dollar movies ("Dungeon Siege" cost 40 million USD) despite every one of them being a spectacular box-office bomb and critical failure.
    • He achieves this through German tax-loopholes that reward investments in the film. Any investors can write off the investment as a tax deduction, and only pay taxes on the profits made by the movie. So basically, if the movie doesn't break even, the investor gets a tax write-off.
  • Donald Pleasence, famous for playing Blofeld in James Bond and Dr. Samuel Loomis in the Halloween series, worked until his death in 1995 and doing many of his own stunts even at an advanced age.
  • The deceased Norm Borlaug. He spent decades interbreeding plants in a process even he admits nearly drove him insane with tedium. However, the result was the Green Revolution which increased crop yields to such an extent as to save more than a billion people from dying of starvation, about 10 times more people than died in World War II.
  • Darrell Hammond of Saturday Night Live. The man's backstory practically defines "Woobiedom": Horribly abusive parents, struggles with alcohol and cocaine, and starting stand-up at a comparatively late age (twenty-six) all worked against him. This is not even taking into account his severe mental health problems which have included bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and a long history of self-harm. He struggled for thirteen years to achieve his dream of going on Saturday Night Live before finally achieving it at an age when most would have given up. He stayed on the show for fourteen years, longer than any other cast member. If that is not determination, I don't know what is.
  • Patrick Swayze worked on the crime drama The Beast while undergoing treatment for his pancreatic cancer. But despite positive reviews, it had low ratings because Swayze was unable to promote it himself. The show was put on a hiatus after its first and only season, with the intention that it would come back once Swayze got better, but it got cancelled after his death in September 2009.
    • Likewise, all the skydiving in Point Break is real. Swayze was an experienced skydiver, and he did over 50 jumps during filming.
  • Seasick Steve endured years of poverty, including time homeless, and was working as a busker at the age of sixty. Then, in 2006, he made an appearance on Jools Holland that made him huge in the okay and now regularly plays on popular shows and sell-out gigs and tours with major stars, all after the age of sixty-five.
  • Howard Schultz was turned down by investors 242 times before finally getting the capital to start Starbucks.
  • Colonel Sanders may just be the definition of this trope. He endured years of poverty and hardship and switched from job to job until he came across his chicken recipe and tried to turn it into a business. His early efforts failed due to outside circumstances. The poor guy had so much bad luck he must have thought he was cursed. He tried selling his recipe to over three-thousand restaurants but none wanted it. This continued until he was in his late sixties and he eventually started the Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) franchise chain. He quickly became a success and sold it, becoming a millionaire at the age of seventy-four and spending the rest of his life successful and prosperous as well as founding one of the biggest fast food chains in the world.
  • All of EXO count, especially former member Kris. He'd often practice basketball until 4:00 am alone, long after everyone else had gone home while he was living in Canada. Despite being born in Canada and very close to his mother, he spent five years training in Korea under S.M. Entertainment alone at 16, which is grueling enough, with little to no prior knowledge of the language, and having to deal with racism and bullying from other trainees, along with intense homesickness on top of that. Eventually, he was chosen as EXO-M's leader because of his strong will and responsible nature and can speak 4 languages fluently. As of May 2014, he'd filed a lawsuit against a very influential, and entertainment company, SM, despite allegedly being deathly ill from overwork. He'd quickly moved onto filming in China, among various charity events, and is practically The Ace of Chinese actors at only 24. And he seems to be accomplishing far more with less than a year on his own than he did seven years under SM, underscoring his incredible work ethic and passion for his career. Many C-netizens and people in the acting industry who are supportive of his career in China talk about how he's unusually strong-willed and hardworking for his age.
  • Elton John was raised by a strict father and supportive mother who divorced when Elton was a child, he attended the Royal Academy of Music (even though much of his skills were natural, his fingers were too short to play classical music properly and he had a hard time reading sheet music), and went into rock and roll and wore colorful clothing partly to rebel against his father, who hated rock music and wanted Elton to wear conservative clothing and get a respectable job. Deciding that he wanted to get involved in music in some way or other, Elton played in blues groups, backed British R&B singer Long John Baldry for a while, and he worked mainly as a session musician and pub entertainer; he also auditioned as a vocalist for Gentle Giant and King Crimson. He also worked as a tea boy at a recording studio. On top of that, while still unsure of his sexuality, he was engaged to a pickle farming heiress who he believed he impregnated, who gave Elton the ultimatum to give up his music to raise the child (it turned out to be untrue, and Baldry talked Elton out of the relationship). The engagement nearly drove Elton to gas himself to death, but luckily Elton accidentally left the window open. Elton answered an ad in 1967 placed in Melody Maker magazine by Liberty Records looking for songwriters and lyricists, met Bernie Taupin (the main lyricist in his career) and started a songwriting partnership. And it was only after many years with few established stars wanting to cover Bernie and Elton's material that Elton would decide to work as a solo recording artist and cover their songs himself. After a few years honing their craft and building a following, Elton would become one of the biggest solo superstars in The '70s and beyond.
  • Christopher Reeve: The guy who turned the Man of Steel into a movie icon was paralyzed and on a ventilator from the neck down after a terrible horse jumping accident. He at first contemplated pulling the plug, but the love his wife showed for him convinced him otherwise. He never stopped trying to regain movement, he rebuilt his acting career, and by the time of his death, he was able to at least move some parts of his body and spent some time without his ventilator.
  • Michael J. Fox did the first Back to the Future film while simultaneously working full-time on Family Ties, effectively carrying the show himself as costar Meredith Baxter was out because of her pregnancy. Fox recalls getting just a couple hours of sleep on most days. To say nothing about his battle with Parkinson's disease, originally told he'd get at most 10 years before the disease took over, yet more than 20 years later, has still been working.
  • Nintendo: In the early 1980s, only about a decade since Nintendo changed into a video game company, and only a few years after Donkey Kong, the entire video game industry fell apart, mostly because of the infamous Atari Game E.T. Instead of giving up, Nintendo buckled down, kept releasing games, and using methods, including packaging their system the NES (or Famicom in Japanese) and the first Super Mario Bros game, with a toy robot named ROB. Nintendo proceeded to bring the entire gaming industry out of the crash, and made them even more popular, since gaming could be done at home, instead of having to use arcades. All of gaming has to thank Nintendo for its perseverance.
  • Norwegian author Ingeborg Refling Hagen, who decided to fight Fascism after a visit to Italy in 1925. She became one of the early whistle-blowers against the Nazi regime in the thirties, and come the occupation of Norway, she was on the Nazi death list the day after invasion. She joined the resistance early on and was in charge of an illegal newspaper until her arrest in 1942. The Germans really wanted her dead, sent to Germany or both. To avoid being executed, or deported, and also dying, she faked insanity, and had herself infected with severe diseases, to make herself so insane and nearly dead that the Germans would give up on her, which they eventually did, and she was freed in 1944, only to fake insanity for everyone who didn`t know her closely for the rest of the war. She reasoned, quite correctly, that the German army only shot people who could stand on their feet. It was also paramount to keep herself alive because that would protect other resistance men from being caught. Consider that this woman put the fricking Gestapo to shame on sheer willpower. After the war, she relentlessly kept her resistance going, and pursued her goals for a better society through enlightenment and cultural activism up to her ninetieth year.
  • George Miller: In 1998 he thought up an idea for a fourth Mad Max movie and spent the next 17 years trying to get it made and released. Initially meant to be shot in Australia in 2001, production was pushed back due to the 9/11 terrorist attacks. After that, Mel Gibson, the star of the previous three Mad Max movies dropped out of the project. Miller, still committed to seeing the film made, pushed production back to 2003, but was delayed again thanks to a heavy Australian rainfall making everything too green. Production moved to Nambia but got further delayed thanks to due problems coming from the Iraq War. After having numerous actors pegged to play Max, including Heath Ledger before his untimely death in 2008, Tom Hardy was finally cast and production began in 2012, a very Troubled Production. Shooting went for months, going over schedule and over budget to the point that Warner Brothers nearly took more control of the filming and the location was miserable for almost everyone on set. Tom Hardy himself did not get along very well with Miller, nor his costar, Charlize Theron. With filming finally complete, it entered post-production, where it stayed for nearly two years experiencing more delays. After all of that, George Miller finally saw Mad Max: Fury Road released in 2015, three decades after the previous film, where it smashed Out of the Ghetto and ended up being the most critically acclaimed film of the year.
  • The heroic realism proposed by the German conservative revolutionary movement. This basically states that the current political climate is so bad and unchangeable, that the only thing people can do to survive is having ridiculous amounts of determinator tendencies. One allegory used to explain this was a Roman soldier wanting to fight the lava masses of a volcanic outbreak. That soldier knows that every fight against the lava just leads to a possibly painful death, but he still does it although it's hopeless. The only way to fight hopelessness is to give everything in spite of any action being pointless.
