Hope Sports

By Olympic Gold Medalist Laura Wilkinson

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Description

No, this isn't a show about winning games, improving standings, or breaking records; it's a conversation about purpose. Each week, we bring you the stories of elite athletes and their unique journey to the top -- when they fell in love with their sport, who mentored them along the way, and what brings them meaning and fulfillment outside of competition. They are powerhouses not only in their arenas, but in their teams and communities because they are tapping into what gives them purpose beyond performance. And they are sharing it with you -- and us -- every week on the Hope Sports show.

Episode Date
Season One Celebration with Laura & Guy [Episode 28]
19:03

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This week Laura chats with Hope Sports founder and host, Guy East, about the challenges and inspiration that came out of Season One of the show! Year about each of their favorite episodes, what the biggest take away was, and about how this season was especially meaningful to Laura. Don’t forget to subscribe for the release of Season Two! 

For further information about trips with Hope Sports visit www.hopesports.org

 

For more about our host, visit www.laurawilkinson.com and follow her on Facebook and Instagram

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Produced by Simpler Media

Jul 17, 2019
Jamaican Olympic Bobsledder Winston Watts: Rallying the World [Episode 27]
35:19

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Laura chats with four-time Olympic bobsledder from Jamaica, Winston Watts, on this week’s episode of the podcast. Not a far cry from “Cool Runnings”, Winston was recognized as a stellar athlete in the army and was given the opportunity to try out for the bobsled team. Shortly after excelling at all of the physical tests, he packed up and relocated to Wyoming where he experienced his first winter, first actual bobsled track, and first moments of considering giving up. 

His determination to persevere led him to four Olympics and gave him the endurance to forge ahead even when all odds were against him. The spirit of the Jamaican bobsled team has been evident at the Olympics for several decades; the underdog story of a Caribbean team at the Winter Games with contagious positivity never gets old. 

In 2010, Winston came out of retirement to help the struggling team return to the 2012 Games in Sochi after missing several years due to funding that inhibited their ability to qualify. He used personal money, favors from friends, and his charisma to spread the plight of the under-resourced team to the entire world. Their training, visas, equipment, flights, and experience was crowd-sourced from New York to Abu Dhabi. Winston has always been committed to spreading goodness and encouragement to whomever he meets and his story of commitment and optimism is a bright light in what can be a cut-throat industry. 

Learn more here: http://www.hopesports.org/jamaican-olympic-bobsledder-winston-watts

For further information about trips with Hope Sports visit www.hopesports.org

For more about our host, visit www.laurawilkinson.com and follow her on Facebook and Instagram

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Produced by Simpler Media

Jul 10, 2019
UFC Champion Frank Shamrock: Fulfillment beyond Success [Episode 26]
43:30

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This week Laura chats with legendary fighter Frank Shamrock. Frank shares about his childhood - one of foster homes, group homes, and quite a bit of trouble that eventually landed him in prison. But Bob Shamrock, one of his group home parents, didn’t ever lose hope in him and rather saw a kid who needed love and support. He visited him in prison and continued to speak encouragement and purpose over his life, giving him the confidence to focus on training. When Frank was released three years later it was with a new mission: to become a champion fighter. 

Frank spent the next 16 years building a career that spanned three different fighting organizations, a myriad of titles, and that landed him the “Fighter of the Decade” honors for the 1990’s. He became a student of mixed martial arts, styles of wrestling, and of his opponents. Although he seems unbeatable, Frank shares about how he has always grappled with fear and insecurity and how his greatest opponent was actually retirement, learning to be “normal” and still find purpose and fulfillment. Despite being the greatest wrestler at the end of the last century, it has been through his charity, trips with Hope Sports, and time serving in his community that he has felt the most accomplished. 

Learn more here: http://www.hopesports.org/ufc-champion-frank-shamrock

For further information about trips with Hope Sports visit www.hopesports.org

 

For more about our host, visit www.laurawilkinson.com and follow her on Facebook and Instagram

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Produced by Simpler Media

Jul 03, 2019
Olympic Chaplain John Ashley Null: Whole-Hearted Competition [Episode 25]
51:33

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John Ashley Null is a renowned theologian and scholar, teaching around the world, researching in Europe, and simultaneously serving as the five time Olympic Chaplain. His work has brought him in contact with thousands of athletes - from those who have won big, to those who have failed epically. And his advice remains the save: Winning a medal will never change your life. 

Ashley talks with Laura about how the human need for affirmation is magnified in athletics when an individual’s giftedness gets confused with their worth. In an effort to self preserve from the potential pain of loss or failure, many athletes dampen their emotional centers. With emotions at bay, the ability to relate, emote, empathize, and celebrate all become diminished as well. Rather than experiencing victory as fulfillment, it is only remembered as relief. 

