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A Question of Performance

Sports & Recreation Podcasts


Ep 53. Lewis Wiltshire – on the power of digital

Over the past decade the advances in digital have transformed the sports industry and how we consume information. How will the industry evolve in the future? How can sports benefit more from digital? And what stops them from doing that? Today, I’m talking to Lewis Wiltshire, a consulting partner at digital agency Seven League. He’s been in the sports industry 24 years, and works with some of biggest names in global sport. We talk about how digital is the best lever an organisation has to...


Ep 52. Annie Vernon – on the psychology of elite athletes

I’m in Waterloo station today sitting down for coffee with Annie Vernon. Now retired from competition, Annie is an Olympic silver medallist and two-time World Champion rower. She’s also just written a book called “Mind Games”, which is all about the psychology of elite athletes. We talk about everything from drive and competitive instinct to finding purpose and athlete transition. She also has some interesting comments on building specific types of confidence to ensure success.


Ep 51. Lisa Pearce – on leading change in sport

Today I travel to the Elite Performance Centre in Sheffield to talk with the CEO of GB Wheelchair Basketball – Lisa Pearce. I really like Lisa’s ambition. When we talk about success, she says with such passion that they have the potential to be “the sport that changed the perception of para sport in the UK” We talk about everything from her time at the London FA leading a transformational change programme which resulted in the most diverse board in grassroots football to her current role...


Ep.50 Maggie Murphy – on talent, community and proving equality works

Today I’ve travelled south to meet Maggie Murphy – the new Women’s General Manager at Lewes Football Club. Two years ago, Lewes FC became the first football club in the world to pay their women’s team the same wages as their men’s team. I wanted to find out more about what that means to how the club is developing. Maggie is committed, energetic, and inspiring. We talk about creating talent, engaging a community and proving the concept that equality matters


Ep 49. Jon Dutton – on delivering the biggest and best tournament

I'm in Manchester today meeting with the Chief Executive of Rugby League World Cup 2021 - Jon Dutton. The tournament has set itself some ambitious targets so I’m intrigued to find out how Jon will deliver on those. He has real energy, focus and drive that I find very appealing. I particularly enjoyed discussing how live sport has the challenge of creating an "intimate but mass social experience". We talk about their bold and brave ticketing targets, how sports consumption is changing and...


Ep 48. Andy Reed OBE – on sport policy

Andy was an MP for Loughborough for over a decade. Now running his own business, he has a wealth of experience in government relations and sports policy. Sport and politics isn’t a subject I’ve touched on in this podcast series yet… so I thought Andy could help me begin to navigate that area. We talk about sport policy, key issues facing the sector and the role politics plays in sport.


Ep 47. Paul Blanchard – delivering in a multi-sport environment

Today I’m delving into the multi-sports arena and have traveled to Holborn in London to meet with the Chief Exec of Commonwealth Games England, Paul Blanchard. The Commonwealth Games England is primarily responsible for delivering Team England to the Commonwealth Games and Commonwealth Youth Games. In this interview, we talk about how he was brought on board to strengthen the commercial operation, the importance of building the Team England Brand and the opportunity that a games on home...


Ep 46. Paul Elliott CBE – adversity as the catalyst for success

I’m back at Wembley today to talk to with former professional footballer Paul Elliott CBE. Paul's playing career began at Charlton Athletic in 1979, and he went on to represent Luton Town and Aston Villa before becoming the first black English footballer to play in Italy when he joined Pisa in 1985. On his return from Italy, he joined Celtic and finally Chelsea, where he became the club’s first black captain in 1991. He’s had a 30 year career tackling discrimination in football, holds a CBE...


Ep.45 Joanna Stimpson - on what it means to be a referee

Today I travelled to Wembley to speak to Joanna Stimpson The FA’s women’s refereeing Manager. Right now, we’re in the middle of an exciting women’s football world cup. But the Lionesses aren’t the only one’s on the pitch. In this interview we explore what it means to be a ref. How refereeing has changed and what the ambitions are for refereeing as the women’s game continues to grow and develop.


Ep 44. Tim Hollingsworth OBE - on leadership in the sports sector

Episode 44 is an interview with the CEO of Sport England, Tim Hollingsworth. Tim’s worked at a senior level in a number of high-profile roles in sport – including seven years as Chief Executive at the British Paralympic Association, Secretary General for ParalympicsGB at the PyeongChang 2018, Rio 2016, Sochi 2014 and London 2012 Paralympic Games and Chief Operating Officer at UK Sport. We talk about his views on leadership, what challenges that brings, how he copes with criticism and what...


