Making Gains with Radzi ep 13 - Team GB Winter Olympian, Yogi and Adventurer: Aimee Fuller video transcript


Go, Go, Go,

I’m a bad man

Yeah buddy

What’s causing all this

I shook up the world

I am that damn good!

Radzi: Hello and welcome to Making Gains with me, Radzi, in association the University of Derby where they make it real, and Finnebrogue’s Naked Bacon, the biggest revolution to happen to British breakfast in a generation. Well, our guest on today's episode, is a two times Winter Olympian, she is an adventurer, she's also a yogi, it is none other than Amy Fuller! Amy welcome to Making Gains.

Amy: Radzi, good to see you, thanks for having me, I'm honoured.

Radzi: Well, it's very difficult to introduce you, so you introduce yourself. If somebody said to you from Oxford University, a professor says, ‘I am a don in the department of philosophy’, Amy who are you and what are you and what would you say?

Amy: Well, I think first off, they're going to get the real raw side of Fuller, which um, I'd say it's quite hard to describe what I do because, um it changes week to week and the most recent way I described myself, in an interview with Vice actually, was a two-time Winter Olympian, a documentary marathon expeditioner and then I've done a few bits since then.

Radzi: That is an amazing introduction. Out of interest, what are you, what are you most proud of out of those things, if there was going to be one thing about in your gravestone that would kind of define you or summarise, as you all kind of do, do you an injustice?


Amy: Oh that's a really, really good question. Um I'd say, obviously the Olympics is a really big part of my life and it's very easy to stereotype and put me in that bracket of ‘once was/ is an Olympian’, um but I'm a firm believer that there is so much to life than that first, that first, first chapter essentially, so right now for me, it's all about rewriting a new chapter which I'm really, really enjoying. So, if I died tomorrow, I'd be a two-time Olympian, but if you give me another 60 years on this earth, I'm going to be more than that.

Radzi: It's genuinely, it's one of my all-time dreams to be an Olympian, to say I'm an Olympian, but when do you actually feel like you actually are one? Is it you get the call-up, is it the opening ceremony, is it when you the closing ceremony, is it afterwards and people interview you and say Olympian? At what point do I actually think, ‘yeah I actually am one’?

Amy: I think the moment you become like embedded in the Team GB spirit, because there's something really special about that and you go from being an individual athlete, you know you're part of, you know the British team for your sport, but the moment you know you're wearing the same kit and you're walking out into the opening ceremony and you're a part of a bigger picture, now you are a part of Team GB and to go to a games and represent your country, you know it's something we dream of as a kid, so like wearing that kit with pride and being a part of that bigger picture for the Winter Olympics is very small so there's, you know say between 55 and 70 athletes, and it's like you're, you're a part of that tiny, tiny dynamic that's going out to, essentially, attempt to do the country proud. So, I think it's that, that moment where you get the kit for me.

Radzi: What kind of really, I guess, surprises me about lots of Olympians I've spoken to, is when they look back at their career, their time, people often do this and it's almost clearly a missed opportunity is a, is a sense that I think I find a lot of them have. So, I was speaking to a lady called Donna Kellogg at the weekend, and she's a three times Badminton Olympian, and she went to Sydney, Greece, Beijing or Sydney, Athens, Beijing, and I said ‘what was your favourite’ and she doesn’t know and she explained why, and then she quickly went on to Beijing and said ‘and in Beijing, I just, ah’ and I thought, isn't that interesting, that when you're a kid you just imagine being there, but there's never the idea that you might reflect on it negatively. So, for you, do you as soon as I, someone says two times Winter Olympian, do you think, yeah! or do you think um?

Amy: I think it's a really interesting one. So I look back on that and I'm like, wow how did that ever happen, I'm, I feel like I really look for the positive in things without it being patronizing, but the Olympics for me was something I never ever imagined would happen, so initially you know, I wanted to go there and perform and actually it didn't go my way at all, neither time, and I would openly admit that, and maybe I wasn't the best prepared first time around, I had a crazy run up to it and then for the, the second Olympics, you know the conditions were wild and there were other mental pressures on me at the time in my life. Um but the actual experience at its core, of the Olympics itself, aside from the performance, the second time around I totally embraced it and I absolutely loved it. So, when you say ‘two-time Winter Olympian’ it's hard for me to resonate, uh resonate with that because I'm like is that, like that was me like how did that even happen? So, yeah, it's just kind of crazy it's never happened to you know anyone in my family or anyone I grew up with or anyone I’ve ever known until now. I'm surrounded by people having gone to the Olympics twice, but you know that's normal now, like my mates are people that have been to the Olympics, whereas if you'd asked me that 13 years ago, I didn't know anyone that had ever been to Olympic, an Olympics, so it, it is something I'm, I'm very proud of but it will never define me because there is more to life than that, you know the grand scheme of things it's, it's one thing it's one chapter and I think it's an amazing platform to have. I call my snowboarding career the degree of life. I learned so much throughout my journey that it's a fantastic springboard to the next destination.

