‘I’m ashamed to admit I’m struggling’

I have a big pile of them now. Letters from my bank to say I have missed yet another payment for either council tax, phone or utility bill. And every time I open them, it is another reminder that I feel like I am failing. That I, Gail Emms, Olympic Silver Medallist, am a failure. As anyone else in my financial situation will testify, it hurts. I cry a lot and do what I can to make the payment, sell stuff on eBay and hope there is enough work next month. Some months are good and I get to do what I love best, inspiring kids in schools, motivational talks at ‘women in business’ events. But it gets harder each year to keep my profile and get bookings.

I should have seen the signs earlier I guess and started making plans a year ago to look for other work options. But as it stands, I have been job-hunting for the last few months as I cannot keep scrabbling behind the sofa to pay bills. I have emailed and called people I know, applied for jobs, and even emailed people I have never met, all in the vain hope that someone would recognise my potential.

Another rejection, another ‘not making the interview’, and all my demons come back to haunt me. A sportsperson relies on ego and feeling great. A sportsperson is ambitious, determined and wants to show off what they can do. Rejection, failure and losing just doesn’t compute.

But why would someone employ me? I have a c.v. that reads ‘played professional badminton for 10 years’. And I have just turned 40 years old. I have no qualifications other than a sports science degree completed in 1998. I haven’t had any experience in any organisation or company. I would be a gamble, you might have to guide me a little, and there just may not be any work in the sports industry right now, I guess. I can’t wave a magic wand and expect someone to give me a job, right?

There has been a lot of talk about supporting athletes post-retirement for mental health and, right now, I need that support. I am feeling lost and with no direction, no purpose, no career, no identity and who the hell do I go to? I want to provide for my family, to be a strong role model and feel like I belong somewhere and be part of a team again. Mentally, I am not sure I can cope with more rejections, more obstacles, more feeling like I am losing. I don’t know where to turn.

I know sport and I know athletes. I have lived it, breathed it, been part of PR campaigns, ambassador for brands. Yet some hungover idiot told me to go and get a marketing diploma and couldn’t give a crap that I was there trying to convince him that I would be a valuable asset to his sports marketing team. Some people don’t reply to my emails or messages and take two to three weeks to get back to me. All normal in the business world apparently, but to someone who is panicking and worried about next month’s bills, it’s two to three weeks too long.

I feel ashamed and it’s a massive dent in my pride to admit that an Olympic medallist is struggling. It’s not just the financial situation, it’s the mental battle I am facing at the moment. I am usually an optimistic person, but I do wonder if the powers-that-be at UK Sport realise that the athletes they rely on for the country’s feel-good factor can sink into this situation. I’m 15 years behind a career path. I retired, had a family, and I know I should be grateful for what I have. But my inner drive and ambition can’t turn off. I want more. I need to do more. And I can do more. Given the chance that is.

So if you see me as a barista at Starbucks – and please don’t think I am joking here – I apologise now if I get your name wrong 😉

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Gail Emms MBE is one of Britain’s most successful badminton players, best remembered for her silver medal in the mixed doubles at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens. With partner Nathan Robertson, she won gold at the World Championships in 2006, the Commonwealth Games in the same year, and the European Championships in 2004. Gail was six times national mixed doubles champion and national ladies doubles champion five times. Since retiring after the Beijing Olympic Games, Gail has been a versatile sports presenter on a variety of television and radio programmes. She was awarded the MBE for services to badminton in 2009. She is the mother of two boys. Gail’s latest articles

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69 thoughts on “‘I’m ashamed to admit I’m struggling’

  • 2nd August 2017 at 7:40 am
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    You are so not a failure! Remind yourself of what you have achieved, not just in badminton but also simply by bringing up a family. You are not on your own.

    Many in the sports industry in your position, former athletes & non-athletes. Competition for jobs has got greater. Agree that more support is needed. Good on you for reaching out.

    Hope you find the guidance and support you need. Keep going!

