On this episode we take to the ice with Paralympian Steve Emt, who will be going to his second Paralympics when he heads to Beijing 2022 this March.

Steve tells us about how the sport works, how he was stalked into trying it, and about his cameo on “The Last Dance.”

Steve is also a motivational speaker and author of the book You D.E.C.I.D.E.. You can learn more about him and his book at his website. Follow him on social:

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/stephen.emt

Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/stephen.emt

LinkedIn: http://linkedin.com/in/steve-emt

In TFKLASTAN, more Olympic dreams are realized, dashed, or on hold. We’ve got news from:

  • Josh Williamson
  • Lauren Gibbs
  • AJ Edelman
  • Nate Bartholomay
  • Erin Jackson – check her out in Sports Illustrated!

In Beijing 2022 news, we’ve got word that while there will be spectators at the Olympics, it will be invite only. Plus, there’s a new bust of TBach in the city!

Prep for Beijing with our viewing guide! Find it at Amazon.

Want a transcript of this episode? Find it here.

Thanks so much for listening, and until next time, keep the flame alive!

Photo: Team USA


TRANSCRIPT

NOTE: Although we attempt to ensure the accuracy of this transcript, do know that it is machine-generated and likely contains mistakes. Please use the audio file as the record of note. Thank you.

[00:00:00] 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?

[00:00:41] Alison: I’m great. We got snow this week, so I am ready to go. I am in the mood for Beijing

[00:00:48] Jill: And it helps to live in a snowy climate, cause we got a whole bunch of snow as well.

And it’s just like, yeah, we’re here for winter.

[00:00:55] Alison: And if you are on my Instagram I finally got some Beijing items that were supposed to be for Christmas. But my husband did not factor in the shipping time from China, so they just arrived, but they’re fantastic.

[00:01:11] Jill: Very very cool. We also exciting news. We are on the short list for the best Olympics and Paralympics podcast for the inaugural Sports Podcast Awards. There is a voting element to this. So please go and vote for us. It’s at sportspodcastawards.com. Look for the judges or the, the leaderboards type section. And they’ll tell you how to vote. That is good through February.

We would also like to give a special thanks to all of our Patreon patrons for providing financial support to the show and keeping our flame alive and to the new patrons who came on board this week. That was so exciting. It always makes me want to cry just a little bit, it means so much. So if you would like to be our patron of the week you can check out our different levels of support and very cool bonus gifts at Patreon.com/flamealivepod. If you would like to give us a one-time gift, we have lots of options for one-time donations. Check out flamealivepod.com/support for all of those.

Okay. Today’s guest. We are talking wheelchair curling today with Steve Emt . Steve is a member of Team USA and in March, he will be going to his second Paralympics to compete in wheelchair curling. He was introduced to the sport about 10 years ago at age 42.

Which I love, I love that stuff.

[00:02:32] Alison: We love the old people.

[00:02:34] Jill: And he instantly fell in love with the sport. He and his team recently took forth at the World Wheelchair Curling Championships. And they’re looking to get a podium finish at Beijing 2022. We talked with him about the sport, how it works and what he’s looking forward to at Beijing. Take a listen.

Steve. Thank you so much for joining us. We’re so excited to talk about wheelchair curling. We’re excited to get to see it in person because we both will be in Beijing. Tell us a little bit about the main differences in the wheelchair game versus the able bodied game.

[00:03:08] Steve: Yeah, well basically the, two main differences are that able-bodied curlers slide out of the hack, which is behind the house and slide and then just let go of the stone. We don’t do that. We deliver, obviously from a seated position, obviously ’cause we’re in wheelchairs, but we also were up closer to the hogline.

So we do, we deliver from a stationary position. I lock my brakes. My teammate comes behind me and locks his brakes or her brakes and holds me and just go ahead and deliver the stone. Uh, So that’s, that one. And then the major difference though, is that there’s no sweeping.

So sweeping makes a lot of bad shots look good.

If you see them sweeping hard right away, that means the shooter did not do their job. They were either too light with the stone with delivery or they’re off their target. So the sweeping kind of saves a lot of shots. So basically wheelchair curling, I’m aiming for a basketball size spot 130 feet down the ice. And I’m on my own as far as that goes. So I don’t have any sweepers to save me.

[00:04:09] Alison: Is your wheelchair different than a standard wheelchair?

[00:04:13] Steve: It is not. No. My wheelchairs, we use our everyday chairs. Uh, There is no difference in the equipment. The only thing you’ll see is when we get on the ice for the first time for a game we you’ll see us roll around a little bit behind the hogline behind the hack, whatnot, to cool our tires off uh, because if we just come on the ice and stop, we’ll literally melt the ice because the ice, the tires are warmer, they’re room temperature. So we roll around, let the tires, cool down a little bit with a minute or two. And then after that, it’s, easy to manipulate on the ice. If I start real quick, I’ll spin my tires. If I’m going real fast and all of a sudden I grab my rims, I’ll slide. But for the most part, after that, it’s just easy to get around your ice and no special equipment needed as far as the chair goes

[00:04:56] Alison: So you have somebody behind you also locked and holding your chair. Is that just to prevent you from sliding on the ice?

[00:05:03] Steve: That is to prevent any little movement in our delivery. Uh, Because the stone is 42 pounds and we are, when you’re sliding out, it’s easier to just let, go and not have any movement on it. But if you’re when you’re delivered, like we do, which usually is a stick, you can deliver. A lot of people don’t know with wheelchair curling, you can deliver by hand because it be awfully difficult to do, but you can do that. But all of us deliver with a stick.

So when we push that stick forward, two three feet or whatever, to deliver a stone, we don’t want to move at all backwards or forwards or left or right. Because it’ll throw us off. If we just move, one little inch where we throw from, by the time the stone goes down, the other end, 130, 140 feet, we’re off the target by about a foot.

So that person behind us keeps us nice and stable. Some people you’ll see some people curl and they don’t, they don’t need to be held because for whatever reason, maybe their tires that day, the air pressure there’s a lot of these are going work for the most part. We all, we all hold each other’s chairs so we have a nice, solid base to deliver from.

[00:05:59] Jill: That’s basically, so the energy from your throw, doesn’t go into your chair and move you. It moves directly into the stone?

[00:06:05] Steve: Yes. Yeah. So it runs it and we don’t lose anything. It’s, you know, it’s almost like a tank when the main gun goes off in a tank, the breech goes into the tank to absorb all the energy.

Otherwise that tank would flip over. So, yeah, that’s basically the same thing. We don’t want any of that energy dissipating from where we’re going with it and losing it and head down the ice, with the stone.

[00:06:24] Alison: Does that ever happen? Where a chair flips or slides?

[00:06:28] Steve: I’ve fallen out before. A world championship in Finland aside of the sheets or there’s these foam edging to kind of stop the stones.

