Performing under pressure takes physical, mental and emotional resilience. To succeed in an arena where you are competing with other high achievers, where your daily programme includes change and adversity – requires a skill set that focuses your effort, honest decision making and supports you through the inevitable challenges that come your way.

Hear from four international sporting greats as they share for the first time, some of their most personal experiences of intense competition, setbacks and wins; and ultimately, what it takes to achieve outstanding success on the international sporting arena.


Sophie Pascoe

Sophie Pascoe

“Pressure for me comes from competing against myself. I’m not satisfied yet. I think, right, I’ve accomplished that challenge…what’s the next challenge going to be? There are days when I want to give up, but I believe I have a very high pain tolerance from years of surgeries. That tolerance and mental strength helps me push through the hours of pain, sacrifice and hard work and to face up to the pressure I put on myself.“

Sophie Pascoe is now New Zealand’s most awarded Paralympian after recent achievements at the 2016 Paralympics where she won 5 medals, three gold and two silver.

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Steve Hansen

Steve Hansen

“Real pressure is when you’ve got to spend half an hour giving someone CPR and trying to save their life, and then when that doesn’t work, telling their children or their father or mother: ‘sorry we haven’t been able to save them’ What we’re doing is playing a game of rugby.”

One of the greatest rugby coaches of the modern era, being part of the All Black coaching team that has won back to back Rugby World Cups accompanied by an overall winning percentage of 90% since being appointed head coach in 2012.

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Jimmy Spithill

Jimmy Spithill

“As tough as it is to make mistakes or experience defeat, in a team environment it's one of the best ways to find out who you want next to you on the battlefield. Champions and champion teams use adversity as an opportunity to be candid, learn and comeback stronger.”

Jimmy Spithill made history by becoming, at age 30, the youngest skipper to win the America's Cup, but his sailing success goes far beyond that. The Australian native is one of the most decorated sailors in the world.

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Eric Murray

Eric Murray

“Over my career, we developed far more internal pressure on ourselves, than the pressure and expectation that was put on us eternally. We knew we had to perform every single day, so that internal pressure helped to develop a day by day ownership of what we were doing. It made us aware that every row, was going to culminate towards our target, and by trying to better ‘ourselves’ each and every single time, it would help us gain huge confidence around what we knew were capable of achieving and a realistic expectation of result.”

Double Olympic Gold Medallist, Eric is part of the greatest winning streak in international rowing history, remaining unbeaten with partner Hamish Bond over 8 eight years, 69 races and 24 international regattas.

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