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Behind the Dream

Author: Newton Agency

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Sharing stories that tell you more about what really goes on in the hearts and minds of professional athletes - the ups and downs, the good times and the challenges. This podcast offers a behind the scenes glimpse into the world of sport.
23 Episodes
Samkelo Radebe had both his hands amputated as a young child when a game with his brother and friends went  badly wrong and 11 000v of electricity surged through his body.  But even then, his optimistic and pragmatic nature helped him through the 9 month hospital recovery and eventually took him to the top of the sporting world.First representing South Africa at the 2010 Delhi Commonwealth Games where he won silver in the 100m, Sam went on to win gold at the World Championships the following year in the 4 x 100m relay, and became Paralympic Champion at the London 2012 Games  in the 4 x 100m relay. He is also a multiple South African record holder in the sprint and jump events. In this episode Sam gives a unique and honest perspective on why his disability shouldn't automatically make him inspiring, and talks us through the reality that even being a Paralympic gold medallist doesn't mean you will actually earn any money as an athlete. There are so many pieces of wisdom in this episode that I think we can all learn from and become better, more aware athletes and people. 
Aaron Peirsol  - one of the greatest backstroke swimmers in history -  is a 5 x Olympic Gold medallist and 3 x Olympian. He broke the world record in the 100m and 200m backstroke a combined 13 times, and still holds the world record  in the 200m backstroke (which he set in 2009 in a time of 1:51.92). Across major international competitions he has 36 medals, 29 of which are gold. After an incredible 11 years international career, Aaron's decision to retire from competitive swimming in 2011 came from him knowing he had achieved all he wanted to in the pool. He then found himself in an interesting space. Unsure of exactly what to do next in life, he came face to face with some of his own inner demons,  needing to find a way through. This episode is a fascinating look at Aaron's journey beyond the pool, how he turned to literature and writing as a way to find wisdom and guidance to help him create a new  path, and how his love of water is the ultimate golden thread through his life.  His philosophical nature, and deep reflection about himself and life, leads to valuable insights for all of us. 
Shireen Sapiro is a 3 x Paralympic swimmer, and former 100m Backstroke World Record holder - a record she broke at 17 years old, only 4 years after a devastating boat accident almost took her her life, slicing her in half, shattering her pelvis and leaving her left leg paralysed. After a super-human effort to make it to Rio 2016 for her 3rd Paralympics, Shireen retired from swimming and in this episode she talks so honestly about the struggle to define herself as someone other than the swimmer in the months and years that followed. She opens up about the deep work she needed to do to find happiness and how she needed to re-define achievement to find a sense of peace and acceptance of herself. 
Roland Schoeman has been to an incredible four Olympic Games and is one of South Africa's most decorated Olympians. In Athens 2004, he was part of the 4 x 100m freestyle relay that won Gold against the heavily favoured Americans and Australians, and also came away with 2 individual medals - a silver in the 100m freestyle and bronze in the 50m.  Over his almost 16 year career, he broke 5 world records and was multiple World and Commonwealth Champion. By his own admission he was a typical 'Type A' personality - hyper driven, competitive and focused. While this helped him to become one of the best swimmers in the world,  as is so often the paradox in sport, it also wrecked havoc with his wellbeing and happiness. In this open and honest discussion, Roland talks about the dark moments in his career and how after narrowly missing out on his 5th Olympic Games in 2016, he realised something needed to change. He describes his journey over the past four years to becoming a kinder, gentler version of himself, and finding peace with himself and life. 
Malcolm Lemmons is a former professional basketball player and through his experiences as an athlete, found his mission and purpose which is to educate and empower athletes to be great both in and out of sports. He has written 2 books, is a well known speaker and entrepreneur, and recently launched @AthletesUnheard  which is a platform to share stories as a way to de-stigmatise mental health struggles in athletes. In this episode Malcolm is open about his own struggles as a player as he transitioned out of basketball, and the journey he has been on to find a new identity and purpose in life. He has great insights into learning to fall in love with the process of building a life outside of sport, and talks about what mental health means to him. 
It is hard to overstate Kami Craig's accomplishments. She is considered to be one of the greatest ever Water Polo players and her incredible list of accomplishments over the course of her 13 year international career includes 2 x Olympic Gold medals, 1 x Olympic silver medal, 3 x World Championship golds and 2 x World Cup wins. In this episode Kami talks about the feeling of belonging Water Polo gave her (after being diagnosed with ADHD and dyslexia at the age of 7) and the very challenging journey she has had to walk  since she decided to hand over the torch to the next generation of players in 2017. She courageously and honestly opens up about the toll the transition into 'normal' life took on her mental health, but also tells of the hope she has now as she is finding a different identity, purpose and meaning in life as a mentor to young athletes. 