    Reply
  • 2nd August 2017 at 8:08 am
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    Gail, you are an inspiration – we met way back in 2009 and I loved your sparky, energetic, positive attitude to life. It was infectious! Writing this must have been really painful and many others will take comfort from your honesty.

    As you say inspiration doesn’t pay the bills, but you have drive, determination and a sports insight that thousands other don’t have.

    You can thrive, don’t let the negativity consume you and your tenacity will pay off.

    Reply
    • 2nd August 2017 at 9:25 pm
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      Your not alone I lost my job last year lost my car couldn’t pay the bills credit cards just keep going it will get easier far okay for writing the article that takes courage good luck

      Reply
  • 2nd August 2017 at 8:15 am
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    Keep the faith and keep trying. All you need is one opportunity that will turn the whole situation around. You will look back on this situation eventually and realise that it has taught you so much – given you a deeper sense of gratitude for things and you will be able to advise someone else in similar circumstances. Do not lose hope and know that you are worth your weight in gold. Your honesty here is refreshing and will help others.

    Reply
  • 2nd August 2017 at 10:17 am
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    Where do you live Gail?

    Reply
  • 2nd August 2017 at 10:36 am
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    Get in touch Gail. Our paths crossed when I was at YST.

    Reply
  • 2nd August 2017 at 10:37 am
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    Gail, whilst I live in Australia I work in HR and if I can help, I will. Happy to give my consent to themixedzone.co.uk to share my email details with you.

    Don’t stop believing in yourself, I do, and after all, you’re an Olympian.

    Jeff

    Reply
  • 2nd August 2017 at 12:19 pm
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    Thank you for your courage and determination to share such an important issue and article. Stay strong; it will come. I’ve heard you on the radio and feel that is perhaps your path. Good luck

    Reply
  • 2nd August 2017 at 12:30 pm
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    “I have no qualifications other than a sports science degree completed in 1998.” Don’t play this down, there is plenty you can do with your qualifications, and more importantly, your experience. You have been and can still be an influence to others. There are youngsters out there that need to be around people like you. Get yourself amongst them and watch them shine.

    Reply
  • 2nd August 2017 at 12:38 pm
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    Hang in there. You have lots to offer. TONS! Not all HR people can see that. They generally want to see someone who has already done exactly the type of job being applied for. You will find the right fit, it’s just frustrating looking for it. I’m having the same problem and struggling through depression from the constant rejection. Hope your beautifully written article opens something up for you.

    Reply
  • 2nd August 2017 at 1:20 pm
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    Hi Gail, please let us all know what your “ideal job” would be; then we can see who can best help you to find what you are looking for.

    You ARE an inspiration; you have dedicated yourself to being at your sporting peak at a very specific time at 4 year intervals – what business wouldn’t want to work with some who can perform under THAT pressure and still DELIVER a “winning” outcome?

    Let me know if I can help (I work for a UK start-up SaaS company, maybe start-up organisations would be of interest?).

    Kind Regards and very best wishes, Chris

    Reply
  • 2nd August 2017 at 1:20 pm
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    Good luck with your job search and J hope you get yourself into a better place.

    But, there was no need to shame low wage workers at Starbucks or in similar roles.

    I’m sure they have their struggles too and they don’t have Olympic histories.

    Reply
    • 2nd August 2017 at 11:04 pm
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      Thank you Adrian. I don’t work there, but I too thought the general attitude was apalling.

      Reply
  • 2nd August 2017 at 1:31 pm
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    Dear Gail,

    Although I can’t claim to have done anything to mark me out as someone you’d want to aspire to emulate, unlike yourself, I have plummeted the depths of poverty and lived to tell the tale. In 2001 I was let go from a job which paid £65K p.a. and had to try to survive on job seekers allowance, £700 pcm. If I paid the rent, we’d have £200 left to pay all the other bills and feed ourselves. We had bailiffs knocking on our door, looking in the windows and us (me, wifey and 3 year old son) hiding behind the sofa. For a while, meal time consisted of a 25p toast loaf from Lidl.

