Season 1, Ep. 5
We're marking Pride Month with Team Jamaica swimmer Michael Gunning, who's making waves not just in the pool but as a global advocate for LGBT+ rights. Gunning came out in 2018 on the TV show the Bi Life, two years after switching allegiance from Great Britain to Jamaica. In this special episode, he talks about the positive reaction to coming out, how it's improved his performances in the pool, and gives advice to anyone who's scared of being open about their sexuality:"Talk to someone", he says. "Once you tell one person it just gets so much easier and it's a massive burden, a relief that you just let go of."
Season 1, Ep. 4
In the latest episode of our 22 Voices podcast we speak to Jaykae, one of the pioneers of Birmingham’s legendary grime music scene. Chatting to presenter and MC Vital Powers, Jaykae talks about taking Ed Sheeran for a curry on Alum Rock Road after working with him on the number one single “Take Me Back To London” in 2019. He also chats about his love of Peaky Blinders, set in Small Heath where he grew up and still lives, how boxing is in his blood, and the future of Birmingham’s grime scene.
Season 1, Ep. 3
The Black Country-raised Olympic sprint champion Mark Lewis-Francis is the latest guest on the Birmingham 2022 podcast series 22 Voices, featuring sporting legends and cultural trailblazers in the run up to the Commonwealth Games.In an honest and open chat, he talks about how athletics turned his life around as a teenager growing up in Smethwick, his journey to becoming Olympic champion aged just 21, and how he wishes he could dust off his spikes for Birmingham 2022!Mark Lewis-Francis also reflects on the injury problems that cut his career short, the impact of the death of his childhood coach Steve Platt, how Linford Christie helped resurrect his career, and the quieter life he now enjoys in South Wales with his partner and four children. He also speaks about the Black Lives Matter movement sparked by the death of George Floyd, and his own experiences of racism in the West Midlands.
Season 1, Ep. 2
22 Voices is a new podcast series brought to you by the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, telling the stories of sporting stars and cultural trailblazers as the countdown to the Games continues.Our guest today needs just three letters by way of introduction – KJT. Katarina Johnson-Thompson has become a household name as a world-beating heptathlete, continuing a golden legacy started by Denise Lewis and Jessica Ennis Hill. In this episode, KJT talks about recovering well from injury, her hopes for the Tokyo Olympics, how many more years she plans to compete for, why she moved to France, her fond memories of competing in Birmingham (and the night out she had there after winning world indoor gold in 2018!), and looking forward to competing in front of home crowds - and a full stadium - at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.
Heather Fisher & Sarah Davies
Season 1, Ep. 1
22 Voices is a new podcast series brought to you by the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, telling the stories of sporting stars and cultural trailblazers as the countdown to the Games continues. In this special first episode, we celebrate International Women's Day and Commonwealth Day on 8th March 2021 with two Team England stars who've spent their lives challenging gender stereotypes. Rugby sevens player Heather Fisher, who has alopecia, talks openly about being kicked out of toilets by people who think she's male. Sarah Davies is a champion weightlifter and a beauty queen, and talks about the challenges of thes different worlds. As recently as 2019, she was targeted by trolls who thought she was too muscular to compete in a beauty pageant in the Philippines. Both athletes talk openly but with a sense of humour about not fitting in to conventional gender stereotypes, and how they've embraced that to become role models to other girls and women.