And it applies to athletes too!
1 Corinthians 9:24-27
Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win. Everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things. They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable.Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim; I box in such a way, as not beating the air;but I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified.
I took it to mean - be in it to win, first of all, exercise self-control in all things and exercise with a purpose. Subjugate the body to my will, so that I can be an example to others and not fail!