And when you’re going down the sheet that foam, if you hit it with your cast or your tire, it sucks like a snowbank when you’re driving. So, uh, I fell out in Finland. You know, And world championship. I see people fall out the Paralympics it’s, tip over backwards. You get too excited. It doesn’t happen often, but when it does, I mean, you’re pretty embarrassed when it happens, but Hey, it’s all good. Life happens, right?

[00:06:57] Jill: When you throw, we’ve seen that they’ve put these wool stripes in the ice. What are the wool stripes for? And do you have to use them all the time?

[00:07:04] Steve: Wool stripes? I’m not sure what you mean by that.

[00:07:07] Jill: Are there they’re guidelines somewhere in the ice?

[00:07:12] Steve: There is a small line two lines on each side of the center line. There’s a center line that goes into the center of the ice.

And then there’s two smaller lines, 18 inches out.on each side of that, that we have to deliver the stone in between those lines.

[00:07:27] Jill: What do they call that?

[00:07:28] Steve: They call the four foot lines. They call it a four foot lines because they’re on the edge of the forefoot of the house.

So, yeah, they’re called a four-foot lines or some, some people call them the TV lines for whatever reason. I don’t know. But yeah, those are called the four foot lines. So we have to the stone, when we start, our delivery has to be inside those four foot lines. So we don’t do it often on Team USA. We deliver the storm right from the center line, cause that gives our skip on the other end, a better read of the stone and the curl.

But I have seen in some cases, if a stone is buried on the other end and we want to get a different angle on it, we’ll we’ll slide the stone out about a foot left or right to try to increase the angle of what we can see. But for the most part, we stay right on a certain amount center line. But yeah, those are the four foot lines.

Yup. That’s what they are.

[00:08:09] Alison: So are you using the same terminology? Skip, vice skip as an able-bodied curling. And are they doing the same things?

[00:08:17] Steve: They’re doing the exact same thing. The same four, four in the ice. Another thing with wheelchair curling, right now, it is mixed gender. It has to be on the ice mixed gender.

So we travel with three men and two women women, it could be four and one. You know, You have to be careful because if that one person gets sick or injured, you actually end up forfeiting games. You know, some countries– Slovakia only has one female curler in the country, so does Latvia. So they have to be careful.

But yeah, so the positions are the same. We had mixed gender. That’s it. Obviously able-bodied has men’s women’s you know, other than that, it’s all the same, same roles, same basically the same strategy. I mean, those able-bodied curlers with their sweeping in a way they get the stone down, the ice real fast is amazing and they can do some stuff that we can’t.

So we don’t try to. So it’s a little bit more tactical game with us. Slow down a little bit. You don’t run as fast jump as high as them. So we slowed down and play more tactics.

[00:09:09] Jill: Let’s talk about some of those tactics. How do you put a spin on the ice? It’s is it the way the six slides into the stone and how you throw the stone then?

[00:09:18] Steve: Yes. There are two basic sticks that wheelchair curlers use. One of them is called the GTX head. It was made by somebody up in Canada and basically we just, we it’s on the end of my stick, my sticks about six feet long. Uh, So the head’s on the end of the stick and the head slides onto the handle of the stone.

And we preset the stone. So if I want to throw a clockwise rotation stone or an intern for a right-hander, I would set it. So it’s at, the stone is already set. So when it comes off the stick, it just rotates as a pivot point, on the stick head, and it just automatically applies the rotation to the stone.

There’s another stick that some people use it as old school kind of, I guess the terminology before, where they have to actually twist their arm or their wrist, when they deliver the stone. Now that’s part poses some problems for some quads, I’m a para, so I can easily, I have my full use of my arms, but there’s some quads out there in the world that can not apply that turn to the stone. So the GTX head, what it does it automatically saves them. There’s a guy up in Canada who ducts duct tapes his stick to his hand when he plays, because he doesn’t have the dexterity to turn his wrist. So if he didn’t have a GTX head, he couldn’t grow and he’s one of the best in Canada.

So, that’s basically the difference in the two sticks. Most of us use the GTX head just automatically applies a rotation. So we just literally line up. Mental pre-shot routine. Go through it. Boom. Push the stick forward and it’s automatically applied.

[00:10:46] Jill: Oh, okay. I’m the money person. What do these sticks cost?

[00:10:50] Steve: My setup. My stick, my stick head is probably around $500.

[00:10:55] Jill: We’re starting to think that wheelchair curling was going to be a relatively cheap, although it is kind of relatively cheap. I mean, because you can use your own wheelchair, we do a sport that’s, that’s fairly economical. All things considered

[00:11:09] Steve: Is it is you know, you’ve got your membership dues for your local club. If you’re doing that, usually you have to, that could be anywhere from 200 to five, $600 for a year. But then once you get the equipment down, that’s a one-time purchase. Unless you break something and you got your chair and but on our level, on the elite level, we’re doing a lot of traveling.

So that’s where it all, that’s what the expenses pile up. And we get beat up on that. That’s for sure.

[00:11:32] Alison: How difficult is it to travel with that stick?

[00:11:36] Steve: It’s not. My stick is in three pieces. So it basically breaks down into three, foot and a half long sections. I put it in a special case and I put it right in my bag and put it in the belly of the plane.

So, and I take my stick head with me. So, I don’t want that being broken anywhere. So I just take that carry on with me. And then we go, we get off the plane, we pick it up. We go to the club and throw some stones.

[00:11:55] Jill: Where is the movement coming from in your body to throw the stick? Because I would imagine there’s a, good way to throw the stone and a not so great way to throw the stone. So where are you trying to get the motion from in your body?

[00:12:11] Steve: There are many different deliveries. You see that’s and that’s a beautiful, you know, when we teach this sport, we do a lot of clinics trying to, you know, outreach. And when we teach this, we show them a couple of different deliveries. And then it’s basically, guys, you got to try it on your own.

You’ve got to find what works for you and what you’re comfortable with. When I first started, I’m 6’5″, about 240 pounds. I’m a big boy. When I first started, I would be sitting up right in my chair and then I would almost allow my upper body to fall forward. And then throw, push my arm forward. So there’s a lot of movement in my delivery and I was always off with the weights.

I was heavy. I was light. And I couldn’t dial it in. So now I literally, my, my shot, I just lean forward into my chair. And then I just, I stop and then I just pushed my arm forward. So the only movement I have is my arm going forward about a foot, foot and a half. It doesn’t take much to get that stone down the ice.

If I have to throw a heavier weight stone or take out or something like that, I backed my hand up a little bit and I throw a little bit harder. That’s it. So different deliveries you’ll see most for the most part. A lot of people are straight on. Some people are a little tilted to the left or to the right, depending on which hand they use.

Some lean forward, some have special brackets on their chair where they can really lean into if they don’t have, you know, the level of injury matters, I’m a lower paraplegic. So I have that trunk, little bit of trunk control. Some of these people, I compete against are higher level, so they really don’t. So they need a brace to hold themselves in a chair. I’ve seen seatbelts on chairs, so they don’t fall out. Uh, So it’s basically, preference in trying it over and over and over and throwing a bunch of stones and see what you like. So there’s many, many different types of de liveries.