    I gained employment after 6 months, we got through it, contacted all the companies we owed money and made affordable repayment agreements. I am still paying a debt collection agency £60 pcm for the car I had back then, which got repossessed, and I’ll have to live until 76 before the debt is cleared.

    So, you’re not the first and you certainly won’t be the last.

    Chin up, something will happen, not by itself, you’ll have to chase it. There is no shame in working in Starbucks. No one cares or knows that it’s Gail Emms serving them!

    Selling possessions on eBay ? Pah, how low do you think I felt when I pawned my wife’s wedding ring to get money for groceries (?).

    Do your children love you ? Do you love them ? Do you nourish them ? I suspect the answer is very much yes and therefore, YOU ARE NOT A FAILURE.

    Good luck chicken.

    Reply
    • 2nd August 2017 at 11:21 pm
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      Full respect. I hope you and family are ok.

      Reply
  • 2nd August 2017 at 1:31 pm
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    Please knock hard on the door of the completely excellent but totally male dominated BBC 3 Counties Radio sports team. I remember you were fantastic doing a stint with them during London 2012. Being a regular presenter would benefit not only you but sport in general Good Luck

    Reply
  • 2nd August 2017 at 2:03 pm
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    Many people, particularly women after a maternity break, find themselves in a situation where they struggle to pick up on their preferred career path. If they had no discernible career path before then it must be doubly hard. Rejections and no response are a fact of life, we live in an ignorant and profit led world. There is no profit in telling people “no”.

    Harsh as it may seem you have to do as they do, accept it, adapt and craic on. Face facts it might be Poundstretcher not Starbucks you end up working for for a while, though there is no disgrace in working for either. The reality is your Olympic medal was 13 years ago, Olympians and Paralympians are ten a penny nowadays, and no-one owes you or any other ex-athlete a living, or special attention, because of it.

    The world is full of “inspirational speakers” and to be honest it’s an oversubscribed market and it’s not a proper job. Why not set sights higher and retrain as a physiotherapist or complete a PGCE to be a teacher? Sure there is a cost but I’m afraid for the vast majority of people that did not previously get paid to travel the world playing sport they don’t have a network to try to exploit so that is the only option and they get on with it.

    There’s absolutely no way you are a failure but I’m afraid you are absolutely not unique either.

    Reply
  • 2nd August 2017 at 3:25 pm
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    Hi Gail – the job market is tough but you obviously have many skill sets.The hard bit is translating these into a job you want.I have been at the sharp end of recruitment with an agency for the past 35 years and the key is ignore rejection (easier said than done) -it is seldom personal- adapt your cv to each job you apply for to the advertised job,use everybody you know and try and find a ‘positive supporter’ who can help when hopes are raised then dashed.I am happy to help as I have recently retired so feel free to email me -or contact me through LinkedIn Lindsay Weir

    Reply
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  • 2nd August 2017 at 3:38 pm
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    Nothing wrong with working in Starbucks. You might like it.

    Reply
    • 2nd August 2017 at 10:57 pm
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      Good on ya, Paul.

      Reply
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  • 2nd August 2017 at 3:48 pm
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    Gail, you have a whole lot to offer the world. Have you thought about co-writing a book, using your unique experience as an Olympic athlete to inspire people? I am an author, and I’d be interested in discussing a cooperation. You can contact me at supermortals@gmail.com
    best wishes
    Chris

    Reply
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  • 2nd August 2017 at 4:13 pm
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    Hi Gail
    I understand totally how you feel. I retired from paralympic sport 2004 after Athens. I won 25 medals at 5k 10k and marathon in T13 class visually impaired. I struggled for years with dealing with being retired and finding myself personally. I was fortunate to find a job but it wasn’t really what I wanted to do but it paid the bills. I really wanted to stay in athletics but I was forgotten about the day I stepped off the plane. I do coach voluntary at my local athletics club but I would have loved to have been part of the current and future paralympic movement. It’s fantastic you have spoken out loud about this and hopefully it’ll help other ex athletics. I also hope that someone helps you on a career ladder you’ll enjoy and thrive. Sport is like life, you don’t need a handout, just a hand up is sufficient. Regards Mark Farnell

    Reply
  • 2nd August 2017 at 4:51 pm
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    Hi Gail, excuse my ignorance about this, but is there any call for badminton coaches/ sports centre work where you are? I work at a university – we have a lot of former sportspeople working for us in both coaching and admin roles. Also, how about teaching PE?

