54 episodes

Olympic and World Champion diver, Laura Wilkinson seeks to equip athletes with the most effective tools that will help them reach their biggest goals in sport through conversations with elite and Olympic athletes, sports professionals, coaches, and experts. In these conversations we unlock the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual tools that shape the whole athlete and generate peak performance.

Pursuit of Gold with Laura Wilkinson Laura Wilkinson

    • Health & Fitness
    • 5.0 • 1 Rating

Olympic and World Champion diver, Laura Wilkinson seeks to equip athletes with the most effective tools that will help them reach their biggest goals in sport through conversations with elite and Olympic athletes, sports professionals, coaches, and experts. In these conversations we unlock the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual tools that shape the whole athlete and generate peak performance.

    Coming Back Stronger with Diving Olympic Bronze Medalist Krysta Palmer

    Coming Back Stronger with Diving Olympic Bronze Medalist Krysta Palmer

    Today’s guest made history in Tokyo this summer, becoming the first woman to medal in springboard diving at the Olympics since Kelly McCormick won Bronze 33 years ago in Seoul, Korea in 1988. Krysta Palmer made her first Olympic team this summer at the age of 29. Watching her smile and giggle at the podium with her Bronze Medal proudly hanging around her neck warmed hearts all over the country. Krysta’s positivity is infectious and her perseverance throughout her journey to get to the Olympic podium is absolutely inspiring. Today she opens up about the injuries that took her out of contention in the sport of trampoline, what it was like to start a brand new sport at the age of 20, and she walks us through her extraordinary adventure in Tokyo, from a close call in the preliminary round to the very moment she realized she had medaled. Krysta offers mindset tips all along the journey, and she shares with us her favorite way to process both the good and the bad so that she can keep coming back stronger. 

    Krysta begins with her unique journey in sports, and reflects on coming back stronger from her recurring injuries, as well as how she ultimately found diving at the age of 20. She talks about transitioning her skills from trampoline to diving, working with her coach, Jianli You, to change certain habits, and entering the 2016 Olympic Team Trials following her graduation from the University of Nevada. Krysta tells Laura about a training trip to China that served as a turning point in her path to becoming an Olympian, as well as how her own experience as a coach has helped her as an athlete, and what she learned from competing in the 2017 and 2019 World Championships (her first international meet). She explains how her mindset to learn and grow from setbacks has helped her through the pandemic, and shares the moving story of receiving her Olympic ring from Laura. You’ll hear about Krysta’s memorable experience at the Tokyo Olympics, how her faith keeps her grounded, and the surreal and exciting moment she realized she had medaled in Tokyo.

    Krysta’s honesty and perseverance throughout today’s conversation are sure to motivate and inspire as she shares her incredible journey, and everything she has overcome to be able to do what she loves to do.

    Episode Highlights:

    Krysta’s journey in sports, beginning with gymnastics and trampoline at a young age
    Coming back stronger from her heartbreaking injuries and finding diving at the age of 20
    Transitioning her skills from trampoline to diving, changing certain habits, learning new dives on the fast track
    Entering the 2016 Olympic Team Trials following her graduation from the University of Nevada
    Her training trip to China in 2016, and how it brought her closer to becoming an Olympian
    The difference between platform and springboard diving, and Krysta’s transition from platform to springboard
    Supporting her athletic training after college through coaching, and how this has helped her become a better athlete
    Her experience at the World Championships in 2017 and 2019
    Learning and growing the most from disappointments or poor competitions
    How this mentality helped her make the most of trials and tribulations brought on by the pandemic
    Training through injuries and her family’s support throughout her career
    Krysta’s very special memory of receiving her Olympic ring from Laura
    Her unique experience at the Tokyo Olympics
    The importance of Krysta’s faith
    The surreal and exciting experience of realizing she had medaled in Tokyo
    How Krysta continues to process her accomplishment and what the next season of her life looks like
    Continuing her education and studying toward an MBA


