The Tokyo 2020 Paralympics are over, but boy, did they have an impact on us! Contributors Superfan Sarah and Book Club Claire join us to talk about our Top 5 Tokyo Paralympic moments, what we can do to further support para sports and our Paralympics montage.
Thanks to everyone who supported our Kickstarter project. We’re fully funded, which means we will have an on the ground presence at the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics and Paralympics!
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Thanks so much for listening, and until next time, keep the flame alive!
Episode 204 – Post-Tokyo Paralympics Roundtable
Claire: [00:00:00] So this is my chance to say having shot plus finals every day was wonderful.
Jill: Hello fans of TKFLASTAN and welcome to another episode of “Keep the Flame Alive,” the podcast for fans of the Olympics and Paralympics. I am your host Jill Jaracz joined as always by my lovely co-host Alison Brown. Alison, hello, how are you?
Alison: Hello, I’m still a little hung over.
Jill: Me too. Oh my goodness. Getting actual sleep has been amazing.
Alison: I keep waking up at three o’clock in the morning and oh, I should be doing something
Jill: well, I’m sure there’s a feed on that you haven’t seen.
Alison: There are a lot that I haven’t seen yet. And I’m realizing how much I haven’t seen from both the Olympics and the Paralympics
Jill: And it’s scary.
Alison: And we watched–it wasn’t like we didn’t spend most hours of the day watching this. So I’m a little overwhelmed and confused.
Jill: Ah let’s alleviate that with our guests. We are joined today by Superfan Sarah and Book Club Claire for another post Tokyo contributor round table. Hello, Claire and Sarah! Welcome back!
Claire: I’m excited to be here!
Jill: Oh, we are talking Paralympics today. We will do like we did for the Olympics, top five moments of the Games. These were pretty amazing to see. Let’s start with you, Claire. What’s your fifth best moment of these games?
Claire: This is hard. I’m [00:02:00] going to have to give you a salute, Jill, because I really appreciated that you explained as much of the classifications as you could, when you were announcing your, the podiums for every event. And I did always giggle when you mentioned the trunk. I will admit,
Claire: but it was really great to just start to realize where the classifications were. What was visual impairment, that was going to be like in the elevens and thirteens. And I know it’s different for all of them, but it did help me to understand it a lot better. And compared to five years ago, I know so much more. And part of that was thanks to you.
Jill: Oh thank you very much. I thought that was important to do because especially when I watch and they just rattle off a class and I don’t know what it is and we didn’t get the LEXI system on. And I know that in a way, I rattled off what the class was, but I did feel like it helped put things into context.
Jill: And the more you said something, yeah. We got into the 11th to 13th, we’re talking visually impaired. 20 was probably intellectual impairment for a number of classes. But it’s so tough when you have different numbers, mean different things for different sports. So I think that’s something I definitely want to work on trying to find the cohesion, I think, is the word for the winter Paralympics and try to be a little bit better and smarter.
Alison: And we absolutely need to give a shout out to Giles Long and LEXI Systems because we were using their website to get our information and get that out to the listeners. So LEXI was a godsend for us, so easy to use. So easy to understand, it’s like NBC could have used it.
Sarah: Oh NBC..
Jill: Oh man. Sarah, your fifth best moment of the games.
Sarah: Okay. So I’m really struggling to put these in [00:04:00] order. So just take it, take my order with a grain of salt, but that being said fifth, I gotta say the behind the scenes work that was going on to make sure that the athletes from Afghanistan, could compete in Tokyo and be there safely.
Sarah: I sat there like a small child crying whenever I read the story that, they had been, we knew that they were safe. We didn’t know where they were. And then to hear that they actually arrived in Tokyo to compete. So significant, and correct me if I’m wrong, but the woman from Afghanistan, she’s the first female Paralympic athlete. Is that right?
Alison: She’s actually the second. They were reporting it as the first for a while, but then they discovered there was one previous.
Sarah: Okay, thank you for that. With all the sickness in my house, I got a little behind, but yeah, it just absolutely incredible. It shows the power of sport. It shows how significant representation is. We know that there’s just so much going on over there, but it was really cool to know that they were there.
Jill: And a little follow-up: The IOC Executive Board met today being Wednesday, September 8th. And they talked a little bit about the Afghanistan situation and they have helped to get all of the athletes from the Olympics and Paralympics from Tokyo, or they were already outside the country.
