Nobody does teamwork quite like a doubles luger. Two-time U.S. Olympian Jayson Terdiman tells us all about how the sport works, from top to bottom.
Jayson has a long and illustrious career competing at the top levels of the sport. He’s been to two Olympics with two different teammates, and now he’s going for his third Olympics with another partner, fellow Olympian Chris Mazdzer.
Jayson talks with us about the challenges of teaming with someone you can’t talk to as you’re competing, as well as learning to team up with multiple athletes. We also talk about what goes into a doubles luge sled and what it takes to invest in one.
Jayson and Chris are currently in the last stages of qualification for Beijing 2022, and hope to make it to another Games.
Follow Jayson on social:
It’s a new year, so our history segment has a new focus: Albertville 1992. Alison takes a look at some of the facts and the stories we can look forward to hearing over this year.
Checking in with our citizens of TKFLASTAN, more athletes are working toward Beijing, including speed skater Erin Jackson, who competes at the U.S. Olympic Trials this weekend. We also have news from:
- Clare Egan, who is competing this weekend.
- Brianna Decker, who is heading to Beijing.
- Alex Diebold, who has great family news.
- Nate Bartholomay, who is competing this weekend.
- Jessica Leclerc, who was featured on USA Hockey Magazine’s Podcast to talk about helping the next generation of hockey officials.
In our Beijing 2022 update, the Beijing Organizing Committee has released elements of the medal ceremony, including an inspired take on the traditional bouquet. We also have news (sort of) on how our travel plans are coming along. Or “travel plan$$,” as seems to be the case.
If you want to learn more about luge, check out our episode with 6x Olympian Shiva Keshavan!
Until next time, keep the flame alive!
Photos courtesy of Jayson Terdiman
Note: While we make efforts to ensure the accuracy of this transcript, please know that it is machine-generated and may contain errors. Please use the audio file as the official record.
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, happy Olympic and Paralympic year!
[00:00:41] Alison: Happy New Olympic Paralympic year! We’ve been saying that a lot.
[00:00:47] Jill: Third year in a row.
[00:00:48] Alison: I know.
[00:00:51] Jill: But it’s coming. It’s less than 30 days to Beijing. And I know that really scares me. I have a long list of stuff to do still, but we will get to Beijing sooner or later.
[00:01:07] Alison: As long as COVID doesn’t stop us. I’ve been having nightmares. Now, I don’t have COVID. I was tested before the holidays so that I could see people, but I have just this recurring nightmare of one or both of us getting COVID.
Um, In the next month. So I think I’m going to start, walking around with like a helmet with a stick coming out, either side so that no one can get close. It’s it’s really scary around here. I don’t know how it is by you, but it’s, everybody’s got COVID. Yeah, it’s scary.
[00:01:40] Jill: In Ohio, we’re having our highest case rates in the pandemic almost on a daily basis.
It’s really tough. All of the hospitals are full or they’re so understaffed that they may have beds, but they don’t have staff to serve those patients. So it’s been really rough. I’ve noticed lately on the news that the doctors that they interview regularly look more and more tired and more and more haggard.
And it makes me feel really bad. They’re they’re having a rough job these days.
[00:02:13] Alison: And in our world, there are a lot of athletes who are getting sick, Mikaela Shiffrin, most famously, I guess, in the past week has tested positive.
[00:02:22] Jill: Yeah. It is a very big worry for, do you know who tested positive when can’t go to Olympic trials? Bonnie Blair’s daughter.
[00:02:30] Alison: Oh!
[00:02:31] Jill: Also speed skates. And, I’ve read about this in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. She’s tested positive. Can’t compete at the trials, but this was not her– she hadn’t anticipated going to the Olympics. She’s still in it working her way up the ranks, but this was going to be like her Olympics.
[00:02:49] Alison: Her debut at the trials. And I’m sure there’s going to be a lot of athletes who will not be heading to Beijing, not necessarily because they’re positive at that time because they can’t compete at their nationals or at their trials.
Right. Or the last qualifying, I know the mixed curling teams in Canada had to cancel their trials and now they don’t know who’s going to be the mixed team because I mean, it’s competitive. It’s not just a, oh yeah. They’re the best team.
[00:03:18] Jill: It’s, it’s really tough. And, but to put it into perspective, maybe it’s kind of like, if you got sick before the Olympics, or you got injured before the Olympics. Remember Michelle Carter could not go to Tokyo because she was injured.
[00:03:33] Alison: Yes.
[00:03:34] Jill: DeAnna Price did not have a great Olympics because she got injured, even though she had a fabulous US Olympic Trials.
[00:03:42] Alison: Right.
[00:03:42] Jill: That just happens. And it’s just unfortunate.
[00:03:45] Alison: It’s part of the system. It’s part of the game.
[00:03:49] Jill: Oh. You know what else is part of the game? Donating to us.
[00:03:55] Alison: Because darn it, we are getting to Beijing.
[00:03:58] Jill: That’s right. Oh, we wanted to give a special shout out to all of our Patreon patrons for providing financial support to the show and keeping our flame alive. You will hear more about how your money is utilized later on in the show. If you would like to be a Patreon patron of the week or get other wonderful bonus content, take a look at our different levels of support and very cool bonus gifts at Patreon.com slash flame alive pod.
If you would like to give us a one-time bonus, we have a lot of options for one-time donations. Check out flame alive pod.com/support for all of them. Includes PayPal, Venmo, Buy Me a Coffee and Ko-fi. And thank you to– we did get a holiday bonus. So we really appreciate it.
So today we are going back to the luge track and we are talking with us doubles luger, Jayson Terdiman.
Jayson is a two-time Olympian. He competed at 2014 with Christian Niccum and 2018 with Matt Mortenson and in 2018, he and Matt were part of the relay team that finished fourth at PyeongChang. Jayson has had a long and illustrious career on the world cup circuit, and he’s currently racing with luger Chris Mazdzer in hopes of getting a berth at Beijing 2022. Jayson talked with us about how his event works. Take a listen.
