Imagine being a three-time Olympian and a three-time medalist, but never winning gold.

Or, despite being a world-record holder in the 50m and 100m freestyle, as well a favourite at the Beijing Olympics – you come up short in both events.

Eamon Sullivan doesn’t have to imagine. It took him 12 years to come to terms with it.

How about recently retired Test cricketer Peter Siddle… eight years ago, something happened which made him never drink again.

While we’re all having a forced break from sport, one podcast is doing its bit to fill the gap – but not by way of a scoreboard.

Ordineroli Speaking grabs some of our most celebrated sports stars and places them on the most level of playing fields – everyday life.

“I’ve always enjoyed these sorts of stories,” host and sports journalist Neroli Meadows told me.

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“But they get lost in the immediacy of sports reporting.”

If you think this is just for sports fans, you’d be dead wrong.

“I’ve known guys to come home to their partners, who have no interest in sport, and say ‘hey, you’ve got to listen to this’,” Meadows said.  “It’s that relatable.”

“They’re human, they have the same issues.”

While only a handful of episodes have gone up, the response has already been nothing short of an impact.

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“Their teammates have said stuff like ‘wow I’ve never heard him speak like that’,” Meadows said.

“Even those I’ve spoken to have been profoundly impacted by just telling their story.

“One person, a complete stranger, contacted me after giving up drinking about a month ago saying this was the podcast he needed to hear right now,” she continued.

“It’s a good podcast to show friends or family to say, ‘hey listen to this because this is how I feel’ about something – it’s a good tool.”

Another way it sheds light on different issues is that it doesn’t just finish at what worked and that’s it.

Meadows said it was very much yes, how they got to the other side, but how they’re still getting through it.

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“Also, the things that were helpful… and, importantly, the things that weren’t helpful.”

And no, I couldn’t let Neroli go without asking about the name of the podcast, because it’s a doozy.

“My best friend’s mum used to call me ‘ex’, as in ‘extraordinarily’,” she said. “Well, I wasn’t gonna call it that!”

Thing is, her best friend’s mum lost her battle with cancer and, as a podcast that celebrates resilience, the play-on-words seemed fitting.

“It was a way of paying homage to her too.”

Listen to ‘Ordineroli Speaking’ on the free iHeartRadio app.

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New episodes drop every Wednesday.

 

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