Jill: They’ve got two winter sport athletes who are now outside of the country and training and the IOC family members from Afghanistan received humanitarian visas and could leave. And they’re working on getting other as many people out as they can, but the athletes are now getting scholarships so that they can continue their training outside of Afghanistan.
Jill: So the, both the IPC and the IOC are, I think, working very hard to make sure that these athletes can continue doing [00:06:00] what they do. Alison number five.
Alison: Mine feels rather boring. Cause mine is going back to road cycling where Team GB won four medals in about two minutes. They had gold and silver in the women’s division and the gold and silver in the men’s division.
Alison: And the party started right at the sidelines pretty much right away. And that was just fun to see. Obviously cycling and Great Britain has a long history. So seeing that, seeing the men and the women cheering each other on, and, you’ve got Dame Sarah Storey who is the most successful British Paralympian, getting so excited about everybody else sharing in that. So I was like when teams come together, even when it’s not a particularly team sport.
Jill: And I’m going to go with my number five, being Ian Seidenfeld from the USA, winning gold in table tennis. And his father is his coach and also won gold, I believe in Barcelona in 1992 for a para table tennis. I just thought that was a beautiful moment of father and son and dad was saying later oh, he’s got this weight lifted off his shoulders.
Jill: If he felt so much pressure, just trying to live up to what he may have thought were expectations, even though they weren’t there. So it was really beautiful to see the father, son combo winning golds here in Tokyo. All right. Number four, Sarah, we’ll start with you on this one.
Sarah: Oh boy. Number four, I’ve got to say the universal relay. That was so cool to watch. I know that we all like athletics, so I was trying not to have so many athletics things, but it’s so hard. So yeah, the universal relay, I loved it. I thought it was amazing. I loved watching all the countries compete. We know that USA won. We had a stellar team there, but one of the things that I did love is I think there was a [00:08:00] picture where Nick Mayhugh was bowing down to Tatyana McFadden just to recognize her as the GOAT.
Sarah: And I just, I thought that camaraderie was really fun to see and that they all got to be a part of that. So I love the universal relay. I want more of it.
Alison: We all know I loved mixed relays and this was on my list too. And it was mixed in such an even better way. And I found a lot of the mixed relays in the Olympics, very disappointing and not fulfilling that showing men and women competing together.
Alison: But this was the best kind of men, women, different disabilities, all competing together.
Claire: You got to wonder if there can be more opportunities for that. Do you know of any? I know there were a couple where you added the classifications and you had to get to a certain… but I wonder if there are more where you could mix, a wheelchair with no lower limb, a disability or something like that events. I don’t know if that’s really possible, but it would be cool if they were to do something like that. Universal relay once I saw it. I’m just like, this is the greatest thing ever. So yeah, I definitely agree with both of you.
Jill: Maybe if you can do that for triathlon, because they had in the Olympics, they had a mixed triathlon, but I bet they could make it a universal event. Cause it would, that would be really cool. All right. Alison your number four.
Alison: We’re gonna stay with athletics, and I’m going to go with the T 54 women’s marathon. So that was the wheelchair class where you had one second between gold and silver, four seconds between silver and bronze at the end of a marathon.
Alison: Really fantastic race. And it was a good race throughout really exciting, much more exciting than you expect a marathon to be. Usually they’re very plodding. This was, you’re cheering in a marathon. And of course it was great for the whole marathon to see some crowds. [00:10:00]
Jill: Hey Claire, what about your number 4?
Claire: I’ve got to give some love to boccia. I did watch one of the gold medal matches in full. It was the BC three with Greece’s Grigorius Polychronidis playing the Czech Republic’s Adam Peska, and just seeing how they had very little control over their bodies. They could barely use their heads for that matter.
Claire: I think they both, one of them at least used a helmet to help push the ball down the ramp. And I think Pesca, he, might’ve also, I’m getting my boccia scores mixed up, but he might’ve had it in his mouth to push it, and it just blew my mind that– and it was just so cool. The assistants that were there as I’m learning okay, they can’t see the court at all.
Claire: They have to rely on what the athlete is telling them in order to set up the ramps and to position it just right. And I adored that. I thought that it was a great way, if that’s what the Paralympics is all about, where you are allowing people that would never have been able to do any sort of Olympic competition to still participate and win and get medals.
Claire: And I love watching it, especially the BC three. It was fabulous to watch and I would like to see more of it.
