Back to content hub

Ollie Hynd MBE, a distinguished British para-swimmer, has carved a path of excellence in the world of swimming. His performances in various international competitions, including the Paralympic Games, have earned him numerous accolades.

Notable highlights include securing a gold medal and setting a new Paralympic record in the 200m individual medley during the 2012 Paralympics in London, and returning from the Rio 2016 Paralympic games with two gold medals and two new World Records. Ollie also became the first British Para swimmer to achieve the ‘grand slam’ of international titles, having won gold at Paralympic, World, European and Commonwealth level.

Ollie was also appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) by King Charles in the 2013 New Year’s Honours list for his services to swimming.

Ollie Hynd with medals

Having retired from international competition in 2021, Ollie continues to share his experiences and insights to inspire resilience and self-belief in others through various initiatives. Ollie is particularly passionate about empowering individuals to overcome adversity and embrace a holistic approach to wellbeing. Ollie’s impact stretches far beyond the pool, and he now hosts inspiring talks at schools across the country to positively influence the next generation.

Ollie will be hosting our new ‘Wellbeing works with Betterspace’ podcast and will be talking all things wellbeing in the workplace with a variety of different guests across different industries. We have an exciting string of guests that will be joining Ollie over the next few weeks, including Tonia O’Connor, Vanessa Pazos and Steven Hardisty so watch this space……

Wellbeing Works with Betterspace Podcast

On today’s episode of the podcast, we are going to be talking to Matthew Martin. Matthew is the Health & Wellbeing officer at Swim England, where he is responsible for making aquatic activity more inclusive to people of all ages, abilities, and backgrounds, whilst also driving participation in all thing’s aquatics!

Ali Jawad PLY is a former British powerlifter who competed in the -59kg class. Ali discovered his talent for powerlifting at 16-year-old, when he decided to take up the sport and pursuit his dream of the Paralympic Games. He went on to represent his country at four Paralympic games, spanning from Beijing 2008 to Tokyo 2020, winning an impressive silver medal at Rio 2016 in the -59kg class.

Ali built on his impressive Paralympic campaign by competing at both the 2014, and 2018 Commonwealth games, winning a bronze medal on both occasions. He was also crowned World Champion in 2014, and European Champion in 2015.

Despite his sporting success, Ali has had to manage a tough battle with Crohn’s disease since his diagnosis in 2009. This has caused many challenges for Ali, including a flair up in 2017 which meant he was unable to compete at the World Championship. He has since become heavily involved in charitable causes that support those suffering from the disease.
Since retiring from international sport in 2021, Ali has gone on to co found AccesserCise, a fitness app that is especially designed for the disability community, bringing access to exercise for varying impairments.

James has an impressive background in elite sport, having competed at the London 2012 Paralympic Games in swimming. In the years that followed, James competed at the World Championships and the European Championships, picking up medals along the way.

In 2018, James retired from international competition to pursue other goals, and pursue his career within athlete services. Although James’ retirement didn’t last long… in September of 2021, he decided to make a courageous comeback in pursuit of a Commonwealth medal at the games in Birmingham. After taking a big gamble, the payoff came in the shape of a bronze medal in his favoured event, the 100m Butterfly. After his medal success at the Commonwealth Games, James again retired from international competition.

Having had a long-standing interest and drive for improving athlete wellbeing, James has worked in various roles within athlete services, from Performance Lifestyle roles with both Loughborough University & EIS, to Performance Services Officer with BPA. James is particularly passionate about holistic wellbeing and supporting the development of athletes both on and off the field of play.

In today’s in-depth chat we talk all thing’s wellbeing in elite sport, from why individualised wellbeing support for athletes is the way forward, and some lessons corporates may be able to learn about personalized wellbeing, and why supporting their employee’s wellbeing should be taken seriously. Enjoy!

Steve is an experienced, wellbeing professional that offers holistic wellbeing support within the elite sporting sphere.

Within his current role, Steve is working as the wellbeing and project manager at Rugby League Cares. As part of this, he is responsible for delivering world class wellbeing & welfare services to those involved in the professional, and semi-professional game.

Steve has a real passion & drive to support athlete wellbeing through the delivery of holistic athlete support, that looks to develop the athlete as both an elite performer, and as a person.

In this episode we cover all things wellbeing in sport, from grassroots all the way to athletes transitioning out of elite sport into their next career. I hope you enjoy!

Vanessa is a confident and driven operational professional with over 10 years’ experience in building teams and delivering operational processes to ensure efficient working environments. With a natural flair for leading and managing internal and external relationships through collaboration, team spirit, achievement, empowerment, innovation, and initiative – Vanessa has developed a proven track record across various industries, start-ups to corporates, for managing stakeholders with a confident and credible demeanour and a solution focussed mindset.

Vanessa has worked in various roles throughout her illustrious career, with her first role being with Real Club Celta de Vigo in Spain, as their Interim English Translator & Team Administrator. She later moved to the UK where she began her career in HR & Operations taking various roles throughout her career with LOC, Groove Capital Management, and BCI Finance. 

Vanessa is passionate about what technology can do by helping to enhance transparency, fairness, and equal opportunity for all.  She champions these causes through her advisory roles in businesses that support underrepresented people, and as a school governor in her local area.  In addition to this, Vanessa is also a Partner & Operations Director at NoBa Capital, whilst also acting as a Non-Executive Director here with us at Betterspace.