  • The Barney & Friends production crew went through hell and back to make their show the success it was. During the original Backyard Gang videos, David Voss (the original suit actor of Barney) left to enlist in the military and they had to find a replacement. When the actress hired as a replacement wasn't able to handle the kids, David Joyner, who had been passed over in auditions, was hired to perform Barney. Then, Connecticut Public Television asked The Lyons Group about doing a Barney TV series after a higher-up rented one of the tapes for his child and said child enjoyed it, but other executives initially were weary of the series when they couldn't see the series' appeal after watching another Barney video, but after they showed the video to kids and saw their reactions, CPTV immediately got a TV contract for the Barney series. And then anti-Barney humor rolled in, but The Lyons Group never gave up, even if they had to resort to filing cease & desist orders or lawsuits to get bored humorists starting anti-Barney webpages to stay quiet. And then Blue's Clues come along and forced Barney & Friends to add copious amounts of Fake Interactivity, but that didn't stop Barney, and neither did the box office failure of Barney's Great Adventure. By the time the show ended in the early 2010s, it had faced a lot of challenges but managed to overcome many of them.

    Mountaineers and Survival Ordeals 
  • The first person to conquer Nanga Parbat, a Himalayan mountain known for being a grave for many would-be climbers, was Hermann Buhl, who insisted on going solo.
  • Sir Ranulph Fiennes. Joined the British Army, got into the SAS, got kicked out of the SAS for 'improper use of explosives', was awarded a medal for bravery by the Sultan of Oman, and went on to become, in the words of the Guinness book of Records, the 'greatest living explorer'. This is a man who cut off the ends of his frostbitten fingers in his garden shed with a power tool because he was fed up with them hurting, ran 7 marathons in 7 days in 7 continents when he was 59 and didn't know how that affected the heart condition he had at the time because he forgot to pack the monitor, climbed the Eiger in his 60s despite a fear of heights, and climbed Mount Everest at 65. Clearly doesn't know how to give up.
  • Joe Simpson, mountaineer and author of the book (and later award-winning documentary film) Touching The Void. After completing an ascent of the west face of Siula Grande in Peru, reaching the 6,344-metre peak, he fell during the descent, his calf bone splitting his knee. Working together with his climbing partner, Simon Yates, they descended - until Simpson fell again, ending up hanging over a crevasse with no way to climb up or anchor himself - and with his body weight slowly pulling Yates after him. After a long time, Yates made the only possible decision - to cut the rope. Simpson, close to hypothermia by this point, fell again and ended up inside the crevasse, unable to climb back out the way he'd fallen; so he climbed down into the crevasse instead and found a way back out onto the mountain. Then, with no food, water, or painkillers, he worked his way down the mountain - including an unroped crossing of a glacier - over three and a half days, finally arriving back at his Base Camp the night before Yates was planning to leave. He lost a third of his body weight during the ordeal, and he needed multiple operations before he could walk again. Then he started climbing again, and - later - broke his other leg while climbing in the Himalayas. He's now an author and motivational speaker.
  • Mountain man Hugh Glass was mauled by a bear and left for dead by his companions. He awoke 200 miles from civilization, with a broken leg, exposed ribs, festering wounds, and no food, water, or weapons. Glass set his leg, wrapped himself in his death shroud, and began trekking through hostile Native American territory. He survived on berries, roots, and carrion, and stove off infection with maggots. After six weeks, he reached the Cheyenne River, fashioned a raft, and floated to civilization. After a long recuperation, he hunted down his two former companions but chose to spare both of them. He did, however, take his rifle back.
  • Another mountain climber, Aron Ralston, was forced to amputate his own arm with a cheap, dull multi-tool after a rock fell on it and trapped him for five days without food and water. After that, he had to rappel down a 65-foot wall and walk for miles until he found help. There's a movie about his ordeal now. Hearing him relate the event in his own words is staggering.
  • Chris Ryan, the SAS member that during the First Gulf War walked over 200 miles in the Iraqi desert over 8 days with no supplies, evaded detection and capture, survived the weather and even drinking water contaminated with nuclear waste in what is by far "the longest escape and evasion" by any soldier to date.
  • Sir Douglas Mawson. An Australian scientist who led a fateless expedition in the south pole. His entire team starved to death after a blizzard forced them to stay in their tents, waiting to die. Mawson, on the other hand, walked the 100 miles solo, back to base camp in horrid Antartic conditions of 90 miles per hour winds and freezing temperatures.
  • Molly Craig: A young girl who escaped from an internment camp and walked 1500 miles across the Australian Outback twice, the second time with an infant in tow.
  • Sir Ernest Shackleton and the other members of the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition. They planned to cross the Antarctic continent when on the way there their ship got stuck in early ice, was crushed and eventually sank. They survived more than a year on the floating ice cut off from the resupply posts established for them inland. But they weren't rescued then — that was just when the ice melted and started to break apart. So they got into their lifeboats and paddled past drifting icebergs to the nearest island that was 100 miles away. After almost 500 days they were finally on solid land again but so far off any shipping lines that they would never be found. So after this whole ordeal and despite having only some rudimentary tools left they retrofitted one of their lifeboats for an open sea journey. Six men split off and sailed 800 miles across one of the most dangerous seas through a hurricane, having only three opportunities to determine their position. When they finally got to South Georgia they had to land on the uninhabited side of the island. So after a year on the ice and almost a month on the boat they got up and crossed the unexplored island with little more than a couple hundred meters of rope in a 36 hour non-stop trek.
    • Everybody on the travel survived. The only grave casualty was a teenager who had to have his toes cut because they were frostbitten.
    • Shackleton was so badass that many explorers said:
      Scott for scientific method, Amundsen for speed and efficiency but when disaster strikes and all hope is gone, get down on your knees and pray for Shackleton.
  • Sherpas in general. They did the work carrying whole caravans of equipment up Mt Everest on their backs.
  • Dr. David Livingstone made a habit of wandering Africa for years at a time. The explorer faced incredible dangers, including disease, deadly animals, starvation, weather, cannibal tribes, bandits, and other horrors. This was bad enough, but at least he had his Africa companions Chuma and Susi. When Livingstone died in Africa, Chuma and Susi did not abandon him. Instead, they carried his corpse for one thousand miles over the same deadly and inhospitable terrain.
  • Deep Survival, a book on survival psychology, reconstructs this. People who convince themselves that they can force nature to cooperate get killed. People who acknowledge how much danger they're in and adjust to the new world, but decide that they're going to live anyway, have the best chance of living.

    War and the Military 
  • Half the point to basic training in any military worth its salt is to pump out strong-minded and bodied determinators. This goes double for special forces.
  • The Ur-example is the Zealots, who were so good at this that the word for "uncompromising in pursuit of their ideals" is named for them.
  • Any man who can complete the two-year Pararescue Jumper program, also known as "Superman School". It includes becoming a qualified paramedic, going through SERE training, Military freefall, and Combat Dive school — all before the start of the PJ specific training. The pass rate is ~3%.
  • Spartacus. Made a Slave, trained as a gladiator, led a successful revolt in the heart of a slave-holding Empire, built a 70,000 man army and destroyed two of Rome's legions. When the situation had become hopeless, he preferred to die in a final battle against eight legions, rather than trying to flee.
  • When the island city of Tyre refused to surrender to Alexander the Great, knowing that Alexander didn't have a fleet to invade with, Alexander reacted by cutting down all the trees near and far and grab all the rocks and spend eight months ''turning the island into a Peninsula!
  • Pretty much any US Soldier who has earned the Medal of Honor. You can find them all along with a description of the actions that earned them the medal here.
  • During the American Revolutionary War, Colonel Henry Knox seized the British fort at Ticonderoga and was tasked by Washington to transport the artillery from the fort to relieve the siege of Boston. Knox gathered together the sledges required for the task and wrote to Washington, estimating the time needed for the task at just over two weeks. For the next three months, Knox and his men dragged sixty tons of cannon across three colonies, from Ticonderoga near Lake Champlain to the Boston area, where they were used to fortify positions in Cambridge, Roxbury, and Dorchester. Between November of 1775 and January of 1776, those guns were hauled through snow, dug out of muddy roads again and again, fell through the ice into frozen rivers, but when they arrived, some ten weeks behind schedule, not a single gun was lost.
  • Victoria Cross recipients also qualify (being the rarest of all military decorations, regardless of country) — indeed, most recipients of any nation's highest military honour probably do.
  • Any Finn who has won the Mannerheim Cross. The reasons of the award could be destroying four enemy tanks with a captured anti-tank gun, aiming through barrel as the gunsights had been destroyed (Vilho Rättö), climbing in mid-air outside the plane from observer's seat to the pilot's seat as pilot had been killed by flak hit and thus saving the airplane (Paavo Kahla) to successfully orchestrating the largest amphibious operation ever in Finnish history, capturing the town of Tornio intact (Wolf Halsti).
  • World War One: The French garrison of Fort Vaux at Verdun, under Major Raynal, held out for about a week against repeated assaults after their water supply was destroyed. They were so desperate for water, by the end they were licking condensation off the walls. It was customary for a commanding officer to hand over his sword when surrendering, but the German commander (the Crown Prince, no less) was so impressed with the garrison that he instead gave Major Raynal a sword to replace his, which had been lost or destroyed somehow.