Jayson, thank you so much for joining us. Doubles luge. This is your third go around in doubles luge for the Olympics. So you’ve had a very long career. Let’s talk about how doubles luge work. So first off, we’ve got a sled that’s different than a singles luge sled.
So tell us a little bit about how it’s different.
[00:05:40] Jayson: Yeah. So, uh, there’s a lot of differences between the singles luge sled and the doubles luge sled. First and foremost, the size of the sled. So the first thing people notice it’s a little bit uh, I’d say longer and possibly a little bit wider than most of the single sleds because it does have to account for the fact that there are two bodies on top.
So that’s a little bit more weight. But they steer almost the exact same as a singles luge sled. So there’s four major points of steering. We have our legs, our hands, our shoulders, and then just the way we move our bodies and keep our body weight moving one way or the other. They both actually drive the same. A single sled, I like to say it’s like driving a Formula One car. It’s very quick to react or can be at least, and then use the double sleds or like driving a double decker bus just because of the size difference. It makes it a little bit harder to steer. And then the only other major difference between singles and doubles luge sled is the weight of the sled. A doubles luge sled is allowed to weigh about 15 pounds on average more than a singles luge sled.
[00:06:36] Alison: What’s the proper way to refer to each athlete. Is it front and back?
[00:06:40] Jayson: Top and bottom, the normal, the normal words used when describing the athletes on a doubles sled.
[00:06:48] Alison: So who’s leading the dance?
[00:06:50] Jayson: Uh, Well primarily the guy on top. That athlete or, or woman on top there is a women’s double solution just became a full on discipline. But primarily the top athlete, the one that you see on the sled when laying in position mostly because they can see what’s coming in front of them. So they’re were in charge of all the fine minute steers to get us in and out of corners the way we want to be entering and exiting. And then the back athlete, the bottom athlete is in charge of number one, keeping the sled stable because they’re in full contact with the sled.
And number two is when you get to high pressure corners with big leverage steering, that athlete also has more leverage. So they’re involved in really pushing through high pressure corners and pressure points down the track.
It’s like a little dance where both athletes kind of, there’s a plan involved. There’s a plan in place at every run. Usually guided by the top athlete. And then uh, it’s kind of like improvisation all the way down where you’re just working off of each other steering. I try and keep things going in the right direction.
[00:07:48] Alison: How do you communicate on the track? Because I assume you can’t actually hear one another
[00:07:54] Jayson: That’s correct. There’s no, there’s no headsets. There’s no microphones. Uh, It is literally just going. We have a plan on each one, like I said. You go through that plan before you take the run, but once you put the helmet on, pull the face shield down and you’re going down the track, it’s really kind of just going off of each other.
It’s very interesting that you’re not able to communicate. When you think about Formula One, those drivers are in full contact with their pit crew and their boss, like the whole way around the track. But in, in doubles luge, it’s pretty much just interacting and reacting to each other’s drives.
[00:08:24] Jill: If you’re on a double decker bus, it’s like the radio to the main towers broken.
[00:08:29] Jayson: Right? Exactly. So we’re just, it’s you’re you’re on your own. But you are with somebody on the way down the hill, and you’re just trying to work together to get there safely and quickly as possible.
[00:08:37] Jill: I have so many questions and I don’t even know where to start. And you are traditionally on the bottom, correct? You have been with all your different teammates.
[00:08:46] Jayson: Yeah, on on the world cup level. And, and in any kind of national competition, the way I’ve always been the guy underneath, the guy you hide.
[00:08:54] Jill: And why is that? Is there a reason why you’re on the bottom and, and the other athlete’s on the top or it’s just, that’s the way it works?
[00:09:03] Jayson: It’s it’s the way it works. It’s a, it’s an aerodynamic advantage to put the taller athlete in the top position and the smaller athlete underneath, kind of hiding that athlete, engulfing them during the wind flow over the– it’s a very aerodynamic based sport.
We are timed to the 1000th of a second. And it just, it makes more sense aerodynamically to have the longer taller athlete on top breaking the wind and allowing the flow over top. Uh, And you try and almost match where the head position would be for both athletes to be almost right behind each other.
That way the draft on the end of it breaks off cleaner. But I have been lucky enough a couple of years ago, I took a run with a much younger athlete than myself. Young teenager, who was still smaller than me. I’m only 5’6″, 5’7″ on a good day. And I was able to take a run with a young athlete and actually sit on top and take a run down from a junior start in Lake Placid, which is a home track for me and got to experience what it’s like to be on top. And it is a totally different ride.
[00:09:59] Jill: How does that ride differ then?
[00:10:02] Jayson: So in my position, on the sled, as a, as the bottom man, I go off of feeling. I’m literally staring at the back of my teammates helmet the whole ride. I have from my peripheral vision. So I can tell like where we are entering exit and quarters, just based off of the hub, the distance to the nearest wall.
But it’s, it’s a pretty, I’d like to think that I could close my eyes and take a run from my position and still fully understand where I’m at. When you get on top and you can see, it changes things. I, when I took the run with the young athlete and I was up top, we went from a very mellow start, maybe halfway up the hill, uh, which is nowhere near the speeds that I reach on World cup competitions or Olympic level racing.
But I felt like I was going much faster than I’d ever gone before on the doubles sled strictly because I could see the lights going by. I could see the corners coming. Granted we were only maybe going 40 to 45 miles an hour and I’ve been clocked at 86, 87. So, it’s just, the visual really changed the ride for me.
[00:10:57] Jill: How do you learn a track? And that was a big deal for Beijing with the most of the world cup athletes had to learn this track this year. So how, how do you do that?
[00:11:09] Jayson: Well, when there’s a new track, there’s a homologation period where there’s a couple of athletes who get invited and they go and they test out the corners and they’d find the pressure points throughout the track, the driving lines, at least for a safe ride down.