His work is to help reconnect athletes to their purpose, potential, and worthiness through helping them develop healthy relationships with themselves and others. His book “Real Joy” walks athletes through the formation of a mindset that will ensure their hearts don’t burn out before their talents do. 

Learn more here: http://www.hopesports.org/olympic-chaplain-ashley-null

For further information about trips with Hope Sports visit www.hopesports.org

 

For more about our host, visit www.laurawilkinson.com and follow her on Facebook and Instagram

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Produced by Simpler Media

Jun 26, 2019
NASCAR Racer Michael McDowell: Building a Brand Bigger than You [Episode 24]
28:23

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From as early as he can remember, Michael McDowell was racing. He raced BMX at age three, go-carts through his childhood, and was on the national circuit by the time he was eight. He transitioned for Formula One and soon after had a Rookie of the Year premiere in NASCAR. A terrifying crash skyrocketed to fame and he found himself at a crossroads: who was he building a brand for?

McDowell has always viewed his career as calling. Each step of the way he has chosen to hold it loosely and even considered walking away at one point, but has known that his sphere of influence is in NASCAR. His family is also passionate about adoption and orphan care and Michael shares their journey with Laura in this episode.

Learn more here: http://www.hopesports.org/nascar-driver-michael-mcdowell

For further information about trips with Hope Sports visit www.hopesports.org.

 

For more about our host, visit www.laurawilkinson.com and follow her on Facebook and Instagram.

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Produced by Simpler Media

Jun 19, 2019
Olympic Gymnast Jonathan Horton: How Vulnerability Paved the Way to Victory [Episode 23]
37:55

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Jonathan Horton joins Laura on this week’s episode to share about the ups and downs of his 28 year career in gymnastics. After being caught scaling support beams in Target, his exasperated parents enrolled him in gymnastics in hopes of channeling his propensity for acrobatics. Little did they know that their son would go on to represent his country in back-to-back Olympics, have two medals hung around his neck, and hold NCAA records that still stand today.

Jonathan shares about the intense perspective shift he went through in college and what it was like to be a rising star that proceeded to make the most mistakes ever in the history of men’s gymnastics at a World Championship. Most powerful is his story of the 2008 Olympic Bronze Medal Men’s team - a group that was highly scrutinized and ridiculed for being “a joke.” He shares about how the men on the team rallied not through strategy or training, but through an evening of vulnerability and honesty that led to a sincere pact. The following day the US Men’s Gymnastics teams had the meet of their life, one that Horton is still most proud of to date.

The Beijing Games were strongly juxtaposed by a disappointing performance four years later in London, as Horton shares about the pressure of entering a competition ranked #1 as opposed to an underdog. A series of injuries led Horton to ask himself hard questions about his next steps, how he wants to be remembered, and what he is doing to give back to the athletic community.

Learn more here: http://www.hopesports.org/olympic-gymnast-jonathan-horton

For further information about trips with Hope Sports visit www.hopesports.org.

 

For more about our host, visit www.laurawilkinson.com and follow her on Facebook and Instagram.

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Produced by Simpler Media

Jun 12, 2019
Olympic Runner Abbey Cooper (D’Agostino): Beautiful Moments from Devastating Falls [Episode 22]
46:11

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This week Laura chats with Olympic distance runner, Abbey Cooper (D’Agostino). Abbey graduated from Dartmouth as the most decorated Ivy League runner in history, sporting seven NCAA titles. Her principle race was the 5000m in which she narrowly missed qualifying for the 2012 Olympics. Her first few years running professionally for New Balance weren’t exactly smooth sailing as she began encountering one injury after another. The challenges she raced in recovery built in her a resilience and humility that would prepare her to handle an even bigger hurdle that was to come.

She went into the 2016 Olympic trials battling a stress fracture in her shin, but still made the team. In the few weeks between the trials and the Games she suffered another stress fracture in her pelvis which restricted her to only non-weight bearing training; she was not allowed to run at all until she lined up for her preliminary event. The event wouldn’t go exactly as planned, but a fall, a split-second decision, and a forever memorable finish would eventually go viral and spread the goodwill of the Olympic around the world. Coined “The Most Beautiful Moment” of the Rio Games, Abbey’s choice catapulted her to a worldwide stage - a platform she holds with humility and for a purpose greater than herself.

Learn more here: http://www.hopesports.org/olympic-runner-abbey-cooper

For further information about trips with Hope Sports visit www.hopesports.org.

 

For more about our host, visit www.laurawilkinson.com and follow her on Facebook and Instagram.

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Produced by Simpler Media

Jun 05, 2019
Professional Soccer Player Arne Friedrich: “Done” but Still Dreaming [Episode 21]
35:42

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Laura chats with soccer player Arne Friedrich on this week’s episode of the Hope Sports Podcast. Arne grew up in Germany and began playing professionally at the age of 21. He was quickly catapulted into the public eye when he made the World Cup team in 2006 and stepped on the pitch in front of one billion fans. The series was marked by personal mistakes that the media relently scrutinized, forcing Arne to strongly hang on to what gave him purpose and identity in the midst of the criticism.