  • The Red Army in WWII. The infamous order #227 is known as Not a step back, because of the lines it contained: "Not a step back! This should be our main credo. Each position, each meter of Soviet territory must be defended to the last drop of blood, each patch of Soviet soil must be clinged to and made a stand for." Soldiers fought seemingly losing war in even the hardest conditions against the best-trained army in the world that already defeated several other countries. And won.
    • Best shown by the troops defending Stalingrad. Their only way to retreat was to pass the Volga. Their motto was "There's no land on the other side of the Volga".
      • Sergeant Yakov Pavlov and his troops. Three-dozen men, Yakov, and a one five-story partially-bombed-out apartment building versus everything the entire German Army could throw at them; supposedly, the German bodies piled up so high outside that they could be used as cover. And, at the end of t and prevailing. Infinity Ward made the battle into a level and let Pavlov get an appearance on the very first Call of Duty game. Allegedly, Germans lost more people then in battle for Paris, and the bodies piled up on each other so high that both sides could (and several times did) use them for cover.
    • There are famous writings on walls of the Brest Fortress: "We'll die but we'll not leave the fortress". "I'm dying but I won't surrender. Farewell, Motherland. 20.VII.41." - after months under assault and being surrounded.
    • Sometimes, this was Enforced Trope. Order 227 forbids any unauthorised retreat. The order also established penal battalions of soldiers with disciplinary problems to put on the front lines as canon fodder and barrier troops to gun down any fleeing units from their own side. Order 270 ordered that anyone who surrendered when capable of continuing the fight were considered deserter and traitor.
  • Jan Balsrud. The whole story is too long to lay out here, but damn.
  • Rome in the Second Punic War. Every time Hannibal wiped out a Roman army the Romans just formed a new one from scratch and were in the field next year. This was the reason that the Romans won the war in the end — even though defeat had seemed unavoidable only a few years earlier. Even better, the army that in the end defeated Hannibal and won the war was what remained of the one Hannibal had previously defeated at Cannae, that, after being forbidden to return in Italy until Hannibal was there as punishment, first crushed the Sicilian city-states that had joined Hannibal (actually only three, but when the unconquerable Syracuse fell the other cities surrendered for fear of what those Romans, who had become murderous even for Roman standards, would do if they had to conquer them), then overran Hannibal's base in Spain (also getting the remains of the Roman army previously assigned to the task to join them),then decided to attack Carthage to draw him out of Italy, and handed him his only defeat ever.
  • As described in the documentary, The Fog of War, Robert MacNamara said he only learned how determined the North Vietnamese were to win during The Vietnam War when he met a major Vietnamese leader of that war. In their conversation, he mentioned how the US won most the battles, but the Vietnamese leader noted that they were prepared to accept many, many more losses in that war as a price for victory. Illustrated by this famous quote of Ho Chi Minh: "You will kill 10 of our men, and we will kill 1 of yours, and in the end, it will be you who tire of it."
  • Sir Douglas Bader. The man nagged his way back into the RAF when World War II broke out, in spite of having lost both his legs in a plane crash 7 years earlier, and proceeded to: win 22 aerial engagements, get promoted from lieutenant to lieutenant colonel, turn the 242nd Canadian Squadron from one of the worst to one of the best units in the RAF and receive the Distinguished Service Order and the Distinguished Flying Cross twice, before being forced to bail out behind enemy lines in 1941. He then proceeded to attempt to escape so many times the Germans threatened to take his legs, including attempting to build a sailplane out of bed-bottom boards, potato glue, and bedsheets to fly out of castle Colditz, and when Colditz was liberated he requested to be sent back into action.
  • Hiroo Onoda. He fought WW2 until 1974, holding out on his own (the rest of his squad died or defected) and dismissing things like newspapers and pamphlets as tricks designed to demoralize him. It took a Japanese student on a world trip to get him to surrender and only because the student visited him, took a picture, then talked to the Japanese government who in turn got Hiroo's commanding officer (now a librarian) to find him and specifically order him to put down his weapons and surrender. At the time of his surrender, his weapon was still functional after 30 years and he still had 500 rounds of ammo left among other supplies (some of which he got by raiding local cities). His commanding officer (Major Taniguchi) fulfilled a promise he made back in 1944: "Whatever happens, we'll come back for you".
    • Oddly enough, Onoda is accidentally the second longest serving Japanese soldier after Teruo Nakamura who went through extremely similar circumstances but was discovered only several months later. (He served the Japanese army as Taiwan was under Japanese rule at the time.)
  • The Gurkhas. One of the best examples can be found here.
  • Canadian Private Léo Major got his first taste of Determination when he took out a German Half-Track and lost his left eye to burning phosphorus. He demanded to be put back in the field, reasoning he only needed his right eye to aim his rifle. But that is only a precursor to his historic bravery: In 1945, he spent an entire night and most of the following morning attacking and eventually liberating, the entire village of Zwolle with two rifles, a machine gun, and a burlap sack full of grenades, all by himself.
  • Anyone who passes UKSF Selection has a claim. To elaborate, the selection consists of a basic personal fitness test and combat fitness test (which usually screen out half the candidates already). Then they start a training regimen that ends in a test where they have to march up and down a mountain for 14 miles (with full equipment, of course), after which they start with the real test, a 4-mile cross country run and a 2-mile swim (still in full equipment). If they pass, they are shipped off to South East Asia, to learn navigation and survival skills in the jungles. Then they are shipped back to Hereford for extra weapons and tactics training, plus more survival training, culminating in a week-long escape and evasion. And ''then'' they are put through 36 straight hours of interrogation. About 15% of the candidates that start it make it through this training.
  • Audie Murphy. Given promotions like they were rations and every American decoration for valour up to and including the Medal of Honour.
  • Muammar Gaddafi: Through the 42 years he was in power, he was able to survive everything the Americans threw at him, and even to the end he fought on and refused to surrender to neither the NTC or to NATO. His loyalists in Sirte likewise. Even though they were cornered to a tiny part of the city, they still refused to give up until the very end.
  • The Continental Army. Which hardly won a battle but won the war simply by staying in the field despite incredible hardship and shortage of supplies.
  • The Last Of The Philippines: the Siege of Baler took place during the Philippine Revolution, along with the Spanish-American War. Filipino revolutionaries laid siege to a fortified church manned by colonial Spanish troops in the town of Baler for 11 months, they even held up when the Philippine-American War was raging. Both the Revolution and the Spanish-American War ended in August 1898 with Spain's surrender and annexation of the Philippines to the United States. Funny thing is, the Spanish defenders didn't receive any news, and so kept defending the church until 1899, much to the Filipino's confusion. They even had to make their own shoes from rope and a plank of wood.
  • The guards of the United State's Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, located at Arlington National Cemetery. Each guard is a determinator of the 1st degree. The weather could be torrential rain, high winds, extreme heat, extreme cold, a blizzard, or even a hurricane, but the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier will always be guarded 24/7note . The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier Guard Identification Badge is awarded to the guards and is the second rarest award in the US Army (rarest is the Army Astronaut Badge). Only 604 people (as of October 2012) have received it.
    • Indeed, any country with a constantly guarded memorial will have a crop of these. Take this picture. At first sight, all it seems to be is a Greek man in a silly hat crying. The story behind it? That man is one of the Evzoni, who are the Greek Army's most elite unit. They dress like that because that is how the klephts, who fought the Ottoman occupiers dressed. So why is he crying? Because he is standing in a cloud of tear gas during a riot, and, as a guard of the Greek Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, he is not permitted to move. So he ain't budging.
  • Simo Häyhä, the Trope Codifier for a Cold Sniper (and a One-Man Army, having over 700 confirmed kills). An ordinary Finnish farmer, when the Winter War broke out took his iron-sighted Mosin Nagant and went to town on the Russian Army, killing 542 Soviet soldiers with his rifle and 200 with a submachine gun. He was able to survive counter-snipers, enemy platoons, artillery barrages sent only to kill him. When one Soviet sniper got lucky and hit him in the chin, he managed to kill him and return with his unit before fainting. He was in a coma for 11 days and when he woke up, the war had just ended. He lived until 2002, at the age of 96. Was nicknamed The White Death by the Soviets.
  • The army of Harold Godwinson. It marched all the way across England to wipe out the Vikings at Stamford Bridge. Then marched all the way back to meet William I at Hastings. Then fought him all day in a Last Stand.
  • The garrison of Osowiec Fortress, particularly during its last part. The Germans had launched a chemical attack on the defenders' positions and then assaulted the fortress with a force of about 7000 men. When they reached the defensive line, already thinking the defenders were dead, the Russian soldiers started a counter-attack: about 60 men, all that remained of the defenders, wearing bloodied clothes and coughing up even more blood, rose into a last assault. The vision of the mutilated soldiers that should have been dead but were attacking instead made the Germans run away, compounded when the supposedly destroyed defensive artillery started shooting with its remaining cannons. The battle would be later called "The Attack of the Dead Men".
  • Many bomber and torpedo boat crews, from either side of many wars, who had to press an attack against staggering Anti-Air defenses. At the Battle of Midway, four different American squadrons attempted torpedo attacks on the Japanese carriers. Three of these squadrons took heavy losses. One of them, Torpedo 8, was nearly wiped out entirely (out of 20 planes with 45 crewmembers, one plane and three airmen survived.)