Radzi: So I spoke to two people about the day after they competed and the day after they came back. So one was Matthew Pinsent, I wanted Colin Bryce, so Matthew Pinsent, well kind of no introduction required, multiple Gold medals in Rowing, Colin Bryce, Bobsleigh Olympian, Winter Olympian 2002, and when you speak to both of them about coming back to the UK and putting their stuff away, getting home and you've done all the phone calls, you've seen all the people and both of them kind of describe a similar thing, which is, now what? And you've two options. Go again in four years’ time, which seems an infinity away, or it's address life, and in both their scenarios, and I've seen it happen to many, many people, is that's flipping hard. Do you remember when you actually had that? Maybe you had nothing like it, but did you have a similar moment of coming back and going, right what now? Do I go again or do all of the quiz?

Amy: No. Um I didn't have that so for the first Olympics, I knew okay cool this isn't my end destination in this sport, this is just a steppingstone to the next and probably after that games I had, you know the best couple of seasons of my life, I was progressing in tricks, I was doing stuff nobody else was doing and I was excited and, and ready to dominate round two. Um, the year before round two, I had a very, very good season because mentally I knew that I was kind of done with the sport and it's like, right I want to give it everything I can because I have other interests. I’ve always been, um very close with my family and my friends back home in the UK and I've spent the last 13 years of my life living out of a suitcase and I think I craved being home and I think not many people can relate to that and I was very privileged in the sense that my sport took me away but that also made it hard and very taxing mentally to be away. So, the year before the second Olympics, year of my life, finished third in the Big Air world rankings, fifth in the Slope Style. Going into the games everything was, was great. My body, my mind was strong but sort of, about five months out from it, the fact I knew I was done, fear set in. So, for me, I became fearful of what could happen if A, I didn't go and B, I hurt myself and I was scared of getting hurt. Without doubt, snowboarding is a dangerous sport, and it goes without saying, you know bad things do happen and I became scared, and it was like, do I want to put my body, my mind, my friends and family through this should I hurt myself? So, it tainted my relationship with the sport because of fear. However, all was not lost because I sort of knew what I wanted to do and bizarrely, this is how we met at the Winter Olympics. So, the day after I finished competing, I was lucky enough to have a phone call from a producer at BBC who invited me to join you at 6am, uh little did they know I was dancing on the tables at the time the text came through at 12am because a good friend of mine had just won a Gold medal, and in snowboarding, I mentioned it's a dangerous sport, there's a lot of respect, so there's a lot of respect within the snowboarding community, and those friends throughout my career will be friends for life, we've connected on levels that are, it's just different I, it's, it's so powerful the experience that we've all been through, as it is for any athlete in their field, there's a real bond and connection there, but when I got that text, it was almost like, maybe a sense of relief, because it's like, wow like I've manifested what I want to do and I've spoken about it publicly, I've been vlogging, I've done my best to learn about it, to have the opportunity to join you the next day, for me that was the icing on the on the cake. I got off the table, I was drinking water and it was like, it no, but it excited me, and I feel very lucky to have found excitement through something else. So, for me the day I finished competing it was relief and excitement because I was like, cool I can look at other things now, I have time to explore, a new chapter essentially.

Radzi: Do you reckon you would have found that without therapy, I mean if you have even had therapy, because the way you’re kind of speaking about it, is so impressively objective, um and to do that, if you were to on your own that's almost phenomenal, that's just unbelievable. So, have you had therapy? Because that's, to be able to assess yourself, that's incredible.

