In episode 21 we take a moment to reflect on what Olympians, World Champions, and Leaders in sport think their best performance enhancers actually are.
"It’s in those spaces where most of our physical and psychological growth occurs"
At the end of each of these podcast episodes I’ve asked my guests a series of ‘quick fire questions. One of those questions is, ‘What's your best performance enhancer?’ Listen to what people actually said...
Can you have it all? In episode 20 we chat to BBC and BT Sport Broadcaster Reshmin Chowdhury. We discuss the captivating nature of sport, how as a mother of two she juggles multiple responsibilities and how one always has to be at the top of your game on live sport.
Reshmin Chowdhury is a multilingual sports presenter, reporter and event host, broadcasting globally for the BBC and BT Sport. She is one of BT Sport’s key reporters for the UEFA Champions League and Europa League. She also works across BT’s FA Cup, BDO Darts World Championship and NBA coverage and previously anchored the network’s nightly news show, SportsHUB.
For the BBC, Reshmin has covered news from almost every recent major sporting event for BBC World News and the BBC News Channel since 2010, most recently reporting for BBC Radio 5Live at the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio.
Reshmin began her career at Reuters TV News and honed her skills as a producer at BBC News, ITN and Bloomberg TV. Her work has taken her as far afield as Africa, Asia and the Middle East. She is an ambassador for the Prince of Wales’ charity, the British Asian Trust and the Heart4More Foundation. She is a keen mentor, working at Kick it Out’s “Raise Your Game” conferences and the Mosaic charity.
How can we support children to develop into elite athletes? In episode 19 we chat to Performance and Coaching Scientist, Katie Richards. We discuss the explosion in success of British Gymnastics, the issues facing young elite performers and how a supportive coaching framework can enable talented children to develop.
Katie Richards is a Chartered Scientist, BASES Sport & Exercise Scientist, Senior Lecturer Sport Psychology at St Mary’s University and is completing her PhD in the skill acquisition strategies utilised by high-performance coaches, and their psychological impacts.
She has worked in a range of sports including gymnastics, mixed martial arts, pistol shooting, synchronised swimming, golf & Paralympic sitting volleyball. She is most active within the discipline of women’s artistic gymnastics and was National Squad Coach in Aerobic Gymnastics 2007-2010. Currently she concentrates the majority of her time towards developing young performers (5-10 years) towards the elite performance pathway.
Visit Katie's website here.
How do you inspire a nation? In episode 18 we chat to Sharon Fuller – the editor of BBC Sports new live events service. We discuss behavioural change campaigns, how audiences are consuming sport across broadcast, digital & interactive content and how she measures success.
Sharon Fuller is an Editor at BBC Sport and has worked the broadcast coverage of multiple events covering everything from Archery to Zumba including the odd Formula One season and an Olympics or two. She runs the BBC's Get Inspired campaign to get the nation active as well as Red Button and Live Stream sport. She's a champion of diversity and of promoting women's sport. She is also often seen getting her hands dirty at cycle races.
In episode 17 we talk with Anna Kessel about the role of sport within society, what makes a high performing story, and what motivates her campaigning drive. We also hear her thoughts about how journalism has changed over the past 15 years.
Anna Kessel is a sports journalist, acclaimed author and vocal campaigner on equality in sport.
A rare example of a female journalist in her field, Anna published Eat Sweat Play: How Sport Can Change Your Life (Macmillan) in 2016, a passionate polemic aimed at bringing sport to the female masses.
A Guardian and Observer journalist since 2004, Anna has covered three Olympic Games, several World Cups, Euros and World Championships, and interviewed some of the biggest stars in global sport.
Co-founder and chair of Women in Football (WiF), an organization lobbying against sexism in the game and championing female role models, The Independent described her as a “fearless adversary of sexism” in their list of the 50 Most Influential Women in Sport.
In 2016 Anna was awarded an MBE for services to journalism and women in sport.
In episode 16 we talk with Annamarie Phelps about what it's like to lead a sport, the importance of elite role models, and how British Rowing has evolved into an Olympic powerhouse sport. We also hear about how she navigated the highs and lows of her own international rowing career.
Annamarie Phelps CBE is Chairman of British Rowing, vice chairman of the British Olympic Association and a Trustee of the British Paralympic Association.
Annamarie enjoyed a successful international rowing career representing Great Britain at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta (women’s eight). Annamarie also competed in World Rowing Championships between 1991 and 1995 as well as the Commonwealth Regatta in 1994. She was World Champion in 1993 (lightweight coxless fours) and World Indoor Rowing Champion and World Indoor Rowing Record holder between 1992 and 1995 (lightweight women).
In episode 15 we talk with Kelly Smith about her football career, how the sport has changed over the past twenty years and her views on success. We also talk about what it's like being in the public eye and how it feels to embark on a new career as a coach.
