When we first invited Laura Gallagher onto SportSpiel even she had no idea that she was going to share her incredible story for the first time.
Having never publicly spoken about it before, the GB trampolinist opened up for the first time about her struggles with injury, mental health, identity and confidence earlier this year.
It was one of the most powerful and poignant interviews we have ever hosted, an in-depth insight into the extreme highs and lows elite sport can elicit.
In her second interview with the podcast, Gallagher admitted she hadn’t planned on delving so deeply into that period of her life, she was glad she did.
Listen to the podcast episode below
“It definitely felt like I was putting something to bed,” the 2017 British champion recalled.
“I feel like I’ve evolved as a person and a gymnast. I didn’t have any idea that I was going to talk about that when I spoke to you last time; it just came out.
“I was just ready to close the door on that and not forget it but completely move on from it because everything’s changed. I’m a much different person now and I’m in a much better place.
“I was just ready to dump that, close the door on it and not have to pay it too much attention any more because I was just ready to let it go.
“I was a bit nervous when it came out – as soon as I stopped speaking I didn’t really know why I’d said what I did. It just happened!”
So inspirational was her interview that it currently sits as our second most listened to episode, attracting hundreds of listens and plenty of reactions and shares on social media.
While Gallagher’s family have supported her through every step of her journey, she said that they were just as moved listening to her speaking about it on record.
The two-time team European champion said: “My mum said it was a brilliant interview and that she was really proud of me – she doesn’t say that sort of thing very much, we’re not really that sort of family. But she said she had goosebumps listening to it.
“For Matt [her husband] I think it was a hard time to revisit, it was difficult. But he was also really supportive as usual.
“I took some time to share it on my social media platforms because I think I needed it to sink in a little bit. But it had a positive response which was quite a surprise and people saying they could relate to the story.”
“I’m loving it more than ever”
Despite winning numerous medals at national, continental and world level, Gallagher is still yet to appear at an Olympic Games.
At the time of writing she is in the middle of the process of attempting to change that and qualify for Tokyo 2020, with two crucial World Cup events coming up in Russia and Spain over the next couple of weeks that will have a significant bearing on whether she can achieve that goal.
But instead of worrying about the pressure of trying to reach sport’s biggest event, the 2014 team world champion is instead mainly focusing on ensuring she enjoys the sport as much as she can and makes the most of each day.
“I’m loving it more than ever,” she stated.
“It’s been such an incredible journey and I just think it shows what you can do if you keep going.
“Nothing is ever smooth, sometimes you may have a dip or a bad day you need to come out the other side of. For me that day went on for maybe a couple of years and I just needed to press stop.
“Now I’m back in the game I’m loving it more than ever and I definitely feel unfinished and have lots more that I want to do.
“I feel really excited and I don’t feel worried because whatever happens I know I’m going to be ok. I also feel really up for the challenge.
“I feel like I have a really good balance of everything at the moment and I hope it stays that way and that I can meet my dreams.”
Words and interview: Will Moulton
Image credits: With thanks to Mike Driscoll (podcast image) and Laura Gallagher
All music in this episode is courtesy of Otis McDonald.