31 celebrities who smashed the stigma surrounding mental illness in 2016.

"Like a dandelion up through the pavement, I persist."

It may not seem like that big of a deal when a celebrity speaks up about their experiences with mental illness. But it is.

Throughout 2016, dozens of actors, authors, artists, and athletes — trailblazers we're used to seeing smiling on red carpets or snagging gold medals on TV — shared the personal battles they've faced behind closed doors. It was a groundbreaking year.

“It levels the playing field," Aaron Harvey says of the many public figures who chose to speak up. Harvey is the founder of Intrusive Thoughts, a group set on humanizing those living with mental illness. “Suddenly, you realize the same struggles that you have might be the same struggles that someone you really idolize have. And that [makes it] OK."

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​Only a small number of people in the world know what it's like to win an Olympic gold medal.

Michael Phelps knows what it's like. 21 times. Photo by Adam Pretty/Getty Images.

We watch them win, when it all seems so effortless. We don't see the years of practice, dedication, bruised muscles, broken limbs, progress, setbacks, and triumphs that come before.

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17 powerful quotes from athletes representing Team USA at the Olympics.

Our country's greatest athletes have some major words of wisdom.

For 16 days in August, the world will unite in shared anticipation, joy, defeat, and amazement. Welcome to the Olympics.

Athletes from around the world will come together in the name of competition, pitting humanity's strongest, fastest, and most talented individuals against one another in the name of eternal glory. In other words, for those participating and those of us who will be glued to our TV sets over the next two weeks, it's a pretty big deal.

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