    “At the age of five, when I was young, I really really had this lifelong dream of being an Olympian one day.”
    “You're always having to use your visual awareness to spot where you are. And make changes based on where you are. So I learned that through trampoline, and that actually rea

    • 1 hr 21 min
    Unwavering Belief with 2-Time Super Bowl Champ Tory James

    Unwavering Belief with 2-Time Super Bowl Champ Tory James

    With the start of the new football season upon us, the timing is perfect for 2-time Super Bowl champ, Tory James, to join Laura on the podcast. During his 11 season career in the NFL, Tory enjoyed great success with a few different teams, especially the Denver Broncos, and even earned a spot in the 2004 Pro Bowl. Tory’s resilience throughout this extensive career is very much a function of the influence his family had upon him, and, especially, the unwavering belief that he had in himself, and he discusses these factors and so much more here today.

    He begins by sharing his early involvement in sports, his shift into football, his mom’s perspective on it, and both those who doubted and believed in his potential. He then goes on to summarize his playing career from high school to college to the NFL, the pivotal injury he suffered and his recovery from it, his ability to use fear to help him, and the source of his impressive longevity in the NFL. He finishes up by sharing the hardest and greatest moments in his career and what he does these days in retirement. Throughout this fascinating conversation, Tory highlights the role that family, gratitude, love of the game, and his unwavering belief played in his success, and his story as told here today will undoubtedly move and inspire all who listen.

    Episode Highlights:

    How Tory became involved in sports and football in particular
    Listening to the one coach who believed in him
    His feeling of unwavering belief
    His Mom’s perspective on his playing football
    Tory’s impact on those who doubted him
    His transition for high school to college football
    Getting to the NFL
    The difference between the NFL and college football
    His knee injury and recovery
    Using your fear to help you
    His return from the knee injury
    What makes the NFL so tough
    The source of his longevity in the NFL
    Loving to play
    The important role family plays
    The hardest and greatest moments of his career
    What Tory does in retirement


    ‘‘It hurts so bad. It hurts still to this day, because I still like basketball over football. But I was always good at football, so I took his advice and I started playing football.”
    “So when I'm helping little kids, I tell them, ‘See it in your mind, you do it perfect in your mind over and over again until it becomes you and it becomes natural.’”
    “For whatever reason, people put their fears on you, and I just never let it affect me.”
    “I think you probably changed their entire outlook on how they saw the world, and I think that's huge.”
    “That's, like, the joy when I think about playing football - how it made people feel.”
    “The power of just having one person believe in you like that one coach when everybody else is saying ‘No’, it makes a huge difference.”
    “It was really hard to mess up in Denver, they just had it down. That's probably one of the most professional teams I've ever played for, and it showed by us winning and everybody loved each other, and everybody helped each other. It was amazing.”
    “We're all going to go through stuff, and it's how you handle it that's going to grow you as a person and your character and who you are the rest of your life beyond your sport, too.”
    “Fear is feeling excited and ready.”
    “Now today, what I do is I'm thankful for everything that happens.”
    “Hard work, dedication, drive, and just willing to do what you have to do and just not ever giving up on your goal.”
    “I hope everybody else that I'm playing with feels like they're the best because that's the type of players I want to play with.”
    “You tell me I can't do it, I'm going to find a way to prove you wrong.”
    “You made this choice to enjoy it and to have fun and playing the game the whole time.”
    “The reason I'm playing is for family.”
    “I learned discipline, hard work, to be honest, from my mom.”
    “It turned out to be the best thing that happened to me because I think if I wouldn't have gotten hurt early on, I don't

    • 56 min
    Connecting Sport, Faith and Life with Dr. Chad Carlson and Dr. Brian Bolt

    Connecting Sport, Faith and Life with Dr. Chad Carlson and Dr. Brian Bolt

    Joining Laura on the podcast this week are Dr. Chad Carlson and Dr. Brian Bolt, two guys from rival schools who came together with a common purpose: to think deeply about sport and faith. They both grew up as competitive athletes and are now coaches and sports scholars, Brian as the Dean of Education at Calvin University, and Chad as a Professor and Director of General Education at Hope College. They have also teamed up to create the ‘Sport. Faith. Life.’ podcast which they describe as ‘a conversation that meets at the intersection of sport and faith’. After hosting the 2nd Global Congress on Sport and Christianity at Calvin University in October 2019, our two guests made a commitment to continue to explore the athletic world through the lens of Christianity, and that is precisely what they do hear today.

