Episode #22 – No Fear of Falling Podcast – Marissa Ponich (Fencing Athlete, Canada)

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In this episode, we dived into the world of fencing (not sword first though, as that would be dangerous) with Marissa Ponich, a member of the Canadian National Fencing Team, the current #33 rank in the world in the Sabre, and a crowdfunded athlete through the awesome donors at MAKEACHAMP.

Very few people are able to find an activity that they love. Even fewer are able to find one that they are willing to devote huge parts of their life towards. Even fewer are willing and able to juggle a full-time job and a comprehensive and demanding training schedule while competing at the highest level. But that is the daily life of Marissa, and she does it as she says to ensure that when the time comes to hang up her sword, that she will have no regrets in what she did and accomplished.

We talked about her journey into the sport, the lessons and qualities she has gained from competing within it, and about how pursuing your dreams can be hard, but putting in the hard work always pays off in the end in both results and personal satisfaction and knowledge.

You can find out more about Marissa, and contribute to her crowdfunding campaign at the following links:

https://www.facebook.com/MPonichFencer/ (Facebook)

https://www.instagram.com/mponichfencer/ (Instagram)

https://makeachamp.com/mponich/29226 (Current MAKEACHAMP Campaign)


Episode #21 – No Fear of Falling Podcast – Nicolas Florquin (Small Arms Survey)

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In this episode, we dive into the serious topic of illegal arms-trafficking and try to learn some more about those that are out there working to try and stop it.

We talk with NICOLAS FLORQUIN, a Senior Researcher at the SMALL ARMS SURVEY, an NGO based out of Geneva, Switzerland, whose aim is to be both a principal information source about the subject for the public and policy makers, but also to be an independent monitor who is out there in the field researching and documenting information that pertains to the illegal acquisition, trade, and smuggling of small arms (which can be anything from pistols to RPG’s and many in between).

We talk about the challenges of working within different countries, different cultures, and differing levels of bureaucratic control. We also talked about Nicola’s personal motivations for doing what he does, his definitions of success and failure as they pertain to his line of work, and his belief to never stop learning and always be creating new things!

Disclaimer: All views expressed by Nicolas in this episode are his personal views, and do not necessarily express or reflect the organizational policy of the Small Arms Survey.

To learn more about Nicolas and the Small Arms Survey, you visit the following links:

http://www.smallarmssurvey.org (Official Website)

https://www.facebook.com/SmallArmsSurvey (Facebook)

https://twitter.com/SmallArmsSurvey (Twitter)

https://www.linkedin.com/company-beta/626809/ (LinkedIn)

https://www.youtube.com/user/SmallArmsSurvey (YouTube)


Episode #20 – No Fear of Falling Podcast – Houry Gebeshian (Artistic Gymnastics Athlete, Armenia)

Libsyn ButtoniTunesGoogle PlayIn this episode (our first one back after a bit of a hiatus), we are talking with Rio 2016 Olympian, and the first ever woman to compete for ARMENIA in artistic gymnastics, HOURY GEBESHIAN.

You may have heard her story during the Olympics, as many news outlets told her story, which is a very inspiring one. From deciding to leave the sport after failing to qualify for the 2012 Olympics, to returning and training herself into competitive shape in a self-funded and directed manner; all while combining this dream of the Olympics with a full-time career in the Medical field.

Houry is a shining example of what one can do with determination, drive, and very strong time-management skills. Now she is continuing her path in gymnastics in both coaching, and crowdfunding to help develop the Armenian Women’s Gymnastics program.

We talked about combining education and sport, about her journey and the lessons she learned along the way, and how one has to fail in order to succeed. It was a great episode to record, and Houry is so well-spoken and fascinating to listen to.