  • Members of the International Brigades during the Spanish Civil War, especially those came from countries taken over by fascists. They had spent the 20s fighting the fascists in their home countries only to lose brutally, their homes torched and their friends killed. Their response: to sneak into a country usually across the Pyrenees, which are the most dangerous mountains in the world, while dodging French soldiers whose job it was to prevent people entering Spain. After the Spanish Republic lost to the right-wing rebels, these Brigade members either went to Russia and fought in the Red Army, or ended up as members of the French Resistance, to continue fighting the ideology that had taken so much from them and the rest of the world.
  • The Forest Brothers (Estonian: Metsavennad). They were patriotic, anti-Soviet guerrillas and partisans who fought against the Soviet occupation after WWII when USSR had conquered the Baltic countries (Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania) in 1945. They made the life difficult for the Communists, and while their fight more or less dried up after the death of Stalin 1953, they were never really crushed until 1979, when the last Estonian Forest Brother was killed in action. The last known Forest Brother was Latvian Jānis Pīnups, who came out of hiding only after the collapse of USSR in 1995, having fought guerrilla war against the Communists for fifty years.
  • Richard III of England. Richard wasn't a hunchback - he suffered from scoliosis, an extremely painful condition that literally causes your spine to curve to the side. These days it's usually fixed by fitting the sufferer with a back brace, but in the 15th century, there was no known cure or way of fixing it. He was the last English king to die in battle, and he didn't go down without a fight. He came extremely close to actually killing Henry Tudor, and even managed to unhorse one of Henry's six-foot-two bodyguards (Richard himself was about five-foot-eight, although scoliosis may have reduced his height somewhat).
  • Everyone involved in the Siege of Mafeking during the Second Boer War. A force of around 2000 men and boys held the African village of Mafeking for 217 days against a force of over 10,000 Boer troops. The actions of the boys during the siege led the leader of the defense, Colonel Robert Baden-Powell, to create the Scouting Movement.
    • Camp Crooked Creek, one of the largest summer camps employed by the Boy Scouts of America commemorates this event with the Mafeking Challenge, a timed, marathon event requiring demonstration of skills pertaining to wilderness survival, orienteering, first aid, and marksmanship.
  • Anyone at Guadalcanal. The Japanese called it Starvation Island. The US Navy called the nearby waters Ironbottom Sound from the ships sunk there. The Marines claimed that any marine who died there got a free pass to heaven because he had already been in hell.
  • The Swiss Guard, especially on 10 August. Assigned to protect Louis XVI in the heart of Paris, surrounded by a hostile French crowd, the Swiss Guard were demanded to "surrender to the nation".
    "We are Swiss, the Swiss do not part with their arms but with their lives. We think that we do not merit such an insult. If the regiment is no longer wanted, let it be legally discharged. But we will not leave our post, nor will we let our arms be taken from us."
  • The population of Budapest during the 1956 Hungarian Uprising. After Hungarian protests forced Kruschev to replace pro-Soviet Rakosi with the more liberal Nagy (which was an achievement in itself), the situation was stirred up again five days later by Nagy announcing his intent to withdraw Hungary from the Warsaw Pact. Kruschev responded by sending over 1000 tanks into Budapest. There was no organised resistance from the Hungarian army - instead, the civilians of Budapest decided to fight back. The Hungarians were doomed from the start and suffered a decisive defeat, but the resistance force of ordinary civilians (including women and children) managed to capture around 42 Soviet tanks.
  • The military, government and entire population of the Republic of China adopted this attitude during the Second Sino-Japanese War. Despite the might of the Japanese army, despite being cut off from foreign aid for years, despite losing huge amounts of land, China and its armies defended itself furiously for eight years, refusing to surrender no matter what. Repeated atrocities inflicted by the Japanese only made Chinese troops more determined to fight harder and never flee.
  • Admiral Yi Sun-sin of Joseon Korea. Bureaucracy kept getting in his way and demoting him, and it was during one of the periods he had to spend climbing up the ladder again that Japanese ships arrived at the coast. The head of the Korean navy then was not up to par and the Korean navy lost almost all ships. Yi Sun-sin was put in charge (previously, he was in the land army), having but a handful of ships to command, yet he dealt victory after victory to the Japanese at sea (the Japanese were much more successful on land). A message from the king came demanding for the navy to disband, to which Yi said "This humble subject still has 12 ships" and proceeded to win the war with those ships even though he died in the last battle. His record is spotless too: he never, ever, lost a naval battle.
  • William Henry Johnson, a member of the all-black Harlem Hellfighters, who were loaned to the French during WWI. When he and fellow Hellfighter Needham Roberts were swarmed by Germans while patrolling in the western Argonne, he threw grenades until they ran out, then kept firing despite being hit several times in return. When his French rifle jammed after he tried to insert an American ammunition clip, he started hitting the Germans with the butt. When it fell apart, he used his bolo knife, managing to hold off the Germans until reinforcements arrived roughly an hour later. He and Roberts were the first Americans to be awarded the Croix de Guerre.

    The Animal Kingdom 
  • Prehistoric Homo sapiens used what is called persistence hunting to kill much stronger and faster beasts. Through superior running stamina and intellectual tracking abilities, they wounded and chased creatures to their exhaustion. Domestication of the dog and horse took things Up to Eleven.
  • Swans are the Determinators of the Waterfowl. Their sheer devotion to looking after their brood means that they are very successful in colonising new areas of territory, and their ability to fight off predators larger than them is definitely worth admiring. In comparison, Ducks are rather stupid, and in the wild rarely make it through the breeding season with more than two of their brood still alive. Swans will actively put themselves in harm's way (even getting themselves killed) to protect their cygnets, and the Mute Swan (C. olor) is said to be able to break a grown man's arm with just the beating of its wings. In the United Kingdom, people often complain about their dogs being attacked by swans, when it is, in fact, the fault of the people allowing their aggressive dogs to threaten or harass the swans. One particular swan survived being shot with a crossbow at point blank range and evaded rescue by a team of vets for over a week before being saved.
  • Squirrels that raid birdfeeders. Capsaicin powder in the seed, slinkies on the poles, greased poles, and a hundred other ploys will not keep these from the birdseed for long. It gets really aggravating. You can buy birdfeeders that spin and they still hold on for dear life, and try again. You would think they would get the message, considering how smart they supposedly are. People who want the birds to have a chance have produced the aforementioned contrivances and more. "Sorry, squirrel, this feeder's inaccessib- Oh, Crap!. Maybe this will work..."
  • Dogs will find ever more brilliant ways to destroy/rip up/eat/break new toys.
  • There is a reason why a Determinator is said to fight like a cornered rat. Cornered cats are even more vicious. The idea of cornered animals, in general, being much more vicious and dangerous than normal has itself given the name to another, related trope: The Cornered Rattlesnake.
  • When a cat wants something, they really want it.
  • Honey badgers have an admirable stubbornness when it comes to getting food. They will rip open a beehive and eat the honey inside, oblivious to the stings of the angry bees. One individual saw a puff adder eating a mouse, so it stole the mouse from the adder's mouth and ate it. Then it turned on the poor snake in spite of being bitten, eating until the prey's venom worked its way into its system. After that, it fell asleep due to the venom (many larger animals would have been killed), only to wake up hours later and continued to eat the snake. They often keep on fighting without realizing that they're grievously injurednote , which sometimes gets them killed. Some badgers have been found with torn-open beehives, stung to death by the bees.
    • Honey badgers are the only animals the lions shun. Not only because of their viciousness in a fight, but because they don't fight fair. They are known to eat any snakes found in the South Africa - even the four-meter long African rock pythons.
  • Many colony insects (ants, termites, bees) will fight on despite grievous injuries against foes many times their size. Termites and ants, in particular, will fight on despite having lost legs, their abdomen, even their entire bodies in order to complete a task or protect their home.
  • Salmon. These fish are born in high mountain streams, at times hundreds of miles inland, past rocks and rapids atop the bodies of their dead parents. They travel downstream as they grow in size, some but not many (relatively speaking) dodging gauntlets of predators on their journey to the sea. The survivors, most fit whether by disease resistance, speed, strength, or luck, are the only ones to reach the ocean, where they are further culled by merciless and uncaring Mother Nature. It is here that they continue their growth and development for a few years, honing their skills and growing in strength for what lies ahead. At some point, they are called to the place where it all began, to spawn and join their ancestors in the hallowed halls of salmon Valhalla. They change shape, growing beaks, canine teeth, don warpaint and overall looking like they have taken a level in badass, and considering these are the few survivors of the previous brood, it would not be an exaggeration to say that they have. So they return, the only way they can, the hard way, swimming and leaping up the rapids and short waterfalls the entire route. Overwhelming their predators, man, bears and manbearpigs with sheer numbers and rock-solid determination, and belly-filling deliciousness, eventually enough of them make it back and engage in a final act of giving the rest of "nature" the bird via an orgy of death and babymaking before they shed their mortal shells and ascend into the heavens.
    • Only Pacific salmons die after the brooding. Atlantic salmons instead just swim back after the brooding to the ocean and do it again - up to five consecutive times during their lives.
      • There is a proverb Makaa kuin laskulohi ("Lies like a downstream salmon") in Finnish language when someone is truly exhausted and wants to take it easy.
