In celebration of the 100th episode of The Dan Nicholl Show, the Laureus Power of Sport’s Jean Smyth sat down with host Dan Nicholl while attending the Laureus Global Summit in Paris this past week.
A beaming Nicholl, who is also a Laureus Ambassador, says he felt more emotional than he had anticipated on the day they recorded the 100th show, sharing that although he had certainly hoped that the show would reach the milestone, he is amazed at what they have created.
“The 100th episode in itself was a proud moment, but I have been able to share many stories, to introduce people to a side of celebrity and athlete that they didn’t know was there- to give celebrities and athletes a chance to tell their stories.”
He adds that in a world where bad news sells newspapers, where switching on the radio generally on the hour doesn’t give you a reason to smile, that they have been able during the course of the show share stories of human triumph and success to inspire people.
The show’s mantra is similarly aligned with what the Laureus foundation stands for and provides as added inspiration for Nicholl. “One of the things I often find in my inbox, and it happens on a daily basis, is a request from a charity to come and speak at an event, and I often find that the narrative that is presented almost serves as a sense of obligation, we are a charity, we are doing amazing things, you must come and help us; help us make things better and for me I feel it is a very negative thing to do.
“What I wanted to do is to take stories where, yes there are people who are facing challenges, but to celebrate those challenges; to celebrate the space that they are in and for me that is what Laureus does so brilliantly,” he says.
He adds that even though Laureus works in areas both in South Africa and abroad, where there are some considerable hurdles to overcome, it tends to approach these with a smile on the face; with a kick in the step and uses sport to uplift people and give them a chance to do good.
“That is what I wanted to showcase with Laureus, I wanted to use The Dan Nicholl Show to communicate a strong message, but I didn’t want to preach, I wanted it to be television that makes people laugh, makes them smile and entertains them.”
From the outset Nicholl was clear that important power of sport message was to form a thread throughout, and the impact was immediate.
“The mandate was quite simple, the kids were going to try and teach me and Stuart (Taylor) how to surf. It came out that I was no threat to the surfing society,” he jokes.
But the moment that defined what Laureus is about, and set the tone for the series, was his encounter with a little boy of not more than 9-years-old, who he asked what he loved about surfing?
“And he looked at me and said, very simply, the best thing to me about surfing is that I am not doing drugs anymore.”