[00:13:46] Alison: In a lot of para sports this past year, there has been a great deal of controversy regarding how disabled people are and people getting classified out.

Is there any issue with that with wheelchair curling?

[00:13:59] Steve: I don’t think there’s an issue with it. No. I know there’s been a lot of talk about no amputees, you know, a one leg amputee versus a dual. I apologize if I insult anybody by the terminology, but a person who in one way has more stability in their delivery than a person with two.

So they shouldn’t be allowed to curl or some, something like that. I don’t know. you know, it’s not, it’s not difficult to get classified in wheelchair curling. The rule of thumb, basically, if you use a wheelchair for everyday use. There’s very, very, very good chance you’ll get classified.

So, the, the amputees is the only place I’ve seen or heard, and it hasn’t been much of any kind of, advantage or disadvantage to what they have versus, a quad or a para or somebody with a spinal cord injury.

[00:14:43] Jill: For you, do you get classified once or do you continually have to go through a classification process?

[00:14:50] Steve: Just one time I got classified back in 2014 and my first worlds in Finland. And that’s it. Yeah. Once you classify, I don’t think they can go back. I mean, grandfather clause, all those terms. Don’t I don’t know. But no in wheelchair curling and you get classified once and you are good to go..

[00:15:10] Alison: I want to ask you about the ice cube.

[00:15:12] Jill: Oh yeah. Yeah. You’ve been to the ice cube.

[00:15:14] Steve: Yes, yeah.

[00:15:16] Alison: So, what is, what’s it look like? How’s it feel

[00:15:20] Steve: I’ve got goosebumps right now? Just thinking about it. It’s, it’s an amazing place in when we, when I first went in there it was really there what, two and a half months ago for our world championships, which we took fourth place and lost in the bronze medal match.

Incredible incredible week we had. So we’re, we’re getting up there as far as USA Curling, but when, when I first went into the Cube, when we come in as a huge ramp, five, six different directions, but you go right past the diving platforms from 2008, I believe the summer games. So you know, you’re thinking right there, all these divers and the best divers in the world, jumping off into the pool.

The sheets of ice, where we curled was actually built into the pool. So they put a bunch of scaffolding in a pool. I guess there’s a video out there somewhere. You can see a time-lapse, they put a huge scaffolding in the pool and built it up and it was amazing. So we, we curled on the swimming pool and it was cool.

One of our games, one of our, the important shots of our game to actually win the game, supposedly came to rest basically right where Michael Phelps took off and, from one of his four member team, gold minute medal winning, sprints. And we learned that afterwards and I thought that was amazing, just to be a part of it.

And the sign Beijing, orange sign in the background. What you saw a lot when you watched the Olympics in 2008, incredible history there for USA. But it just to go in there and, and, see that place, and you know, you right away, you get down to business and get on the ice and start curling up throwing stones, but you look around and just all the seats were empty for the world.

So I guess they’re gonna allow some people there for the Paralympics, but yeah, it was a beautiful place at night. It’s lit up all different colors. It’s right next to the Nest, right across the street from the nest with a, I assume the Opening Games are going to be as long as nobody wants snowed out, but, you know, it’s just incredible.

Incredible atmosphere and incredible places in history for USA and specifically Michael Phelps and his team, this beautiful place.

[00:17:11] Alison: So how you got into curling, it’s kind of a funny story. So you, have always been an athlete, you had a car accident and were paralyzed and then tell the story. It’s great.

[00:17:24] Steve: Yeah, for 17 years after my accident, I was just, I needed to find that sport.

I didn’t have, I never found where I didn’t. I needed it inside of me. I got a hole. I got to compete. I gotta find a something to do. I coached basketball. I did all right. I tried wheelchair basketball and had it, didn’t do anything for me. Wheelchair tennis, road racing, the whole nine. I tried to dump a bunch of in sports, but nothing did it for me.

So in the summer of 2013, I decided to go to way to Cape Cod, Massachusetts, which is about a two and a half hour drive for me. And I just went up by myself and just, get away for the weekend. I heard great things about the place let’s go. So I checked into my hotel in Falmouth. What do I do? I’m not from here.

Where do I go? And they said, well, you need to go down to Woods Hole. It’s a beautiful day out. Go down to this place. What’s Hole. You can go down to this restaurant called Pie in the Sky, some free advertising for them there and grab something to eat and just sit outside, enjoy the day. It’s beautiful. It’s on a Harbor, boats coming in, just enjoy the day.

I parked my truck in Woods Hole.

I push up the hill. I’m at Pie in the Sky minding my own business. And it. Middle-aged man comes around the corner and he comes up to me and he says uh, Excuse me, are you local? I said, no, I I’m from Connecticut about two and a half hours away. And there was about 10 seconds of silence between us. And I’m looking at him, he’s looking at me, he’s smiling.

I’m thinking I’m dead. Like I’m getting stalked here I’m trying to plan my route. How am I gonna get the hell away from this guy? And finally I said to him, do you mind telling me why you asked that? And he said, well, I train with the Paralympic curling team here on a Cape. I saw you pushing up the hill down there and with your build I can make you into the Olympian in a year.

And I’m like, Hey, what the heck is curling? Never heard of it. And B where do I sign up? I heard Olympics. I’m like, let’s go. That man was Tony Colacchio. And he, he parked his truck when he saw me pushing up the hill and he walked around Woods Hole for 40 minutes until he found me. So, fortunately his wife came around the corner.

We sat and talked for a while. I got stalked into the sport. And I love telling that story. I love Tony to death. Unfortunately, he’s no longer with us, but he uh, he gave me the opportunity that day. I went home. I Googled the sport. I went back two weeks later. I threw my first couple of stones and immediately fell in love with it.

And I am b lessed and honored and grateful for Tony and his wife, Mary Coalcchio up there in a cave too. That gave me the opportunity to do this and be a part of this. And uh, yeah, but I, I got stalked into the sport it and uh, You know, we do, we do. That’s what we do in a lot of athletes with disabilities. I’m sure for their own sports stalk others, anytime we come across a, somebody in a wheelchair or a disability or whatnot, and I know I do, I go up to them right away.

Hey, what’s going on? How are you doing? I tried wheelchair curling and it’s great. And he’s usually it’s no, I hate the cold or yeah, whaddya got? So, yeah, I got stalked and I love it. I’m going, I’m so glad I got stalked into this sport.

[00:20:01] Alison: The past four years there’s been a lot of development in USA Curling. So what’s changed?

What’s been happening?

[00:20:08] Steve: It is incredible times right now for USA Curling. We had a change in leadership from the top CEO down. They came in and clean house on a lot. And with that change, there’s been more of a emphasis on us athletes as curlers, personally, to step up and take on responsibility and take on the opportunity that we have here.