Jill: I would agree with you on boccia. Boccia is so interesting and so strategic and that communication in the BC three class, you just saw how important that was. And yeah, I would like to watch more of that just to understand the intricacies of knowing your ramp and knowing how high up to move it and how much does it move up at a time? Can you move it just millimeters? Or do you have like notches that you have to go up and all of that thought process that goes into making these shots is just [00:12:00] incredible just in boccia as a whole.
Jill: So I’m really looking forward to seeing more of that in future Paralympics. Like I said on the show, I think it could be like curling, where it just, we all understand one day what a cool sport this is and what a great way to show inclusivity in a way that I think many people go, oh, these people in wheelchairs who are extremely disabled, they can’t do anything athletic, but no, they really can. And that’s pretty amazing.
Claire: I will mention that the BC three had the ramps and such, but I think the other classes they were using their hands to throw. So there was that level of strategery involved where they had to, know, the speed of the ball, how fast, how hard they threw it. But I did, I do really enjoy the BC three just for the ramp play because it was totally unlike anything I’d ever seen.
Jill: All right. I am going to go back to the track and say, women’s shot put F 37 class Lisa Adams from New Zealand winning gold coached by sister Valerie. Yes. That was an incredible family moment. The shot put throwing was fantastic. There are several different classes of ShotPut on the women’s side that were just amazing to watch.
Jill: But this is always one of those moments that you’re like, oh, it cannot get better than that!
Jill: Number three, Alison.
Alison: Ooh, I get to go first. I’m going to go with the women’s sitting volleyball final, the USA and China. Was just such a such great play, such great match. Oh, Sarah is telling me she has it on her list. And Claire did too. I think we all had it. It was such a great sport that I had not been really exposed to before. And this was clearly the pinnacle of the sport, which is what you want to see at the Paralympics
Claire: [00:14:00] And it made the trifecta, the women’s volleyball teams from Team USA won every single gold, Paralympics and Olympics, indoor, beach and sitting. I thought when I saw that yesterday, I was like, that is so cool.
Alison: It’s the first time any country has ever done that?
Sarah: Yes. And one more thing shout out to Kaleo Maclay. She is also a business owner and does custom sugar cookies out of Oklahoma City. And I just really love that about her. I feel like we’re bonded. I got to hang out with her mom a little bit last week.
Sarah: So we talked about that and I just want to say, if you ever get a chance to go watch sitting volleyball, go watch sitting volleyball. I’ve seen a few exhibitions. But we had a chance to play it last week at the Olympic Training Center. And it was so much fun. So I am now so adamant that anybody who has the ability to bring sitting volleyball to adaptive sports, whether you’re in a recreation center, you’re coaching kids, do whatever you can to get people playing the sport because it is so much fun.
Jill: How hard was it?
Sarah: Oh, it was hard.
Jill: Like moving yourself on the court seemed incredibly difficult.
Sarah: It was. Yeah, I played high school volleyball, so I enjoyed it and my position was back row. So I’m used to diving after balls. So that part came actually relatively easy to me. I still wasn’t great at it, but serving while sitting is very difficult, very difficult. And then I’m not a hitter even on my feet. So hitting was a challenge. But yeah it, it was a lot of fun and it was a privilege to get to play. But it just makes me hungry to want to go watch it and to get more people playing. Cause it, it really is a fun sport.
Jill: Sarah, how about your number three?
Sarah: Okay. Since I can’t say [00:16:00] volleyball, I am going to say Oksana Masters. And I know she has been front and center, so it seems very, I’m just like, oh, of course, you’re going to say it, but no, this is such a big deal. If you follow Oksana on social media and that a hundred days out from Tokyo, she was actually having surgery. She didn’t know where she would place. She was just excited to get, to be there, to be healthy enough, to compete and then to win two gold medals. I think she surprised herself. But she didn’t just win. She won by a good amount, especially in that road race, but yeah, I just loved everything about it.
Sarah: And now she has won gold at both the winter and the summer Paralympics and she’s planning to be in Beijing. And I just don’t know how she does it. She it’s, it blows my mind.
Alison: She hangs out in the underground snow tunnel.
Sarah: That’s what it is.
Jill: All right. Claire your number three.
Claire: One of the things that I had mentioned before the Paralympics started was I wanted to watch more events that were not associated with the Olympics.
