Season 4, Episode 1: Sharron Davies MBE is an English former competitive swimmer who has represented Great Britain in the Olympics and European championships and England in the Commonwealth Games.
Sharron has attended 12 consecutive Olympic Games, competing in three and then working in the media for the BBC Sport, and she has earned a silver Olympic medal, 2 gold and 2 bronze medals at Commonwealth Games and 2 bronze medals at the European Championships.
In addition to working for BBC Sport, she was also a Gladiator and a breakfast TV presenter, but in recent years has received most coverage for being outspoken in the discussion around transgender athletes in sport.
Claire and I want to chat to her about fairness in sport in relation to drugs and gender, the science behind the transgender discussion and the abuse she received for speaking out about what she believes in.
What I’ve Been Reading
Earlier on this summer I recommended Mo Gawdat’s brilliant book, Solve for Happy, as one of the best books I’ve ever read. After reading it, I dove straight into Scary Smart: The Future of Artificial Intelligence and How You Can Save Our World, his frightening but also surprisingly optimistic book on a future with Artificial Intelligence (AI).
By 2049, machines will be 1 billion times smarter than humans; that is the equivalent of Albert Einstein versus a fly. A scary thought that prompts a question; given that the ‘fly’ that has been destroying the planet and creatures they share it with, what will stop ‘Einstein’ squashing the fly?
According to Gawdat, it will be how we, as parents of this future AI generation, raise them. Think of Superman landing on the earth; he was raised by a caring, generous and supportive farming family that turned him into a superhero. Had he landed with an evil, jealous and selfish family, he’d have probably become a supervillain instead. So, what can we as non-programmers do to raise AI to be a superhero rather than a supervillain? A surprising amount actually.
Absolutely gripping, and again, I can’t recommend reading this book enough.
Racing for Charity
This weekend I take on the toughest Ironman on the circuit, Ironman Wales, raising money for CALM. CALM help people suffering with mental health issues, and having recently lost a close triathlon friend to suicide, I can’t think of many better causes to raise money for at the moment.
Ironman Wales is the usual 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike and 26.2 mile run, but with the added fun of a sea swim, a very hilly bike route, and a hilly run to boot, so it typically takes an hour longer than most of the other ‘faster’ Ironman races. If you would like to follow my progress, you can on the Ironman Athlete Tracker App, and if you’d like to help us raise money for this more than worthy cause, you can do so here.
What I’ve Been Watching
Several people have recommended Toughest Race on Earth With James Cracknell to me over the years, but for whatever reason, I only got around to watching it this week. I guess a part of that was that I don’t believe Marathon Des Sables (MDS) self-proclaimed ‘Toughest Race on Earth’ title, although clearly running 250km across the Sahara Desert with rationed water and carrying everything else, is no easy feat either.
What I found absolutely fascinating about watching this was Cracknell’s ability to dig deeper, to bury himself physically and mentally, more than anyone else you’ll see. His level of achievement in this race, as an inexperienced ultrarunner with totally the wrong body makeup, is off the scales amazing. I can’t quite work out whether it has inspired me more do MDS or less, but it certainly gives you a great understanding of what’s involved.
Podcast I’ve Been Listening To
Typically around 10-15 minutes long, they take a powerful moment from a previous episode. Brilliant for a short journey to work, they are packed full of great advice. I particularly liked the Simon Sinek, Dr Rangan Chatterjee & the Jonny Wilkinson episodes. A great way to get your mind into the right place either to or from work!
Quote of the Week
“The gravity of the battle means nothing to those at peace”
- Mo Gawdat, Solve for Happy
Finance Theme I’ve Been Considering
Recession or no recession? That is the question! High levels of inflation, together with central bankers expressing their willingness to raise interest rates aggressively to get inflation under control, has managed to convince an increasing number of investors that a meaningful global recession is both imminent and inevitable. Got to love those bankers!
Whilst we agree that the economic growth outlook has worsened and therefore this has affected the equity markets, we believe economic weakness or recession in the near term is by no means a certainty. The volatility we’ve seen in political circles is often unhelpful for the markets and with a new PM at the helm, let’s hope we can return to more stability and certainty. There is nothing that stock markets like less than uncertainty, and if Liz Truss taking over stops the recent bout of political and economic insecurity, it could (and we hope it will) be received positively by markets. You know what they say, “economists have predicted 9 of the last 2 recessions!”