Arne went on to play professionally in Germany for ten years, represent his home nation in two World Cups, and fulfill one of his dreams by playing for one year in the States with the Chicago Fire. His retirement was a result of a chronic back injury and following surgery Arne was faced with the question of “what now?” He shares about how he uncovered other passions, the Foundation he started to serve German youth, and the podcast he’s launching to help others navigate their purpose after they are “done.”

Learn more here: http://www.hopesports.org/professional-soccer-player-arne-friedrich

For further information about trips with Hope Sports visit www.hopesports.org.

 

For more about our host, visit www.laurawilkinson.com and follow her on Facebook and Instagram.

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Produced by Simpler Media

May 29, 2019
Olympic Hurdler Sarah Wells: Catalyze Self-Belief with Action [Episode 20]
45:09

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Laura is joined this week by Canadian Olympic Hurdler Sarah Wells. Sarah stumbled upon track in high school as a last resort after being cut from multiple other sports teams. Her natural ability to pace herself and develop the appropriate cadence led her coach to strongly encourage her towards the 400 meter hurdles. Within a year she was ranked top ten nationally and the possibility of an Olympic spot began to materialize. During a training camp, she unfortunately suffered a stress fracture in her femur. The recovery required strict non weight bearing for three months, but for her, it took almost nine months to heal. Sarah shares about the emotional rollercoaster of recovery, the battle to stay optimistic, and the focus to be committed to her goals.

Sarah made a miraculous comeback in just eight months to clinch a spot on the 2012 Olympic Team and was a semi-finalist at the games. She would go on to continue to fight injury after injury as she chased her Olympic dreams, but she never gave up hope. In 2017 Sarah founded the Believe Initiative which teaches young people about the importance of believing in themselves and their ideas. Sarah is training for the Olympics in 2020 and hopes to, yet again, see her belief in action.

Learn more here: http://www.hopesports.org/olympic-hurdler-sarah-wells

For further information about trips with Hope Sports visit www.hopesports.org.

 

For more about our host, visit www.laurawilkinson.com and follow her on Facebook and Instagram.

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Produced by Simpler Media

May 22, 2019
Professional Swimmer Michael Andrew: Making Waves with a Nontraditional Approach [Episode 19]
37:29

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Laura is joined this week by swimmer Michael Andrew! Michael has always taken a nontraditional approach - from going pro at age 14, to building his own training pools, to being coached by his dad, to not logging the typically yardage of most of his competitors; but it has worked. He has broken over 100 National Age Group records and snagged seven national titles in 2018.

His journey hasn’t been without hardships, however. The swimming world was immensely critical of his choice to go pro so young and once he did, the pressure to perform became almost intolerable. It wasn’t until he attended a retreat with an Olympic Chaplain that he realized his greatest victory wouldn’t be in the water, but in his own mindset. Shifting from a performance based identity to a purpose based one gave him the freedom to show up to a meet and know that he had worth and value despite the outcome.

Learn more here: http://www.hopesports.org/professional-swimmer-michael-andrew

For further information about trips with Hope Sports visit www.hopesports.org.

 

For more about our host, visit www.laurawilkinson.com and follow her on Facebook and Instagram.

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Produced by Simpler Media

May 15, 2019
Reclaim Your Agency and Restore Your Identity with Olympic Skeleton racer Katie Uhlaender [Episode 18]
41:36

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On this week’s episode, Laura chats with Olympic skeleton racer Katie Uhlaender about what it was like growing up with a father who played professional baseball, how she ended up in the niche sport of skeleton, and where being a “go big” type of person has led her. Katie has competed in four Olympics and has seven medals in international competition. Katie shares about losing her father in 2009 while on tour before the Olympics and how the unfolding of that experience ushered in a season of depression as she wrestled with balancing competition and grief.

Katie also was directly affected by the Russian doping scandal at the 2014 games in Sochi as she finished 4th; a Russian Skeleton racer beat her by .04 seconds. She has been active in not only speaking out about anti-doping, but also has been rallying Olympics athletes to put together an Athlete Coalition to represent, defend, and support athletes who feel mistreated by their sport. Katie is passionate about helping athletes maintain their individual voice, their agency, and the confidence to speak up about what they need as a person, not only as a performer.

Learn more here: http://www.hopesports.org/reclaim-your-agency

For further information about trips with Hope Sports visit www.hopesports.org.

 

For more about our host, visit www.laurawilkinson.com and follow her on Facebook and Instagram.

