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As Birmingham prepares to welcome the world in 2022, 22 Voices is a podcast series that will profile sporting stars and cultural trailblazers as the build up to the Commonwealth Games continues.  

22 Voices tells the stories of Team England sporting stars preparing to go for gold in 2022, pioneering athletes from around the Commonwealth who’ve made history at previous Games, and West Midlands cultural icons.  

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Michael Gunning

Episode 5

We're marking Pride Month with Team Jamaica swimmer Michael Gunning, who's making waves not just in the pool but as a global advocate for LGBT+ rights.

Gunning came out in 2018 on the TV show the Bi Life, two years after switching allegiance from Great Britain to Jamaica.

Listen to Episode 5


Episode 4

Jaykae is one of the pioneers of Birmingham's grime music scene. Here he talks about taking music superstar Ed Sheeran for a curry on Birmingham's Alum Rock Road after working with him on the number one single “Take Me Back To London” in 2019. He also chats about his love of Peaky Blinders, set in Small Heath where he grew up and still lives, how boxing is in his blood, and the future of Birmingham’s grime scene.

Listen to Episode 4

Mark Lewis-Francis

Episode 3

In an honest and open chat, Black Country sprint legend Mark Lewis-Francis talks about how athletics turned his life around as a teenager growing up in Smethwick, his journey to becoming Olympic champion aged just 21, and how he wishes he could dust off his spikes for Birmingham 2022!

Listen to Episode 3

Katarina Johnson-Thompson

Episode 2

Heptathlon superstar Katarina Johnson-Thompson talks about recovering from injury, how jigsaws got her through lockdown, and her night out in Birmingham after winning world indoor gold!

Listen to Episode 2

Heather Fisher and Sarah Davies

Episode 1

In this special International Women's Day episode, rugby sevens star Heather Fisher talks to weightlifter and beauty queen Sarah Davies about challenging gender stereotypes. Heather describes being kicked out of toilets for looking male; Sarah talks about being bullied for being muscular. A frank discussion about being proud to not fit in!

Listen to Episode 1

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