    In today’s episode, Chad and Brian discuss the connection between sports and faith., concepts like forgiveness, and how sports can become a part of one’s identity. Together, they also delve into viewing sports as a form of play, how not everybody is drawn to the idea of competition, and how sports must be enjoyed at the moment. They conclude by exploring athletes’ mental health and the sense of loss they feel after certain events such as the Olympics, and by discussing how to view sports as a separate space from other things in life. Filled with ideas regarding how to lead with grace, call for truth, and be a light on a very diverse team, today’s conversation is enlightening, informative, and, above all, one you do not want to miss.

    Episode Highlights:

    Competition in sports: the good side and the bad side
    Comparisons that people make while playing sports
    Sports and their impact on one’s identity
    How human beings are meant to be playful
    Forgiveness and the concept of a community
    Selfishness in sports and attributions people make for their successes or failures
    Mental health and sports
    Redemption in sports


    ‘‘And we see this, especially those who are in Olympic sports, where, you know, it’s not like you play Major League Baseball, where if you don’t do well, one day, you get a chance to the next day, right?”
    “And what’s so interesting about athletes or successful people in some ways is that they attribute failure to things outside themselves.’’
    “And so, from a faith perspective, I think it’s a reminder to us that when we watch our heroes, we’re watching real people with skin and flesh and people who are dealing with real everyday issues. That’s important for us to remember in the midst of our heroism - the way in which we worship athletes at times, for sure.’’
    “And then we also need to take a step back with someone we trust - a coach, a teammate, somebody - and logically look at what happened without the emotion and learn from it instead of just blaming all the time. Because I’ve had teammates who blame judges, who blame this, that, and the other all the time.’’
    “If you use your energy to fix what you're doing wrong, instead of blaming other people, you might actually be a better athlete.”
    “There are experiences that we have on Earth, that may be glimpses of Heaven, and when we're at play, we're doing something because the joy of it is in the doing. We're experiencing that Kingdom at hand.”
    “I have parents that ask me all the time, like, ‘How can I make my kid more passionate?’ and, like, you’ve just got to let them fail. Like, if he fails and he wants to keep going, like, he’ll find the passion.’’

    Show Links
    The Pursuit of Gold Homepage
    Life at 10 Meters: Lessons from an Olympic Champion
    5 Smart Strategies to Confidence
    Conquer Your Fear in 5 Days             
    Laura’s Social Media:
    Laura's Instagram
    Laura's Facebook page
    Connect with Brian and Chad:
    Sport. Faith. Life. Homepage

    • 55 min
    Worth the Risk with Aerial Skiing Olympian Emily Cook

    Worth the Risk with Aerial Skiing Olympian Emily Cook

    Joining Laura on the podcast this week is 3 time Olympian and 6 time National Champion in Aerial Skiing, Emily Cook. Currently the manager of sport and human potential at Skullcandy, Emily also manages programming for the non-profit, Classroom Champions, coaches young athletes at the Utah Olympic Park through the US Ski Team’s Elite Aerial Development Program, and is an ambassador for Right to Play and Kids Play International. Throughout her career, Emily has routinely demonstrated her ability to overcome obstacles and elevate her game to new levels, and she shares her inspirational story with listeners here today.
    In today’s episode, Emily discusses her commitment towards her sport, her experiences at the World Cup and the Olympics, and the multiple emotions she went through while training. She also delves into dealing with injuries, making difficult decisions, and compares being a coach to being an athlete. She brings the conversation to a close by sharing details about the important work she does these days. An inspiring model of perseverance, Emily has so very much to share here today that is sure to motivate all who listen.