    • Salmon can be truly Determinators. One salmon in Norway swam not only a couple of hundred kilometers upstream but also over a waterfall, into a ditch hardly knee deep, then into a culvert hardly 15 cm in diameter, then over a board wall - into the same salmon breeding pool where it was born years before.
  • Most or every living thing in general, we all struggle against a world trying to kill us all. All our technology, all of our adaptations and skill sets, are our way of giving the bird to mother nature and the universe. I LIVE!!!
  • Boars. They do not care if you have a gun, they do not care how much bigger you are than them, they do not care if you have shot them! They will charge at you and try to kill you, and possibly your dog, no matter what! There is a reason why boar hunting is often considered a test of bravery.
    • Boar spears, the weapon of choice for killing such animals prior to the invention of firearms, are long, sturdy, and have an equally sturdy cross-guard a short distance behind the point. This is because boars tends to be willing and able to charge up the spear after being stabbed, impaling themselves further in the process, in order to get at the human on the other end.
  • Also, tardigrades. Dehydrate them and they'll curl up into a small shape called the "Tun state". Then you can chill 'em, zap 'em, stick 'em in the hard fucking vacuum of outer fucking space... and after you rehydrate them, they'll just uncurl from their Tun state and say "I'm still alive, motherfucker!" For example, the European Space Agency decided to stress-test these half-a-millimeter-long water bears by, and I kid you not, virtually spacing the "poor, helpless creatures" by opening the airlock they were in! 2/3 of them survived, came down to Earth, and the pregnant females gave birth to viable embryos. The experiment was called "Tardigrades In Space".
  • Cockroaches, especially the large and feisty American variety. Resilient to the last and just as stubborn about dying. It takes a fairly sizable dose of aerosol poison to kill one, and yet it's still your best bet should you have to eliminate the pest, as they are remarkably resilient to methods that would be lethal to less hardy insects—they have been documented surviving crushing, electrocution, irradiation, and even decapitation. They will eat just about anything and burrow into the vilest spaces imaginable and comfortably make themselves at home; it's not for no reason that they are one of the longest-surviving species on the planet, with over 300 million years of uninterrupted survival.

  • Billy Miske, a boxer who had only a few months to live due to Bright's disease. Read the article. Let us just say he didn't stay in his bed.
  • In sport, Hélio Gracie was an incredible Determinator. One of the founders of Brazilian Jujitsu, in 1955 he had two incredible matches that very much earn his title here. In the first, against Masahiko Kimura, he had two of the bones in his arm broken and would have kept going, if not for his brother throwing in the towel. In the second, against Valdemar Santana, he fought for 3 hours and 42 minutes, only losing when the better conditioned Santana knocked him out with a capoeira kick. The second was the longest fight in Mixed Martial Arts history.
  • Kimura himself was a pretty tough customer. Upon his second visit to Brazil, he was bullied into fighting aforementioned Santana, who was younger and in top condition, whereas Kimura suffered from an injury at the time. The two beat the shit out of each other for forty minutes with the fight ending in a draw:
    That night, my face was badly swollen. I had a number of cuts on my face. Every time I breathed, an excruciating pain ran through my belly, and I could not sleep. (...) However, I learned a very important lesson in this fight. That is, one must never fear death. If I had not had the iron will to fight despite the possibility of getting killed, his head butts would have torn my intestine into pieces.
  • Kazushi Sakuraba fought Royce Gracie in a PRIDE FC tournament under special rules that allowed for unlimited 15-minute rounds. By comparison, modern championship fights last only five 5-minute rounds. Sakuraba fought Gracie for six rounds, a total of 90 minutes, before Gracie conceded defeat. Even more amazingly, Sakuraba fought again on the very same night against Igor Vovchanchyn, a feared striker who was much better rested and outweighed Sakuraba by 50 lbs. Even more amazingly, he fought Vovchanchyn to a draw over their scheduled 15-minute fight. Only after fighting for a total of 105 minutes in a single event did Sakuraba concede the match and decline to enter a tiebreaker round.
  • Not to be outdone (in what is now considered a classic rivalry), a few months later another Gracie, Renzo, faced off with Sakuraba and refused to submit to an armlock to the point where his elbow was broken - and beyond, until the referee had to stop the match because of the injury. Renzo paid tribute to his opponent after the fight.
  • When Royce Gracie fought Matt Hughes, Hughes put him in a Kimura to get a submission. However, he soon realized that Gracie wasn't going to submit even if his arm was broken. So since he didn't want to injure his opponent, he had no choice but to release the hold.
  • An uncountable number of boxers belong here since many will often fight on with broken hands (and continue to punch with those broken hands), broken noses, ripped muscles, etc. Like Danny Williams, whose right shoulder was dislocated twice in his 2000 bout with Mark Potter. The first time his corner popped it back in between rounds. The second time it came out just 30 seconds into the 6th round. For the next minute and a half, Williams somehow survived while Potter assaulted him until the right-handed Williams knocked Potter out with a single left uppercut.
  • For boxing, the Trope Codifier here is probably Joe Frazier, who simply did not know how to fight going anyway but forward, no matter who he was fighting or how. His heart was absolutely second to none and this is probably best exemplified in his most overwhelming loss against George Foreman. Facing a man who was the worst possible matchup for him (bigger, taller, stronger, harder punching, and with an iron chin), Frazier refused to back down despite getting pummeled from post to post and suffering 6 knockdowns in 2 rounds (the first of which was the famous "Down goes Frazier!!" call). Each time, Frazier got up and kept going back for more, noticeably looking angrier than anything when his corner waved off the fight. Even after his epic third fight with Ali, an old, worn down Frazier wanted nothing more than a chance to redeem himself against Foreman, a fight no one thought he could win. Frazier lost in 5 rounds, but he went out in trademark fashion, going forward no matter what the cost and swinging the entire time. It should be noted in the third Ali fight that he was effectively blind at the end of the fight having his good eye shut and his other eye permanently damaged from a sparring accident. And he didn't want to end the fight; instead, his corner called it. Until his death in 2011, he was still angry about that, thinking he could have won the fight.
  • George Chuvalo embodies this trope almost if not as much as Joe Frazier. In his entire boxing career, he was never knocked down. Not "never knocked out"; never knocked down. Muhammad Ali described him as the "toughest guy I ever fought", and George Foreman and Joe Frazier were the only boxers to ever even defeat him by technical knockout. And in the case of the former, when the fight was called for that reason, Chuvalo famously asked the referee, "What are you, nuts?"
  • Heavyweight champ Gene Tunney managed to survive an absolute 15-round Curb-Stomp Battle against the great Harry Greb that would be against the law nowadays. Gene had his nose in two places, two giant gashes over both his eyes and lost 2 quarts of blood by the end of the fight. It was a miracle he even survived. They fought another four more times and Gene won them all.
  • American Olympic Games runner Lopez Lomong, who was abducted as a young child in Sudan and forced to become a Child Soldier. After seeing dozens of other children die in the training camp, Lopez and some of his friends escaped under the cover of darkness, running almost nonstop for 3 days and nights until they crossed the Kenyan border. His Olympic ability to run literally saved his life.
  • The British 400 metre runner Derek Redmond has to be mentioned here. 250 metres into his semi-final at the Barcelona Olympics his hamstring snapped. But would he give up? Hell no. He hobbled in absolute agony for a few more metres and collapsed on the ground only to pick himself up and continue. Eventually, his father Jim barged past the security and supported him as he moved down the track. Together they hobbled the last 100 metres and finished the race.
  • French (or more accurately Basque) rugby player Imanol Harinordoquy also counts. He played an entire game with his nose broken, wearing an impressive mask. During the first half of this game, he had two ribs broken. And he still played three-quarters of the second half — all the time as a member of the melee. See here.
  • For all of his faults, Eric Lindros could be argued to be one of these. A center in the NHL, playing for the roughest team in the league at the time (and still), and playing on the most feared line of the 90s, went through 6 concussions, including 3 or 4 that happened WITHIN WEEKS of recovery from the previous one. And the major reason he retired? Many teams were allegedly worried about picking up, not only his overpriced salary but his gratuitous medical bills as well.
  • Going along with the NHL, Ray Bourque, full stop. If you can go 22 seasons long, just to finally get your name on Lord Stanley's Cup, you are more than worthy of this title. That's not even mentioning that he has the record for most goals, points, assists as a defenseman and the record for most shots on goal period.
  • One more for the NHL. Mario Lemieux of the Pittsburgh Penguins. Oft-plagued by injuries, he retired due to a cancer scare. However, he returned a few seasons later because he wanted his son to see him play. By the way, did I mention that around the time, of all of this, he became the owner, literally saving hockey in Pittsburgh?
  • Red Sox outfielder Daniel Nava. He was 4'9" during high school and was more known for his glove than his bat. He gets cut as a walk-on in college but stays to serve as team manager before tuition issues made him transfer to the junior college. The opportunity to play and a well-timed growth spurt helped Nava rake and earn a scholarship back to his original college where he would play his senior year and play very well. However, despite his fine season, Nava doesn't get drafted. He then tries for an independent league in which he finally gets a chance due to a player on the Chico Outlaws decided to retire. Nava proves himself and wins the Golden League MVP which then causes the Red Sox to come knocking. They purchase his contract for only $1 and Nava proves to be more than that as he rakes through the system. He finally makes it to the big leagues on June 12, 2010, and in his first at-bat hits a grand slam on the first pitch he sees. All of this because he just had a dream of playing baseball and didn't give up on it.