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Produced by Simpler Media

May 08, 2019
Hope Sports Founder Guy East: Breaking Free from the Performance Culture [Episode 17]
41:40

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On the show this week Laura talks with Hope Sports founder Guy East. As a kid Guy dreamed of becoming a professional cyclist and was inspired by Lance Armstrong and other elite athletes. In an effort to escape bullying, prove himself to his critics, and show the world his worth, he fully committed himself to being the best cyclist that he could be. He successfully rose in the rankings and was invited to train with the US National Team and eventually raced professionally around the world. At this elite level he experienced an immense pressure to perform and it was reiterated to him that the only road to validation, acceptance, and purpose was through winning.

While racing in Mexico City he was faced with immense poverty and started to question what he was doing as an athlete. Despite his fear of being rejected, the following year Guy quit professional cycling, sold everything he owned, and began serving the poor and traveling throughout Central America. After two years and with a radical shift in his worldview and renewed sense of purpose, he returned to professional cycling to share what he learned: that athletes can perform at the highest level and still find meaning in their lives outside of sports. He founded Hope Sports in an effort to give athletes an opportunity to experience service, team work, and purpose in a unique way and to remind them that their identity and worth is not in the medals they win or the scores they post.

For more about this episode visit: http://www.hopesports.org/hope-sports-founder-guy-east

Learn about trips with Hope Sports visit www.hopesports.org.

For more about our host visit www.laurawilkinson.com and follow her on Facebook and Instagram.

 

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Produced by Simpler Media

May 01, 2019
Running the Race that Counts with Olympic Marathoner Ryan Hall [Episode 16]
48:05

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On this week’s episode of the Hope Sports Podcast, Laura chats with elite runner Ryan Hall. Ryan picked up running as a young teen and quickly became a top competitor in California. He attended Stanford University where he ran cross country, but struggled academically and athletically, leading him to take time off his sophomore year. He battled severe negativity and depression as he came to terms with how much of his identity was wrapped up in his success as a runner. After reclaiming his emotional health, he returned to Stanford with a new mindset about competition - that it should be fun and would not determine his worth.

After graduation, Ryan signed with ASICS to run professionally. He bumped up his distance after realizing that he was not posting competitive 5K times and the decision proved to be a wise one. In 2007, Hall was the first American to break the one hour mark in the half marathon, and followed that by logging the fastest debut marathon by an American at the race in London. His speed at that distance landed him a victory at the Olympic Trials and a spot on the team to Beijing.

Ryan went on to compete in two Olympics and ran professionally for ten years. He and his wife, Sarah (also a professional runner) traveled around the world to train and compete and were moved by the immense need that they saw. They began racing for World Vision and eventually started the Hall Steps Foundation which supports a variety of projects worldwide as runners raise funds across the country. The Hall family grew in number when Ryan and Sarah adopted a sibling group of four sisters from Ethiopia. Ryan retired after a series of injuries, but did so with the heart to give back through speaking, writing, and coaching. His book, Run the Mile You’re In: Finding God in Every Step launches this April.

More details at: http://www.hopesports.org/running-the-race-that-counts

Learn about trips with Hope Sports visit www.hopesports.org.

For more about our host visit www.laurawilkinson.com and follow her on Facebook and Instagram.

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Produced by Simpler Media

Apr 24, 2019
The Way You Define Yourself Defines Your Destiny [Episode 15]
38:29

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Few athletes are talented enough to play Division 1 sports, and even fewer are able to compete at that level in more than one. But Alev Kelter isn’t your average athlete. At age 14 this Alaskan native was simultaneously playing Olympic Development soccer and National League Ice Hockey. She, along with her equally talented twin sister, were recruited to play both sports at the University of Wisconsin where she also managed to juggle a studio art degree.

But her dreams of competing in back to back summer and winter Olympics came crashing down when she was not invited to the Olympic training camp for ice hockey, despite being a member of and captaining a World Champion U18 team for the previous two years. Crushed, she retreated to Alaska, to her family, and to the mountains.

Ultimately, Alev was faced with the ways she defined herself by her success rather than her inherent value. In the wake of hanging up her skates, she was invited by the coach of USA Women’s Rugby to attend a training camp. With no experience, she joined other crossover athletes and went on to compete internationally for two years before living her dream of representing the USA in the 2016 Rio Olympics. Alev continues to compete internationally and has her sights set on the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.

Learn more here: https://www.hopesports.org/the-way-you-define-yourself

For more about our host, visit www.laurawilkinson.com and follow her on Facebook and Instagram.

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Produced by Simpler Media

Apr 17, 2019
Redeeming Dreams after Mistakes with Olympic Bobsledder Elana Meyers Taylor [Episode 14]
31:38

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Elana Meyers Taylor is now the President of the Women’s Sports Foundation, a 3 time Olympic bobsledder, a decorated international competitor, and was the first American woman to race in mixed gender fourman bobsled competition. But it wasn’t an unobstructed path to the top. At one point, Elana was an Olympic hopeful in softball. Having played at the collegiate level for George Washington University, she dreamed of playing professionally. But one horrible try out and not only was her softball career over, but her Olympic dreams were toast.