A couple of years ago, we were at a training camp and my coach Rusty Schieber a great coach, great person, Pete Annis, and another assistant coach of ours. We have great coaches on it in our program. You know, We had, we had a training camp out in the woods of Maine. We were camping or in New York, we were camping, like 10 wheelchairs out, camping in the woods of New York.

And he laid out the schedule ahead of us. And in the, with that schedule, I was where I was still teaching at the time. And I told Rusty, I can’t do this. You know, I’m going to miss 60 days of school with this schedule. I can’t do it. Steve, if you want to do this, You want to be a Paralympian again, and you want to be a part of this team.

You’re going to have to do it. Otherwise. We’re going to have to say good-bye. So there’s been a lot of responsibility and put on us and that’s been huge because, we, we have earned everything that we’ve had the last couple of years when I first went to Beyonce and in 2018, we didn’t earn, we didn’t deserve anything.

We, we deserve what we’re getting now, because I know myself, my teammates, I know the able bodies, the men’s women’s the juniors. I see all the hours in in the training camps who got into this sport now. So. There’s the responsibility just put on us athletes has been huge. And if you don’t want to do it, if you don’t want to commit, if you don’t want to sacrifice, which a lot of us do, all of us do, actually not a lot of us, all of us do then you’re not going to be a part of it.

But if you want to do all those things, you’re going to be a part of something great. So been a great couple of years and we’re just keep on going forward.

[00:21:55] Jill: How are you making it work? Because I’m sure there’s big money in curling. There’s big money in wheelchair curling.

[00:22:05] Steve: Yeah. I almost fell out of my chair on that one, because any of us that are curling are definitely not doing it for the money.

Absolutely not. Majority of people still have full-time jobs from attorneys to doctors and nurses and all my team. We have a doctor, we have an accountant, we have a college counselor. So we got to work. Fortunately, you know, myself. I’ve got great people around me. The fundraising, the grants that are available to athletes with disabilities, I’ve been fortunate enough to take advantage of those and have some incredible, the Challenged Athletes Foundation now in California does incredible things for athletes with disabilities.

They’ve helped me out a lot. Again, the grants and the fundraising, my community is incredible planning a fundraiser right now, before I head out to Beijing. Blessed blessed and fortunate to be a part of something huge and bigger than ourselves and have so much support from our family members. You know, My wife’s a massage therapist.

We have two boys. I miss birthdays. I miss holidays traveling around the world. And it’s difficult. It is absolutely difficult, but you know, being a two-time Paralympian. You know, I learned after coming back from PyeongChang, in the history of the United States, there’s only about 12, 12,500. Olympians and Paralympians in the history of the United States, and I’m one of them.

So that’s what we go for. That’s what it’s all about. And it’s just incredible to be a part of this. So it, it’s very difficult. There is no money in curling or very little, there’s some tournaments out there that you can make some money on, but anybody’s doing it for the money they’re in the wrong, wrong profession.

That is for sure. It’s for the love of the game and the love of wearing Team USA.

[00:23:47] Alison: So we know what we’ve encountered, trying to plan our trip to Beijing. How is it, how has it been for you?

[00:23:54] Steve: Without, I can’t imagine what you guys, I mean, we have government assistance. We have some high ranking people in the Pentagon taking, I don’t know how you’re doing it.

It’s been very good. Wasn’t that? Right? Well, good luck. I hope to see you there. When we went over a couple of months ago, the paperwork. Talk about choking a horse, the paperwork, the visas, the checks, the medical, I mean, it was incredible everything we had to do. But when we got there, we got tested every day, temperature taken two or three times a day, you know, and I didn’t hear out of all 12 teams that were there.

I didn’t hear of one positive test. So they did an incredible job while we’re there. But getting there is a hassle. We still don’t know when we’re leaving. We’re leaving around February 18th. I believe pretty certain as of a couple of days ago, we’re going to LA for four days and then we’re going to head out from there to Beijing.

I don’t know, it could change any, any time as it’s very difficult in China is making it difficult for us, I think for everybody I don’t know if I should say that, but I think everybody going into China, you know, they’re, they’re afraid like any nation is. When I came back from China from the world’s just what, two months, two and a half months ago, it took me 52 hours to get home from China, 52 hours and eight hour flight, six over six hour layover, three hours.

We went from Beijing, I think to Tokyo, to London, I went to Atlanta then back to Hartford. So it was brutal. It was brutal. So, just get me there, get us all there, get a team there to get into our bubble in the village and let’s have at it. Can’t wait.

[00:25:23] Jill: What is your training schedule? Like both on ice training and off ice?

[00:25:28] Steve: Yeah, on ice is usually anywhere from three to four, three to five days a week, I’m on the ice for two, two and a half, three hours. Just training with myself, just throwing. Repetitive this throwing stones, muscle memory, working my pre-shot routine, my mental management uh, and then the days that I’m in that off the ice on those days also includes meditation.

Some physical workout, some positive imprinting. I have a 10, 12 minute video of myself from PyeongChang, you know, have all made shots that I look at every day just to reinforce positive imprints, very important. Uh, So a lot of mental when I’m not on the ice, I dry fire in my, my living room, I have my stick in my hand. I imagine I’m on the ice. I close my eyes and I see myself on the ice and I see the broom down the other end. And I go through all my shots for about 30, 45 minutes. Just and again, they’re all makes. So every day I’m throwing a stone. Whether it’s physically on the ice or mentally in my mind.

And obviously mentally you do a right. You don’t miss any shots. So I love doing that. But it’s crazy for me. I have to drive an hour and a half to get to my club. So I have a three hour round trip to get to my club and I’m there for two, two and a half hours. So it’s a five, six hour, morning, usually get out of here.

My house, I leave my house about six o’clock. On the ice by 8, 10 30 at home by noon and do the rest of the stuff. So it’s, It’s crazy. And again, I’m fortunate enough to have the financial support of my family and community that I could do that. Once the Paralympics are over, I got to get to go find a job and get back to work.

[00:27:01] Alison: So how old are your boys?

[00:27:02] Steve: 16 and 13.

[00:27:04] Alison: So they get it. What, what’s their impression of, what dad does

[00:27:07] Steve: They do get it. They’re my step-kids. I obviously treat them like my own. My wife has done an incredible job raising them, but you know, they do get it.

They see me and PyeongChang, it hit me. Well, I got to slow down and get emotional here, PyeongChang, and he’ll be very nice. My wife sent me a picture when I was over there of the two of them watching one of my games from behind with my jerseys on, so, I saw my name amped in the USA and then watching me in the background.

So that was, that was pretty awesome. They did it. They’re proud. They’d see the sacrifices they see me. You know, The workouts in the house or the dry firing or the, they see me, they see it. And that’s what that’s, what’s important to me is they see what it takes to be a Paralympian. And um, they don’t have any Olympic aspirations in their mind ever for their lives, but they’re athletes and they know what I’ve been through as far as my accident and overcoming it and becoming a Paralympian.