You can learn more about Houry and what she is up to, and contribute to her Crowdfunding campaign over at GoFundMe for the Armenian Women’s Gymnastics Team here:

https://www.gofundme.com/HootingForHoury (GoFundMe Page)

https://www.facebook.com/HouryGebeshian (Facebook)

https://www.instagram.com/hourygebeshian (Instagram)

https://twitter.com/HouryGebeshian (Twitter)

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCTahWIWaRTTjZE6Nwam4Jqw (YouTube)

The San Marino Speed Demon

There are few types of athletes that have less of a “Fear of Falling” (see what I did there?) than alpine skiers. They are a special breed, competing on that ragged edge between life and death, putting their minds and bodies on the line as they zip down the slopes at speeds most humans do not have the ability or courage to travel at. Alongside sliding athletes (Bobsled, Luge, Skeleton) and race car drivers, alpine skiers have this ability to understand speed, understand the risks, and then want to do it over and over again. It takes a special kind of person to absorb all of this, and an especially special person to be able to want to come back to it after sustaining a serious injury.

This is what Lorenzo Bizzocchi is working through right now. A 24-year old alpine-skiing athlete from the small nation of San Marino, he has spent this season nursing and fighting off the effects of an ACL injury. For many athletes, such an injury would mean an immediate stop to training and competition. But in his case, it has spurred him on to continue pushing himself, and if nothing, has even given him more drive and determination than he had before.

Coming from a nation where skiing is seen as a hobby and pastime, Lorenzo’s first love was Football. He competed in this sport until he was 19 years old, with skiing being his winter hobby. But the desire to see how far he could push himself as an athlete drove him towards competitive skiing, where there was no team around him, just him and the mountain. His passion for improving and getting better grew as he continued on, and his goal of getting better and better continues to this day, with 3 years and around 50 starts (including one World Championships) on the FIS circuit under his belt.

But, as many top level athletes know, such dedication and drive for your craft involves funding, which is why Lorenzo, like so many other athletes, has turned to crowdfunding sites like MAKEACHAMP to raise funds to continue his development and growth. He has coupled internet fundraising with jobs over the off-season to raise the funds to continue doing what he loves, but it also creates a difficult situation for him. In that in a period of time where an athlete would be recuperating and also preparing for the next season, he is combining work, training, and rest all at the same time. It is not exactly the most opportune combination, but Lorenzo stays motivated and driven throughout it all, determined that his time will come where skiing will be his entire life, all 12 months of the year.

And now, even with knee surgery looming, he is positive for what will come ahead. He plans to continue his career, pushing to qualify for future World Championships and Olympic Games. He wants to continue representing his country in the best way possible as an athlete and a person, thus bringing exposure and creating interest in San Marino and what it has to offer. He is studying in university for a career in Sports Science so that when his time is up, he can help train and mold the next generation of Sanmarinese athletes.

But most of all, he continues to drive towards success; where he can continue to push himself beyond what he believed was his perceived limits, to spur on improvement and personal growth. Because in his eyes, failure is when you don’t give all of yourself to achieve a goal. But we know that injury or not, surgery or not, Lorenzo Bizzocchi will keep fighting.

And we can’t wait to see what he will do next.

Writer’s Note: Lorenzo wants to thank Social Più for all of their support thus far, and to all of his contributors and followers on social media for their support and love.

Episode #19 – No Fear of Falling Podcast – Candice Mitchell (Canadian Muay Thai Fighter)

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In this episode, we head to Thailand to talk to CANDICE MITCHELL, a Muay Thai Fighter who currently is raising funds over at MAKEACHAMP to cover travel and administrative costs associated with competing at the upcoming IFMA World Championships in May; taking place in Minsk, Belarus.

Candice’s story is special in that she took an unorthodox route to get where she is now, but in the process she is doing something that many people dream of doing…in that she made the decision to leave everything she knew behind, to go after her dream and see how far she could take it.

She started training in Muay Thai at age 31, and a few years later made the decision to go professional, and move to Phuket, Thailand to train with the Phuket Top Team, one of the premier gyms in the city. She has taken this opportunity to grow stronger and better, and her results have mimicked this development, with a strong fight record, numerous titles, and the synonymous nickname of “Candi Crush” which describes her in-ring abilities quite well.

