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Comparatively speaking, sporting careers are short and somewhat fleeting. It is not uncommon for professional athletes to feel a sense of loss of identity when retiring from a career in sport. Identity helps us to connect with others as well as to our sense of self. For may of us, our identities are rooted in our relationships as well as the activities we take part in.

On this episode, I interview Mark Richardson, a former world class 400m runner and Olympic silver medalist. During his athletics career, Mark experienced some amazing highs but also some incredible lows. And while his exploits on the track remain firmly affixed to the pinnacle of Great Britain’s track and field Olympics history, athletics is just one part of his story.

Mark’s specialism, the relay, is an appropriate metaphor for life itself. Most of us are in a state of constant growth and development, our sense of self undergoing several metamorphoses throughout our lives.

Change isn’t inherently bad, but it can be destabilising, especially when you’re not prepared for it. While Mark’s transition out of professional sport was a challenging one, it wasn’t debilitating.

If you like the podcast and want to give us some feedback, or if you want to be featured on the show, please use the contact form in the ‘About’ section.

In the meantime, click the link above to start the episode now and thank you for listening.

My wife and I are in a cross-cultural relationship. We’re both black, but she’s of Ghanaian heritage and I was born in Jamaica. If you listened to the first episode of Marriages Behind Closed Doors, then you will have heard about some of the specific cultural challenges we faced during the engagement and leading up to the wedding.

For black men, dating outside of your race can bring its own difficulties, particularly from within the black community. There is a deeply held stereotype that many successful black men will choose to date and marry women of other races. There are countless forums on the internet criticising TV starts, sports personalities and other successful black men who have chosen to date or marry women of other races, and there is a lot of pain and anger from some black women about this.

There is another deeply held stereotype which offers a small part of the explanation as to why that may be the case. Black women are sometimes seen as problematic, angry and confrontational. In the desirability stakes, black women feature very low on the totem pole. Lighter skin, longer hair and more demure features have long been upheld as the standard of femininity and beauty.

Additionally, the history of racism and social privilege does not automatically lend itself to making black women the natural inhabitants of the upper echelons of society. The gender disparity in the figures of interracial marriage within the United States are significant and show that black men are choosing to marry outside of their race at substantially higher rates than black women do.

As a result, many black women feel cast aside and unloved by the black men they raised. 

This is obviously a very complex subject to dissect, and one that requires extreme care and sensitivity. In this episode, Daniel, Andre, Maurice and I all try to keep the conversation fairly light and humorous however, you will hear undertones of many of these issues as we talk about our own experiences.

If you like the podcast and want to give us some feedback, or if you want to be featured on the show, please use the contact form in the ‘About’ section.

In the meantime click the link above to start the episode now and thank you for listening.