  • Cesc Fàbregas. In a game against FC Barcelona (bear in mind Fàbregas was born in Barcelona and has all but admitted he will play for the club one day) where he was carrying a foot injury, this injury was worsened by a tackle and cracked the fibula bone in his right foot. Not only did Fàbregas complete the match, but he also took a penalty to equal the game at 2-2 and damn near broke the net he hit it so hard, he was so desperate to tie up the game for his team.
  • And on a similar note, former England and Chelsea captain John Terry. He has been known to play while carrying an injury, including one game where he suffered a fractured cheekbone and played in the next one, and at one time played for 8 months on a broken toe.
  • Manchester United in the 1999 Champions League Final. Bayern Munich took the lead in the 6th minute. When did United score their goals to win the match 2-1? In the 90+1 and 90+3 minutes.
    • Manchester United did this kind of thing so often under manager Alex Ferguson that commentators coined the phrase "Fergie Time" to describe how they always seemed to mount a last-minute comeback. In the aforementioned Champions League Final, commentator Clive Tyldesley reacted to a late United attack with, "They must score! They always score!" - and then they scored their equaliser.
  • During the 1976 Formula One season, Niki Lauda was the reigning champion and one of the two main challengers for the title, along with James Hunt. Then at the German Grand Prix, Lauda suffered a horrific crash in which he sustained severe facial burns, as well as lung damage from toxic fumes. His injuries were so severe that he was read the last rites... and yet he was back racing just six weeks later, with his head swathed in bloody bandages, and came fourth. He did, admittedly, pull out of the season-ending Japanese GP due to inclement weather conditions, allowing Hunt to win the title by a single point... but then he returned for 1977 and won his second world title with ease.
  • Michael Jordan. Just look at his page quote. Not to mention the "flu game" where he led his team to victory in game 5 of the 1997 NBA Finals while severely weakened by illness. He pushed himself so hard during the game that he nearly collapsed immediately after it was over.
  • For the Americans, winning the women's gymnastics team gold in 1996 required an entire team of Determinators, but a few stand out.
    • Amanda Borden made the national team in 1990. Soon afterward, she broke her arm. Then she tore her hamstring. Then she tore the other one. She made the 1992 Olympic team but was bumped for more experienced gymnasts. After the season of her life in 1996, she made the Magnificent 7 easily. When the time came to choose a team captain — by writing down a name and putting it into a hat to tally the votes — Amanda voted for two-time World champion and Barcelona veteran Shannon Miller. Every other gymnast on the team — including veteran Olympians Dominique Dawes, Kerri Strug, and Shannon Miller herself — voted for Amanda.
    • Amy Chow was known among gymnastics fans for her incredible difficulty, throwing tricks that had many of the world's best staring in awe. Unfortunately, at the time of the Olympic trials, she had been struggling badly with severe back spasms. As a result, in the week before Trials, she drastically limited her training; some of her most difficult skills, she threw only once. That week. On the second day of competition, her first acro series on the balance beam went badly wrong; she missed her foot and crashed, bashing her eye against the side of the beam as she fell. With her Olympic dream riding on completing that routine and dealing with an injury that would have sent most running for an ice pack if not the ER, Amy got back up on the beam, threw every trick in her arsenal, and landed them all. With one eye swelling shut. Having practiced most of those tricks only once that week. (Then she went and got the ice pack — just in time to learn that she had, in fact, made the Olympic squad.)
    • Perhaps the most famous of all from that team, though, is Kerri Strug. She tore her abdominal muscle, healed from that, and came back. Then she fractured her spine — and came back from that. During the Olympics, she was the last gymnast up on vault of the final rotation of the competition. It was up to her to clinch the gold. She vaulted, fell and tore two ligaments in her ankle. Ordinarily, that renders a person unable to walk. But Kerri, apparently no longer on speaking terms with the laws of physics, calmly limped back to the start, sprinted full speed down the runway, launched herself over the vault, flipped and twisted a couple of times, and stuck the landing. Without even a bobble. On one foot. The Georgia Dome (and the rest of the United States) went batshit insane, Team USA won its first team gold ever, the Eastern Bloc's decades-long stranglehold on women's team gold was broken at last, and Kerri Strug went down in the history books.
  • At the 2011 Gymnastics European Championships, Russian gymnast Aliya Mustafina, the reigning all-around world champion, had a bad vault landing and tore her ACL, which is frequently a career-ending injury. But not only was it not career-ending for Mustafina, she was able to rehab and get back to competition shape in time to compete all four events in the Olympics just 15 months later, made it into three individual finals (all-around, uneven bars, and floor) as well as the team final, and ended up winning medals in every single one, giving her the highest medal count for any athlete in women's gymnastics at those Games, including a gold on the uneven bars. Then she came back and repeated three of those medals at the 2016 Olympics.
  • In the world of American gridiron: Jim Plunkett. Born to two blind, poor parents, with an Irish surname (even though he is ninety percent Hispanic) in 1947. Had to have a thyroid operation and was switched to defensive end upon starting at Stanford, even while throwing 500 to 1,000 balls per day to maintain his arm, eventually being allowed to start as a quarterback as a junior. Although his father died the year before, his class graduated without him, and he had to work construction jobs to make ends meet and support his mother on scholarship, he won the Heisman in 1970. Drafted in 1971 by the New England Patriots, he won Rookie of the Year- before hitting rock bottom. (He threw for eight TD passes and twenty-five interceptions in his second year of pro football.) Traded to the 49ers in 1975, he was released after only two years and signed to Oakland Raiders in 1979 where he was backup for a year before starting in 1980. Plunkett blew his big chance in Week 5, throwing five interceptions in one game after an injury to the starter, Dan Pastorini. However, he continued to lead the Raiders to a Super Bowl win that year, the second round of the playoffs in 1982, and a second Super Bowl win in 1983. He has still not been elected to the Hall of Fame twenty-five years after winning two Lombardis, more than ninety-five percent of quarterbacks ever win.
  • The 2010 Green Bay Packers. Throughout the course of the 16-game season (as well as 4 games in the playoffs), the Packers had to put at least 14 people on injured reserve, meaning they couldn't play again for the rest of the season. Therefore, the team had to find new ways to deal with the missing players every week. They ended up clinching the #6 seed in the NFC in the final week, then proceeded to claim road playoff victories over the #3 seed Philadelphia Eagles, the #1 seed Atlanta Falcons, and the #2 seed Chicago Bears (their division rivals), making it all the way to Super Bowl XLV at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas. There, Green Bay head coach Mike McCarthy was given the challenge of having the Packers face off against the Pittsburgh Steelers, his native hometown team. Even after losing wide receiver Donald Driver & cornerback Charles Woodson to injuries in the 2nd quarter, the Packers still managed to not give up and won 31-25.
  • Arguably, Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady, best known for his 20 years with the New England Patriots, qualifies.
  • Roger Staubach. There was no such thing as a comfortable lead against the Dallas Cowboys when he was quarterback. He was famous for seemingly impossible come from behind victories, and is who gave us the term "Hail Mary Pass". Well, the Pittsburgh Steelers discovered what a comfortable lead was in Super Bowl XIII: 18 points with less than two minutes remaining. They held the lead and won. Barely.
  • John Isner and Nicolas Mahut. Let's play tennis in an official, sanctioned match in the historic Wimbledon tournament... for eleven hours. Granted, it was spread over three days, but to put things in perspective, the previous record for a match was 6 hours, 33 minutes. The 5th set? Eight hours, and 11 minutes.. Nearly every record in the history book for number of X in a single match and set was shattered. Neither side wanted to go down, and both of them played like they were playing to win it all, including one point where Mahut threw his racket in a desperate attempt to return a volley. Isner even fell to the ground in celebration when he finally won. But after all that, instead of simply shaking Mahut's hand, he gave him a hug. And perhaps in the best follow-up of all time, at the 2011 tourney, they drew each other again to meet in the first round. Fittingly enough, it was decided in straight sets with Isner once again defeating Mahut.
    • The chair umpire should also be recognized, as he sat through the entire match (while Wimbledon officials rotated out the linesmen and ball boys/girls). He later said he was so riveted by the play that he never thought about basic things like eating or using the bathroom.
  • Andy Murray ended 2016 as the number-1 tennis player in the world, having spent the majority of his career in the shadows of Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, and Novak Djokovic. Then in 2017, he began suffering from a recurring hip injury that curtailed his career until just before the 2019 Australian Open, he called a tearful press conference in which he described the chronic pain his injury was causing him - he struggled to even get dressed - and admitted the Australian Open might be his last tournament. He was knocked out in the first round of that tournament... in a five-set match that lasted four hours. Instead of retiring, Murray had an operation to resurface his hip, and not only did he become the first player ever to have such an operation and carry on playing professionally, he proceeded to win the European Open just months after making his singles comeback and despite losing the first set of the final 6-3.