Until she discovered bobsled. On a whim she wrote to the coach, was given a try out, and a few months later found herself at the top of the run at the Olympic Trials. Weeks later she raced in Vancouver and took bronze. Since then she has won gold in World Championships, medaled in two more Olympics, married a fellow bobsledder, and even competed for the National Women’s Rugby Sevens team. Faced with Olympic disappointment and an achilles injury, Elana has learned to value the journey and experiences more than the outcome. She chooses to see bobsled as an aspect of her gifts, not the whole of them and serves with the Women’s Sports Foundation to advocate for equality and support for young girls in sports around the world.

 

Learn more here: https://www.hopesports.org/redeeming-dreams-after-mistakes

For further information about trips with Hope Sports visit www.hopesports.org.

 

For more about our host, visit www.laurawilkinson.com and follow her on Facebook and Instagram.

 

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Produced by Simpler Media

Apr 10, 2019
On the Very Edge with Cliff Diver David Colturi [Episode 13]
53:40

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From sunup to sundown, David Colturi played every sport possible as a kid. His commitment to overcoming challenges and ever improving himself led him to diving, and the resolve to face his fears moved the platform higher and higher. At Purdue University, David was among an all star team of NCAA divers while juggling the demands of a pre-medicine track. But life outside the pool caught up with him and he was released from the diving team before his final year of eligibility.

Colturi channeled his energy into his studies, but it wasn’t long before he found himself on the edge of a platform again. However this time it wasn’t in an aquatic center - it was in a water circus stunt show at midwest amusement park Indiana Beach. David dove off of rigged together 2x4’s from more than 15 meters up….lit on fire. For two summers he taught himself dives from progressively higher perches. In 2012, with only two competitions under his belt and without a fully developed repertoire of dives, he attended -- and won -- the International Cliff Diving Championships in Australia.

David was given a spot in the Red Bull Cliff Diving Circuit and has since traveled the world, diving from buildings, monuments, bluffs, and even paragliders. Without formal training programs or coaches, athletes support themselves and one another. A severe injury in 2018 set David back six months, but he looks forward to his first competition again in April. In addition, he is a founding member of USA Cliff Diving and expanding the sport around the world.

Learn more here: https://www.hopesports.org/on-the-very-edge

For more about our host visit www.laurawilkinson.com and follow her on Facebook and Instagram.

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Produced by Simpler Media

Apr 03, 2019
Forging Building Blocks from Disappointments with Olympic Medalist Lauryn Williams [Episode 12]
41:10

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Lauryn Williams could beat her family dog home at age nine and raced a hologram of the legendary Florence Joyner at a museum until she won. It was no secret that she was fast. After high school she accepted an academic scholarship to the University of Miami for track and by age 20, she not only won the NCAA Championship, but posted the second fastest time 100 meter time in the world, was the fastest American woman in the event, and was catapulted into the Olympic Trials. She took silver in the 100 meter event in Athens, but a botched baton pass in the 4x100 relay left the favored American women empty handed. 

The opportunity for redemption presented itself again four years later, but the nightmare replayed itself as the baton was yet again bumbled during the hand-off. Lauryn discovered the mercilessness of the media, being smeared as a “failure” and a “let-down.” She took time off from track to discover what she had to offer beyond her speed, and returned a year later with a new mentality towards the sport. Recognizing the value of her journey, her intangible influence, and her resilience, Lauryn headed into the 2012 Olympics in London on the relay once again where the American women became a gold medal, world record team.

Her following retirement didn’t last long, as she happened upon an opportunity to pursue bobsled for the 2014 Winter Olympics. She went into the Olympic trials with only one month of practice and went on to win the silver medal in Sochi with partner Elana Meyers Taylor. History was made that day as Lauryn became the first American woman to medal in both the summer and winter Olympics. Today, Lauryn is a financial planner, author, and podcaster who focuses on helping elite athletes set goals for their future beyond sport.

Learn more here: https://www.hopesports.org/forging-building-blocks

 

For more about our host, visit www.laurawilkinson.com and follow her on Facebook and Instagram.

 

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Produced by Simpler Media

Mar 27, 2019
In the Ring Unafraid: Wrestling with Your Dreams with MMA Fighter Matt Lindland [Episode 11]
41:43

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He’s an equestrian, business owner, politician, Olympic wrestler, video producer, MMA fighter, coach, husband, and father. It’s hard to imagine that one individual can wear so many hats, but Matt Lindland has proven time and time again that dreams are worth fighting for. He fell into wrestling in high school as a means of pursuing a more affordable sport than equestrianism. He fell in love with the sport and trained for several years before signing with the University of Nebraska. His career took off as he went undefeated in his first season in the NCAA and was invited to the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs. The following years were rich with competing internationally, growing his family, and even taking an opportunity to coach and mentor younger athletes at his Alma Mater.

