I’ve covered 5 Olympic and 5 Paralympic Games at home and abroad. Tokyo 2020 was to have been numbers 6. So how are the athletes preparing during Covid times. And what are they learning in the run up to the Games. The Podcast lasts around 10 mins and comes out daily, Monday to Friday. I’m also using it to raise money for Maggie’s Cancer Centres to thank them for the help they’ve given my wife and family during her bowel cancer journey.
Why I nearly didn't travel to Tokyo - LIbby Clegg MBE, Track and Field, Paralympics GB
Libby Clegg is a blind sprinter in the Paralympics GB team in Tokyo. Libby won double gold in Rio but since then has become a mum to Edward.
Libby reveals here here struggles over the last year after the Games got postponed last summer. She was at the peak of fitness last spring after appearing on Dancing on Ice. But has really found the last year hard - not being able to be with her training partners because of social distances and a lack of opportunity to compete.
Libby admits she is not where she'd like to be following an injury and her mental struggle. She wasn't selected for the Games, but got called up as a reserve. And she tells me how she really doubted her place in July and thought about pulling out. She turned to a doctor, sports psychologist and her partner Dan for help before deciding that she should take up the place. She's now happy and in a good place mentally.
That's it for the series. Many thanks for listening over the last 8 months and thanks to all you athletes for taking part.
A sport massively affected by Covid - Charlotte Moore, Wheelchair basketball, Paralympics GB
Charlotte Moore ie a wheelchair basketball player for Paralympics GB. Tokyo will be her second Games after making her debut as a 17 year old in Rio.
She's been playing since she was 8 when she had a chance meeting whilst shopping with her mum at Sainsbury's when she was approached by the coach of a local wheelchair basketball team. She's never looked back from that chance meeting.
She's played lots of sport and even got to carry the Olympic Torch on the Torch Relay ahead of London 2012.
Charlotte talks about the extraordinary issues they've had as a squad during Covid which has limited severely the time they've been able to spend training together.
GB just missed out on a medal in Rio as they finished 4th. Charlotte's hoping it'll be at least one better this time!
Going for a 3rd gold - Richard Whitehead, T61 200m, Paralympics GB
Richard Whitehead is competing in the T61 200m at the Paralympics in Tokyo.
Richard won gold in London in 2012 and Rio 2016 but a hat-trick is going to be a challenge at the age of 45.
Richard talks to me from Japan and tells me about the atmosphere and conditions in the training camp.
Things have changed as Richard's been reclassified from T42 to T61 ,which is for double leg amputees. Richard feels this is to the detriment of para-athletics. It also means he can't now compete in a 100m as that event, which he won silver in rio, has been removed.
Richard has started a foundation to coincide with the Paralympics to help others with disabilities.
He also has his own podcast with Team GB footballer Ellen White called Track and Ball with a stellar guest list. Check it out! https://www.trackandball.co.uk/
Double issue...heading for a 4th Games and making a debut - Stef Reid and Thomas Young, Track and Field Paralympics GB
Stef Reid will compete in the Long Jump for Paralympics GB and she starts this double header. Stef talks about life at the GB preparation camp and dealing with the Covid protocols.
She's been to 3 previous games and draws on her experiences to think about the weeks ahead. She also reveals, because of Covid bubbles, she's unlikely to be able to meet her partner Brent who competes for Canada.
Stef revealed when she was last on the podcast that she was about to study Executive Coaching at Henley Business School - and she talks about what's she's drawing from that.
I also chat to Stef's Loughborough based colleague Thomas Young who's a sprinter. This is the first Games for Thomas and it's great to hear the excitement from a rising star of the sport.
Dealing with expectation - Hannah Cockroft, Paralympics GB
Today's guest is Hannah Cockroft, wheelchair racer for Paralympics GB.
Hannah has won 11 world titles and 5 Paralympic gold medals and she talks about the weight of expectation as she heads to her third Games.
She talks brilliantly about the moment she discovered sport and what it's taken to get to be top of the world.
And she now embraces the fact she is a role model and loves the thought of others being inspired to take up some sport.
Hannah says she is still loving sport and feels lucky to have the opportunities to compete. She says lockdown has shown that we need to make the most of every single second.
Thanks Hannah! Great chat.
Tackling physical and mental health issues - Lauren Rowles, Paralympics GB Rowing
Lauren Rowles is part of the rowing squad for Paralympics GB for the Tokyo Paralympics.
This is a really revealing chat with Lauren who found para-sport after becoming paralysed as a 13 year old. She was inspired by London 2012 and went on to win a gold medal at Rio just four years later.
But the last five years have been tough with a number of physial injuries and a really rough time with her mental health that sent her into a deep depression.
But she's worked hard on both physical and mental health and is in a great position to challenge for a medal again in Tokyo.
Sport lovers of any kind must listen
Expertly presented, considered views on everything topical in sport.
Wonderfully insightful and revealing .. thoroughly enjoyed these conversations .. leaving me hungry for more and supporting a truly great cause .. Maggie’s Cancer Centres 👏👏👏
Good shorter listen
I enjoy the bite sized length and topical subjects from guests, some who I know and others are new to me. Great moment in my day!