So I think that’s, leading by example and showing, instead of telling is huge. You know, You can talk all you want, but you know, you see me doing something and to see me reaping the benefits, then, then that’s a big difference to me. So then they get it. They are great kids, they get it, like you said, they get it.

[00:28:17] Jill: It’s good though. I mean, even if they’re not looking to Excel in sports and be at the pinnacle. Just that dedication is applicable to anything. If you want to be successful,

[00:28:29] Steve: Anything in life, anything in life. And I’m not, I don’t sit around. I’m very active, I’m out there shoveling snow with them as they’re snow blowing.

I don’t know if I get on my lawnmower and mowed the lawn. So I mean, I, they, they see me, they see, they know what I’ve been through. They know my story. I, they ha they weren’t around when I had my accident. They’ve only been in my life for about eight years now, but, you know, they know what I’ve been through and they know everything.

They know all about my life and they they’ve seen me fall out and they’ve seen me have bad days and they see me have great days and become a Paralympian and overcome stuff. So yeah, they see it and I’m sure they appreciate it and hopefully pushes them to do the same thing sometime in, in their lives.

Like you said,

[00:29:07] Jill: From 2018 to now, you’re the only player returning from that team. How is it building a team in four years? And how scattered are you?

[00:29:17] Steve: We are building this team has been a team effort. It’s I, I didn’t want, there’s no way after we left PyeongChang, we were awful in PyeongChang ladies, we were awful.

To individually we were pretty good. We were all fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth in the world with our stats, but we were just an awful team. And we, obviously you a lot needed to change. We didn’t get along. I, when I got back here you know, talking to some of my friends who don’t know anything about curling, but watched me on TV, that Steve, your team was awful, and they were right.

We know we, we just didn’t get along. As I thought we did, I thought we were ready and I thought this, and I thought that, and we, we, we deserve this. We deserve to win. No, we didn’t. We didn’t put in the work like we’re doing now. So when we came back from PyeongChang, we had a serious coaching change.

The coaches before were all right, but I mean, it’s just, it was time. Uh, We had a turnover, like you said, I’m the only returning curler on a team. So we had four new members come on to the team. So I didn’t want that to ever happen again. I don’t ever want that to happen. My four teammates all realize that they’re, they’re a part of this rebuilding the coaches, the USA curling, the support that we have gotten from USA Curling from USOPC has been incredible.

You know, we went out in place 4th place, six months before that we took a gold medal in the B tournament. So they see that the, the money they’re putting into our program, they see that it’s — we’re proving that it works the support. So it’s been a team effort, a program effort to rebuild this team.

And uh, I love where we’re at right now. We, we don’t go out anywhere and hope to win anymore. Like we did. We expect to win every game we play in and because we’ve, we’ve earned it, we have put in the work and we’ve put in the sacrifices and the long hours and in the virtual meetings, you know, weeks, weeks at a time and we put it in.

So we’ve earned it. We’re going to go out there and give our best and take care of business and get us a medal.

[00:31:13] Alison: Is that the goal for Beijing, to medal?

[00:31:15] Steve: That is the goal. That is 100% the goal. We are done putting on a good show. We’re done showing up uh, and we we’ve we’ve proved that just to get two and a half months ago, we were out in Beijing for the world championship.

We lost in the bronze medal match. The Russia. I mean, we w we played incredible. We had a great. I didn’t feel any pressure. It was, it was flowing. It was jiving. We had good mojo on and off the ice. It was just, it was a great week. So we’ve proven to ourselves, we’ve moved to the upper echelon of teams in the world.

We used to be down at the bottom, hoping, hoping one out of 10 times to beat a Norway or a Russia or Sweden, or trying to top teams in the world. Now, when we’re not hoping anymore. We go into every game, we expect to win. So we expect to be on that podium. Obviously a gold medal would be fantastic and incredible for everybody, but you know, our goal is to qualify for the, tournament, qualify for the playoffs and then get a medal.

Absolutely 100%.

[00:32:08] Jill: Are you doing anything mentally to prepare for the possibility of spectators, particularly being in China and the Chinese team is quite good. And having them being the hometown favorite and all of the spectators would probably be from China.

[00:32:28] Steve: Yeah. I don’t –no, we’re not, to answer that right?

No, we’re not. We know we have 11 games, we have 11 round Robin games. We play China once. Yeah. Maybe, maybe, maybe the place will be packed. And usually it’s packed with kids and a lot of people that don’t know curling, so they scream anyways. So it’s funny when we were in Korea, I mean, the place was packed and they bused kids and his 4,000 fans and, we’re purposely throwing up a guard, which is short of the house.

And they’re like, whoa, oh, because they want the stone to be in the house. They don’t, they don’t know the game. So that’s, that’s curling fans at the Olympics Paralympics. so no, we’re not, we’re not doing anything. We’re going to go out there. And my four teammates and myself, we’re on a sheet of ice just like we’re back in Connecticut or Wisconsin or Minnesota or Colorado, and a to answer one of your questions before yet, we are scattered everywhere, all on the country. I’m from Connecticut. There’s two from Wisconsin, one from Minnesota and one from Colorado. So it’s difficult for us to train together because we all have to travel.

Usually we travel to Wisconsin, so I have to travel the furthest, but so a lot of the emphasis is put on individual training regimens. And when we do get together, which is usually once a month for a week. Work on a team systems. Unfortunately this month was canceled where I was supposed to be in Wisconsin right now out there for 10 days training.

But you USA Curling said, no, nobody’s flying anywhere. Nobody’s practicing where we gotta get through this pandemic we’re in. So, we’re gonna go out there and no matter who we’re playing, we’re on our own sheets of ice back home and throw some great stones.

[00:34:00] Jill: you want to ask about The Last Dance? Alison?

[00:34:03] Steve: Yeah!

[00:34:05] Alison: Apparently we do want to ask about The Last Dance. You had a little cameo, cause you were Yukon Husky back in the day. So how did that come to be? And what was that like?

[00:34:16] Steve: That was amazing. Scoott Burrell who I played with at UConn he was playing with the Bulls at the time.

And he hit them up for some tickets. Yeah. I got you. You and your three, your buddies come on out. So we drove all the way out to Chicago. What 12, 14 hours or so? One, one of my buddies, Jerry drove. So we get to the arena and there’s four tickets. Two of them are courtside. The two of them were way up high and plus two locker room passes.

So I said to my buddies, I’m going courtside and I’m going to the locker room. So you guys fight it out for what you want to do. So my buddy, Jerry who drove the whole time sat, went and sat up top and went into the locker room with me. So me and Jay were sitting in a, in a team room and we’re hanging out with Dennis Rodman and Scottie Pippin and Scott Burrell, and a couple other guys just hanging out.