His Olympic opportunity came in 2000, though not without its own struggles. A misjudged match led to a long judicial process that eventually ended with a Supreme Court ruling, a silver medal in Sydney, and a new nickname - “The Law.” With the satisfaction of an Olympic medal in hand, Lindland diversified his endeavors to include stunt work, MMA fighting, white water rafting, and even local politics. He opened his own gym, returned to his love of equestrianism via a horse ranch, and was appointed the coach for the US National Greco-Roman Wrestling Team.

As a coach, Matt believes that character and leadership development is essential to the health and performance of his athletes. He not only challenges them physically, but also emotionally and relationally to be the highest character, most well rounded individuals possible.

Learn more here: https://www.hopesports.org/in-the-ring-unafraid/

For more about our host, visit www.laurawilkinson.com and follow her on Facebook and Instagram.

Check out Laura Wilkinson’s Master Class today!

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Produced by Simpler Media

Mar 20, 2019
One Last Race: How Olympic Speed Skater Dan Jansen Held on to His Dream Until the Very End [Episode 10]
46:52

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Legendary Olympic speed skater Dan Jansen joins Laura on this episode of the Hope Sports show. Dan grew up in Canada and, as the youngest of nine children, got his start in the sport by tagging along with his older siblings to the ice. He went to his first Olympics at age 18 in Sarajevo in 1984, recalling them as low pressure, enjoyable, and successful despite not making the podium. This was the first time he faced the reality of public perception, however, as he returned home incredibly proud of his fourth place finish even while the media expressed its disappointment.

This pressure further mounted as Dan climbed the ranks of international success. He entered the 1988 Olympics favored to win, which only brought more scrutiny of his upcoming performance. The morning of his race, however, his older sister passed away from leukemia. Devastated and overwhelmed, Dan fell in both the 500m and 1000m races. Over the next few years, he would continue to have an incredible international presence, winning several World Championships and setting World Records one after another. The Olympic podium continued to evade him, though, until he raced the very final event of his career, the 1000 meters. Dan set a new World Record, stood at the top of the podium with gold, and closed that chapter of his life. His journey is one of perseverance and hardship, dedication and determination as he learned to be satisfied giving his best effort and be proud no matter the outcome.

Learn more here: https://www.hopesports.org/one-last-race/

For more about our host, visit www.laurawilkinson.com and follow her on Facebook and Instagram.

Check out Laura Wilkinson’s Master Class today!

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Produced by Simpler Media

Mar 13, 2019
Finding Victory in Every Season: How Olympic Swimmer Dana Vollmer Strives for Gold in Each Chapter of her Life [Episode 9]
36:49

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At just twelve years old, Dana Vollmer stepped up to the block at her first Olympic swimming trials. She never focused on her age, only the time on the board at the end of her race. Though she didn’t make the team that year, her feisty, competitive spirit drove her to train even more fervently. A scary diagnosis prompted heart surgery when she was only 14, and she every practice and meet she swam with a defibrillator poolside, determined to chase her dreams despite her doctor’s concerns.

Her perseverance paid off as she went on to win Olympic gold and set a new World Record in the 4x200 relay. In the years following her victory, she wrestled with the weight of others’ expectations, her own identity, and separating her results from her worth. In 2008 she found herself crushing under the pressure and completely missed qualifying for the Olympic team. Her disappointment prompted a journey towards wholeness that included serving internationally, investing in her own mental and emotional health, and seeking fulfillment outside of swimming.

To date, Dana has won seven Olympic medals and welcomed two sons. Her movement, To The Power of Mom, aims to unite elite athlete moms for encouragement, motivation, and support.

Learn more here: https://www.hopesports.org/finding-victory-in-every-season/

For more about our host visit www.laurawilkinson.com and follow her on Facebook and Instagram.

Sign up for more information about Laura’s Confident Competitor Course.

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Produced by Simpler Media

Mar 06, 2019
The End of the Pursuit of Myself with Olympic Diver David Boudia [Episode 8]
34:00

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In this episode, Laura chats with fellow Olympic platform diver David Boudia. A former gymnast, David transitioned to diving when he was 11 and his long held Olympic dreams began to become tangible. At age 19 he went to his first Olympics in Beijing. Unfortunately, he didn’t perform as he had hoped and returned feeling empty after an experience that failed to fulfill him. He headed to Purdue University and fell into patterns of negative thinking and destructive choices. He found himself deep in depression, to the point of considering suicide.

Thankfully, Boudia was able to reach out to his coach who, along with his wife, began to mentor and support him. In the following months, David was able to focus on his spiritual life; this faith in God radically changed his sense of purpose, direction, and identity. He was able to go back to competition with the understanding that how he performed held no bearing over who he was. At the 2016 Olympic Games David shares that he “was a completely different person” and winning gold at those games gave him a platform to share openly about his faith.