Bruce MacLarty is widely considered to be the worlds best Polocrosse coach, and when you look at his win record, he is certainly one of the most successful coaches around across all sports. He has lead South Africa to back to back World Cup titles as well as multiple international series wins over the 8 year period he has been in charge of the national side. In this episode Bruce talks about the psychology of a high performance team, his philosophy on creativity and practice and his love (or rather obsession) with continually finding new ways to improve and bring the best out of players and a team. An avid reader, Bruce draws inspiration from diverse people and situations, and talks about how he integrates these ideas into his own coaching style. 
"It was pure excitement" is how Lawerence Brittain describes the moment he and rowing partner Shaun Keeling realised they were going to win the silver medal in the Coxless Pair at the Rio Olympic Games. Fulfilling a childhood dream is exciting enough, but add to this the fact that Lawrence was diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma just 2 years before the 2016 Games and you can begin to understand quite what that medal meant to him. In this episode Lawrence talks about the importance of perspective and mindset when facing life's challenges, and what kept him focused and motivated during the dark days of his cancer treatment. His love of life and obvious enjoyment of competing come though in all he does, and his story has valuable lessons for all of us as we face uncertain and difficult times. 
In this special, and quite harrowing episode, former elite South African gymnast Glenn Joselowitz courageously shares his story of sexual abuse by his coach when he was a young athlete, and how he ultimately found healing and peace.It took Glenn many years to speak about what happened to him, but now freely tells his story in the hopes that it will help others that may have also gone through the same experience, and to highlight the need for better safeguarding policies within sport. 
Shaun Tomson is a true sporting legend. Not only has he been named as one of the 25 most influential surfers of the century and one of the top 10 greatest surfers of all time, he is also considered the architect of the modern professional surfer.  He is described at the ultimate stoked surfer, and when asked what gave him an edge on other competitors he says "I just loved it more".Over his 14 year professional career he became world champion, won 12 world tour events, and ended in the top 10 in the world most of those 14 years. Shaun is also an astute businessman, having founded two multi-million dollar clothing companies, is a best selling author, and is a board member of Surfrider Foundation, the world's largest environmental group dedicated to ocean conservation. In this episode we talk about the stoke, lessons learnt through surfing (and what it takes to ride the most dangerous waves in the world), and the transition out of pro surfing into the business world. [This episode was recorded with a howling Southwester wind outside so sound may be a bit sketchy at times - but is somehow appropriate as surf conditions the next day were beautiful thanks to the wind!]
Born in Mthatha in the Eastern Cape, Odwa Ndungane and his twin brother Akona initially dreamt of a career in football, but went on to become the only twins ever to play for the Springboks. During his remarkable 17 year career, Odwa earned the reputation as one of the most professional, humble, hardest working and dependable players on the rugby field. After a difficult start at the Sharks when he wondered if he was on the right path, Odwa is now a member of an elite group of players with over 100 caps for the Sharks, and at the time of his retirement, was their most-capped Super Rugby player with 135 appearances. His Springbok debut came in 2008, and he earned 9 test caps.  After retiring in 2017, Odwa applied the same focus and discipline he had on the field to life after rugby. He now owns his own construction business, and together with his brother, started the Ndungane Twins Foundation as a way to give hope and provide opportunity to children from disadvantaged backgrounds. In this episode he talks about his love of the game, what kept him motivated and focused during the difficult times, and how he prepared for life after rugby. 
Lancashire cricket captain Dane Vilas has had nothing short of an exceptional career - scoring over 15 000 runs (with a First Class high score of 266 and List A score of 166) and taking over 500 catches. However, the Johannesburg born wicket-keeper batsman has had his fair share of ups and downs. Being awarded the Newcomer of the Year in 2009, Dane was called up to the Protea squad in 2012, making his international debut in a T20 against India. But over the next three years he could never quite solidify his place in the national team.Then in 2017 he made the decision to move the UK  - and what has followed has been an incredible display of his cricketing prowess. Joining Lancashire, in his first season Dane won no fewer than 3 club awards, including the coveted Player of the Year, scoring two double tons. He was named as captain in 2019, with Director of Cricket Paul Allott calling his leadership 'exceptional'. In this episode Dane talks about keeping grounded, his love of the game and how he is preparing for life after cricket one day. 
