052: Nik Diaper on the impact of Parasport

This year we have the Olympic games – the World’s biggest sporting event. But in quick succession is the Paralympics, now the third largest sporting event. Some quip that the Olympics is the warm-up or the test event for the Paralympics. Well this week’s guest is one of the greatest stalwarts and servant of the Paralympics, my good friend and close colleague Nik Diaper. It’s difficult to overstate the impact that Nik has had on the domain of disabled sport, from the days when frankly very few people were interested, through to it becoming not only respected, but revered.

In this interview I discuss with Nik what drew him to parasport, what resonated with him and what has endured. Nik shares his perspectives on why disability sport has caught the imagination of sports fans, general public and global audiences alike. He shares his search for meaning amongst some of life’s broader questions and why what he does can add value to society.

Now I cycle most weekends with Nik and he is a quality athlete, which I know to my suffering. This interview was in many ways like how he rides – unfussy, humble, deliberate in delivering a powerful effect.

Show notes:

Nik discusses his sporting history in Kenya

Moving to the US to pursue his swimming dream

The move to Manchester

Nik had no intention of pursuing a career in Paralympic sport

Entering Para sport and feeling completely out of his depth


The Paralympics 2020 and the step change in perception for disability sport

What made London so successful and it’s legacy?

What does it mean to be disabled? – the debate!

What were the reasons for sticking with Paralympic sport if it wasn’t your first choice?

Stand out para moments for Nik

Technological advances in para-sport and the ramifications
Tokyo 2020

What more needs to be done and Nik’s hopes and ambitions?


Nik on Twitter

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Steve Ingham on Twitter

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Dr Steve Ingham is one of the UK’s leading figures in sport and one of the world’s leading performance scientists. He is steeped in high performance and has been integral to the development of Britain into an Olympic superpower. He has provided support to over 1000 athletes, of which over 200 have achieved World or Olympic medal success, including some of the world’s greatest athletes such as Jessica Ennis-Hill, Sir Steve Redgrave and Sir Matthew Pinsent. Steve has coached Kelly Sotherton's running for heptathlon and to 4x400m Olympic medal winning success. Steve has worked at the English Sports Council British Olympic Association, English Institute of Sport, where Steve was the Director of Science and Technical Development, leading a team of 200 scientists in support of Team GB and Paralympics GB. Ingham holds a BSc, PhD and is a Fellow of the British Association of Sport and Exercise Sciences. Steve is author of the best selling ‘How to Support a Champion: The art of applying science to the elite athlete’, discussing and inspiring the importance of learning and adapting to reach our maximum potential. Steve established Supporting Champions with the ambition of helping ambitious people to find a better way of creating high-performance. Steve hosts the Supporting Champions Podcast on sharing his pursuit of understanding and exploration in performance.

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