And then that is kind of distributed out to the international federation. Um, There’s also a point of view video that was sent out that we were able to study. So we know before we get to a track, which way the corners go. But the best way to really learn a track is to use a lot of visualization. We do a lot of what we call mind runs, where we’ll just sit down on a chair on a bench, close your eyes, and just picture yourself going down the track.
And that really helps you understand what’s what’s coming and to prepare your body for, you know, when you do finally get to take that run, you’re already kind of aware of what’s what’s in front of you. But there’s really nothing like trial and error. They know we all went through it in November, in Beijing.
Until you actually take the runs, you don’t know exactly how strong those pressure points are. You don’t know how strong the steers need to be. And we go through a pretty strenuous trial and error period where you’re hitting walls, you’re crashing, but you’re learning the curves as you go. And we’re all professionals at luge at this level, so we’ve all been doing it long enough to understand what’s going on underneath us and it doesn’t take too, too long, maybe a week or two before people have the track mastered.
[00:12:23] Alison: So what does the Beijing track offer that other tracks do not?
[00:12:28] Jayson: One of the really important characteristics of Beijing is how long the track is.
The runs are just under a minute long from both the men’s, women’s and doubles starts. So, uh, in luge, normally it’s only a 50-second, 45 and some tracks, like Whistler’s only 33 seconds. So you we’re under stress for longer on this run which is something people did notice right away. Granted, we also checked that track out in a very early part of the year when people aren’t maybe fully into sliding form, but the track is very long. It’s got an, a lack of pressure in the corners characteristic to it that makes it very interesting. We use pressure in luge in the corners as a point of knowing where to drive. It’s usually a really big indicator when you hit a pressure point that sled gets picked up in the corner.
Uh, That’s usually somewhere you need to be steering so you can create as much speed as possible and as smooth a line as possible. So, Beijing actually lacks a lot of that. So when you’re in a corner, especially in my position on the sled um, where I can’t see when we’re in a big corner and I can’t feel any pressure to the corner, I have no idea if we’re high or low, you know, when we’re coming to an exit or a, I don’t know exactly how long, away that ,is makes it for more of a visualizing track, so like we’re looking for little markers, a change in the, in the roof of the track or the short wall, lower wall in a corner maybe has a wood cover towards the end of it and try to pick up things like that so I know where I am so I can feel the exit to the corners better, but uh, it definitely threw us all for a loop. And I think it’ll make for a very exciting and hopefully level playing field come February for the Olympic games.
[00:14:04] Alison: So the weather there is supposed to be very cold and very dry. So how does that affect sliding when it’s not snowing where it’s really cold?
[00:14:16] Jayson: Yeah. When I think about those kinds of conditions, I think about great hard ice. So it’s going to be a little less control for most athletes. I think it’s going to be a lot about how people set their sleds up. But we expect it to be, some top-notch ice for the games, uh, as it always is, even when it’s warmer and more humid, the ice gets refrigerated from underneath.
So there’s a what is it called the – like the ice house at each track. And at the bottom, you can see steam coming out and that’s just been pumping through the refrigeration under the track to create really good top layer so that we have great racing ice. But I’m expecting that the games have some really hard, really fast ice, which can make for some excitement on the way down the hill.
[00:14:54] Jill: So I heard you got a new sled this year. What is involved with getting a sled? I mean, cause you don’t go down to the sled store. So how do you get a sled?
[00:15:04] Jayson: Usually the sleds are built in-house by each nation with our sponsors and things like that. couple of years ago I made a decision back in 2016, 2015, I think even I started the process to buy my first sled.
Um, And I went to a, an ex German slider who uh, was very knowledgeable on the way sleds are built and the way they should be set up. And I spoke with him over the course of a few months and was able to purchase a sled from him that immediately uh, had a great return on investment where my doubles partner at the time, Matt Mortenson and I came out in the first year on that sled and were able to grab a, an overall crystal globe for third in the world that season over a nine week period. And then I’ve been using that sled here and there with my new partner, Chris but it’s not built for Chris. It was built for my previous partner, Matt’s body type, so Chris and I got into discussing what we needed to do to really make this final run as successful as possible.
And we decided it was time to invest in a piece of equipment that’s the right geometry for Chris and myself. And so we went in, I got a hold of my, same sled designer said, Hey, you know, we’re looking to make another one, a newer one, maybe a little bit different design to try and make this work a lot easier for Chris and myself.
And of course, you know, theoretically, everything’s gonna run smoothly, but you get to reality and you, you gotta tinker with everything. Chris, and I are going through that process right now, trying to get this sled ready for February.
[00:16:32] Jill: What are you allowed to tinker with?
[00:16:35] Jayson: There’s a lot of things. In luge, we have a very strict rule book, but there are a lot of things we can mess with the composition of the steel. What, what our runners are actually made out of is very important. The way they ride on the ice, the angle, which they hit the ice, the bow of the steels. Very important. That is the way the rock works forward to back There’s the parallel difference between the two runners uh, and then there’s other little things in the suspension that we try to work on to make things as vibration, dampening as possible, because it is again to the thousandth of a second, every thousandth counts, especially over a two run, two mile race.
So we’re just really trying to work things out to make things as consistent as possible and as fast as possible at the same time for us,
[00:17:20] Jill: Do you have different runners for different tracks or can you just pound them in and out of shape as you go to each track?
[00:17:28] Jayson: It really depends on the support that you have. A lot of my teammates have three, four or five different sets of runners. Chris and I invested in a set that will be best for Beijing. So we’re trying to, while sliding and competing at other tracks, still keep in mind that the end goal is just the race in February. So we’re trying to just prepare as best we can for the style of track we’ll race on in Beijing.
So we’re not trying to change them too often, but we will try and do small changes just to see what works and what doesn’t with this new geometry, this sled.
[00:18:02] Jill: So I am also the money person, and I hear the word invest and we know that everything costs a lot of money and there’s not a ton of money as a luger.
What kind of money are we talking about in investing in runners or investing in a new sled?