  • Johnny Hoogerland. During the 9th stage of the 2011 Tour de France, he was in a 5-man breakaway five minutes ahead of the main field. Due to his performance in said breakaway, he had regained the King of the Mountains jersey that he had lost the day before and it waited for him at the end of the stage. However, another rider in the breakaway (Juan Antonio Flecha) was sideswiped by a TV car. Fletcha slammed into Hoogerland, sending him flying... into a barbed-wire fence. At 30 miles per hour. The fence destroyed his shorts and left him with multiple deep lacerations on his thighs. What did this man do? He got bandaged up by medical, found a new pair of shorts, got back on his bike, and finished the stage. He finished nearly fifteen minutes behind the main field and was in visibly excruciating pain as he stood on the podium to accept his KotM jersey. After the ceremony, he finally went to the hospital and ended up requiring 33 stitches to close the gashes on his legs. Two days later, he gets back on his bike and manages to complete the race.
  • Daniel "Rudy" Ruettiger.
  • Here, let this Canadian fellow show you how it's done.
  • Any athlete who has a physical disorder would qualify. Not even loss of limbs can hold these men and women from competing in athletic events. The best of these athletes come together for the Paralympics, where athletes with physical disabilities such as blindness, amputations, and even cerebral palsy come forth to prove to the world that no injury or defect will slow them down.
  • Kurt Angle who won a gold medal in wrestling, with a broken freaking neck.
  • Franz Beckenbauer, German soccer legend, got tackled during the 1970 semi-final of The World Cup between Germany and Italy. The tackle was so brutal that it dislocated his arm. The Germans were out of substitutions at this point, and him walking off the pitch meant that his nation would play with one less player. Franz refused to be removed from the field of play and instead had his injured arm strapped to his chest and continued playing. He did this for over an hour as the game went into extra-time. The Italians eventually won 4-3, but that doesn't change what Beckenbauer did. He sacrificed for his country and did something that most players today would not even consider.
  • A later German, Bastian Schweinsteiger, remained on the field despite becoming The Chew Toy of the opposing Argentina team: Schweinsteiger was felled 7 times, including a punch to the face that required some stitches.
  • American runner Manteo Mitchell's leg broke in the middle of his segment of the men's 4x100 relay heat. He still completed his segment.
  • The Sydney Swans in Australian Rules Football have become known for this trope over the decade to 2012. Ferocious defence, mental and physical toughness and a much-discussed "Bloods culture" of simply never giving in have led them to win grand finals over much more talented teams, through sheer will and constant pressure.
  • Meet Daniela Holmqvist. After being bitten by a redback spider (a relative of the black widow, which it was erroneously reported to be before officials pointed out that black widows aren't native to that continent) during a tournament in (where else?) Australia and being told by the local caddies that its venom could be deadly to a child within an hour, the Swede decided it was best to purge as much of the venom as quickly as possible, and proceeded to take the nearest sharp object, a spare golf tee, and gouge out the area around the bite. Once the venom had been removed, but now with a hole in her leg, she proceeded to play the remaining 14 holes of her round, followed about by a medic.
  • Cyclist Tom Simpson. Last words reported to have been "Put me back on the bike", said while dying of heat exhaustion during a climb up Mont Ventoux in the Tour de France.
  • French Savateur Gilles Le Duigou. In a match against a Japanese fighter, he had both his arms broken, but fought on, and ended up winning.
  • Cyclist Geraint Thomas crashed badly during the opening stage of the 2013 Tour de France. He proceeded to finish the rest of the Tour... riding with a fractured pelvis.
  • Willis Reed's performance in Game 7 of the 1970 NBA Finals. Not expected to play due to a serious thigh injury, Reed limped onto the court, outjumped Wilt Chamberlain, scored two quick baskets, and inspired his New York Knicks to blow out the mighty Los Angeles Lakers.
  • Diana Nyad became the first person ever to swim from Cuba to Florida without the protection of a shark cage on her fourth attempt at age 64.
  • Russian figure skating legend Evgeni Plushenko. After finishing with disappointing silver in Vancouver Olympics 2010, he won't simply retire peacefully. He pushed his body past his breaking point, resulting in serious spinal injury in early 2013, which led him to replace the damaged vertebral disk with an artificial one. Barely a year later, he managed to cinch a team event gold medal in Sochi 2014, while having four large metal screws holding his spine together (and he only withdrew from the men's event because he pushed himself so hard one of those screws BROKE).
    • Japan's figure skating ace, Yuzuru Hanyu, (who, incidentally, idolizes Plushenko) is no slouch either. He was diagnosed with asthma at the age of two, survived the earthquake and tsunami that devastated Japan in 2011 (having to flee his collapsing home rink with his skates on), skated his free program at the 2014 Cup of China after a terrifying collision during warmups, fell five times, and nearly won the gold anyway, and won his second consecutive Olympic gold medal in 2018 while on painkillers for his injured ankle in November 2017. Even after his injury, he is still hellbent on being the first person to land the quadruple axel in competition (a feat not yet accomplished as of March 2020). What he has to show for his Determinator spirit: nineteen broken world records (the most times among singles skaters since the score system changed in 2004), first Asian singles skater to win Olympic gold and the youngest singles skater ever to do so, first singles skater to achieve a Super Slamnote , the first skater to successfully land a quadruple loop in competition, among many other honors and accolades (including actual medals). He also very nearly competed against his childhood idol, had Plushenko not withdrawn from Sochi 2014 - the event Hanyu won his first Olympic gold on. He is not considered one of, if not the greatest, singles skater in history for no reason.
  • On March 10, 2014, Dallas Stars forward Rich Peverley collapsed on the bench due to a "cardiac event". To quote one of the physicians who treated him:
    “As soon as we treated him, he regained consciousness. He was alert and awake talking to us after the event and quickly transported to the hospital. At this point, I was able to talk to him in the back of the ambulance, and he was able to tell me where he was and he actually wanted to get back in the game.”
  • Auto racer Ralph DePalma showed a classic case of this at the 1912 Indy 500—the second ever. He had a massive lead when his engine died on lap 199. Rather than just sit around and wait for second-place driver Joe Dawson to catch them, he and his riding mechanic got out of their car and pushed it around the track. Dawson eventually passed them and won the race, but DePalma continued to push the car, eventually crossing the finish line. The lap didn't count, and he'd have needed to push the car another 2.5 miles anyway to finish the race, but it showed a lot of heart. DePalma would go on to win the race three years later.
  • Slovenian cross-country skier Petra Majdić. During the warm-up before sprint in Winter Olympics in Vancouver, she fell into 3 meters deep gully and landed on the rocks, breaking four ribs in the process. She still qualified into the main event, won her quarterfinal, managed to reach the finals despite having her lung pierced by a shard of bone, and ultimately won the bronze medal.
  • In Spanish, there's the simile "Tener más moral que el Alcoyano" (To have more morale than Alcoyano), referencing a football team that, no matter how badly they were losing, they still kept fighting to win.
  • In stage races in cycling, combativity awards are fairly common, with the stage award usually being to the attacker who worked the hardest to stay ahead, or to someone who's been in an accident and fought to stay in the race or do well. For a stage race, the award is usually given for the former, or a combination of the two factors.
  • Derek Jeter became a New York Yankees living legend because of this. Offensively, he was known and praised for being able to make that clutch hit when the game was on the line. There were many games where Jeter did poorly at the plate until a crucial hit was needed. During those moments, it didn't matter how good the pitcher was he always found the right pitch to hit. He always found a way to perform big when it mattered, and many of those hits were the reason the 90s Yankees Dynasty was possible. Defensively, he was praised for making some of the biggest run-saving plays in league history, including plays where he sacrificed his own body and sustained injuries, just to get an out.
  • Any skydiver. Not only the training curriculum is intensive, but the sport itself includes overcoming the primordial fear - fear of jumping into empty air and defying certain and very nasty death. To steer your canopy and land safely on your feet is a skill on itself. Many experienced skydivers are likely to have experienced fractured bones, dislocated joints and sprained ankles, but they still keep on going.
  • Arrhichion of Phigalia won the 564 BC Olympic Pankration competition while dead: after being put into a chokehold during the final match, Arrhichion, rather than submit, forced his opponent to submit by breaking his toe (or ankle) just as he was killed by the choke.
  • Cricket often brings out instances of players playing on with broken body parts.
  • How about Rocky Bleier? Rocky Bleier was drafted twice in 1968, first by the Pittsburgh Steelers as a running back and second into the US Army during the Vietnam War. He volunteered to serve and was sent to Vietnam. On August 20, 1969, he was wounded in the left thigh and then an enemy grenade landed next to him, sending shrapnel into his ''right'' leg. He also lost part of his right foot and was in a lot of pain. Many thought he'd never play football again. Did he let that stop him? Hell. NO. After years of rehabilitation, he rejoined the Steelers as a running back in 1974, becoming one of the many players of the Steel Curtain Dynasty that won four Super Bowls and rushing for over 1,000 yards along with primary running back Franco Harris in 1976. When he retired, he had 3,865 rushing yards, 136 receptions for 1,294 yards, and 25 touchdowns, becoming, at the time, the Steelers' fourth all-time leading rusher.