Olympic double gold medalist, and 14 x world record holder, Penny Heyns changed swimming history. However, success brings its own challenges, not least of which is coping with leaving the swimming world and adjusting to 'normal' life. In Part 2 of this episode, Penny talks about the process of how she found new purpose, meaning and identity when she got out the Olympic pool for the last time in Sydney. 
From growing up in the small coastal town of Amanzimtoti on the Kwa-Zulu Natal South Coast, Penny Heyns went on to re-write history in the swimming world. At the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games she became the first woman ever to win both the 100m and 200m breaststroke, she broke 14 world records in a 4 year period, and remains the only person ever to hold world records in all 3 breaststroke distances (50m, 100m & 200m) at the same time. After winning bronze at the Sydney 2000 Games, Penny retired from swimming and is now a business woman, international speaker and head of the FINA Athletes Committee. However, by her own admission, her journey has not been an easy one, and both during her career, and afterwards in life outside the pool, she has dealt with many ups and downs, not least of which was coping with the everything that comes with being an Olympic double gold medalist. In Part 1 of this 2 part episode she talks about what it took to reach the top of the Olympic podium. 
After making his first class debut in 1998, spinner Paul Harris went on to have a 15 year professional cricket career, taking over 100 wickets for South Africa (and close to 400 in domestic cricket) and was named Newcomer of the Year in 2007 by Cricket South Africa. Paul, by his own admission, was an intense competitor that loved the game and it was a big adjustment to 'normal' life when he decided to leave the game. He talks openly about the ups and downs of this transition, and has some good advice for young players. 
After playing for his home town club TPS Turku for 4 years, goalkeeper Peter Enckelman signed his first Premier League contract with Aston Villa. He went on to play for another 15 years at various clubs including Blackburn Rovers, Cardiff City and St Johnstone FC, and  was also a member of the Finnish football team for 10 years. In this episode Peter talks about what drove him during his football career, gives an interesting perspective on the transition out of football,  and discusses how important it is to look after your mental health.  
Caroline Burckle, by her own admission, is not your 'normal' swimmer, and for many years battled to try fit the mould of what a swimmer should be. But, when she embraced her difference she began to excel - and what a swimming career it was. Caroline was a member of the United States 4 x 200m Freestyle relay team that won bronze at the Beijing Olympic Games, was voted Outstanding Female College Swimmer in 2008 after breaking the longest standing women's NCAA record in the 500y Freestyle (that of swimming legend Janet Evans), and was the recipient of the prestigious Honda Sports Award. In this episode Caroline gives a very honest account of how her curiosity helped her in the (ongoing) process of figuring herself out, re-defining herself after transitioning out of swimming and using her creativity to confront her own mental health struggles.  Caroline now runs her own business called Rise Athletes with fellow Olympian Rebecca Soni (a mentorship programme for youth athletes) is a swimwear designer and artist. Social mediaInstagram @caroburckle @caros_design @riseathletes Twitter @cariburckleWebsite 
Marsha Cox is a hockey legend. She went to 3 Olympic Games, 4 Commonwealth Games, 2 World Cups and is still the most capped South African hockey player of all time with over 330 caps. Marsha was also the first player of colour to captain the Protea team.She is a true trailblazer and the path she forged has made it easier for others to follow their own dreams.In this episode she talks about her love of the game, what kept her motivated over a 14 year international career, and what the transition out of hockey has been like. She also discusses the need to instill in children the belief that they are allowed to dream about a better future for themselves. 
Over a 20 year career, former Protea all-rounder JP Duminy scored over 9000 runs and took over 200 wickets. He was the vice-captain of the Protea T20 team and captained various international teams in India, Pakistan and Canada. In this episode he talks about the ups and downs of his journey, his doubts and challenges and ultimately how he found purpose, identity and self-worth during the roller-coaster ride that is a professional cricket career. 
High altitude mountaineer Remy Kloos is on track to become the youngest African to scale the 7 summits (the highest mountains on each of the 7 continents). In fact she should be on Everest right now if it were not for the coronavirus lockdown. She is doing extraordinary things, but is also outspoken about her battle with mental health. About 4 years ago, finding herself in a space where she was battling to cope, and anxiety being like a 'lightning conductor' in her life, she took to the mountains. Ever since, she been on a journey of self-discovery, and loves to share her story with others in the hopes that they too can overcome the mountains in their own lives. 
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