[00:18:16] Jayson: Uh, Well, it really depends on how, like how, how much you can get, right? So we have in US, we work with with Dow Chemical and Norton Abrasives, and those guys are great on helping out the team, get the equipment that we need.
Sleds are not cheap. And owning my own sled, now owning two sleds. And I say it’s priceless to really have the equipment that, you know, you can trust, but there obviously is a price tag on things and it’s, it can be anywhere, it’s like buying a new car. I’ve invested at least $25,000 between the two sleds.
The return on investment with having the competence of my equipment, the security of knowing what I have is, you know, the best I could possibly have under me and the results that we can get it, hopefully everything will return itself five fold.
[00:19:05] Alison: Okay. So you announced that this is going to be your last season.
What will happen to those sleds when you retire?
[00:19:12] Jayson: Uh, Well, one of them, I’m definitely keeping. I’m not gonna stop sliding, but I’ll stop competing. We have a masters race in the United States for retired athletes and lovers of luge. And I have to wait a few years out after not competing internationally before I’m allowed to actually race in that race.
But I’ve already spoken with my old doubles partner, Matt Mortenson. He wants to continue sliding as well for fun. So the one sled I’m definitely going to hang on to Uh, just so that I have the ability to slide as long as I want and have the fun with my friends still every day. But I’m hoping that I will be able to get USA Luge to take the second sled off my hands and we can get it to the next generation and hopefully, help somebody else go faster.
[00:19:56] Alison: Okay. So speaking of your sleds, you have the worst lost luggage story about the sleds this year.
[00:20:03] Jayson: Yeah. Luckily for me I’m sure you’re talking about the, the boxes that got left in China first week of competition. Yeah, that was, that was pretty wild. Luckily for me, my equipment did make it to Russia.
Both of my sleds. And luckily for Chris, my doubles partner, his single sled was also there. I did have one teammate that was unfortunately left without a sled for three weeks. And then. Yeah, everybody’s worst nightmare. Especially in a year where there’s so much on the line each week with Olympic qualifications going on.
But uh, my teammate Johnny was without a sled for three weeks. you know, It shows to the community in the sport that while we were in Russia, he was given a Russian sled from the RussianFederation free of charge to, ride and race on. And then when we were in Germany for a week without the sleds, again, know the German Federation offered up a sled and Johnny was still able to slide and compete.
Uh, you know, It’s a small sport. There’s only, you know, around 200 people that do it at our level and we compete against each other all year, every year. So we know each other really well. And it just goes to show how tight knit the sport is that we were able to still without, you know, all the equipment around, get athletes on sleds and stuff.
[00:21:14] Jill: What is next on the qualification path for you and Chris?
[00:21:19] Jayson: So right now through, I think it’s January 10th is the qualification period for both the international federations qualifications for slots at the Olympics per nation and for the United States Olympic team to be announced on. Chris and I have two thirds of, of a qualification tier already done.
Uh, We’re really looking for just one more solid result, a top 10 in either Winterberg, Germany or Segulda, Latvia, the next two stops in the world cup tour, to solidify our abilities, to be nominated to the Olympic team.
[00:21:50] Jill: So yeah, you have a short week off because now you have to go back to Europe pretty much right away for this.
[00:21:58] Jayson: Five day break on the holidays.
[00:22:01] Jill: We were just talking with a biathlete and she said that being from the US and having to compete mostly in Europe is kind of a bonus for the U S athletes. Do you find that as well? Because everybody’s going to have to go and adjust to China time. And even though they’ve been there this year already, you’re used to this jet lag and time change.
[00:22:25] Jayson: Yeah. I mean, I think that it really, as an American athlete competing mostly in Europe, we become more resilient than most of the European countries that when they’re on the road for longer periods of time, you can kind of see it get to them. And we definitely see that as an advantage that our team is able to travel the world uh, for longer trips and be able to still perform uh, without having to deal with the mental problems of, being homesick as much or.
It’s just not having the luxuries you normally get when you compete at home. So yeah, it’s going to be interesting. It was a long five weeks. I know the China trip and the two weeks of Russia for my European counterparts, they were always complaining. I was like, you guys can’t be doing that. Like we still have another three weeks after this or we’re on the road.
But yeah, they just they don’t seem to adapt as well to being, being gone for longer periods. So hopefully that plays a nice, a advantage for us come February.
[00:23:16] Jill: Did you notice that in Pyeongchang when you competed?
[00:23:20] Jayson: Not as much because we were competing in Europe the week and a half before. So athletes weren’t gone very long.
We were hoping during the scheduling process of this season, that we would have been in North America right before the Olympics and then had to travel across the Pacific and would have kept the Europeans away from home even longer, um, but things didn’t end up panning out like that for us. So we’re going to be competing in Switzerland right before everybody travels to the games.
So that kinda helps the advantage a little bit. Um, Because those athletes, I’m sure we’ll get to go home, enjoy a day or two back in their, in their houses, get their laundry done. Do all the nice little necessities at home for leaving for a week and a half, two weeks for the games.
[00:24:02] Alison: What kinds of things unique to this season, COVID and China worry you about going to Beijing?
[00:24:12] Jayson: I don’t really have too many things that worry me. I mean, we’ve been in this pandemic now for a couple of years and obviously it’s constantly changing and evolving and the regulations are switching up, but for me, it’s just trying to keep my eye on the fact that I can only control a few things. Uh, And that’s pretty much just the personal things with it. Now, my physical preparedness, my mental preparedness uh, the work I can do on my sled, everything else that’s going on around me. I try to look at this white noise and just adapt.
Cause that’s one thing that the Olympics taught me that in 2014 is like a plan every day, but something’s always going to throw you a curve ball and you just need to be able to say, okay, what do I need to do to get to where I want to go and just work off that. So I’m not really too worried about the most of it.
I just hope that we are able to have the games and we were able to compete in February.