Ep 43. John Alder – Leaving a positive footprint

Episode 43 is an interview with English Institute of Sport's Head of Performance Pathways – John Alder. John is a people development practitioner whose life mission is to help individuals, teams and organisations flourish while promoting culture-driven leadership. We talk about leadership, the complexity of the sporting landscape, and the challenge of prioritising particularly when you are managing multiple stakeholders.


Ep 42. Adam Sills – Keeping ahead of the game

Episode 42 is an interview Adam Sills. Adam is Head of Sport at The Telegraph, leading their coverage across all platforms and disciplines. Adam joined The Telegraph in 2010 as Sports Editor of the daily paper before his promotion to head up the department five years ago. He has overseen its transformation into a digital-first, progressive team, most recently founding and launching the Telegraph Women’s Sport initiative. He supports Southampton and runs his son’s football team, with family...


Ep 41. Nigel Walker – giving athletes the performance advantage

Episode 41 is an interview with English Institute of Sport National Director – Nigel Walker. We talk about the importance of an equitable system, thoughts on how funding will change and also how high performance is evolving. Nigel joined the EIS in September 2010 having previously been Head of Change and Internal Communications at BBC Wales. A former international athlete and rugby union player, he represented Great Britain as a high hurdler before switching to rugby, earning 17...


Ep 40. Joanna Adams - on making the business deliver

Episode 40 is an interview with the CEO of England Netball – Joanna Adams. With more than 20+ years of experience working with brands, rights holders and the media, Joanna is one of the most highly regarded and innovative Chief Executives in British sport. We talk about what she is doing to actively grow their market, the significance of their partnership with Sky, and why it’s so important that netball stays on the school curriculum.


Ep 39. Alex Willis - combining innovation and tradition

Episode 39 in an interview with the Head of Communications, Content & Digital at the All England Lawn Tennis Club – Alex Willis. We talk about how innovation and tradition work together, creating change within a championship cycle, the challenges of being an annual event, and the importance of remaining relevant in the future.


Ep 38. Kat Copeland MBE - after Olympic gold

Episode 38 in an interview with Olympic Rowing Gold Medalist Kat Copeland MBE. "I used to think success was an Olympic Gold Medal" We talk about loving her sport, coping with self-doubt, what made it possible for her to achieve Gold and also the unexpected effect that had on her. Katherine was part of the Great Britain rowing team for 10 years and went to the Rio and London Olympic games, winning a gold medal in the lightweight women’s single scull in 2012. Katherine has also broken five...


Ep 37. Sophia Jowett - influencing the future of sport

Episode 37 in an interview with professor of sport and exercise psychology at Loughborough University, Sophia Jowett. Sophia also worked as a consultant for the Greek Olympic team in Athens 2004. Over the past twenty years she has been a leader in her field, helping us to understand the intricacies of the interpersonal relationships in sport. In this interview she gives us an insight into her studies, her motivations, what she wants her research to achieve and in doing so reminds us of the...


Ep 36. Katy Daley-Mclean - "You can't rush experience"

Episode 36 in an interview with one of the UK’s most high profile Sportswomen, rugby star Katy Daley-Mclean MBE. We talk about the effect of winning a world cup, the transition to full-time rugby, changing attitudes towards her as a female athlete and what she thinks about the long term future of the game.


Ep 35. John Steel – On leadership in high performance environments

Episode 35 is an interview with John Steele, currently Executive Director of Sport at Loughborough University. Through the years, John has had some powerful sporting positions including CEO of organisations like the RFU and UK Sport. He’s been an army officer, an athlete, a coach, and as well as his role at Loughborough he’s also Chairman of The English Institute of Sport. We talk about the sporting system, creating high-performance environments, and how you go about maintaining a...


Ep34. Baroness Tanni Grey Thompson DBE - From athlete to political influencer

Episode 34 is an interview with one of the most recognisable names in Paralympic sport and disability rights, Baroness Tanni Grey Thompson DBE. We talk about how she measures her own performance, the importance of developing a hinterland as an athlete and also get an insight into her current life as a politician. It’s a fascinating interview about influence, impact, and how to leverage the profile you have. Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson DBE has been a Crossbench Peer in the House of Lords...