Amy: No. So, I'll let you into a little secret actually, so I don't often speak about this, but essentially, so the Winter Olympics is February 2018. So, November 2017, in the build-up, it's you know you've got a couple more World Cups to go, you know the media is starting the excitement, the hype. I split up with my boyfriend of five years, so that was quite traumatic, and my Nan was diagnosed with cancer, and I remember being out in Italy with one of my best friends, Celia Norendale, and she really, I owe her for this, like literally took me under her wing. I went up the mountain every single day with her, but I had fallen out of love with the process of training and competing because I was fearful, and then I had this other stuff going on in my life and I pinned the, those weights onto the, the things that were happening in my life, so I almost used it as an excuse. So, I remember being at the top in Dubai, in Austria, in November with my goggles down. I literally remember looking at the jump and just crying, and it takes quite a bit to make me cry, and I was just like what am I doing with myself? Like what am I doing? So, Ali G, um who is our team physio, said ‘Ames I reckon you should chat to someone’, you know, and I was like ‘do you think?’, she was like just do it, just go once. I went, I met her at Joe and the Juice in Regent Street. She has an experience in snow sports, um therapy and I explained the situation and told her what my motivation was the reasons why I was feeling like that and she literally said to me, and I'll never forget this, I don't know if it's best place for me to say it, but she said ‘you are the most psychologically aware athlete I've ever met in my life. All the thoughts and the patterns and the mental process that you're explaining makes sense and it's okay to feel like that. What you need to do is focus on what you want to get out of this and what you want to do after this, and it is okay to feel like that.’ So, in snowboarding we eat sleep and breathe the terminology, you would have heard it, ‘I just love it, snowboarding's the best’. It's so much fun, snowboarding is so fun, it’s the best sport in the world, but you cannot take away from snowboarding, that at an elite level, it's extreme, it's fast, it's dangerous and anything can happen and I was scared and I found a deeper rooted reason to push through that and after that call I never spoke to her again because she confirmed that my motivation and belief to keep going was okay if it worked for me. Okay because it doesn't matter what anyone else thinks, nobody else needs to know

Radzi: Yeah. Do you think a lot of people feel like that?

Amy: I don't know, I mean it, I think it varies from sport to sport and people's motivations are different. I don't think there's a right or wrong motivation, I think, um, you know the early days of my career it was intrinsic, it was I wanted to push myself to be the best version of myself, but towards the end of my career when I was scared and I didn't want to just stop and end up washed up snowboarders, still snowboarding at 35 with no wider, broader outlook on life. I, I used the Olympics as a platform to, well first of all, focus on performing there. That was the first goal, but actually how can I use this experience to help me project my career after, my career what I'm going to do because it is like a degree, honestly the whole, the whole process and getting there and the traveling and it's, it's mad, so I just changed my mentality to, you know it's okay to use it as a steppingstone, it's not the end goal and that almost helped me approach it and gave me a reason to do so.


Radzi: You know you come into a kicker it's, it's one thing if you're landing in water because the reality is you might, let's say to use snowboarding vernacular, you might eat hard but it, that's as far as it's really going to go, it's going to slap you. Whereas to go into something that you don't know if you're actually going to land this, and if you don't land it, like you say, you can, you can change the course of the rest of your life. If you are the absolute best, if you are feeling that Amy, perhaps 2015, 2016, on top of the world, how do you feel when you go into, is it excitement, is it fear is it unknown?

Amy: So, it's definitely, when you're in the flow state, it's a really rhythmic place and it's almost robotic and it's maybe similar to like dance or running, in the sense that there's movement patterns that you learn, and your body just goes there. So, when it's going and everything's good, it's like toe, heel, toe, open, bang, closed, toe, heel, toe, bang, look, look, look, and it's like but it becomes rhythmic and when you're in that state there's just excitement and adrenaline and you're on top of your board, that's how we describe it like you're on top of it and it's like walking down the street, it's easy. So, you want to push your progression and that's where the magic happens and that's when you feel the magic because you do feel invincible. There's a particular event that stands strong in my mind and it was the Pleasure Jam, and it was a while ago actually, it was 2012 and 2013 and it's the biggest opener in Europe, everyone's there and I was always just so excited. I love to start the season; the snow is a little bit softer; the temperatures are a little bit warmer, and it was a vibe and I won it for two years on the trot. So, I think the first time I entered it I got like ninth and then I got fifth and then I got second and then I won it for two years on the trot. So, I think it can also be to do with, like the connection with the environment and then the process in changing that connection if you have a bad relationship with that particular place, because our seasons operate in kind of a similar, similar sort of pattern. You know it's like, Austria, America, maybe somewhere in Asia, America, Europe, Europe, America. So, you kind of get the same sort of vibe.