Boudia now looks forward to the 2020 Olympics with the same selfless mentality. He took a short break from diving and considered retirement, but eventually returned. An accident from the 10m platform has led him to try out the 3m springboard event instead, and this change has renewed his love for the sport.

Learn more here: https://www.hopesports.org/the-end-of-the-pursuit-of-myself/

For more about our host visit www.laurawilkinson.com and follow her on Facebook and Instagram.

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Produced by Simpler Media

Feb 27, 2019
Rediscovering Freedom with Olympic Cyclist Ingrid Drexel [Episode 7]
44:43

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Laura is joined by Olympic cyclist and eight time Mexican National Champion Ingrid Drexel in this week’s episode. Ingrid has ridden professionally for eight years and represented Mexico in the 2012 London Olympic games. Like many of us, Ingrid tried her hand at a wide variety of extra curricular activities as a kid, but none of them really stuck until she got on a bike. She recalls the immediate sense of joy and freedom that she felt zipping around town. Her real break came when she attended a cycling camp and a coach pulled her parents aside and encouraged them to invest in her obvious natural abilities.

 

Races became family road trips and Ingrid rapidly advanced through the ranks. She raced in the Pan American games at age 14 and the Olympics at 18 as the only female cyclist to represent Mexico. Her following professional career in Europe was a physical and emotional adjustment as she struggled with an eating disorder, chronic fatigue, and loneliness. During a much needed furlough she reached out a sports psychologist who helped her overcome the judgement from herself and others. Ingrid rediscovered the joy and freedom that made her fall in love with cycling in the first place.

Learn more here: https://www.hopesports.org/rediscovering-freedom/

 

For more about our host visit www.laurawilkinson.com and follow her on Facebook and Instagram.

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Produced by Simpler Media

Feb 20, 2019
One Smart Step at a Time: How Dallas Seavey Became the Youngest Iditarod Champion [Episode 6]
41:21

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The Iditarod is often called “The Last Great Race on Earth.” Spanning 1,000 miles of Alaska’s most beautiful and brutal terrain, the race tests mushers’ physical, mental, and emotional fortitude like no other event in history. Dallas Seavey was not only the youngest person to ever win the race -- he has won it four times. Though dog-sled racing was a family affair, he initially had Olympic aspirations in wrestling. Rising through the ranks of state and national competition, Seavey was at the Olympic training center in Michigan when, at age 19, one too many concussions abruptly ended his career.

With his Olympic dreams dashed, Dallas returned home to Alaska and eventually to mushing. Dallas shares about his journey from a sport that is mentally and physically challenging, to one that is primarily emotional. Leading a team without a common language required immense growth in empathy, connectivity, and trust. Whether racing against his dad or the elements, Dallas’ strategy is to take one smart step at a time trusting his training and his instincts to get him to the finish line.

Recent false doping accusations have compelled Dallas to advocate for changes in dog-sled racing to protect all parties. In the end, his notable integrity brought others to his defence and he continues to campaign for advancements in the sport.

Learn more here: https://www.hopesports.org/one-small-step-at-a-time/

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Produced by Simpler Media

Feb 13, 2019
Winning Big, Yet Feeling Lost: When Achieving your Super Bowl just Isn’t Enough with Clint Gresham [Episode 5]
29:07

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Clint Gresham had the opportunity to compete in back to back Super Bowls -- winning one and losing the other. He waited months for the victory to truly sink in only to realize that actually, he was hoping for a sense of fulfillment and happiness that never came. The void that he felt despite such a monumental win prompting his search for meaning and purpose outside of the NFL.

Clint shares that his coaches impressed upon him the mantra “focus on what you can control” and he learned to not tether himself to an outcome.  This mindset was critical after a devastating Super Bowl defeat the following year, an injury that would end his career, and a tumor in his head discovered just months before his daughter was to be born.

Today, Clint is focused on sharing what he has learned about chasing meaning, relinquishing control, and recognizing worth in his book Becoming and on this week’s episode.

Feb 06, 2019
From Bedrest to Big Win: How Water Skier Ryan Dodd Recovered from a Life-Threatening Head Injury to Win a World Championship [Episode 4]
27:58

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On this week’s episode we are joined by World Champion Water Skier Ryan Dodd. Hailing from rural Canada, Ryan got his start skiing on the private, manmade lake in the cow pasture of his family’s farm. His father, a former water ski world champion as well, trained and encouraged him from a young age. Dodd racked up an impressive run of national and international victories before a life-threatening closed head injury landed him in bed in a dark room for three months without much hope of competing again.

Miraculously, Ryan not only fully recovered from his condition, but returned to become an even more successful athlete. He shares that those months on bedrest were the most formative of his life as he took that season to get healthy mentally, emotionally, and spiritually -- areas he had neglected in the past. A major mindset shift took place as Dodd committed to turning his perceived obstacles into opportunities for growth.