And those guys leave. And Scott Burrell hangs out. Door opens up and it’s MJ. And uh, he walks right up to me, how you doin’, Steve I’m Michael I’m like, naw really, I didn’t know that, but he sat down, you know what? He, he sat down for half an hour. Incredible. And I’ve been around a lot of NBA players. And a lot of NBA players don’t want to do what he did, but he sat with me for half an hour. It was 11 o’clock on a Saturday night. He could have very easily went home to his wife and kids. But he didn’t, he sat there for 30 minutes. We talked, talked about kids talking about basketball, type about cars, life, and we just, we just hung out.

And that was huge to me. And I don’t, I don’t have any heroes in my life. I’m my own hero. And that’s when I wrote a book about that. So that on Amazon, You D.E.C.I.D.E. Plug there, but it’s it’s about becoming your own, being your own hero. Look at yourself as your own hero. We have mentors in our lives and MJ is a mentor of mine, just because for that 30 minutes, he taught me that no matter how big you are and how great you are, you still have to make time for other people, no matter who they are. And he did that. And that’s important to me. And that’s one of the, one of the many life lessons I’ve brought, taken from him. I’ve met him a few times. I don’t consider him a friend of mine, but he’s a mentor, but it was incredible to be a part of that.

Scotty Burrell had asked me before The Last Dance was aired or told me that, Hey, you’re probably going to be on, you know, they might interview you and I’m like, no, really? I have no, let’s go. I didn’t know when, so when the episode came on like two episodes before he was wearing the same suit and The Last Dance was in chronological order.

So he was wearing the same, I remember exact suit he was wearing. Cause I got a picture of it right in my bedroom of our picture. And I wasn’t in that episode and I’m like, ah, they cut me out of it, but then two episodes later, boom, there I was. And he walked in and I almost fell off the couch.

I’m screaming, I’m yelling. My phone is blowing up. People, I haven’t talked to you in 40 years, middle school, it’s classmates and texts and emails. And it was awesome. It was awesome to be a part of history because that documentary is absolutely history and it was awesome to meet him and spend some time with him.

And now I can call him a mentor of mine, but yeah, it was an incredible experience, the press and. Like they said the emails and texts or whatnot from all different people around the world from 40, 45 years ago. Incredible.

[00:37:14] Jill: Besides competition and hopefully being on the podium at Beijing…

[00:37:21] Steve: No hoping we’re not hoping, no

[00:37:23] Jill: besides. Besides competing and being on the podium in Beijing, what else are you looking forward to

[00:37:33] Steve: With Beijing the Paralympics? Being, just being a two-time Paralympian is huge, huge .Another opportunity to go and represent this beautiful country that we live in and wear the Team USA gear. And rollout and the opening ceremonies, when I was in PyeongChang, I was right behind the flag bearer.

And that was the proudest moment of my life. Being able to roll off on a 50,000 people, millions watching at home right behind the American flag. So the opening ceremonies, I don’t think they’re going to be people there. I mean, I don’t even know what it’s going to entail, but again, just being a two-time Paralympian has been huge.

And these last couple of weeks, and I’m sure the next five weeks or so leading up to when we leave, there’s been a lot of reflection going on in my life. A lot of media, a lot of media requests, which I love doing, and I love the platform I’m on, but there’s been a lot of reflection on my whole life. What I’ve done with my life, both before my accident, my accident, overcoming my accident and just in the last 26 years, since my accident, I have an incredible life and I’m blessed and I’m lucky to be paralyzed.

I’m lucky to be sitting here in a wheelchair, talking to you guys today. I should have been worse that night of my accident possibly even killed, but I didn’t, I wasn’t. And uh, So I am looking forward to the whole two time Paralympian and going back and spending that time with my new team and sharing my experiences from PyeongChang with them.

So we go in as smooth as possible and they enjoy the experience like I did.

[00:39:09] Jill: Okay. So you’re getting a lot of press because it’s the time when we think about the Paralympics. what’s not been asked that you wish you could talk about more in the press.

[00:39:21] Steve: Ooh. Wow. That’s a, that’s a good one, Jill. You know what? I don’t know.

I don’t, I don’t think there has been anything. It’s been the gamut of questions. I guess if there was one thing that I had that I wish or hope for is it would be more, more press about the platform that I have as far as an athlete with a disability and giving back to other people with disabilities and, you know, giving them the opportunity like Tony gave me the opportunity that day to do what I’m doing now. And I’m forever grateful for him. It’s probably less if there was anything and I’m not complaining because I love talking about it. And I love doing the interviews and I love media, but if there’s one thing that would be a little bit more of, how can we parlay this into you changing a. 18 year old kid who was recently paralyzed life and giving him the opportunity to not just curl, but maybe go out there and realize that there’s other stuff to do. The world’s not going to end. And that’s where my public speaking comes in. I’m a public speaker and I travel all around and I, and I impact people’s lives about just that.

One of the many things that I talk about. So again, I’m not complaining. I love the media, love all the questions. I love everything about it. If there’s one thing that just be more. No just everyday life. And yeah, I’m a Paralympian. I’m a two-time Paralympian, but you know, let’s, let’s go out and impact these people’s lives that have no idea of what’s coming and what, what can they can make of themselves.

Cause that’s what you do best Steve. It’s not curling. I’m not known as a Paralympian, and I’m known as a influencer. Somebody who’s gonna go out there and change somebody’s lives. That would be it.

[00:40:55] Jill: Excellent. Excellent I mean, it’s, it’s really interesting. when we started, we, we had an Olympic focus and our our listeners were like, Hey, can you do the Paralympics too?

And we’ve added that in and just have been amazed by the athleticism and what people can do, but also disheartened in the lack of coverage or the coverage being all kind of the same. And it’s one, I don’t know where I’m going with this, Steve, but to cover the Paralympics in a way that is helpful for other people to understand, Hey, there’s this option out here for you?

Come on.

[00:41:34] Steve: Correct. I agree. I agree. I agree. The coverage by NBC has been incredible. It’s increasing every four years, two years, whatever, actually, two years. So we’re going to get more air time than we did in PyeongChang And that’s incredible, but no, and I do agree with you and the people, there’s a line out there that says, the Olympics are where the heroes are made, but at the Paralympics are where the heroes go.

Something along like that, you know, you go to the Olympics and you’re going to become a hero, but everybody at the Paralympics is a hero in her own so to speak. So I liked that. I like that saying I don’t, there’s nothing. I’m not taking anything away from what the Olympians do. They’re absolutely amazing.

But the people I’ve met in the Paralympic, I mean, two people in general, one guy from Canada had one arm, you know, he was in a war. He lost an arm in both legs and he’s a biathlete and he won a gold medal and he gets around on a skateboard everywhere. Doesn’t use a wheelchair. He just gets around on a skateboard.

And he wins a gold medal in the Paralympics. And then another woman, I forgot her name. She’s from America. She’s totally blind. And she’s a downhill skier. She was on Dancing With the Stars, but her husband is, 10 feet in front of her and they’re on two way radios. And he’s talking about, you know, right.

Turn left turn, I guess. And she’s blind and she’s downhill skier going 70 miles an hour. And she wins a medal. No, I wouldn’t even do that if I could see. So the people are incredible. The Paralympians, the stories we all have again, Olympians are incredible also, but obviously being a Paralympian. No, I, I agree with you.