Claire: I already mentioned boccia. I really liked that. But goalball also was one that I did really enjoy. The first time I watched it, they have to be visually masked up so that they can’t see anything. And I just love that it really took away all of the. extra stuff that people have to do in like handball and soccer, like pass the ball, boring stuff.
Claire: It’s okay, shoot to the goal. Stop. Shoot the other goal. Stop. So it took away all of that extra trimmings and just focused on scoring a goal. And I love that. I do wish that we would’ve been able to hear the the bells inside the ball a little better. Hopefully in the next Paralympics, they’re able to mic that up a little more, but I just really [00:18:00] enjoyed how they played the game and watching the strategy of it all. It was great. If you didn’t see it this time definitely tune in next time.
Alison: And if you want to go back and watch probably the best game is the USA women versus Brazil. That’s a killer of a goalball match.
Claire: Which I did not see. So I’m working that.
Sarah: Yeah, I would also say the men’s final, I believe.
Sarah: The United States came from behind to win and it was a really good game.
Jill: All right. And I think I will go with football five-a-side, all of what I saw. I loved this sport so much, more than I thought I would. Don’t like Olympic football at all, but I loved the passion, the ball handling, the collisions. The wrenches pounding on the sides of the goal. I just loved the sport so much.
Jill: And the bronze medal match where Morocco won the bronze, first time on the podium was just amazing to see. Anytime Brazil was out there, their ball handling was unbelievable. This was another sport I want to see more of. I’m looking forward to a women’s component coming sometime in the hopefully very near future, but just loved it. Loved it. Loved it. All right. That’s number three. So number two, we’re going back to Claire.
Claire: I’m going to go all the way back to the Opening Ceremony. And I do have to say that I loved the cohesive story that went from, start to finish. Okay. We’re talking about the Paralympic airport and how that all works. And the little girl that the wing was broken and she couldn’t fly and it just kept coming back to that.
Claire: I thought why haven’t more Olympics done that? [00:20:00] For their Opening Ceremonies, it just makes so much more sense. It keeps you involved. And I did also appreciate that the the athletes were seated and got to sit down instead of just meandering. Like they do at the Olympic Opening Ceremony.
Claire: I know they wanted some comradery, but this year it was impossible to do that. The entire storyline was adorable, and I loved how they were able to bring in those Japanese elements and still have it relate to the Paralympics, and fireworks, of course. So kudos for them for putting out a really good Opening Ceremony.
Jill: See, but you could do imagine the Atlanta 1996 Olympic Opening Ceremony with the through line of the pickup trucks all throughout?
Claire: Not the pickup trucks.. Do you remember at the very beginning they had those it was like the, oh,
Jill: the Greek imagery?
Claire: Yes. I watched it the first time and went, what the heck is going on? But yeah, if they had gone with that, it would have been weird, but you have to find, you have to find that simple story that, that leads you through.
Claire: I think Vancouver did that. If I recall, they had a kid, that’s always a kid going through some sort of thing and they had Donald Sutherland doing a narration. Do you remember that for 2010? Go back. I remember that was a good one, you get that through line. It does keep everything together and you’re not so like bored,
Jill: Anyone else have thoughts on the opening ceremony?
Alison: My number two also was the one wing plane and that little girl, she was absolutely brilliant. Just her expressions, that the portrayal and it felt so genuine because she was disabled and I think she felt it and it came through.
Jill: Sarah. How about your number two?
Sarah: Since I had to take goalball ball off my list and sitting volleyball ,I am going to say it was a really good game watching the final four men’s wheelchair basketball. [00:22:00] The USA beat China, I think it was 64 -60. It was a nail biter come from behind as y’all can tell.
Sarah: I love any come from behind victory. But yeah, wheelchair basketball was exciting. I feel that one of the good things about… we saw more coverage of it, I think, than we have before. And I was seeing more people talk about it. I was hearing more people talk about it. And I hope that continues to go that direction.
Sarah: I think it will. Cause a lot of people, they understand the basics of basketball. It’s not a brand new sport to them, but I thought it was really exciting. The United States defended their gold from 2016. I was pulling for Japan. Y’all know. I love Japan. I love it when a host city wins, but it was just a thrilling game.
Sarah: And if you’re going to lose, that’s how you want to lose this, knowing that it was with the two best teams out of the tournament.