  • Then there's Ledley King who was taken out by Rory Delap twenty seconds into his Tottenham debut in 1999 but continued playing in the match only to find out several days later he needed knee surgery as a result of Delap's challenge. In spite of the surgery his knee problems only worsened, to the point where he was unable to train with the team and kept fit by swimming laps every day due to his knee having no cartilage, yet not only did King continue playing until hanging up his boots in 2012, he was one of the best centre-backs in the Premier League capable of moments such as this recovery to stop Arjen Robben.
  • Never count Liverpool out of a European fixture in which they're trailing, no matter how much they're trailing by. Down 0-3 against AC Milan in the 2005 UEFA Champions League final, then one of the best teams in Europe, after the first half? No problem, just score 3 in six minutes. Down 0-3 against Barcelona in the 2019 semi-final, the favourites to win the competition that season, and with injuries to three key players? Just send out a makeshift team and win 4-0. It's a lot harder than it sounds. It extends to the Europa League as well, as their 2016 quarter-final opponents Borussia Dortmund will attest; after the first leg ended 1-1 away, having trailed 0-2 and then 1-3 on the night in the second leg and needing to score 3 goals to progress due to the away goals rule, they did it.
    • That first comeback was thanks to Steven Gerrard, who was named Man of the Match. Gerrard made a career out of this sort of thing; the man just did not know when to give up. One year after the "Miracle in Istanbul", Liverpool were 3-2 down in the FA Cup Final with only injury time to go. Liverpool had played 63 games that year, with Gerrard appearing in 53 of them, and the whole team was visibly tiring. Even Gerrard looked to have run out of steam... and then, out of absolutely nowhere, he did this. Liverpool went on to win on penalties.
  • Ian Millar appeared in more Olympic Games than anyone else in sports history at ten, which alone would qualify. He took it a step further by only getting his first medal on his ninth game.
  • Andorra, San Marino, and Monaco appeared in over twenty Olympic Games and have yet to win a single medal. Sure, they have yet to succeed, but the fact that they keep trying deserves admiration.

  • Azusa Hayano, a Japanese geologist working in the Aokigahara Forest, better known as "suicide forest" due to the enormous rates of suicides that happen in these unnaturally dense woods. Despite having personally discovered over a hundred corpses in his 30 years of work there, he never stopped doing his job and trying to dissuade people he met there of taking their own life.
  • Minoru Saito. This 80-year-old Japanese sailor has single-handedly sailed around the world for seven (7) times. His latest voyage, completed in 2011 was made along the Roaring Forties - against the wind.
  • Terry Fox. His attempt at running from one end of the world's second largest country to the other, despite being an amputee and suffering from cancer, inspired millions and raised millions of dollars for the Canadian Cancer Society. At the age of 21.
  • Dr. Liviu Librescu of Virginia Tech, personally kept the door shut to prevent gunman Seung-Hui Cho from entering the classroom so his students could escape. It took five shots to take him down. Of course, the man was a Holocaust survivor.
  • Francis E. Dec spent twenty years of his life typing on his machine dozens upon dozens of rants and sending them out to thousands of random people in hopes of raising public awareness of Gangster Computer God and its nefarious plans. Unfortunately, he was seeing the world Through the Eyes of Madness, so nobody took him seriously.
  • This woman, who finally passed her driving exam... on her 950th attempt. To make matters worse, it was only the written portion of the test. She hadn't even gotten to the actual driving yet. One can only imagine what will happen when she gets behind the wheel.
    • At the very least she managed to make you think "when", not "if".
  • Max the Cat who wasn't going to let a little thing like a raging typhoon get him to use a litterbox.
  • In English, there is a saying "Do it or die trying". The Russian counterpart to that saying goes: "Die, but do it".
  • The unofficial motto of the postal service is: "Neither snow, nor rain, nor heat, nor gloom of night, stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds." Only a few times has the US Postal Service had to suspend service in areas, such as parts of the Midwest during the 2019 polar vortex. This was taken from the motto of the couriers' service of the Achaemenid Empire.
  • The Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity was intended to last 90 martian days. It ended up lasting for 15 years and holds the record for the longest distance driven by an earth vehicle off the planet
  • The team running the Japanese space probe Hayabusa had to contend with solar flares, control failures, a misfired lander, fuel leaks, communications blackouts, and engine failures. Thanks to their determination, Hayabusa returned its samples to the Australian outback after seven years of hard work. The results were so useful that the Japanese government greenlit a Hayabusa 2.
  • The astronauts and ground crew of Apollo 13? So many things went wrong, down to the point where they had to duct-tape together a kludged up air filter just so they could continue to breathe for the remainder of the trip home, but still, 3 guys in a space capsule, 200,000+ miles from earth, managed to make it back alive and relatively unscathed. "Failure is NOT an option!"
  • Early in the 2013 season of Australia's Got Talent, a duo performing a roller-skate dance routine was doing great before the guy lost his balance and his partner hit the floor head-first. It must not have been as hard an impact as it looked and sounded, because she was back on her feet in moments saying that she was fine and wanted to try the last part again, even joking that she's "given birth to two kids. That was nothing." The judges let them do the last part they messed up again and they got through to the next round.
  • Evel Knievel, American daredevil and worldwide icon of The '70s. He attempted over seventy-five ramp-to-ramp motorcycle jumps in his career, and has the dubious distinction in Guinness World Records for "most bones broken in a lifetime". Despite numerous crashes and warnings from doctors that he was at risk of crippling himself, he never gave up motorcycle jumping, ending his career only due to guilt after an accident caused a cameraman to lose an eye.
  • This Guy getting soaked at an Orleans Saints-Carolina Panthers game. He never left the seat he paid for, not ever the downpour was going make him move.
  • The unofficial motto of the Coast Guard (or perhaps just their Search and Rescue Corps?) is, "You have to go out. You don't have to come back." Again, unofficial, but it speaks to the fact that if there's trouble on the water, they WILL be there, even in conditions that would drive those with even the barest familiarity with the concept of self-preservation frantically looking for a bed to hide under.
  • Subverted in the case of type 1 diabetics, as they can appear to be determinators, it's actually a bad thing. They can go for long periods of time without feeling hunger, fatigue, or exhaustion, simply because their bodies are no longer functioning correctly. Being able to go a whole day without eating or taking a break, as long as they have a goal may seem badass, but their systems are actually just shutting down without them realising.
  • Andrew Therrien, who spent years relentlessly hounding shady debt collectors despite the FBI themselves initially shrugging it off. The author compares him to Liam Neeson in Taken—"using unflagging aggression to obtain scraps of information and reverse-engineer a criminal syndicate."
  • Dashrath Manjhi. The nearest hospital was on the other side of a mountain range from his village, and his wife died because it took so long to get her a doctor. He then spent the next twenty-two years carving a path through the mountain, by himself, with nothing but a hammer and chisel. His road reduced the effective distance from fifty-five kilometers to fifteen kilometers. It's not a lot of people who can say they avenged their loved one by killing a mountain.
  • The Waffle House restaurant chain in America are famous for being open day or night, rain or shine. As long as the building has the resources to keep selling food (even if with a limited menu) and isn't in immediate danger of being destroyed, they're open to serve hungry customers. FEMA even has an informal metric scale known as the "Waffle House Index" which they can use to judge just how much disaster assistance will be needed by observing how the local Waffle Houses are preparing. Travelers in America beware, if you see a Waffle House boarding up its doors, its time to leave.
  • A very, very dark example reared its head in the German cities of Oldenburg and Delmenhorst at the turn of the millennium. Craving the respect and admiration of his peers, intensive care nurse Niels Hogel concluded that the best way to achieve this was to poison a patient under his care and then revive them in a heroic display of medical skill. Things went south and the patient died. Not about to be dissuaded from his quest by such a minor setback, Högel tried again. And again. And again. And again and again and again until five years later, in 2005, over 100 patients had paid with their life for Högel's determination... and that's just the confirmed cases, with as many as 300 possible victims attributed to this insanity. A final trial in 2019 eventually sentenced him to life in prison for the murder of at least 85 people, and although Högel's hero fantasies never played out the way he wanted, he immortalized himself as the most prolific serial killer in German post-World War II history, and the country's worst mass murderer in peacetime.
  • In the BattleBots competition, Duck has had surprising success in spite of its crude design by being a determinator. It has perhaps the weakest weapon in the history of the show, a simple flipper with almost no lift velocity. Beyond that, it has only its own ruggedness. In a typical match, Duck will toss itself into the opposing bot's weapon and absorb its best shots until the enemy simply damages itself with its own offense enough to disable it. Duck's entire strategy is simply outlasting opponents.
  • British inventor James Dyson worked on 5126 prototypes for a "G-Force" vacuum cleaner before finally getting it down right.
  • Michelle Pfeiffer during the making of Batman Returns. Apparently, the Catwoman costume was downright painful to wear, so much she couldn't stand it for more than a few minutes at time. Despite this, she managed to complete all her scenes and was rewarded with 3 million dollars at the end of it all.
  • This guy, who delivered a pizza in the snow on foot after his car broke down.


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