Radzi: Okay, if I want to ask you a really specific question, final question about snowboarding.

Amy: Yeah.

Radzi: What's the best 10 seconds or 15 or 20 seconds of snowboarding you have experienced for yourself that you've taken part in?

Amy: So, for myself, and so in yourself it would be post Olympics 2019 in Japan with the girls, Torah Bright, Robin. You've got an open powder field, no one telling you what to do or what to hit and it is freedom and creativity at its finest and that is the core route of why I started snowboarding. So, to go back there after a 13-year career, and it's freedom of expression there, there’s no rules and that is the heart of why I love it.

Radzi: Thank you for that. I wasn't sure when I talked about this, I thought I'm just going to go with wherever it goes and that's where it went, so thank you for your honesty and actually, vulnerability as well. So, that's snowboarding if you like, I know the two crosses over here, but we've then got, I think lots of areas which people wouldn't necessarily know, if they looked on Wikipedia for example, which is your adventures. So, could we just list the cr, basically nutty things that you've done since 2018?

Amy: Um so probably the first one that stands out in my mind was um running a marathon in North Korea.

Radzi: Yeah.

Amy: And that, for me, was a really fulfilling experience. It was the first time I ever worked in a team to create a product that wasn't related to snowboarding, uh which was a documentary and I freaking loved working in that team environment, no phones, no laptops, literally just me and the crew and the connection and bond that was formed through that 10-day period, to then have the result of the documentary afterwards, like the marathon was just the bit on the side, but that experience of working with the team in that environment was, what yeah, up there with one of the best things I've ever done for sure and then, Shall I just go for it and list them?

Radzi: Please, please.

Amy: Okay, um and then I'd say probably more recently, if we're still on the topic of adventures, um I'd say uh my E-Foil project, which is where I rode, um essentially an electric hydrofoil, that levitates above the water, from Putney to, um the Houses of Parliament uh at 4:30a.m. to launch a new watch the Tag Heuer Aquaracer. I’ve actually got it on here. Um really cool because it's a brand that I've worked with, um since before the 2018 Olympics, and they've supported me through that transition, and everything else I've done in between, so to do a project off the snow with them, in a different element, water, something that's never been done before. And I actually had to train for it, it was really cool to be back in that sort of sporting, pressurised environment.

Radzi: Because you know what, how I see you, and it's probably not how you see yourself. So, David Blaine, I read his book, and if you look at all the things that he's done, from a challenge standpoint, so whether it's um, I think what's called, frozen in time, when he basically enters his giant ice cube in Times Square, busiest part of a week so, or whether he stands on that pillar in New York or whether he got buried alive or whether it was being in the box in London, all those things that, it's art. Now when you look at the photo of him, let's say, hanging off Tower Bridge, it's not him, it's the people that are around him looking at him, in that case, in that moment, it's not a coincidence that he's chosen Times Square or London, hubs of energy, commerce, finance, things are being made, people are doing lots of things, but at that moment they're all stopping and what are they looking at, they're stopping at a man doing the opposite, he's doing nothing. So, really in his book, what I gleaned from him is he's a kind of a photographer. He likes making pieces, he likes making pictures, and that's kind of how I see you. So, to me, it's a lot of people could be sponsored by a watch company, and they'll take a photo of a watch on their wrist, they'll smile at the camera, or they'll look wistfully into the distance and that's it, yawn, so it's based on the strength of the individual that you say ‘ah Daniel Craig, where's that watch, I like James Bond so I might buy the watch’. Whereas what you do is you say okay, I've got this brand, I've got this, this thing, what is this identity and therefore, what can I do that marries the two things together and yeah and even you've said to me many times before, I only work with certain brands, it's not a case of Tag were the only ones that would have wanted to have done this, I'm sure when they came to you they said we've got this new thing coming out, what do you think and then when you've gone away, properly thought about it then committed to it. But to me that's what you, that's how I see you. I see somebody who makes, makes images, or if you like video content, but images which stand for a lot more than just what they are. It’s not just somebody on a hydrofoil, it's going up the Thames and it, of course it's to do with this watch, because this watch could, so yeah that's kind of how sometimes want to watch.