Jill: For my number two, I’m going to go with triathlon and Kendall Gretsch coming from behind to win gold in the last 10 meters of the race. And that was an incredible victory.
Jill: The triathlon all the way around was great. You had Brad Snyder winning gold in his class, other classes were phenomenal, but this was really one of those moments where you saw it on replay. And every time you’re like, is she going to do it? Is she going to do it? And then she did it right at the very end. And it’s just beyond phenomenal,
Sarah: right? Yeah. Not to bring in winter sports, but did anyone have flashbacks during that race of, Here comes Diggins?
Jill: And number one, Sarah, we will start with you.
Sarah: Okay. So I was going to say triathlon, which all the triathlon races were so [00:24:00] exciting and watching how different classifications worked. I loved every single minute. But you mentioned triathlon, so I’m going to switch it up a little bit. I think my top moment was Masato Mitsushita winning the T 12 marathon gold from Japan in Japan.
Sarah: She’s 44 years old, and her story was incredible. She runs with a guide. And I just really, I know I said this when I covered for Alison, I just really love watching the runners that have guides and seeing their strategy, seeing how it works. And yeah, I was just thrilled for her.
Jill: One of the many Japanese who were like, not in my house, not in my house.
Jill: That was just a nice theme throughout all of the Paralympics where you just saw the home host nation athletes. Turn it up another notch just to get that medal, just to get the win and so thrilling to watch all of that I thought.
Claire: And it’s so much harder when you don’t have any fans in the stands. So really they’re digging in deep from within, and just living off of the vibes that are coming into the stadium from outside.
Claire: Well done. I don’t think any other country would have been able to get as many medals with zero support in the stands compared to Japan.
Sarah: Yeah, I think Team Japan gets all the glory.
Jill: Alison, we’ll go for your number one.
Alison: In a surprise to no one, it’s Chuck Aoki. Of course, this Chuck Aoki and wheelchair rugby. In the Olympics, how I absolutely fell in love with softball, wheelchair rugby was a revelation to me. What an amazing sport, what amazing athletes ,so much fun to watch, doesn’t matter that it’s a wheelchair sport. You’re not watching it because, oh, it’s a [00:26:00] wheelchair sport. Isn’t that nice. No, you’re watching it because it’s amazing.
Alison: And to have a player on the court, like Chuck Aoki, who clearly is. Got to be one of the best ever. It’s getting introduced to basketball through Michael Jordan. It’s that kind of, of amazing and so much fun to watch and heartbreaking when they lost in the final, but not heartbreaking because Team GB was so good and had never medaled and all the excitement around that.
Alison: So Chuck Aoki in specific, wheelchair rugby in a broader sense.
Jill: I’d have to go with wheelchair tennis. All of it because every match was so intense and so amazing. The tournament had to deal, I think, with the roughest conditions of anybody. And athletics had a bunch of rough conditions, but just the wheelchair tennis people were up early, they were playing. They kept getting moved around. Things kept getting rescheduled, but then you’d get these matches that would just go to deuce. And then they’d go to advantage and deuce and advantage and deuce. And it just seemed like sheer battles of the wills, the entire tournament. It was just phenomenal.
Alison: That quad men’s singles tournament where you ended up with Alcott and the two Dutchman in the medal slots was so brilliant. And I had seen wheelchair tennis before, but never the quad version. Wow. That the it’s such different tennis in the sense of how the shots look, but wow. Is it good tennis!
Jill: Exactly. Claire. Number one.
Claire: All right. I saved the best for last. I have to give my kudos to as much of the athletics competition as I can. Cause I haven’t mentioned it yet, but I thought it was so awesome that there was a shot [00:28:00] put final, like every single night.
Claire: And sometimes there were two and sometimes there were three. How can you not love that? If I had the time to watch all of them, I would have, but I had to limit myself and I also really loved the athletics event that was specific only to their Olympics, which is club throw how they allow people to to kind of like, boccia, who aren’t really able to use their limbs as well, but they strap them in and they give them a club and they just chuck it. And the first time I saw that I was like, This is fantastic. I love this so much! They didn’t have as many finals for that because it was limited by classification, but to allow people to use their bodies, I guess I’m really focusing on the throwing events.
Claire: To allow them, even if they’re not able to use their lower limbs but they can still throw. There were some people that doubled up into shot put and discus some people that tripled, I think they did javelin too. So getting them to do all these kinds of events was wonderful. And another example of why as the old saying goes, athletics is the best.