    Hope everything works out for you – I’m sure it will. All the best.

    Reply
    • 2nd August 2017 at 7:52 pm
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      Unfortunately where Gail lives there is an excess of coaches, from club players to ex internationals and quite often the ex internationals do not actually have the aptitude to coach.

      My husband and son both coach badminton and have done for several years. Hubby volunteers so does not get paid. Our son gets £10 per session, he could ask for more but is then close to charging what the ex internationals charge so would lose people.

      Interestingly our son also has a sports science degree gained in 2015 but it is as much use as a chocolate teapot as without doing a masters there are very few jobs and then they are minimum wage with no prospects for progression.

      I wish Gail all the best and suggest she maybe looks at doing an up to date budget and works out where she could try saving, utilities, phones, downshifting on the groceries.

      On the job front she has so many qualifications that she has perhaps not thought of, time management and finance are two that spring to mind.

      Reply
  • 2nd August 2017 at 5:48 pm
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    First thing is context. It’s not about you. We have a society that is broken at a very fundamental level in which we are treating people as economic units to be made productive or shoved out of the way if they are inconvenient. You are being ground down by a system that isn’t fit for purpose. You are not a failure. It is all of us who are failing to make a world fit to live in.

    I’ve seen you play. So I know you have incredible ability to apply intelligence and dedication to the task in front of you. If nobody is finding a use for that then it’s them losing out as much as you are.

    I’ve no practical advice to give that you won’t find better from others, but stay strong. You are remembered and you have gifts and talents that should eventually be recognised and rewarded.

    Reply
  • 2nd August 2017 at 6:02 pm
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    Hi Gail
    You may think you’re ‘only an ex-olympian’ you have no idea how you
    Inspired people like me to take up badminton. I loved watching your
    passion & skill at Beijing & every time you’re on telly or i see your name
    attached to an article it’s a must read every time!
    You’re personality & joy for life always shine through so I know
    there must be a presenting vacancy ideally in local radio. I still think
    badminton is under resourced in this country and we cannot afford
    to lose high-profile players with your knowledge & experience. Shame
    on Badminton England for not offering you a position as ambassador
    spreading the gospel…All the very best for the future.

    Reply
  • 2nd August 2017 at 6:05 pm
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    Hi. I’ve had a similar situation after 3 redundancies on the run. I couldn’t for the love of money get back into where I came from… I was advised to start again… so here I am on £8.00 an hr.. a waste of talent and skills you may say… but it pays the bills……. JUST….NO OTHER LIFE PERMITTED…and like you I’m retraining and applying for what I deserve out of a work life career. Don’t give up…xx

    Reply
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  • 2nd August 2017 at 7:02 pm
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    Hi gail i know how this is going to sound,although i retired recently i have applied for a good amount of jobs. My local council ,i was feeling that no one will want to employ me .I have got my second wind, i now know there is a job out there for me.Gail don’t despair c’mon use all that propelled you forward in the first, don’t be shy use friend’s aqaintences .Think laterly that is what women are good ,in other words get out there and sell yourself .No one else can do it for you, i beleive you have what it take’s like many other’s so you go girl!!

    Reply
  • 2nd August 2017 at 7:35 pm
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    Kudos to you Gail for admitting and sharing how you feel!
    Most of my life I’ve felt like a failure because my sense of identity was based on what I can do – a house built on sand, at the mercy of circumstances, some of which are outside our control, like sickness and getting older.
    My identity now is that of a child of God and that won’t change – a house built on a rock. The use of my gifts and abilities is less driven and adulterated by the motivation to prop up my self esteem – a relentless and hard task-master! That requires us always delivering a performance to “be someone”. I am someone already and loved and accepted as I am, not for what do, which has helped me immensely to accept myself, failures and all, and to not compare myself with others.
    It’s a long process, as it’s a hard habit to break – seeking to win even our approval, let alone that of others.
    Jesus is the only one who was never a failure. He did the performing for us so we don’t have to.
    I hope you find a job you can enjoy, and just enjoy being who you are, failures, medals and all.