[00:25:01] Alison: Okay. So I’m totally fascinated with any kind of pairs sport, because the relationship between the two of you is so crucial to how well you do. So I’m not going to ask. What’s the most annoying thing about Chris. I am going to ask,
[00:25:17] Jill: what’s the most annoying thing about you?, about
[00:25:21] Alison: you, but it just talk a little bit about, because you’ve had two other partners and talk a little bit about finding that communication, finding that balance of, obviously you’re two different people with two very different personalities, but you have to work together and not be angry with each other when you go down the slide down the track because somebody could die.
[00:25:44] Jayson: Yeah. Um, It’s I like to compare doubles luge partners to a married couple. Because it’s, while we’re, we’re both chasing the same goal you know, as you find married couples to be doing you’re living together on the road for months out of the year, five, six months at a time. you know, And you’re going to work every day together, so there’s not much separation.
So communication is obviously key. you know, It does help that we- I’ve known Chris a very long time. Chris and I actually started doubles together when we were 14. So we have a very long history together. But like you said, I sit with a bunch of different guys and it’s definitely, there’s an adjustment period.
Uh, I think the most difficult part of switching partners is getting used to the sliding style of each individual. It does take a little bit of time, but. you do the everyday stuff and then, you know, everybody is different and we all have our own attitudes and egos and, you know, I want to try it this way and I want to try it that way.
And it’s, it’s a lot of compromising and it’s a lot of trial and error on the track and you learn how that person deals with the adversity. And you kind of have to figure out your role. So in like in doubles, which I like to say the top guy’s, Michael Jordan, the bottom guy’s, Scottie Pippen, and you gotta be the support player and you got to help any way you can.
So I try to just be as compromising as possible with my teammate. Any that has, it has worked out for me. I’ve been able to find success with each one. So, yeah, it’s just working together on a, on an end goal and making sure you both, communicate how you want to get there.
[00:27:09] Alison: How do you deal with.
Injuries to one or the other, cause that, if you’ve been injured obviously, or your partner has been injured, how does that feel? when you’re totally ready to go and your partner is not, and you’ve been in the reverse position where you’ve been, the one who’s hurt and your partner’s healthy.
[00:27:25] Jayson: yeah. Definitely been on both ends of that. It’s definitely frustrating, right? Because if it comes, you know, if you’re not the injured one, it’s completely out of your control. And when you are the injured one, you feel like you’re letting your teammate down. It’s, it’s very frustrating, but you know, we, we try to support each other every day, no matter what’s going on.
Um, Like this year I missed the entire preseason. Going into the pre-season I’m I was in the best shape of my life at 32 years old. Uh, I was very excited about that. And then the second day of training, my doubles partner broke his foot. So we were off the sled, the entire preseason, and that became very frustrating for him.
I know because he wanted to be sliding. Uh, And I know how frustrating it was for me, just because I want to get things going. This was a big year, but, you know, staying calm and, and really just trying to be understanding of what that person’s going through as well. I found to be helpful for me to get over my issues with injury.
And again, we’re, we’re both headed for the same goal and that, I know that Chris is when he is injured, he’s doing everything he can to get back on the sled as soon as possible and vice versa.
[00:28:25] Alison: Just a quick weight question, because obviously there is a weight limit to the doubles and Christmas is coming. And is this going to be like the worst Christmas ever? Cause you can’t eat what you want to eat?
[00:28:39] Jayson: Well, no, because luge is a gravity sport, so a little bit of weight, so what’s a good thing.
But we do, we do what we call weigh-ins for competitions. Uh, And each week there’s an opportunity for you to, we re weigh in. So you go in and, very minimal base layer apparel step on the scale ,and in luge since it is a gravity sport, there’s a cap to where athletes are allowed to add extra weight to themselves in the sled.
And that’s around 90 kilos for the athletes, body weight. And so I’m not that heavy. I’ve never been anywhere near that heavy. So I know that when I weigh in, I’ll be allowed to wear the, a lot of the extra weight. And then Chris is hovers around the, the 90 kilo mark. So. I think we’ll be alright either way, but when you do get to competition, you get to weigh in and then there’s a, scale taken off of that weigh in weight.
Then they give you what you’re allowed to weigh in competition.
[00:29:31] Jill: Where do you put that extra weight? Is it like a vest?
[00:29:34] Jayson: So I have, so some athletes use vests. I use a pair of bike shorts that have sewn in pockets. Um, And that’s, I keep my weight, you know, behind my, my butt and then below my, behind my hamstrings as well.
And that’s for a purpose is to keep our weight as far forward as possible so that the sled stays within its balance point that we want it to be at while we’re on top of the sled.
[00:29:59] Jill: All right, Jayson, thank you for this. Thank you so much. Jayson, Jayson and team USA took bronze and the team relay at the most recent world cup, race in Winterberg, Germany. And Segulda, Latvia is up next on the world cup circuit. So that will be this weekend. That’s excited. I hope he and Chris do well.
[00:30:17] Alison: We do love our sliders.
[00:30:19] Jill: We do. And they’re, they’re so close. I mean, it’s, I think with so many events being canceled with so many COVID problems, there are a lot of athletes also just on edge because they’ve got to qualify and we’re out of time.
[00:30:32] Alison: Yeah. They’re on the bubble. Not having enough points.
[00:30:34] Jill: Right. So hopefully. Jayson, we are rooting for you and Chris. Uh, You can follow Jayson on Instagram. He’s at Jayson Terdiman. On Facebook he is Jayson Terdiman official and on Twitter, he is J Terdiman USA. We will have links to those in the show notes. If you liked this interview and want to learn more about the singles luge event, check out episode 15, which is our interview with Shiva Keshavan.
[00:30:59] Alison: One of my favorites.
[00:31:00] Jill: I know. I just love Shiva. I hope. I mean, I haven’t looked to see if the slider he’s coaching is, has qualified yet, but I hope he does so I can see him in person, maybe whatever the closed loop system allows.
Just wave at him from a distance.
That sound means it’s time for our history moment. New year, new games that we’re looking at. This year, we were looking at Albertville, a 1992 winter Olympics there, Alison, to start us off.
[00:31:33] Alison: Yeah. So just some nice big facts about Alberville.
