162: Lesley McKenna/New Frontiers

Photo: Owen

On this week’s episode I welcomed the great Lesley McKenna back to the show for her second visit, a mere four years after her first appearance in June 2017. If you don’t know Lesley, she’s a snowboarder and Olympian who is, to my mind, one of the most original and quietly influential thinkers in action sports.

Lesley was actually my first ever female guest, and in the intervening years a lot has changed – and not just for the my humble little podcast. There’s the fact that her efforts with GB Park & Pipe (which formed a large part of that original discussion), helped yield a further British bronze medal for Billy Morgan at the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics, as well as the wider changes we can expect following skating and surfing’s own Olympic bow at the 2020 Tokyo Games.

Photo: Owen

It’s the type of new territory that is, to my mind, crying out for the type of sophisticated insight that Lesley specialises in. Whenever I need to sense check my understanding of any new developments in our world, Lesley is my first port of call. Which is why I decided to get her back on the show for an agenda-free catch up about all things sideways as our culture steps into a brave new post-Tokyo world.

I’ve been lucky enough to count Lesley as a close friend for over 25 years now, and I always relish our time together. I know the conversation will leap off in spontaneous directions, and that it’ll be thought-provoking and intellectually nourishing. I purposefully didn’t prepare for this conversation so I could enjoy that spontaneity in real time, and that’s exactly how it panned out. Listen here:

Connect With Lesley

Show Notes

  • Taffy the dog
  • The housing co-operative 
  • Land ownership in Scotland 
  • Sustainable compromise 
  • Understanding different perspectives  
  • Conceptual not political 
  • Ego
  • Spotlights 
  • Reacting
  • Athlete to coach 
  • Learning to create solutions 
  • Pragmatic and practical 
  • Lesley’s current work 
  • The changing narrative of the Olympics
  • What is excellence?
  • The James Hope-Gill episode 
  • Progress 
  • “..Community is everything..” 
  • Communication
  • When myths collide 
  • Mythology of modern snowboarding 
  • Context and value
  • The philosophy of free-sports 
  • Winter Olympics ’22
  • Wandering Workshops

People Mentioned

  • Euan 
  • Coira 
  • Alastair McIntosh
  • Joe Taylor 
  • Simone Biles 
  • Naomi Osaka 
  • Adam Peaty 
  • Piers Morgan 
  • James Hope Gill 
  • Brian Glenney 
  • Craig Kelly 
  • Terje Haakonsen
  • Nicolas Muller 
  • Travis Rice
  • Billy Morgan 
  • Hannah Bailey
  • James Woods 
  • Kirsty Muir 
  • Katie Ormerod

Places Mentioned

  • Scotland 
  • Aviemore 
  • Cairngorms National Park 
  • Tokyo 
  • Japan 

Companies, Brands, Organisations Mentioned

  • National Parks
  • GB Park and Pipe 
  • UK Sport 
  • GB Snow Sports 
  • The Olympics 
  • Metro 
  • Wandering Workshops