Alison: You’ve got five months until Beijing. That should give you enough time to watch all the ShotPut finals, maybe.
Claire: If NBC makes it easy to find it on their app or on their website, I will make a point to watch as much as I can. At some point, I need to focus on figure skating because all of a sudden it’s boom of, is it the Grand Prixs are starting like next week or something like that.
Claire: It’s oh man, I’m really going to have to… there’s going to be this big turnaround now between summer and winter.
Alison: Let’s combine the two sports!
Sarah: No, I just was going to say Claire, when we were in Colorado, I told Meredith, I said, Claire is living her best life right now with all these ShotPut finals. I am so happy that was the case.
Claire: And I never [00:30:00] tweeted about it. Like I always said, oh, I’m going to save that for tomorrow night because, look, I’ve tweeted too much about one thing.
Claire: So I’ll save that awesome shot put thing for, and then I never did. So this is my chance to say having shot plus finals every day was wonderful.
Jill: Excellent. Excellent. I have to say it is 149 days til Beijing as of today. Not scary at all. What makes it better is that all of you listeners helped fund our Kickstarter.
Jill: We’re fully funded. This means that we will be able to take advantage of the media credentials that we were awarded for both the Olympics and the Paralympics. We will have some on the ground presence. Thank you so much. It means the world to us, and we will be working on your Kickstarter bonuses and getting you updates and messages about that ASAP.
Alison: We’re taking the show on the road, Jill,
Jill: I know! That is a long road to travel, to take the show.
Sarah: But I was going to say that, I guess you’re going to China like it or not.
Jill: Any final thoughts from the Paralympics?
Claire: I’ve got one thing. I have actually been a proponent to put the Paralympics before the Olympics.
Claire: I think it would give them more exposure. And I think more people would pay attention as to be seeing them as the leftovers of the Olympics where nobody really pays attention because they saw it already. That would never fly. But I think I’m always going to carry that flag of put the Paralympics first, give people a preview of the Olympics, even if you have to give away what the cauldron looks like.
Claire: I don’t care, but give these guys a little more support so that they can be seen and we can support them even more.
Sarah: Yeah, there was a really good conversation in the Facebook group about that. And yeah I’m still going through it in my head. Should that happen? Should it not?
Sarah: [00:32:00] Would it make a difference? I don’t know. Yeah, I have thoughts. Are you done? Some final thoughts. I do want to acknowledge Toyota. So it, at least for Team USA athletes, Toyota has guaranteed sponsorship for every person on the roster of the United States Paralympics. Every athlete has the choice to basically sign a contract, get a $10,000 sponsorship.
Sarah: I think that it’s somewhere in their contract. They maybe have to make an Instagram post or something, but it’s not. It’s not like they’re going to exhaust themselves on behalf of Toyota. It’s something that they’re very capable of doing. The athletes and the families that I talked to in Colorado seemed really excited about it.
Sarah: I also want to acknowledge Toyota for providing the Paralympic family and friends experience that went on in Colorado, which that’s what Meredith and I went to on behalf of Taylor Farmer. Toyota is advocating really well for Paralympic athletes. And I am grateful for that. I also will say that Team USA is doing a lot behind the scenes.
Sarah: There’s a lot going on that we don’t see and just encourage Team USA, encourage your governing bodies to keep doing that. Let them know that we want to see that more, but also more than anything, at least in the United States, push, push NBC. It was amazing to get more coverage than ever, but as we know, it was still such a challenge.
Sarah: There are several families that did not get the opportunity to watch their athletes compete. And that is just such a shame. I’m hoping that the momentum that we saw from these Paralympics will go into Beijing 2022. I think that a lot of people have gotten a taste of it and they’re hungry for more.
Sarah: And so let’s let them know that we are in fact hungry for more let’s use our voices for everything that we can, but [00:34:00] I am really encouraged at the direction that we’re going.
Claire: Not sponsored by Toyota.
Sarah: Yeah, no, not sponsored by Toyota, even if I harassed their marketing executives to give us Mike and Maya updates. But if you’re in a, if you’re in the Facebook group,
Alison: But you know, toyota wants to sponsor us…
Jill: We’ll be happy to talk..
Jill: The agency they work with as well as their marketing and executives now know about y’all.