But it is getting better. It is absolutely a better, and the support is getting better. Four years ago I can’t, I wouldn’t have been able to say that, especially from the USO– at that time it was the USOC, but now it’s the USOPC. There we go. There’s a great example. You know, It’s no longer the United States Olympic Committee, it’s the Olympic Paralympic committee.

So it’s getting better. It is getting better. And um, these people, these athletes that are showing up and doing some of the stuff that we’re doing is incredible, incredible, and an inspiring and just mind blowing. So, but no, I, I agree with it, but it is getting.

[00:43:31] Jill: Well, I will, I will say this. I know we all know the two of us know it’s getting better.

Yeah, but it is a good thing that we will be in Beijing because we could do nothing but complain about the feed

[00:43:44] Alison: for Tokyo. It was so hard to see anything and for winter there’s even less available through the feed. So,

[00:43:54] Jill: and sadly, we know it’s much better than it has been. In Tokyo was so much better than Rio.

Right. But, long way to go. Yeah, we’re here to, we’re here to help advocate for

[00:44:05] Steve: yeah. Well, and we, I personally, on behalf of all the athletes with disabilities and Paralympics out there, we thank you for what you’re doing but it’s, but it’s, it’s difficult. It’s it’s life. It’s like, it’s life.

And we know that it’s a proven, you know, we’re all doing our part. You’re doing your part. I’m doing my part. We’re all doing our part to make a better. And as long as we keep improving. And then, we’re on a right track, but you know what? I love to have the, the endorsements that Michael Phelps has Simone Biles.

Yup. But it’s wheelchair curling. Not many people want to see the glitz and the glamour of wheelchair curling. So it’s all relative. Yeah, who knows maybe someday. Not in my lifetime, but maybe someday.

[00:44:46] Jill: Sparkly wheel covers. Come on

Yeah here we go.

[00:44:49] Steve: Full contact. We need to make a full con and we can feel some contacts like people falling out of their chairs.

And yeah. Now we’re talking, we get some spectators. Let’s go!

[00:45:00] Alison: Put it to music and wear spandex.

[00:45:03] Steve: I don’t know about that. Alison, you got to cross a line on that one. You don’t want to see any of us in spandex!

[00:45:16] Jill: Great place to end.

[00:45:17] Steve: Yeah, I think, I think we’re done.

[00:45:20] Jill: Thank you so much, Steve. Steve is a motivational speaker and author of the book. You D.E.C.I.D.E.. You can find out more about him at steveemt.Com and follow him on social he’s stephen.emt on Facebook, Stephen.emt on Instagram and Steve-emt on LinkedIn.

We will have links to all of those in the show notes. You know what else we’ll have a link to in the show notes?

[00:45:44] Alison: The Beijing viewing guide.

[00:45:46] Jill: So excited that we have our guide again, because- – one thing I loved about the Tokyo viewing guide that we put together is that every day had a grid and you could see all the sports laid out hour by hour and how they collided with one another in terms of scheduling and how to plan out your viewing day.

I just relied on that so much, looking forward to having that again for Beijing. Also looking forward to the schedule being in alphabetical order, which the official schedule is not.

[00:46:16] Alison: Which is so bizarre, apparently S’s are an issue.

[00:46:19] Jill: So if you would like to get your hands on that go to a flamealivepod.com/store it’s there.

And I believe it’s also on our Beijing page and or you can find it on Amazon. Just look for the Beijing viewing guide by Keep the Flame Alive on amazon.com and it’s really cheap. If you have Kindle Unlimited, it is free.

Usually about this time, we have our Albertville history segment, but we are putting that on hold until after Beijing. So we are looking forward to telling you more stories about Albertville.

I’m still mesmerized by the speed skiing competition.

[00:46:59] Alison: I’m working on my Magique piece. So that’ll come up right after the games.

[00:47:04] Jill: Excellent. I am excited about that too, because I’m sure it will be Magique-ical.

[00:47:13] Alison: Welcome to TKFLASTAN.

[00:47:16] Jill: This is the part of the show where we ch with our Team Keep the Flame Alive, who are past guests of the show and who are citizens of our country TKFLASTAN. First off, we’ve got some new Olympians.

[00:47:30] Alison: Did you cry?

[00:47:31] Jill: I was so, so happy and so proud. First up, Joshua Williamson, our very, very first TKFLASTANI, named to the U S bobsled team. Was The Next Olympic Hopeful first season, one of the winners.

[00:47:46] Alison: And now not a hopeful anymore. He’s an Olympian.

[00:47:50] Jill: So we are so happy for you, Josh. Unfortunately, not named to the bobsled team, Lauren Gibbs our silver medalist.

[00:47:58] Alison: TKFLASTANI number two.

[00:48:00] Jill: Yeah, exactly. She was TKFLASTANI number two a, which is a real bummer. The, I mean, for countries that have a huge depth of women on their team, it’s horribly frustrating to be a push athlete because there’s really only two, maybe three slots available, depending on how many sleds you qualify or one, if you only qualify one sled, but Team USA went with a couple of younger bobsledders.

So a lot of the veterans include Lauren and Lolo Jones who was making headlines this year, trying to make a comeback. They were not named to the team, which is really sad.

[00:48:36] Alison: And Lauren has announced her retirement.

[00:48:38] Jill: Not surprising,

[00:48:40] Alison: First thing she did was throw out her scale.

[00:48:43] Jill: Oh good for her. Cause I just remember that how much her body did not like being the weight it had to be to compete so good for her.

Also bobsled news AJ Edelman and the Israeli bobsleigh team are still under consideration to be named for the 2022 Olympics for the quota allocation for both the two men and the 4-man competition.

This is they’ve looked at all the points they’ve seen, how stuff shakes out there is now a “still for consideration” list. In the two man AJ’s on the top of the points for that. 4-man not looking as good, but we’re still hopeful that Israel will be able to represent itself at the Olympics.

[00:49:29] Alison: Pairs skaters, Nate Bartholomay and Katie McBeath are competing this weekend at the Four Continents Championships in Estonia.

[00:49:36] Jill: I saw them on the plane they’re going there. That’s so exciting for them.

[00:49:40] Alison: Yeah. This is their first big international competition. I mean, they’ve done some of the Grand Prixs, but this is a whole other level. So this is pretty exciting for them.

[00:49:49] Jill: Good for them. I’m looking forward to see what they do in the next year or two, because that partnership will have more time to gel. When I saw this again, tears. Pride. Erin Jackson is on the cover of the Sports Illustrated Olympics Preview. She’s one of four cover athletes. The others are Mikaela Shiffrin Jessie Diggins and Abby Roque. And, and she’s got a beautiful story written about her as well. Beautiful profile piece. And we will have a link to that in the show notes. And I have my copy on order. I have to tell you that.

[00:50:23] Alison: It’s, frameable, it’s really a beautiful shot.