    All the best,

    Cillian

    Reply
  • 2nd August 2017 at 7:44 pm
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    How do you fancy fund raising for a national sports disability charity – paid work not volunteering?
    I think you have the character and the sports knowledge to do the job – even if you have not done fundraising before – and your history will help to open doors for the charity.

    Which part of the UK do you live in Gail?

    Reply
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  • 2nd August 2017 at 9:31 pm
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    Hi Gail, what an honest and brave article. Thankyou. I work in HR for a large professional services company. Please do email me as I’d like to help if I can. Good luck.

    Reply
  • 2nd August 2017 at 10:00 pm
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    Gail drop me an email – andy@ptrgb.org
    You have a huge amount to offer the sporting world

    Reply
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  • 2nd August 2017 at 11:01 pm
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    I have posted honest feedback to this article, as have others. However, funnily enough – it’s been deleted, because it clearly didn’t say what the publishers wanted to hear.
    No truer reflection of today’s media.
    Pathetic.

    Reply
    • 3rd August 2017 at 1:38 pm
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      I didn’t agree with you Sarah but I do not think it was right to delete your post either. Your views are valid whether or not they are shared by others.

      Reply
  • 2nd August 2017 at 11:17 pm
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    You are a Olympic medalist – you are a champion! You dedicated yourself to a sport and trained and gave up the hours ( time!) accordingly. You can do anything! Unfortunately, there are HR managers/ managers in their late twenties early thirties who have really not achieved much, but cannot see your potential because they have been told what to do and who to recruit.

    You are a winner! Be proud! And enjoy your family.

    I had a similar story, but it worked out!

    Reply
  • 2nd August 2017 at 11:25 pm
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    Thanks Gail for sharing your story, a lot of people can relate to your experiences of mental health issues and financial problems and it is comforting to know other people are going through this. You clearly have a lot to offer in terms of badminton and fitness coaching in the long run (I’m a keen badminton player myself and would love to be coached by a professional). In the meantime, hopefully there will be some employer in your area who reads your story and you should make the most of the publicity with this article, and make contact with them accordingly, i.e. writing this article should be the starting point for you to find a new position ! Life is clearly full of ups and downs, but you will get through this time and have a successful life (you already have accomplished a great deal professionally and personally and now it’s time to move on to the next stage). Good luck with everything.

    Reply
  • 3rd August 2017 at 12:25 am
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    No Sarah Smith – you and another – or you, using 2 different handle names posted vicious name calling and abuse. Go sod off and look for a fight elsewhere.

