'I don't need to copy the Jamaicans...I just need to be myself. When you're trying too hard to be someone else, it takes so much energy.'
Have you wondered what it might feel like to run 800m at the Olympics for your country? Would you believe us if we told you that superstar Peter Bol considers himself an introvert?
In this episode of the Voices of Australia podcast, Olympian Peter Bol helps us explore the role sport plays in fostering social cohesion. Peter shares stories about his family's journey to Australia, running in an Olympic final, and becoming the fastest Australian 800m athlete in history.
In this episode, we chat with Peter about:
How the decision to leave basketball allowed him to travel the world and experience new cultures through athletics.
Making a career in sports when your family pushes you towards education.
The inspiration that drove him to be the fastest in his school, state, and then country.
The role sport plays in helping migrants navigate their identity.
Voices of Australia is a Scanlon Foundation Research Institute podcast exploring all things interesting in the world of social cohesion. You can find us on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, or wherever you get your podcasts.
Peter Bol was born in Khartoum to a Sudanese mother and a South Sudanese father. After traveling through Eygpt at the age of 4, Peter and his family first arrived in Toowoomba when he was 8, before finally settling in Perth.
Peter captured the hearts of Australia in the Tokyo Olympics by finishing 4th in the men’s 800m final where he was watched by over 2 and a half million people and produced the best result by an Australian male in an individual track event since 1988. It is not a surprise then that this was the most-watched event of the Tokyo Olympics. Ranked 19th going into Tokyo, Peter set the national record in his heat, and then won his semi-final in another national record time of 1:44.11.
This year Peter won his third consecutive national 800m title and become the first-ever Australian to qualify for a world championship final in the 800m. And, of course, most recently, Peter won silver at the Birmingham Olympic Games. On and off the track, Peter is an extraordinary athlete, an accomplished public speaker, and has recently taken on the role of Ambassador for the community organisation, Youth Activating Youth.
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