Jill: So I don’t know that could be good or bad, but I guess we’ll see. But but no, not as sponsored by Toyota and Toyota is not the only sponsor of these athletes. It’s just that, we were able to see it up close. And I hope you get more that. Toyota’s great, but let’s get a bit more companies on board with this.
Jill: And the other thing that I will say is I’m over here complaining about the coverage, me, myself as Superfan Sarah. I also recognize that I need to put my money where my mouth is, and there are wheelchair basketball teams that compete for the University of Texas at Arlington right down the road for me.
Jill: And guess what? I’ve not gotten to one single game. I am saying on this podcast, I am committing to finding ways to go and watch these athletes compete where I can. A lot of colleges are growing in their Paralympic sports. More athletes are getting Paralympics sports, scholarships with football and all these different things.
Jill: And so if you have the opportunity to go, please go and I’m preaching to the choir and pray like I’m speaking to myself here. Nick Mayhugh spent time at the University of Texas Arlington. I never made the effort to go watch, and I’m really kicking myself right now for that. So I commit to do that. I would encourage everyone else to do the same.
Claire: That is something I wish would be better broadcasted. Like me in Michigan, I wish that there was someone who was saying, Hey, this Olympian or this Paralympian is going to be competing in [00:36:00] Michigan next month. Some sort of alert that tells you, Hey, nearby something cool is happening.
Claire: It’s just so hard because the athletes feel like the need to proclaim it themselves. They have to proclaim it themselves or else. No one else is going to. Recognition. So I wish there was some sort of a format where we could find out the things that are close to us instead of us having to really dig because the average fan is not going to do the digging.
Claire: So yeah, I also feel the need to go and support more Paralympic sports around the United States.
Jill: Alison. Do you have anything?
Alison: We complained a lot over the two and a half weeks of how poor the coverage was. And we got some pushback that said, you’re, you were getting so much more coverage than before. And I think this goes into fans and I think this goes into sponsorship. And I think this goes into viewership para athletes, and the Paralympics do not deserve the crumbs. They deserve a full plate, and I don’t think we should ever be satisfied and they should never be satisfied with crumbs. And if this two weeks has taught me anything, is that this amazing event and these amazing athletes have been living on crumbs for too long.
Alison: And if us doing a daily show, gave them a little bit more, I will do that a hundred times and stay up crazy hours and enjoy myself watching the sports. A hundred times again, and I’m excited for Beijing and I’m excited to do it again for Paris and they are, the Paralympics gave me a gift because I didn’t know about these sports.
Alison: I didn’t know about these things and they deserve better and they should never be satisfied until they get there.
Jill: I remember us talking about Rio and how we watched a little bit of Paralympics coverage then, because it was on and we’re like, oh, Paralympics, this is something new and exciting. But again, it was just, [00:38:00] I just remember race after race in the same stroke in the same distance and not understanding, because the broadcasters, weren’t doing a great job of explaining what the different classes were. And it’s not enough to just put it on. You reminded me. I yesterday I happened to be watching a commission hearing for Ohio redistricting map. And I know it’s a big, but redistrict drinks, a hot topic here in Ohio.
Jill: And the commission is majority run by one party. They don’t really have an interest in having hearings. And they ended up having a bunch of hearings where there could be public comment. They shoved them all into one week and had them during the day. So not everybody could go. And there was a gentleman there who said, thank you for having these hearings.
Jill: It’s a big step that we can have them, but it’s a small step that they are this way. And I felt the same way about the Paralympics. As you said with crumbs, it’s a big step that we had so much coverage, but such a small step in what really needs to be done to give this event its proper due.
Claire: It did get me excited for LA because it, I know it’s probably going to be a hot ticket regardless, the Olympics are, of course, it’s going to be sold out in LA, but I’m going to try and make a more concentrated effort to get tickets for the Paralympics when they come to LA. Because I think that would be, that’s going to be much more enjoyable for me, and it won’t be as stressful.
Jill: Well, and you can watch shot put every day.
Claire: Exactly! I can go to the track every day and see ShotPut. What is not to love? Oh my goodness. You’ve got even more excited now.
Jill: Oh I think it’s great that, we’re actually fortunate that Beijing is so close so that people can get excited about the Paralympics and seeing the winter Paralympics.
Jill: Now that they know that more coverage is out there. So I’m excited about that. It’s been an [00:40:00] exciting couple of weeks. Great. I guess on that note, we have a lot of work to do to get ready for Beijing and the Paralympics there, because I think, This was really great, but it also showed us how much more we have to learn.