Amy: For sure a really, really cool project to work on and it's something, actually it looks so simple, right so you know people are, ‘oh cool you went up the Thames in your clothes,’ like yeah, I did but this is actually a vision that started a year ago. I've gone away and invested in trying it, investing the con, in the content to create a vision, a storyboard and then to pitch it as they launch a new watch, these conversations for getting permissions to use the Thames, uh started in January. I found out six weeks ago that the day the watch launched, which was the 24th of June uh, the tide was in our favour and at between 4:30 and 8:00a.m. we could make it happen. But it wasn't until two days before, we got the pro, the approval from the Port of London, because I had to prove that I could use this board and, and drive it through rowers, the Thames Clipper, ride it towards Putney bridge, turn in the current. So, it's mad actually, because I haven't had anything where I've had like almost that much pressure to a not fall in, to lose my arm to the motor, really not get cut in half by the foil, these things are really dangerous and then four, um actually like pass, pass the water test and then on the day it's like cool, let's go guys, that was really, really wicked to be a part of something slightly different, but kind of still within that you know board sports lane for me.

Radzi: What's next for you?

Amy: Well to be honest, I use quite a funny one right, because like you say you kind of see me as this person that's, I don't know, maybe adventurous, but actually I'm pretty mellow generally and I was sort of joking, like with my mum, she was like, ‘oh my god, again here we go again,’ and I was like honestly I'm really happy with two feet on the ground. So, um from me you'll be seeing a lot more podcasts, I've got a really exciting launch coming up next week, um also a very, very big project around decoding fear, which is going to be announced towards the end of July, um so yeah, there's lots of sort of moving strands, but you know, as you know I love broadcast, documentaries and I'm looking to continue to broaden my experience in that space and I think you know, we've got a really exciting summer sport ahead with wings going on now, you know the Grand Prix having fans back, and then the Olympics, which I'll be working on remotely and I just love chatting to people, hearing stories and I find it, personally, a real source of inspiration speaking to like-minded people that are, you know pushing their boundaries in whatever it is they may do, whether it's sport, whether it's you know documentaries, whether it's broadcast. I think we can all learn a lot off each other, and I love to be around people so I will always have two feet on a board, but um, you know I enjoy a lot of other sports too so cycling, running, love it all it's what fuels me.

Radzi: Final question. What, for you, do we not know about Amy Fuller that we should know? Because when you talk about things in the future I immediately think, yeah it doesn't surprise me if you said I'm writing a book, that wouldn't surprise me, doing a podcast, that wouldn't surprise me, because I'd say I know you better than, well anyone who hasn't met you, for obvious reasons, but there are lots of strings to your bow. But is there something where you think, I wish people just thought, when I used to do Skeleton Bob, they'd always say, what's it like going headfirst down a tea tray on an ice track, and I'd say well it's not actually a tea tray and, and I think, why don't you ask the right questions? About one of my favourite questions to ask people is what don't we know about you that we should know?

Amy: Oh, that is so good. I think what you, what you don't know, actually uh, is that I think a lot of everything I've done, it's sort of fast-paced, high energy and I think probably people think I'm a bit crazy um, and I'm like, well you know, like going surfing and going running is, is really mellow compared to snowboarding, you know it's um, it's a step back from, from where I was and, and life is, is slower now because I'm not hurling myself off jumps at you know, 35 miles per hour. Um, so I don't know, maybe like random things, like I love coffee and just really good brunch and you know, on a Saturday morning a cycle or a yoga session and I'm happy as Larry. For me it's all about the environment and the people I'm around and if you surround yourself with good people and good energy it's just uh, the knock-on, the roll-on effect and, and that excites me and that gives me a zest for life which I think is key.

Radzi: Amy you've definitely got a zest for life and if you don't have a zest for life then basically no one has a zest for life. Thank you so much for your time, this was a very last-minute thing and you've genuinely honoured me with your honesty and integrity and just your freedom to chat, so thank you very much.

Amy: Radzi it's been an absolute honour; never thought I'd get the call up for the interview again post 2018. Found a good reason though.

Radzi: 100 speak to you soon.

Amy: Cheers Radzi.

Making Gains with Radzi ep 13 - Team GB Winter Olympian, Yogi and Adventurer: Aimee Fuller video

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