The Fold London Podcast

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Making waves: Lessons from Britain’s top “accidental” sportswomen

Season 1, Ep. 4

In this episode…


Susie Rodgers MBE was born without a fully formed arm or leg on the left side of her body. She turned her disability into a superpower, winning six Paralympic medals during her career as a professional swimmer. She retired from competitive sport in 2017 but says transitioning into the corporate world was tough: “You don’t get much support once you’re out the system. It’s pretty cutthroat.”


In 2018, Nikki Henderson became the youngest skipper in history to finish the gruelling round-the-world Clipper Race. She was just 25. Having sailed Greta Thunberg across the Atlantic to the UN climate summit in Madrid at the end of last year, Nikki is at a “pivotal” moment in her career: “I’ve hit a natural break and I’m trying to figure out what to do next.”


Susie and Nikki share their triumphs and “soul-destroying moments”, their constant battle for perfection, and their tips on resilience.


Top three takeaways:


  • Everything in life is either a victory or a lesson. There’s no such thing as failure.


  • If you’re a leader, you’re a performer. You have to get used to putting on a mask.


  • Luck is when opportunity meets preparation.

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