    Reply
    • 3rd August 2017 at 7:26 am
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      No one can have a different opinion or point of view? It gets deleted because it’s running against the grain?
      Yes, I believe a lot of the comments are sycophantic, but I’ve not personally attacked anyone for expressing their personal opinion and the built in bias now running through this thread because different points of view are being deleted doesn’t help anyone.
      Ms Emms is lauded for her honesty, yet the publishers and people like yourself are unable to handle an alternative point of view.
      Perhaps my heartfelt and honest responses (and those of other people – I have only one name!) could be expressed in a less direct or less straightforward way – but I really don’t care.
      Ms Emms needs a reality check about what Britain today is like, which is why I think she should volunteer at a Foodbank. Ms Enms comes across as arrogant, entitled and snobbish and insulting to other hard-working people. For that reason I would not employ her in a million years.
      I’m not bashing the government, on the contrary, they are investing in the hard-grafting individuals I am working with, and our project.
      I know that this little article of self-promotion (in the guise of an article about mental health) will serve its purpose for Ms Emms because it will enable her to leapfrog over other better qualified and more experienced people in the workplace by virtue of her public profile. She has earned this profile, but what I object to is that she sees her funded career as an athlete as automatically entitling her to better treatment than others. The ‘don’t you know who I am’ attitude when an employer or recruitment consultant doesn’t deign to reply to her. Does she have any concept of how many people are applying for said job?
      Does she have any idea of how other people have combined studying at night class or Open University (yes, while juggling low wage jobs and childcare) just to give themselves the chance to get something even slightly better?
      I don’t think this article does anything to advance the cause of equality.
      It does, however, highlight the important point that athletes need to plan early for their retirement from sport, and not expect to walk into a new career of their choosing just because they think they have somehow automatically earned that right. They haven’t.
      The former athletes I work with do not have Ms Emms’s sense of entitlement and that’s why they are successfully grafting very hard to build their new careers and haven’t expected this to happen overnight.
      Many of them have worked for years to support their families in any job they can get, whilst they have retrained, relocated, done whatever they have needed to do in order to make this happen.
      Ms Emms could take a leaf out of their books.
      Just because you have been an Olympian does not mean you are better than anybody else.

      Reply
  • 3rd August 2017 at 12:32 am
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    Exactly Sarah Smith. Take your angry ‘foodbanks, the government and media are evil’ boring rhetoric elsewhere. If you have such contempt for female athletes why are you following a blog for women in sport?

    Reply
    • 3rd August 2017 at 6:25 am
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      I work for a project where former athletes help other people who are less fortunate than themselves.
      Not a single one of them has displayed the arrogant, snobbish and entitled attitude of Ms Emms.
      Not one of them expects special treatment just because they have been an elite athlete.
      I make specific points relating to how Ms Emms presents herself in this article and I am expressing my opinions and response to this article.
      I have not attacked anyone else for their right to express their opinion.
      If you can’t accept that others have a different view, then that’s your problem, not mine.

      Reply
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  • 3rd August 2017 at 5:19 am
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    Hi Gail, I loved the raw honesty of your article. I know so many Olympians and elite sportspeople who can relate (including myself). I retired following the 1998 Winter Olympics and really struggled to gain traction. I ended up securing a great role not based on my skills or experience, but based on my attitude (athletic mindset – I call it my ‘Athlete Factor’). Athletes should not have to go through these struggles, and particularly not alone – that’s why I founded ‘The Athlete Factor’ last year. I now help athletes gain employment post their sporting career (I develop resumes, LinkedIn profiles, job applications and organise work placements). I can absolutely help you and other athletes going through similar transitions. I will try to contact you directly as I would love to be of assistance (I’m based in Australia but help athletes all over the world).
    https://www.theathletefactor.com.au

    ‘The ATHLETE Factor’ is that something special inherent in all athletes, it’s passion, drive, determination and ability to overcome adversity – it’s a very unique mindset and highly valued asset when applied to business

    Reply
  • 3rd August 2017 at 7:13 am
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    In Japan, broken objects are often repaired with gold. The flaw is seen as a unique piece of the object’s history, which adds to it’s beauty. Consider this, when you feel broken. Good luck for the future, I am sure you will prevail.

    Reply
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  • 3rd August 2017 at 9:32 am
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    Sadly Gail Emms is only one of many whose skills and talents are being wasted in this current period of austerity and recession. There are thousands of people who have worked hard and experienced success, only to be subsequently thrown on the scrap heap because of a lack of opportunities. I was a lecturer at a top university, held a PhD and two degrees, was working towards being promoted to professor… then I was made redundant due to government budget cuts. After a couple of years of unemployment I was considered to have been “out of it” for too long to be permitted back in. I can’t even get a job as a shop assistant because I’m “overqualified”. I could have been a respected professor by now… instead I’m broke and unemployed. All of us in this awful situation have drive and ambition… all of us feel ashamed at our lack of success. Not all of us have a magazine article written about our struggles, because in most cases quite frankly nobody cares. Just know that you are not alone.