Kelly Smith, arguably England’s greatest ever female player, dedicated her whole life to playing football and retired from international duty after 20 years. Kelly was the first England Women’s superstar, on the global stage. One of Smith’s greatest strengths was her longevity, defying lengthy injuries and her age to steal the show in big matches in the twilight of her career. A surprise selection to start the 2016 Women’s FA Cup final aged 37, having required ankle surgery in 2015, Smith shone under the famous Wembley arch in the number 10 role. That display was typical of the enduring class that saw her shortlisted for the 2015 Women’s Players’ Player of the Year award when she was 36.
In episode 14 we talk with three-time Olympian and former world champion rower, Cath Bishop about how culture impacts performance. We discuss competition, how she was chosen as the 'last resort' for her University crew, the psychological challenges of coming second and her pride in becoming world champion in 2003.
Cath Bishop is a former Olympic medalist rower and respected diplomat who has spent time in some of the world’s most hostile conflict zones. She is also a visiting professor at the Surrey School of Business and Chair of the Cambridge University Women’s Boat Club.
In partnership with Katherine Grainger she was World Champion in the coxless pair in 2003, and in 2004 they won a silver medal at the Olympic Games.
In episode 13, Sue Anstiss talks about the journey from founding her company in the back bedroom at age 26 to running an award winning sports PR agency almost 25 years ago.
Sue Anstiss is the founder and MD of Promote PR, a multi-award winning agency specialising in the field of sport and fitness for over 20 years. Promote is renowned for its work with women and girls – driving grassroots sports participation and fitness.
A founding Trustee of the Women’s Sport Trust, Sue is also Chair of Get Berkshire Active, a Board Member of the County Sport Partnership Network and a member of ukactive’s Supplier Council.
A former volleyball player turned netballer, Sue took up triathlon in recent years and has represented Great Britain in World and European Age Group Championships.
In episode 12 we talk with Jeanette Kwakye about her sprinting career, the stress of injury and what it was like stepping out into an Olympic final. We also talk about her transition to life in the media and what it's like being on the other side of sport.
Jeanette Kwakye was a three-time British champion over 100m in 2007, 2008 and 2011. She competed at the Beijing Olympics in 2008, finishing sixth in the individual 100m with a time of 11.14 – a personal best – and was unlucky to miss out on a medal in the 4x100m relay when the British team failed to finish due to a mix-up in the final changeover. At the 2007 European Indoor Championships she recorded a time of 7.17 seconds in the 60m - the fastest time by a British woman since 1986. (This record is still un-beaten - however Dina Asher-Smith matched it in 2015.) Since retiring from athletics in 2013, Jeanette, a qualified journalist, now works for the BBC and Sky Sports as a sports reporter and writes for The Guardian on issues affecting Women in Sport.
In episode 11, I talk with Sally Munday about her role as Chief Exec of a National Governing Body. We find out what it was like behind the scenes at the Rio Olympics when GB Women won team gold. We also discuss her approach to leading the sport, how she builds an environment that enables success and her future aspirations for the sport of hockey in the UK.
Sally has been working in hockey since 1998. After five years as Regional Development Manager in the South she moved into the Development Director role in 2003 when England Hockey began as the National Governing Body. In January 2009 she took on the new role of Chief Executive.
She describes herself as a social player and until 2009 was also a keen a Team Manager having managed England and Great Britain teams, club side Slough, and Berkshire and South Juniors.
Sally previously worked for the Lawn Tennis Association and has also worked in local authority leisure facility management.
In episode 10, Andy Barrow talks about living in the bubble of elite sport, his time as GB Wheelchair Rugby captain and his current role inspiring other people.
Andy Barrow is a triple Paralympian and three-time European gold medalist. He was a professional Wheelchair Rugby player for Great Britain for over a decade, captaining the team for five years spanning the 2008 Paralympic Games in Beijing. Andy competed at London 2012 Paralympic Games before retiring internationally to pursue a career as an inspirational speaker and mentor.
In episode 9, Jo Bostock discusses the need to question how others are judging performance and talks about how she gives leaders the space and the provocation to think through who they are and what matters to them most.
Jo Bostock is the founder of Pause Consultancy, a leadership development business that advises global businesses, leading media organisations and influential third sector clients on inclusive leadership. She believes that it’s vital for senior leaders and top team teams to understand the values that drive them and what it means in practice to be authentic. Through coaching, workshops and conferences, Jo is keen to stimulate critical reflection and debate about how people can exercise influence about the things that matter to them. Jo specialises in gender progression in the workplace and has written a book for Cambridge University about the different ways in which women see themselves as successful.
Jo also co-founded The Women's Sport Trust (WST) charity with A Question of Performance podcast host, Tammy Parlour. WST is a leading a leading UK charity focused on using the power of sport to accelerate gender equality and stimulate social change.