There were 1,801 athletes, 64 teams and 57 events, a little smaller than what we’re going to see in Beijing. Lots of firsts. So it was the first winter Olympic appearance for Algeria, Bermuda, Brazil, Honduras, Ireland, Swaziland Croatia, and Slovenia, Croatia, and Slovenia being new countries at the time. The Ireland one really surprised me.
[00:32:04] Jill: And it surprises me too. And Swazi land now known as Eswatini
[00:32:09] Alison: I was also the debut for short track speed skating, moguls, and women’s biathlon. One of our favorite events, and it hasn’t been around all that long.
[00:32:21] Jill: I know w we’re going to have to look into this.
[00:32:23] Alison: Yeah, we’re going to, I mean, all of these stories, we’re definitely going to explore more. Uh, It was also the first winter Olympic medal for an athlete from Oceana. Annalise. Coberger from New Zealand, won a downhill skiing event.
[00:32:35] Jill: Yay.
[00:32:36] Alison: And Australia and New Zealand have both come on pretty strong as a freestyle skiing powerhouses now. So they they’ve won more since then.
Also a bunch of lasts. It was the last winter games held in the same year as a summer game. So then we, we switched to that, that every other even year. It was the last games with demonstration sports.
It was curling, speed skiing, aerials, and our personal favorite, ski ballet. We will have stories about ski ballet this year. That is for sure.
[00:33:09] Jill: Oh my goodness. I am also curious about speed skiing, since I would like to know how it is different from downhill.
[00:33:17] Alison: There’s some great and some pretty tragic stories related to speed skiing from 92.
So we’ll get to that later in the year. It’s also the last games to have an outdoor long track speed skating venue.
[00:33:31] Jill: Interesting.
[00:33:32] Alison: I thought that the outdoor venue had gone away earlier. I remember the outdoor venue from 1980 and then we visited the Lake Placid venue. I thought that was the last one, but it hung around until 92.
[00:33:45] Jill: Interesting.
[00:33:46] Alison: Yeah. Some big stars that I’m sure we’ll talk about during the year. Kristi Yamaguchi, Alberto Tomba.
[00:33:52] Jill: I remember him from 1988
[00:33:54] Alison: He was still around is a big year. Yeah. Johann Olav Kos and Bjorn Daehlie. That’s a name that we said a lot
[00:34:05] Jill: you know, Koss did go on in 1994 to be like Koss the Boss.
That was good for now.
[00:34:10] Alison: All these names stuck around for more than one games and a newly reunified Germany topped the medal table with both the most gold and the most medals overall, but only a dozen countries won medals at this games.
[00:34:25] Jill: Really?
[00:34:26] Alison: Yeah, not that many countries had medals.
[00:34:29] Jill: That’s really interesting. I wonder how that compares to something like what PyeongChang. Or, you know, we’ll have to keep an eye on that for Beijing.
[00:34:40] Alison: And I am really looking forward to our moment when we get to talk about the mascot Magique, one of the most forgettable mascots.
[00:35:00] Jill: But weren’t these also the ma the medals were by Lalique ?
[00:35:04] Alison: The medals were by Lalique, and they are mostly crystal. So we will definitely do a segment on them. I remember at the time thinking how disappointing it would be to win these medals because they were enormous. I can’t wait to find out exactly how much they weighed.
They were very, very large, but the entire center section was Lalique crystal, with just this thin band of the metal on each side.
[00:35:30] Jill: So hard to tell what medal.
[00:35:34] Alison: Yes, especially the difference between gold and bronze, because there was so little, but they were huge.
[00:35:40] Jill: Interesting. Well, I am looking forward to this.
We are going to have some fun. We had, I was doing some research just on Beijing to prep for today’s show. And uh, China has released its kit and South China Morning Post does not like the kit. They said it was awful. And then had the list of some of the top worst uniforms in Olympic history. And several of them came from Albertville 1992.
[00:36:06] Alison: Yes, there was some interesting choices because we’re coming out of the go-go eighties, but we’re not quite into the minimalist nineties. So you had 92 was this weird pivot point where you’ve got some really interesting color choices,
[00:36:22] Jill: Right. and also different, politically we’re coming off of a. Summer Olympics in South Korea, where they made kind of their big world You’ve got the collapse of the Iron Curtain and the fall of the Berlin Wall happened. And we’re now into the fall of the Soviet Union. And the war in Yugoslavia is going on as well. So this is a, it’s a very interesting time in history.
So we will see how, how it plays out in Albertville.
[00:37:05] Alison: Welcome to TKFLASTAN.
[00:37:08] Jill: Yes, it’s time to check in with our Team Keep the Flame Alive. These are guests who have been on the show previously and now are, are citizens of TKFLASTAN our country. First up a hockey player. Brianna Decker has been named to her third, US women’s Olympic hockey team. So congratulations to her.
[00:37:27] Alison: Nate Bartholomay will be competing with partner Katie McBeath at the US figure skating championships this weekend
[00:37:34] Jill: Also competing this weekend is Erin Jackson, who will be at the U S speed skating Olympic trials. The 500 meter, which is her signature race, is on Friday evening. So go Erin, go get that Olympic spot.
[00:37:47] Alison: So excited.
Uh, biathlete, Clare Egan will be competing in Oberhof Germany this weekend,
[00:37:52] Jill: Snowboarder Alex Diebold and wife, ashley have announced that they are expecting baby number two, which is so exciting.
[00:37:59] Alison: Baby Diebold! Jessica Leclerc spoke at USA. Hockey’s advanced officiating symposium this past August and is the referee in chief for the state of Maine. She was featured on the USA Hockey Magazine podcast, and we will have a link to that in the show notes.
[00:38:15] Jill: uh, News from Beijing, the closed loop has opened,
[00:38:30] Alison: but I thought it was closed.