    Reply
  • 3rd August 2017 at 9:57 am
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    You are such and inspiration both on court and off. What courage it takes to post your feelings of failure. I pray that you turn the corner and find something which help heal your damaged self esteem. We always assume that successful people like yourself have everything rosy. Thank you for your honesty.

    Reply
  • 3rd August 2017 at 10:13 am
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    Too broke for a boob job, half a million pound house plus the other house she owns. Have you seen her Instagram, not living life poorly, get a grip!

    Reply
    • 3rd August 2017 at 5:46 pm
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      Thank you Camilla for also seeing right through her.

      Reply
  • 3rd August 2017 at 10:31 am
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    Get a grip! You could go into coaching/teaching/sports development roles. Unfortunately you’re too arrogant and think the world owns you a favour. Yes it’s amazing that you won an Olympic medal but so have so have thousands of other athletes. It’s no coincidence that you’ve written this article just as you launch a new company. Your Instagram account tells a different story of how you are living your life.

    Reply
    • 3rd August 2017 at 5:45 pm
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      Indeed. I have seen all that too.

      Reply
  • 3rd August 2017 at 2:00 pm
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    Gail, your honesty speaks volumes about you and will mean a lot to the many many others, not all skilled and famous, who encounter some of mid life challenges. Not anywhere near your level but I have been there too. From feeling on top of the world to a complete loss of confidence is not a journey I would wish on anyone – but I have that experience and had to go through a major rebuilding process. The good news is that its completely doable and you can emerge with a new and more lasting peace of mind and comfort with who you are. There are loads of positive responses and I hope some of them will resonate and, with luck, lead to better times for you. I know nothing about you or your sport but I did relate to the person who commented that to be coached by an Olympian would be something else.

    I followed you on Twitter because to me you were an identifiable world class sports person. I remember watching you when you represented your country. I can’t help feeling that with the right guidance (maybe that’s what’s lacking?) your skills in the sport that you love should be able to provide you with a comfortable lifestyle – the Gail Emms Badminton Academy sounds good to me. But I would need someone with the business and marketing skills to make that a reality. Being world class at your sport does not necessarily equip you to sell yourself in the ways you now need.

    I hope you find the right partner to make your dreams come true. In the meantime don’t devalue yourself – you had what it took to reach the pinnacle of your sport. That is something special and a gift not given to many. You have not lost that, just a temporary loss of confidence. Remember who you really are. I do wish you every success and I have no doubt that you will achieve your next set of goals.

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  • 3rd August 2017 at 5:34 pm
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    First read “Get the Job You Really Want” by James Caan.
    Being part of team is OK but running it is better so read “One Minute Management”.
    These are great tools and both should be available from your local library.

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  • 4th August 2017 at 7:28 am
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    Dear Gail
    I saw your article in The Times newspaper yesterday. You seem a very lucid and able individual. I do not really know your personal circumstances except what I learnt from the article but my company is currently recruiting in our PR & Communications dept. If you are interested to learn more, please email me. Good luck anyway. Kind regards

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  • 4th August 2017 at 3:19 pm
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    Gail,

    You are not only an Olympic medallist, six-times national champion and more to boot, but you are also an excellent writer.

    Have you thought about writing a book? Not just a ‘I did sport, blah blah blah’, but a real, raw, emotional tale of what it really is like to be the real person within a star.

    So many people feel the way you do, myself included, and they haven’t even been to the Olympics yet. You have inspired so many people through your sport, let them be inspired by you once more.

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  • 20th August 2017 at 11:51 pm
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    Has Miss Emms not considered ‘self employment’? She is well educated, has a University degree and a wealth of experience in ‘training’.
    Does she have a driving licence? If so, why not become a Driving Instructor? According to a recently published article by a specialist accountancy firm dealing with many thousands of instructors, the top 15% of them, that is – the very, very best, are earning over £51,000 per annum AFTER all car expenses and taxes are paid. And that gives a much better standard of living than being a barista in Starbucks or flipping burgers in a well known fast food outlet.

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