Fifteen elite athletes, chosen to represent Australia at the 2020 Tokyo Games only to see their hopes and dreams brought to a screeching coronavirus stop, have spoken emotionally about how they are coping mentally and physically with the postponement.
They have bared their souls in a podcast series by five-times Australian Beach Volleyball Olympian Nat Cook titled On My Day with Nat Cook – Tokyo 2020ne.
Nat launches what she calls her “passion project” on July 24, the day the Tokyo 2020 Games’ opening ceremony would have been held.
She then follows with the individual athletes’ podcasts on the days they would have participated in their events if the Games had not been delayed.
Nat, a consummate communicator who is among the elite as an inspirational speaker, discusses their current training schedules as they look to next year, how the postponement has impacted their mental and physical health, relationships and future expectations.
“This is a raw and honest insight into how our Australian athletes are coping with the current hurdles that life is throwing at them and their hopes and dreams to one day win gold,” said Nat.
“Some of these interviews are tough to listen to, we hear about hard-hitting mental health issues and also hear the emotions in their voices when talking about what being number one means to them and what COVID-19 has done to their hopes and dreams for 2020.”
Nat said the aim of the podcast was to take the athletes through what their Gold Medal winning event looks like and just how it feels to be pitted against the world’s best. It allows them space and freedom to live their dream before it happens on a world stage.
“Really visualise, smell, touch, taste and see that win come to life.
“We discuss everything from what swimmer Mitch Larkin is having for breakfast the morning of his event, what boxer Skye Nicholson will listen to on Spotify to pump her up on the morning of her fight, how stoked cool kid and surfer Sally Fitzgibbons is about wearing an Olympic blazer while teaching Nat some surfing lingo along the way, and we hear the emotional account from archer Taylor Worth about standing on the podium to ‘accept’ an individual gold medal in archery.
“It was a really therapeutic experience for each of the athletes.”
Nat’s passion for Australian athletes and their wellbeing comes from a wealth of experience.
She is the first Australian woman to compete at 5 Olympic Games: 1996 Atlanta, 2000 Sydney, 2004 Athens, 2008 Beijing and 2012 London.
Nat has written a book, Go Girl, and is penning a second one soon to be published, she is a proud mum and wife, and an international inspirational speaker.
She was part of the successful team that lobbied to get Beach Volleyball into the 2018 Commonwealth Games for the first time ever, and the thought of a 2032 Olympics in Brisbane keeps her awake at night.
Nat is passionate about solving what is known as Athlete Poverty where most of our elite athletes struggle to pay the bills and often leave their sport with nothing to show for their years of toil and dedication.
She is also passionate about the development and growth of sports technology and currently has a position on the Australian Sports Technology Board.
Sharing a passion with Nat for eradicating Athlete Poverty is Rod Harys, Founder of FAN+, a platform that connects fans with their favourite sporting club, athlete or personality via an experience.
FAN+ is the principal partner for On My Day with Nat Cook – Tokyo 2020ne
Part of Rod’s reasons for starting FAN+ was to give fans an opportunity to interact with Australian Athlete royalty, however, since interacting with Australian Athletes on a daily basis and hearing about their current state of poverty he is passionate about helping and supporting athletes.
“Being the principal sponsor for On My Day with Nat Cook – Tokyo 2020ne means a lot to FAN+ and myself personally,” said Rod.
“All of our experiences sold on FAN+ support athletes, create a revenue stream for them, give their fans an unforgettable experience and support community and charitable causes such as The Australian Sports Foundation and the athlete’s charity of choice with a % of each sale donated. These amazing athletes deserve to be supported and nurtured to give them the best opportunities that will hopefully see them reach world number one. We need to hear their stories.”
To celebrate the release of On My Day with Nat Cook – Tokyo 2020ne and to raise awareness for these formidable athletes, FAN+ are giving away an experience with one of the athletes interviewed throughout the series. To find out more about this please visit the competition page at www.fanplus.com
You can listen to the podcasts through Spotify, Apple, www.nataliecook.com/podcast and all other channels that podcasts are available from the 24th of July 2020. This podcast was produced by made4media.
Australian Tokyo 2020 Olympians who participated in On My Day with Nat Cook – Tokyo2020ne are as below:
Mitch Larkin – Men’s Backstroker/Swimmer
Skye Nicholson – Women’s Featherweight Boxer
Mat Belcher – Sailor
Leigh Godfrey – Women’s Softballer
Sally Fitzgibbons – Women’s Surfer
Lucy Stirling – Women’s Climber (Rock Climbing)
Taylor Worth – Men’s Archer
Sharni Willaims – Women’s Rugby 7’s
Bronwyn Knox – Women’s Water Polo
Karlee McCulloch – Women’s Cyclist
Melissa Wu – Women’s Diver
Dane Bird-Smith – Men’s Walker
Taliqua Clancy – Women’s Volley Ball
Caroline Buchanan – Women’s BMX
Bonus Episodes include – Anna Meares, Australian Women’s Cyclist, RIO 2016 Opening ceremony flag bearer & Kim Crow, Australian Women’s Rowing, RIO 2016 Closing ceremony flag bearer.