Rural Business Focus Podcast

How to Be Resilient – with Winter Olympian and Ski Sunday Presenter Chemmy Alcott

Today Ben is joined by skier, four-time Winter Olympian for Great Britain, presenter of Ski Sunday and much more besides: Chemmy Alcott. With a career high ranking of 8th in the World, 7 times as British National Overall Champion and the only British female skier to ever win a run in a World Cup, Chemmy is widely regarded as one of Britain’s greatest ever skiers.

East Sussex, where she was born, isn’t perhaps your typical start for a pro skiier but Chemmy began the sport from an early age and her talent was clear as a junior. At the age of 12 she became a member of the British Junior Alpine team and she spent every British summer between the ages of 11 and 19 out in New Zealand to train during their winter. As well as skiing Chemmy was a talented tennis player, but it was the winter sport that she chose to specialise in. She went on in her senior career to win numerous titles. 

Threaded throughout this journey of sporting prowess however has been a tale of injury and overcoming this adversity. She has broken 49 different bones, including her neck at the age of just 11 and her leg following a severe crash whilst training in Canada in 2010. That accident required over 1000 minutes of surgery. Again and again Chemmy picked herself up and battled through the adversity to reach success once again. Since retiring from competing on the world stage after The Sochi Olympics in 2014, she has immersed herself in the world of broadcasting and the media. Among other things she now presents for the BBC on Ski Sunday and commentates on the World Cup Ski Series for Eurosport. Furthermore, she competed in ITV’s Dancing on Ice in 2012, finishing 5th. She continues to push herself to tackle and achieve many new physical challenges and has completed the 100 mile road race in London for example and has climbed Mount Kilimanjaro. Her passion for encouraging girls confidence is immense and her ‘X-elle’ scheme aims to develop girls confidence through sport.

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This week’s call to action

To assess your own state of resilience as it is at the moment and remember an occasion when you overcame adversity. Be as present as you can. 


Timestamps for today’s episode

1:04 Ben introduces the show.

3:57 Chemmy comes in. 

4:39 What is resilience for Chemmy?

6:15 Skiing dominated Chemmy’s life growing up – she explains more about how her childhood experiences prepared her for life. 

8:50 Chemmy wants to be a great downhill skier.

10:19 How did Chemmy grow up to know how to keep picking herself up, dusting herself down and moving forwards?

12:48 Chemmy didn’t think that she could release her full potential.

15:25 Channelling fresh thinking – but continued breakage of bones.

16:20 The rest of the team believes in Chemmy.

18:20 Chemmy’s accident in 2010 and why it had such an impact. 

22:10 Dancing on Ice.

23:45 It’s ok to not win. 

24:00 Goal setting.

25:50 What changes can you make on a daily basis?

26:04 What drives Chemmy?

28:36 What about advice for someone who is going through change?

30:46 Chemmy’s broadcasting career and BBC Ski Sunday.

32:50 Chemmy’s retirement from skiing. 

34:50 What has Chemmy found most effective in encouraging others to perform at their best?

37:08 What does Chemmy do to keep focussed?

39:05 What does Chemmy have coming up this year in 2023?

40:27 Ben rounds up. 

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