We talked about her journey to get where she is now, the numerous physical and mental benefits to practicing a martial art, the mentality of a fighter in the ring, and how failure is the ultimate opportunity to learn and grow stronger.

You can find out more about Candice, donate to her crowdfunding campaign and keep track of her news and results by checking out the links below:

https://makeachamp.com/candicekmitch (MAKEACHAMP Page)

http://candicekmitchell.com (Official Website)

https://www.facebook.com/CandiceKMitchell (Facebook Page)

https://twitter.com/CandiceKMitch (Twitter)

https://www.instagram.com/candicekmitch (Instagram)

https://www.youtube.com/CandiceKMitchell (YouTube)

Episode #18 – No Fear of Falling Podcast – Nigerian Women’s Bobsled Team

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In this episode, we head to Houston, Texas, USA to talk to the three members of the NIGERIAN WOMEN’S BOBSLED TEAM, Seun Adigun, Ngozi Onwumere, and Akuoma Omeoga, who are currently crowdfunding on GoFundMe to raise funds for training and competition costs as they aim for the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang.

To date, there have been 7 athletes from the continent of Africa who have competed in the Winter Olympics. None of them have competed in Bobsled, and none of them have been women. So these three are breaking new ground in their journey, and in turn inspiring a generation of athletes in Nigeria and Africa to look outside the normal, and to aim to do something different.

But not only are they breaking new ground, they are doing it in a DIY fashion; to the point of making their own training equipment, conducting their own social media, and combining the training schedules of an Olympic athlete within their own lives which already have higher educational studies and careers within them.

Their journey so far has been documented by a number of different media outlets, both in print, television, and on the internet. For some, this exposure would go to their heads, but these three continue to maintain that what they are doing is so much bigger than just them, and have stayed humble and selfless within it all.

We talked about their journey so far, the nuances associated with learning Bobsled,    the impact that they hope to leave in their continent through what they are doing, and how failure is a way to learn, grow, and develop yourselves into a stronger person.

To check out their updates, news, and to find out more, you can check out the following links:

http://www.bsfnigeria.com (Official Website)

https://www.facebook.com/Bobsled-Skeleton-Federation-Of-Nigeria-1698794513771544/ (Facebook)

https://twitter.com/BSF_Nigeria (Twitter)

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCt8zECC75IJhqwRtR1R81dA (YouTube)

https://www.instagram.com/bsfnigeria/ (Instagram)

Episode #17 – No Fear of Falling Podcast – Yasnyiar Bonne Gea (Professional Surfer, Indonesia)

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In this episode, we head to the beautiful beaches of Bali, Indonesia to talk to YASNYIAR BONNE GEA, a professional surfer who currently is crowdfunding over at our favorite crowdfunding platform MAKEACHAMP to raise funds for her upcoming competition schedule as she aims for the Asia Champion Title.

She is a 5 Time Indonesian Women’s Champion (2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012), and a 2 Time Asian Champion (2011, 2014).

What makes her story so fascinating is how she got to this point, in that Bonne was completely self-taught. She started surfing quite late in life (20-21), and she got herself to the point that she is now completely through hard work, trial and error, determination, and a love for being on the waves.

We talked about her journey to get where she is now, about surf tourism in Indonesia, how surfing can be used for female empowerment, the parallels that surfing have on normal life, and you’ll hear a touching story by her friend Lentera Lentaya (who also is the second voice you hear translating in this episode) talking about how she met Bonne and how amazing a person Bonne is.

You can contribute to Bonne’s MAKEACHAMP campaign, and keep track of her news and social media (she does a lot of great videos) at the following links:

https://www.facebook.com/yasnyiarbonnegea (Facebook)

https://makeachamp.com/yasnyiarbonnegea/27376 (MAKEACHAMP)