    Episode Highlights:

    Emily’s realization of her love for aerial skiing
    Dealing with injuries as an athlete
    Her experiences at the Olympics
    Emily’s work at The Speedy Foundation
    How she had trust in her coach
    Emily’s commitments in the sports sphere
    Being a coach vs. being an athlete                        
    Emily’s work outside the sports sphere


    “So, I always determined before a training block, whether it was a three-week training block or something, what my negative thought stoppers would be, and, you know, exactly what mindset I wanted to be in on the hill. I use music a lot as well.’’
    “And then, every once in a while, like, as humans, we’re just not reliable, we’re not reliable to our own commitments.”
    “But regardless of who’s there watching, you know…you’ve accomplished something that you set out to do so many years earlier, and it’s an incredible feeling.’’
    “And so, it was a daily choice, it was a choice of showing up and showing up 100% no matter what, no matter what my mood was, no matter what was going on around me.’’
    “In the end of the day, knowing exactly what I wanted to accomplish, and then debriefing exactly what I did accomplish, so that I knew what I needed to change the next day in order to perform even better.’’

    The Pursuit of Gold Homepage
    Life at 10 Meters: Lessons from an Olympic Champion
    5 Smart Strategies to Confidence
    Conquer Your Fear in 5 Days               
    Laura’s Social Media:
    Laura's Instagram
    Laura's Facebook page
    Connect with Emily:
    Emily's Homepage
    Classroom Champions
    The Speedy Foundation

    • 55 min
    Bouncing Forward with Paralympic Snowboarder Amy Purdy

    Bouncing Forward with Paralympic Snowboarder Amy Purdy

    Joining Laura on the podcast this week is the top-ranked female adaptive snowboarder in the U.S., Amy Purdy. Diagnosed with meningococcal meningitis at the age of 19, Amy has gone on to become a three-time World Cup para-snowboard gold medalist, the 2014 Paralympic bronze medalist, and the founder of Adaptive Action Sports, a nonprofit organization that helps youth, young adults, and wounded veterans with physical disabilities get involved with action sports. She is a professional motivational speaker who has been featured at both TEDx and Pop Tech, and is also an actress, model, dancer, clothing designer, and an experienced product spokesperson. In addition to all this, Amy was also the breakout star and a finalist on season 18 of 'Dancing with the Stars'. A true inspiration to us all, Amy shares her incredible story with Laura and her listeners here today.

    Amy starts by discussing her love for snowboarding during her teenage years. She then discusses her struggle with her medical condition and how she rose above her hardships through her self-belief. As you listen, you’ll learn of Amy’s many accomplishments, such as securing brand deals and winning a bronze medal. Along the way, you’ll understand Amy’s positive contributions to athletes with disabilities/special needs, and the lessons you learn from this podcast will definitely inspire you to look at difficulties in a whole new way.

    Episode Highlights:

    Amy’s early days when she snowboarded with her friends
    How meningococcal meningitis impacted Amy
    Amy’s struggle with self-doubt
    How Amy discovered a creative solution to help her snowboard
    How Amy co-founded Adaptive Action Sports
    Amy’s successes with snowboarding
    How Amy’s injury complications changed her life
    Amy’s experiences and how she connects with her audience


    “So yeah, so snowboarding really was my passion. That’s what pulled me through my darkest days. And then you know, who would have thought that it would become almost my purpose, right?”
    “And when I woke up from this coma, a few days later, I still have this respirator down my throat. And so, I couldn’t talk. But I wrote out on a piece of paper that I was given a choice and I chose to stay.’’
    “I was just hanging on, and also incredibly grateful, like to have the opportunity to hang on and fight. And so, gratitude became a big part of not just a practice, but to be honest, like a very natural organic thing for me, because every day I woke up and I was alive, I was grateful whether I’d lost my legs or not.’’
    “And I remember at one point saying, ‘I don’t know if I can do this, but if anybody can, it’s going to be me.’ ‘’
    “I needed a community of people who are like me, and it didn’t really exist and needed something to pull it together.’’
    “It’s like going through the valleys of despair and like finding your way out and having these real realizations of what’s really important in life, and how do we get through challenges. And I’ve decided to share the journey along the way.’’