Jill: So I really want to work to be better at this podcasting of the Paralympics. And I don’t even know what to say, but I just, we got a lot of work to do to be a better podcast for the Paralympics in Beijing.
Alison: We got five months, Jill.
Jill: We can do it.
Alison: We’ve got to start training in the snow tunnel, like Oksana,
Jill: I’m going to slap on a weighted backpack like Lou Jones and just run.
Alison: Keep those batteries to your body so they stay warm.
Jill: Exactly. All right. Oh Claire and Sarah, thank you as always for joining us, it is always so much fun to have you on. We’ll get to do this again soon. This is going to be good.
Claire: If you haven’t read our book club book, we’re going to be talking about it Sevens Heaven
Jill: That’s right.
Claire: Get reading!
Jill: So speaking of book club, next week, Alison and I are going to do a big catch-up from Tokyo episode because a ton of stuff has been going on in TKFLASTAN and we want to get you up to date on all of the ongoings there.
Jill: And then the week after that book club with Claire, she’ll be back to talk Sevens Heaven by Ben Ryan. If you haven’t read this book, you should read it now. If you’ve got to get a copy, you can go to our bookshop.org site. That’s bookshop.org/shop/flamealivepod. We get a little commission from anything you order through that link.
Jill: And that goes to help cover the costs of running the show and putting on more features as we get more money. So thank you so much for everyone who does shop through that link. We really appreciate it. Oh, I have one more note. I have one follow-up that I forgot to do in our last [00:42:00] Paralympic show, sitting volleyball correspondent Brittany wrote in telling us about Yugoslavia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. Cause remember Alison, we had the question of how Bosnia and Herzegovina had been just in every finals just about, except for this one, but since they had been a country, so we wondered how was Yugoslavia as a country. Brittany found out that Yugoslavia did compete, sitting volleyball in 1980, 84 and 88.
Jill: And they got bronze in 80 then fifth place in 84 and fourth place in 88. And then they competed as Bosnia and Herzegovina after that. They were recognized as a nation. Bosnia and Herzegovina set two athletes in track and field in 1996. And then they first went to sitting volleyball in 2000. According to a couple of different sites, a lot of the volleyball players on the team lost limbs during the Bosnian war in the early nineties.
Jill: And sitting volleyball, only sport that country has ever medaled in, in the Paralympics or Olympics
Alison: What a strange thing to be so good in. So specific.
Jill: It’s very specific, but when you think about the Bosnian war, they must have a bigger talent pool to pull from sadly.
Claire: It’s an easy sport to adapt to. All you need is that in the ball, you don’t need a wheelchair. You don’t need all the equipment and stuff. So sometimes you go with the thing that.
Alison: So often in the Paralympics and we did see a lot of countries succeeding in places where they don’t succeed in the Olympics, but a lot of times, we saw China dominate in table tennis, both the Olympics and the Paralympics.
Alison: So you see some similarities, but this is just, Bosnia and Herzegovina sitting volleyball is our thing, which is great.
Jill: Exactly. But thank you Brittany, for being our sitting volleyball correspondent. If you are interested in being a correspondent for a winter sport coming up in the Olympics or Paralympics [00:44:00] get at us because Brittany, incredibly helpful to us as we navigate a whole bunch of sports that some we know and are very familiar with, some we work to understand, but this helps us bridge the gap a lot. So if you’re interested, hit us up with what sport you’d like to do email@example.com. And we will talk with you further.
Jill: All right. I guess that means the cauldron closing on Tokyo.
Alison: I cried again.
Jill: I know it was very sad. It was, that was a beautiful cauldron. They just did an amazing job with the whole flower cauldron opening for the opening of the games, closing for the closing of the games, just phenomenal
Alison: Paris got their work cut out for them,
Jill: That they do.
Jill: I think that is going to do it for this week. Let us know if you have Tokyo olympic and Paralympic withdrawals.
Alison: Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call or text us at (208) 352-6348. That’s 2 0 8- flame it We’re @flamealivepod on Twitter and Insta and “Keep the Flame Alive” podcast group on Facebook.
Jill: It wouldn’t be a Paralympics without a montage, so here is ours featuring music by Mercury Sunset. Thank you so much for listening, and until next time, keep the flame alive.