[00:38:32] Jill: Yes, but it’s open for business. It’s open for people to get into and then they will be closed off. So this is the system that Beijing 2022 has put into place for COVID protocols. And to keep everyone as safe as possible, it’s not quite a bubble, but it seems like as many people who are involved with the games, including volunteers have to be in this closed loop system which you and I will both enter at some point. And then that will be all separated from the rest of China. So it will be interesting to see how this works and how effective it is. But yeah, it’s less than 30 days to go.
And, and broadcasters and other media are already arriving and athletes will be arriving in short order. And It’s go time.
[00:39:19] Alison: Why did I suddenly have a paralyzing fear?
[00:39:23] Jill: I don’t know. Maybe it’s because arrangements are hard. We’ll see.
[00:39:32] Alison: On a happier note.
[00:39:34] Jill: Yes, along with the celebration for 30 days to go, the organizing committee released its victory ceremony, elements, and talked about what’s going to happen with the medal ceremonies.
So the medal ceremonies will take place in two parts. There will be a souvenir ceremony in the competition venue, and then they will have a traditional ceremony in the Medals Plaza. There are apparently going to be cultural exhibitions before and after the medal ceremony, but those have not been clarified yet.
There’s going to be a Medals Plaza in Beijing. And I think there’s going to be ones in some of the other venues. I’m not sure if those athletes will have to travel back to Beijing or not. But it’s going to be a temporary venue that will look like an igloo design in between the Bird’s Nest and the Ice Cube.
So it’s going to be in that big Olympics plaza that’s got venues already. The podium that they will have is made of recyclable materials, which is nice. It didn’t sound like — to me, that sounds like you can recycle the materials. It does not sound as cool as the Tokyo 2020, these podiums are made of stuff we’ve recycled. But at least there they’ve still got an eye on sustainability.
Medalists will receive custom gifts based on the mascots Bing Dwen Dwen. And Shoey Rhon Rhon. These Are really cool. So they get a little mascot stuffed animal that will be surrounded by a wreath that is golden, and the wreath will be woven of pine, bamboo, and plum known as the Three Friends of the Cold.
So these materials have been selected to symbolize. tenacity, vigorous vitality, and express praise, respect, and good wishes to the medalist.
[00:41:18] Alison: Get to the bouquet. That’s the best part.
[00:41:20] Jill: Okay. Oh, this is really, this is such a great idea. The bouquet, instead of receiving real flowers, the bouquets will be hand knitted from cashmere and
[00:41:31] Alison: They’re stunning.,
[00:41:32] Jill: Yes. And they will look like a bouquet of flowers. It will have a, that same shape. And the stem will be wrapped in ribbon and it will, the ribbon will say Beijing 2022, but they are beautiful.
[00:41:41] Alison: And they’ll last forever.
[00:41:43] Jill: Yes. I always wondered, like, what do you do with the bouquet when you’re done?
Cause you can’t really take it with you, right? Unless you took some of the flowers and dried them as quickly as you could.
[00:41:54] Alison: And I don’t know, and probably a lot of countries don’t even allow you to bring any kind of plant material back into the country and this will be cashmere. So it’ll be soft and cuddly.
[00:42:04] Jill: This all sounds very cool to me.
[00:42:07] Alison: I like a lot of these elements. I think there are. And the idea of that knit flowers for winter does it, it just, it just makes so much sense.
[00:42:15] Jill: Does it really does. And you could do paper flowers for summer and it’d be, then it would be equally as nice. I think.
Along with the podium and what the medalist received are the uniforms that the medal ceremony givers.
[00:42:32] Alison: As I like to call them, the medal girls.
[00:42:35] Jill: Yes, exactly. But there are medal boys too. So they’ve released those uniforms as well. And I, I do think they’re lovely.
[00:42:43] Alison: However,
[00:42:44] Jill: The Chinese uniforms are there they’re coats that are about knee length, and they are either a dark blue, a red, or like a teal blue. And they have a a waistline to them because there’s a point an important detail. And then the bottom of the coat is embroidered in a scene, like a mountain scene or something like that.
And then they have hats as well that go with them that are pretty form-fitting to their head. And I think they’re very elegant. It looks stunning.
[00:43:14] Alison: Fur trim at the color and the cuffs. And it’s very lovely puffed sleeves. Yes. It sort of looks like almost a take on a Victorian skating costume.
[00:43:25] Jill: Oh, I like that idea, but I think they’re lovely, but immediate backlash from Korea saying that this is plagiarism of their medal ceremony uniforms, which were based on the handbook, a costume that they have, or based on the hanbok, traditional dress in Korea.
But I look, it’s going to be a coat because it’s winter and you need a coat, but the hanboks have, they have different hats and they have more of a, an overlay that has no wa ist.
[00:43:59] Alison: But the biggest complaint was they copied the color. because it isn’t a color you would expect. It’s not an icy blue, it’s a very particular blue.
The red makes sense, obviously as China is red is so symbolic for them, but I, I see the complaints it’s, it’s awfully close.
[00:44:20] Jill: Well, the, the Korean red and blue were for the colors of the flag.
I’m not there. I’m thinking people are complaining to complain, but there, there is a blue that is close out of the three shades of blue that they have. There is red, red is red. China is also has red all over their flag. So that makes sense. And I think of the blue as ice and snow,
[00:44:44] Alison: I still want one.
[00:44:46] Jill: Yeah, I know. They’re beautiful. They’re beautiful.
[00:44:49] Alison: They’re flattering too.
[00:44:51] Jill: Yes. And just also PyeongChang’s was beautiful as well and had a lot of symbolism, which I really enjoyed, but I think the medal ceremonies will be very nice. I’m hopeful.
[00:45:02] Alison: And if it’s not you just snuggle with your flowers. Do you think they’ll have those available for us to buy like something similar ?
[00:45:11] Jill: Doubtful.
[00:45:12] Alison: Oh, come on. Oh, well yeah, someone knit me some flowers. Apparently I need them.
[00:45:20] Jill: Uh, some countries have released their kits. So we have kit from Australia, which is similar to the summer one where they had the blazer with all the Olympians names on the inside. It gets me every time.
