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…

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. 8 The Normal World of Kim Are Killingberg The Normal World

In this episode of The Normal World, we'll dive into the world of Squash. Kim Are Killingberg is sharing his story of how he started playing squash at a later age in Norway. How he had to moved The Netherlands to progress his career, and had to quit due to chronic fatigue illness. Kim is now working as a physiotherapist in Alpen aan den Rijn at CompleteFysioFitness. For more info about his practice, you can go to or @completefysiofitness on Instagram.I 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! See for privacy and opt-out information.
  1. Ep. 8 The Normal World of Kim Are Killingberg
  2. Ep. 7 The Normal World of Petra de Bruin
  3. Ep. 6 The Normal World of Sjef Bakker (Dutch)
  4. Ep. 5 The Normal World of Nienke Grun
  5. Ep. 4 The Normal World of Eva Mol

Share your story

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.

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.