With the World Championship finally in his name, Dodd is focused on helping evolve the sport, mentoring younger athletes, and inspiring others to give back.

Learn more at: https://www.hopesports.org/from-bedrest-to-big-win-how-water-skier-ryan-dodd-recovered-from-a-life-threatening-head-injury-to-win-a-world-championship

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Produced by Simpler Media

Jan 30, 2019
Breaking the 100 Year Gold Medal Drought in Fencing: Mariel Zagunis Shares About the Underdog Victory that made History [Episode 3]
39:40

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A true underdog, Mariel Zagunis won Olympic gold in 2004 after originally not even qualifying for the competition. Her victory broke a 100 year drought in American fencing and has led her to become the most decorated fencer in the nation’s history.

The daughter of two Olympic rowers, Zagunis shares that going to the Olympics always seemed attainable. Despite not making the cut for Athens, she continued to train as if she were going - something that came in handy when a spot opened up. Her monumental victory catapulted her into the spotlight, but over the years her athletic career has had its ups and downs.

“No one becomes an Olympic Champion on their own or by luck,” Mariel shares about how she got to the top, who helped her when she fell, and what training looks like now that she is a mother.

Learn more here: https://www.hopesports.org/breaking-the-100-year-gold-medal-drought-in-fencing

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Produced by Simpler Media

Jan 23, 2019
Purpose Based Identity: Why the Right Mindset will Determine Your Athletic Success, with Performance Scientist Ben Houltberg [Episode 2]
32:52

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Performance Scientist Ben Houltberg shares about the differences between Performance and Purposed based identity in this week’s episode. As former elite distance runner, Houltberg experienced the emotional ups and downs that mirrored his physical performance -- from the euphoria of winning to the devastation of injuries. It was the battle with depression after a series of stress fractures that ended his running career that led Ben to explore how the emotional health of athletes affected their performance and fulfillment.

Ben unpacks that years of research has led to one conclusion: the emotional health of an athlete will always determine their overall performance, even when their physical health is at its peak. Though traits such as perfectionism and fear of failure may drive athletes to train harder and reach goals quicker, the physiological effects are short lived and not sustainable. Through a shift in values and mindset, athletes can develop a healthy view of self, discover connectivity to the world around them, and ultimately, see greater success in and out of their sport.

Learn more here: https://www.hopesports.org/purpose-based-identity/

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Produced by Simpler Media

Jan 16, 2019
Redirected: Embracing the Unexpected with NFL Long-Snapper Andrew East [Episode 1]
40:18

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In this episode, NFL long-snapper Andrew East shares about growing up in a family of athletes and following a promising football career into undergrad. Initially intending to play D3 football with his older brother, his plans drastically changed when a scholarship opened up at a D1 school after another player tragically lost his life.. Andrew shares about what it was like knowing that someone made the ultimate sacrifice that opened the door for him to succeed.

His years playing college football not only led to a bachelors and masters degree, but also an opportunity to play in the NFL. Signed, dropped, and shuffled between teams, Andrew shares how the past several years haven’t been what he anticipated. Through the journey, however, he has discovered that each closed door allowed him to explore other passions that have enriched his life. From zero online presence a few years ago, Andrew and his wife Shawn have built a social media platform a half-million strong and he’s launched his own podcast entitled ReDirection with other individuals who have embraced career shifts that have changed their lives.

Learn more here: https://www.hopesports.org/redirected-embracing-the-unexpected

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Produced by Simpler Media

Jan 09, 2019
Hope Sports: Conversations About Purpose
01:38

Olympic gold medalist diver, Laura Wilkinson, welcomes listeners to join her in discovering what gives elite athletes meaning beyond their sport.

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Our format is pretty simple: every week I’ll be chatting with a different elite athlete to explore their journey not only as a competitor in their sport - but also as a person. This isn’t a conversation about wins or losses. This is a conversation about purpose. The reality is - and I know it all too well - that as an athlete, it’s easy to feel defined by the milliseconds and micropoints that determine standings from one week to the next. But there comes a point when winning ceases to be fulfilling, and medals just aren’t enough. And that is where the pursuit of purpose begins.

Each athlete on this Podcast comes with a unique story, filled with the particular twists and turns that brought them to where they are today. We’ll talk about what made them fall in love with their sport, who mentored them along the way, and ultimately, what brings them fulfillment outside of competition.

Our guests might share about most memorable victories or notorious failures, but what we hope you hear is that through it all, these athletes are seeking meaning. They are powerhouses not only in their arenas, but also in their families, teams, and communities.. At Hope Sports we believe in purpose over performance and are so excited to share the stories of athletes who exude that truth on this podcast.

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Produced by Simpler Media

Dec 04, 2018