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Empathy and the Professional Athlete with Libby Trickett OAM

Updated: Apr 22

The Empathy Podcast

Show Notes/Timestamps

On this episode of The Empathy Podcast, Leanne interviews multiple Olympic gold medalist swimmer and former 100 metre freestyle world record holder, Libby Trickett. Leanne and Libby discuss the importance of empathy within the pro athlete space and the impact internal pressure can have on the outcome of elite sporting performances. They also discuss the vital role of teammates in success and mental health.

Watch full episode


00:00 - 1:00 - Introducing our guest Libby Trickett!

1:20 - 2:00 - Libby tells us about her time as a pro athlete.

2:00 - 3:00 - Libby’s honours as an athlete.

3:20 - 5:30 - What is it actually like to be a pro athlete in that environment?

5:30 - 7:00 - Libby discusses the pressure that was on her in her career from herself and others.

8:00 - 10:00 - Libby talks about the pressure she put on herself in Athens to win gold and how that pressure made her perform worse than expected.

10:00 - 11:30 - How did Libby get over the pressure on her back and go on to win gold straight after a disappointing performance?

11:30 - 16:00 - Libby ended up back in the exact same situation again four years later in Beijing but this time the negative energy was too much to overcome.

16:00 - 18:00 - Libby explains how the best way to overcome the pressures of winning is by asking for help from her team, this led to more gold medals and more world records!

18:00 - 21:50 - What is the value of having a team when competing in high level sport?

21:50 - 24:20 - Is it difficult to celebrate your teammates victories when you are not performing well yourself?

24:20 - 26:28 - What was Libby’s support network around her and who was adding support throughout her career?

26:28 - 27:00 - Libby talks about moving into parenthood being difficult after having a long career of everything revolving around her.

27:00 - 27:50 - How some of Libby’s friendships broke down when she first became a full time athlete.

27:50 - 31:30 - What were the pressures of negative media coverage or media hype surrounding Libby’s career?

31:40 - 34:55 - What would Libby like the general public to know about competing in professional sport?

34:55 - 36:40 - Leanne talks about trying to bring the humanity element to different professions and experiences with this podcast.

36:40 - Where to find Libby’s book, “Beneath The Surface”.

37:50 - Leanne's outro.

Instagram: @Libby_Trickett

Hilarious Outtake!!!


Hi! I'm Leanne Butterworth, Empathy Speaker and Educator, University Lecturer and Mental Health Advocate.

Empathy First is a Brisbane-based social enterprise offering Empathy workshops, online courses and individual Empathy coaching to help you build connection and strengthen your relationships for personal and professional success.

Contact me today and let's talk about how you can put Empathy First.

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