The purpose of this study was to analyze the definitions of success and failure (achievement goals) and preferred means to goal attainment (achievement orientations) among male and female Anglo and Mexican-American high school students I athletes in sport and the classroom. Based on a recent conceptualization of achievement motivation, it was assumed that definitions of success and failure could be equated to personal characteristics, behaviors, or outcomes and reflect an emphasis on either effort or ability. Further, it was assumed that there are two major achievement orientations: In one, the means to goal attainment entail social comparison; in the second, goal attainment is processed according to mastery criteria. Results revealed cultural and sex differences in athletic goals. Anglo males were more likely to define sport success in terms of ability while Anglo females and Mexican-American athletes tended to equate athletic success to the demonstration of effort. The reverse was true for sport failure—Anglo males emphasized low effort while the other groups stressed low ability. Variations in preferred achievement orientations were also revealed. For example, in the athletic setting, females showed the least preference for sport success which reflected on the individual and involved social comparison. Males indicated the least preference for individual-oriented, social comparison-based athletic failure.