[00:45:31] Alison: Doing it again.
[00:45:33] Jill: Right. And then China released their uniforms, which are mostly red and white. And then there’s some black and red ones. So a lot of their speed suits are black with red accents.
[00:45:43] Alison: Cause that makes you go faster.
[00:45:46] Jill: Exactly. We are busy working on plans to get there. I will say that this is not been, I honestly thank you again to everybody who supported the Kickstarter, because boy, that Kickstarter money is really coming in handy.
As we keep adding. It is just the cost of everything. Start to skyrocket. So I still, I have a flight confirmation. That was the big news of this week. I have a flight confirmation
[00:46:15] Alison: For there.
[00:46:17] Jill: No, no. I have a whole thing. I have a whole.
[00:46:20] Alison: Okay, good.
[00:46:21] Jill: So we are flights is not just like. Go to Orbitz or any airline website and book a flight to China.
No, no, no. You have to go through a process. Only 14 airlines are allowed to fly Olympic and Paralympic participants in, and you have to fly to a hub city. There are four hubs. And from those hubs, you will then fly directly to Beijing.
And that, once you get to the hub, I think you’d just get sequestered away from the public. And you are on your special Olympic flight and you land in Beijing and you are immediately separated from everybody else. You get tested right away. You go to the hotel, you wait for your test results to come in.
And if you’re negative, you are in the loop and that’s it. You’re never going into the public again, until you leave China.
So one of the airlines, we could fly with Cathay Pacific. So we started with them. They had flights that got me there when the day I needed to be there. And they said, well, we don’t have our January flight schedule yet.
Get an email from them on December 27th. Hey, we just got a January flight schedule. The flights that you had wanted no longer exist, you either have to get in like five days earlier or two days later. And that was not going to fly because two days later would not give me enough time to really prepare and get the lay of the land.
[00:47:46] Alison: Five days earlier, you have no hotel. Get no hotel. Got to get that approved.
[00:47:54] Jill: I could get hotel. If they, if my hotel had room, that was something like, oh, you can, you can call the hotel and find out, but that’s a whole nother process. And, and only one way, Cathay did not have their flight schedule for March.
So when I could get a flight to come home would be up in the air. Talk to Japan Airlines, similar deal. They could get me there when I needed to be, but it was again a one way ticket. And it’s just, I was too, I just don’t want to deal with a one way ticket.
[00:48:25] Alison: Please don’t take a one way ticket to China. I want you back.
[00:48:30] Jill: So the last airline I, I worked with was Singapore Airlines and they have a flight that I can get on.
And get home from, so I have a confirmed reservation. I believe this is the longest flight that is available to take, cause I’m flying JFK to Singapore. On the way back. I will have a little overnight in Singapore, And by overnight in Singapore, I get to go to the hotel in the airport and not leave my room until a few hours before departure.
But this flight, because it were because they’re special flights, they’re also special prices and when we budgeted for this, we were not looking at like Dan’s travel deals, website prices. We were not thinking we’re going to get to China and back for like 500 bucks or anything like that.
We budgeted a healthy price and this price is a few thousand dollars more than what we had budgeted. So it’s the Kickstarter money. We really do appreciate it as these costs really go up.
[00:49:32] Alison: Yeah, this is not been fun and not, I mean, we knew going to China was going to be challenging and we knew traveling during the pandemic was going to be challenging. I don’t even think we anticipated quite what we were going to be dealing with.
[00:49:46] Jill: No, not at all.
[00:49:47] Alison: And for now I’ve got nothing. I have no accreditation number. I’ve got no flight. I’ve got no nothing. So I just sit on my hands and say, Jill, please have a flight home.
[00:50:01] Jill: Well, my accreditation card is in the mail. I have a tracking number. Oh it, get here this week. So I have that. And I have a Paralympics accreditation number. So maybe you can get yours too. Okay. That’s when you need it, because now, now we’re also getting into the, I have to fill out a special arrival and departure system form to let them know when I’m coming in and all of these things that you need.
Like I needed my accreditation number in order to book the flight because they need to know that yes, you are going there for the Olympics. And if you don’t have that, you have to get a special letter of invitation. And it’s just one thing after another to, to make this trip possible. It’s interesting too, you know, it will be a very interesting point in history.
And if we get accredited for more Olympics that are not taking place during a pandemic and
It will be interesting. It’ll be interesting to see how they compare, but yeah, this has been, it’s been a fun challenge.
It’s an interesting challenge. I’m very anxious about passing all of these COVID tests, even though I haven’t had any COVID. But
I still paranoid. I’ve always been a bad test taker, always been a bad test taker.
[00:51:13] Alison: You thought that was over when you got through the SATs, but no, no, no. So do have some good news about Beijing. We have a Beijing viewing guide coming out next week.
[00:51:26] Jill: That is true. We are putting the finishing touches on our viewing guide.
So excited about that. It will help you let you know what’s happening when and how to plan your viewing, and also will contain places for who wins the medals. And after the games are over, we will update that. So if you order it now, you will be able to get the updated version as well. You will be able to find it on Amazon, and we will definitely share that link far and wide.
It’s a really cheap it’s only $4.99.
[00:51:57] Alison: That will be coming out next week.
[00:52:03] Jill: All right. And speaking of well, we got to get to that guide and keep working on it. So that’ll do it for this episode. Let us know what you think about luge.
[00:52:12] Alison: We love hearing from you. So get in touch with us. Email firstname.lastname@example.org ,call or text us at (208) 352-6348. That’s 2 0 8. Flame it, our social handle is at flame alive pod, and be sure to join the, keep the flame alive podcast group on Facebook.
[00:52:31] Jill: Next week, we’ll have more stories from the Olympics and Paralympics. I want to say a special thank you to all of those who sent me well wishes
I had a death in the family last week, and that was unexpected. So appreciate that. Special shout out to listener Anthony. Hope you get well soon as well. Thank you so much for listening. And until next time, keep the flame alive.