In episode eight, Ian Byers talks about the motivations, challenges and successes of setting up a sports management company with Paralympic champion Hannah Cockroft MBE.
Ian is Managing Director of 17 Management, a sports management agency whose clients include Paralympic gold medallist Hannah Cockroft MBE and Paralympic bronze medalist and 9 times grand slam champion (wheelchair tennis) Jordanne Whiley MBE. Ian strongly believes in establishing a culture and creating the right environment to allow talent to perform to the optimum. Ian describes the ethos of the company in a nutshell, “what is in the best interest of the athlete”. Ian is a UK Athletics Approved Athlete Representative, FA registered intermediary and a UK Anti Doping (UKAD) Accredited Advisor.
Read more about Ian and 17 Management here:
In episode 7, Claire Bennett talks about athlete transition. We explore life as an international athlete, the emotions associated with retirement and how she works with other elite athletes to shape their life after sport.
Until August 2012, Claire was a member of the Great Britain women’s foil fencing team and part of the World Class Performance Programme. She has represented Great Britain in European and World Championships since the age of 14. As captain of England Claire won individual Bronze and Team Gold at the 2010 Commonwealth Fencing Games. Whilst studying for her modern languages degree at Durham University she was British Universities Champion.
Since stopping fencing after 2012, Claire now wants to help inspire and encourage young people and adults alike to achieve their potential. She is a keen writer and motivational speaker. “I know first hand how much of a positive impact sport and mentoring can have on a person’s life. I have learnt so much about myself through sport. Therefore on a basic level I have a strong wish to give something back and share my experiences to help people achieve their potential.”
Claire is now the Athlete Manager at the Dame Kelly Holmes Trust and supports their team of elite athletes in their lives beyond sport. Claire is an Athlete Supporter of the Women’s Sport Trust and is involved with several organisations directed at women. She is dedicated to progressing women in sport and inspiring young girls to achieve their potential.
In her spare time she has written for the London Evening Standard as a columnist and for the Daily Telegraph in their Olympics section. Claire also commentates for Eurosport as their fencing expert.
In episode six, Goldie Sayers talks candidly about missing an Olympic podium place by 38cm and then eight years later receiving news of a positive doping test by the Russian athlete who finished ahead of her.
"The biggest thing dopers cheat you of, is knowing how good you actually were"
Goldie Sayers was awarded a bronze medal from the Beijing Olympics, eight years after competing at the event. Sayers threw a British javelin record 65.75m at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, only to miss out on a medal by the smallest of margins after finishing fourth.
Eight years later, Sayers’ long-term suspicions were seemingly confirmed when Mariya Abakumova, who took silver at those 2008 Games, was named by Russian media as one of 14 Russian athletes allegedly shown to have failed drugs tests when their Beijing samples were re-analysed.
Visit Goldie's website here.
In episode 5, Nathalie McGloin talks about how wheelchair rugby helped her come to terms with her injury, the importance of changing her mindset and her new passion for motor racing.
Nathalie is a racing driver with a twist. At 16 years old Nathalie was involved in a road traffic accident resulting in her breaking her neck at level C6/7. This has left her completely paralysed from the chest down.
The accident never deterred her from driving and in 2015 Nathalie became the first ever female spinal injured driver to be granted her race licence in the UK. 2015 saw her complete her first race season in The Porsche Club Championship racing a hand controlled Cayman S. That first season also saw her compete in her debut endurance race, the Race of Remembrance 1000km at Anglesey where she formed an all spinal injured race team, again the first of it’s kind in the UK. Visit her website here.
Visit Ben's website here.
In episode three, Hannah Cockroft MBE talks about what it feels like to win and what success means to her. Undefeated for 7 years, she talks candidly about losing to Kare Adenegan in 2015 and why she is so determined to stay at the top of her sport for as long as possible.
Hannah Cockroft MBE has won every major title she has competed for since making her international debut in 2011, dominating the T34 wheelchair racing class. Most recently she has won 3 gold medals in the Rio Paralympics, achieving success in 100m, 400m and 800m races. An accomplished speaker, Hannah is patron of five charities, she works closely with various disability groups and actively campaigns on disability issues.
Visit Hannah's website here.
In episode 2 Michelle Moore discusses intersectionality, what needs to change to help more people from diverse backgrounds succeed and how a sporting mindset has helped her achieve success in her career.
Michelle Moore is a former athlete, consultant, executive coach, speaker and activist promoting equality in sport. She is a Trustee of Runnymede – the UK’s leading independent race equality think tank – and runs her own consultancy. In The Independent’s 50 Most Influential Women in Sport list 2015 she was highlighted “as someone to watch”. Visit her website here.
Read her article, The Question of Diversity and Inclusion in Women’s Sport.