[00:50:27] Jill: Yeah. So congratulations to Erin.

This is the first time you’ve broken out the dance to that music..

[00:50:44] Alison: I told you I was ready. I have a little patient dance. Now I’m going to have to post that. Look for that on Instagram Reel, there might been some dancing.

[00:50:55] Jill: Yeah, we won’t get that done next week because next I have less than a week before my travels start, which is a little scary when I think about what I still have to do and what starting to pack. But yeah, my travels will start next week. I will fly to Connecticut. Well, I will fly to New York, get picked up and transported to Connecticut.

[00:51:16] Alison: Nobody flies , to Connecticut. Come on.

[00:51:19] Jill: I will take my, my COVID tests. They are at an approved laboratory. Hopefully I have scheduled them correctly. And then we’ll have a show

[00:51:30] Alison: from Connecticut.

[00:51:31] Jill: And then I hop on a plane and go to Singapore and then to Beijing, and I’m there, hopefully.

[00:51:37] Alison: It doesn’t feel real yet.

I don’t think I’ll believe you’re going until you’re there because so many. And I hate to say, there’s so many things can go wrong. We talked about this in our call in show. The tests and the testing and the paperwork.

And the, — there are so many hurdles to jump and as close as it is, it still feels so far away. And I get now a little bit just at the tiniest little taste of how the athletes feel when they’re waiting for the, official word, how Josh just got and you know, it’s coming and you know, but when it actually happens, it’s a whole other level.

[00:52:14] Jill: Yeah. it’s really weird. I’ve been tracking my health every day. In the Beijing 2020, my 2022 app.

[00:52:21] Alison: Which is great for any hypochondriacs out there who are traveling to Beijing.

[00:52:26] Jill: Well, it’s funny because my thermometer is in Fahrenheit degrees. And I have to remember to set it on Fahrenheit first, instead of inputting the temperature and then clicking the F or the C, because it will say, “this temperature is impossible” because it will be like 97.1 degrees Celsius.

And they’re like, no, that’s not possible.

[00:52:48] Alison: Your head is exploding.

[00:52:50] Jill: And then I switched it to Fahrenheit and then they Then they translate it for you. So it’s like 212 degrees and they’re like, this is not possible. So I have to start all over.

[00:53:00] Alison: I am actually the sun coming your way.

[00:53:04] Jill: Okay. Also at Beijing, invited fans only.

[00:53:10] Alison: They’ve stopped selling tickets to the general public.

So I’m guessing this invited fan pool is going to be tested, vaccinated, cleared. So the stands won’t be empty like they were in Tokyo, but it’s going to be very limited and it’s going to be. Invited, we don’t really know much of the details of what that, means.

[00:53:34] Jill: Right. And I think for the IOC’s sake and the Organizing Committee’s sake, they really wanted to have fans there and having the Delta wave and now the Omicron wave just spread throughout the world. It’s been touch and go. So this is what they can get. They’re going to be happy with that.

[00:53:55] Alison: There’ll be some cheering, you know, more than just the coaches and the other athletes. There’ll be Jill with her cowbell.

[00:54:02] Jill: No, I’m not packing the combo. No, you will be so disappointed with me.

[00:54:07] Alison: you will bring me the cowbell and I will bring the cow about

[00:54:11] Jill: no, I’m not bringing the cowbell.

[00:54:14] Alison: I told Josh you were bringing the cow bell, I’m buying my own cow bell and ringing that. darn thing.

[00:54:21] Jill: Fine, though. I have heard that the press area can be very nationalistic,

[00:54:28] Alison: How can it not? And more importantly. Again, we’ve talked about this before. We got into this, because we love the Olympics. A lot of sports journalists got into this because they love sports. And just like we’ve interviewed so many people and like Josh, we’ve seen his whole career in a way you get attached.

I mean, we’re still people first and journalist second and. When, when you see them perform, you just, you can’t help, but get excited. And it is the Olympics or the Paralympics, and it is as big as it gets. And you know, I’m not even worried about nationalistic. I mean, let’s be serious. If somebody is doing something pretty exciting, we’re going to cheer.

We’re going to get excited. And if you don’t, I’m going to be very disappointed in you.

[00:55:15] Jill: I will be excited on the inside.

[00:55:17] Alison: Stop being so Midwestern.

[00:55:20] Jill: there, I do struggle with having that journalistic. I don’t want to say integrity, but being a journalist with the impetus that you’re supposed to be fair and balanced, and I know that we can be fair and balanced cause we’ll, we’ll be excited for pretty much any medal winner.

We will be excited for any TKFLASTANI no matter where they finish, we will be excited for the people from small countries. There’s a couple of skiers from Malaysia who had just got put in to who got their tickets to the game. I’m very excited for them. I’m excited for everybody, but I’ll find a different way to show it besides in the event center, maybe.

Denmark has joined the diplomatic boycott. This decision comes after the EU countries failed to agree upon a common stance at a meeting in Brest this past week as reported by Reuters. Netherlands has also announced that it is not sending a diplomatic delegation, but does that mean your favorite won’t be in the stands?

[00:56:19] Alison: My guess is there will be no Royals. There’ll be no King Willem Alexander and his orange scarf, which is disappointing, but I’m hoping that they will show them cheering at home, which isn’t quite the same, but as long as he’s wearing his orange scarf.

[00:56:34] Jill: Oh, how could he not be?

[00:56:36] Alison: But you know who the Netherlands is sending. The biggest possible long track speed skating team. They are the only country to hit the max quota. Shockingly.

[00:56:48] Jill: And finally, a bust of TBach was unveiled in Dongsi Community Olympic Park in Beijing. It joined the statue of Pierre de Coubertin and busts of Juan Antonio Samaranch and Jacques Rogge.

Juan Antonio Samaranch was president of the IOC when Beijing was awarded the 2008 games and Jacques Rogge was president during those games. And then. I believe when the end also when they were awarded to Beijing for 2022.

[00:57:20] Alison: My opinions on the bust will be in the Facebook page, I believe coming tomorrow. So please follow us on Facebook and you’ll get to hear. What I think about this bust. I’ll save it for there.

[00:57:35] Jill: You know what, then that means let’s just wrap up the show now. So people go can go and check out the Facebook page.

That’ll do it for this week. Let us know what you think about wheelchair curling.

[00:57:45] Alison: We love to hear from you. So get in touch with us. Email us@flamealivepodatgmail.com. Call or text us at two zero eight three five two six three four. That’s 2, 0 8, flame it, our social handle is at flamealivepod. And as I said, be sure to join the, Keep the Flame Alive Podcast Group on Facebook

[00:58:06] Jill: Next week will be our first book club, meeting of 2022, which means Book Club Claire will be back on the show and we will be talking about Boycott: Stolen Dreams of the 1980 Moscow Olympic Games by Tom Caraccioli and Jerry Caraccioli.

So thank you so much for listening and until next time, keep the flame alive.

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