The Normal World

Ever since I quit my elite gymnastics career I struggled to transition into the normal world. I almost want to say that the years after I quit my elite career might even be harder than the ones during my gymnastics career. By creating this platform I hope that I can help other, soon-to-be ex elite athletes, or athletes that have already retired. I hope by sharing my story and help others share their stories will help you along the way.

I want to create something I wished was there when I quit my Elite Career to help others

Annaleid Bakker

This podcast is what I wish was there when I quit elite gymnastics and entered the normal world. In my experience listening to other stories from peers helped me so much to recognize I wasn’t alone in this battle. And maybe you aren’t an ex-elite athlete, but just someone interested in the world of elite athletes. That’s also fine, this podcast is for everyone!

the normal world podcast - Actually Anna, annaleid bakker

The Podcast – The Normal World

The normal world is a podcast where I interview an ex-elite athlete every month about their struggles transitioning into the normal world. We are not going to talk only about elite gymnastics, but a variety of different sports. Why did they quit? Which struggles did they face? And what advice would they give their younger selves right now? Curious? You can listen to it on Spotify or iTunes. Or in the player down below!

Ep. 18 The Normal World of Ben van der Burg (Dutch) The Normal World

In this Dutch episode I spoke with Ben van der Burg, who was an elite athlete speed skater in The Netherlands. We talked about his career, the runup to becoming second in the 1990 all round world championships, getting injured and how he experienced life after he quit speed skating. Nowadays Ben works amongst other things for Triple, an IT-company, BNR nieuwsradio, Tech Podcast and as a freelance journalist.If you're interested in transformational coaching or a self-study about habits, realistic goal setting, and routines, don't forget to check out my website: Actually AnnaI hope by sharing this podcast I can help other ex-elite athletes or athletes that are going to retire. I also hope that this podcast will help me heal in the sense that I can create something I wish was there when I quit my elite career. Enjoy listening!Want to tell your story in this podcast? Send an email to with "Podcast" in the subject. Are you an ex elite athlete in The Netherlands? Don't forget to check out or the programs of Team NL @work!————————Music used in the intro and outro of this podcast is We Are Free by Iksonhttps://www.iksonmusic.comThe Normal World – Podcast © 2021 by Annaleid Bakker is licensed under Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International  Hosted on Acast. See for more information.
  1. Ep. 18 The Normal World of Ben van der Burg (Dutch)
  2. Ep 17. The Normal World of Maaike van de Bovenkamp
  3. Ep 16. The fear of the unknown – Your transformation journey
  4. Ep 15. Transformation, my 30th and a very special ring
  5. Ep. 14 The Normal World of Roelien Piron

Share your story on The Normal World

If you want me to interview you in my monthly podcast and help share your story about your transition period to the normal world? Send an email to and mention podcast in the subject.

Other services

Through my experiences as a former elite athlete and my experiences with mental health afterwards, I can definitely call myself a peer mentor or peer supporter. I’m always willing to speak at an event about my own experiences, the importance of talking about this subject or another related subject. Since I also have a bachelor’s degree in Physical Education and a master’s degree in Sports Science it can also be regarding those subjects. I’m also open to write an article or be a guest in a podcast or youtube channel. And if you want a peer mentor to talk to and understand what you’re going through, I’m also open to requests in that area!

Send an email to and mention podcast in the subject.

start your dream life by kristinal Karlsson from Kikki K.

Need help?

Throughout these interviews and my own research, I found some programs that might be able to help find your way into the normal world. If you have any suggestions or you know other programs that help ex elite athletes, let me know! – Dutch institute that helps ex-elite athletes with or without an elite status.

Team NL @ work – NOC NSF program for ex-elite athletes that were part of a national team with a status.

The Normal World – Podcast © 2021 by Annaleid Bakker is licensed under Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International