    Show Links

    The Pursuit of Gold Homepage
    Life at 10 Meters: Lessons from an Olympic Champion
    5 Smart Strategies to Confidence
    Conquer Your Fear in 5 Days

    Laura’s Social Media:
    Laura's Instagram
    Laura's Facebook page

    Connect With Amy:
    Bouncing Forward with Amy Purdy (Spotify)
    Adaptive Action Sports Homepage
    Amy Purdy on Instagram

    On My Own Feet: The Journey from Losing My Legs to Learning the Dance of Life (2014)

    • 1 hr 10 min
    How to Have a Championship Mindset with Chad Busick

    How to Have a Championship Mindset with Chad Busick

    Joining Laura on the podcast this week is Chad Busick, owner of Championship Mindset, an organization that works with both corporate and athletic teams. Chad is a Master Facilitator with Advance Sports Technology, working with college teams at the DI, DII, DIII and NAIA levels as well as high school and competitive teams across various sports. In addition, he is a certified trainer for The Power of Positive Leadership training with The Jon Gordon Companies.  Chad is also the host of ‘The Championship Mindset Podcast’ as well as the author of his new book, The Rock Tumbler. 
    Laura begins by sharing some exciting information about her own new book, and then Chad details his background and his journey to the work he does now, including some of the principles and techniques he employs in that work. Along the way, he shares a number of excellent resources and examples of his philosophy in action, offers valuable advice to athletes and parents alike, and provides a glimpse into his new book. As you will hear, Laura resonates with so much of Chad’s work, and you will undoubtedly do the same with the many lessons revealed here today regarding the world of sport, and, indeed, life in general.

    Episode Highlights:    

    Laura’s new book
    Chad’s background and his journey to the work he does now
    The Ten Principles of Entelechy and sports mindset
    His Championship Mindset brand and company
    The hardest part of achieving the championship mindset
    Emotional safety
    ‘Taking change by the hand’ during the pandemic
    Jon Gordon’s The Power of Positive Leadership
    Mark Batterson’s Win the Day
    Chad’s Championship Mindset chart and how to apply it
    Working with a team vs. working with an individual
    Chad’s The Rock Tumbler and his favorite lessons from it
    His advice regarding parental involvement
    Jessica Lahey’s The Gift of Failure


    “It's the seven fundamentals of mental fitness. I've been a master facilitator with that for the last six or seven years, which has led me now to start my own company called Championship Mindset, and a lot of other things.”
    “Whether we're working with corporate clients, whether we're working with athletes, coaches, teams, it's really just focusing on helping them be the best that they can be.”
    “This championship mindset is the formula for success in all areas of our lives.”
    “At the end of the day, it really comes down to our talent, our hard work, our attitude, our mental toughness, our teamwork, and our passion into everything that we do.”
    “The things that I've learned through diving are the very things that helped me in my life outside of the pool.”
    “I would say everything for me starts with culture, we have to have the right culture.”
    “The first thing that we have to build is we have to build emotional safety.”
    “Players don't care about how much you know, until they know about how much you care about them.”
    “When we really think about what we've gone through this last 14 to 16 months, what we've really been doing is, we've been grieving.”
    “Just be there for your students be there for your players in this moment.”
    “It's okay to grieve the dream, but don't stay there.”
    “Regardless of those tough events that we go through, we still get to choose how we respond.”
    “How you do anything is how you do everything - and to me, that's the core of the championship mindset.”
    “How we view the world and more importantly, how we interact with the world, greatly affects what you get out of the world.”
    “If you have to go through it, you might as well grow through it.”
    “Own your journey, it's your journey, own it to the best that you can.”
    “We need to let our kids fail.”
    “The most powerful thing that you can say to your athlete when they're done competing is, ‘I love watching you compete. I love watching you play.’ ”

    The Pursuit of Gold Homepage
    Life at 10 Meters: Lessons from an Olympic Champion
    5 Smart S

    • 55 min

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