It’s Day 8 of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics, and speed is key for today! We’ve got all of the results, plus updates on the situation in figure skating, thoughts on country swapping, and Jill locks herself out of her hotel room.

Today’s sports schedule includes:

  • Alpine Skiing
  • Biathlon – Women’s Sprint with TKFLASTANI Clare Egan
  • Cross-Country Skiing – Men’s 15K Classic
  • Curling – Women’s and Men’s tournaments with TKFLASTANI John Shuster
  • Ice Hockey – Men’s prelims and Women’s quarterfinals
  • Skeleton – Men’s finals
  • Ski Jumping – Men’s Large Hill
  • Snowboard – Men’s Halfpipe
  • Speed Skating – Long Track – Men’s 10000m
  • Speed Skating – Short Track – various races

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


Please note that transcripts are machine-generated and may contain errors. Use the audio file as the official record of note.

Beijing 2022: Olympics – Day 8

[00:00:00] Jill: Ni Hao fans of TKFLASTAN and welcome to Day 8coverage of the Beijing 2022 Olympics on 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, ni hao. How are you?

[00:00:24] Alison: Man, there has been so much crying in the past 24 hours. And it’s not just me.

[00:00:34] Jill: Not just me either.

[00:00:36] Alison: There’s been a lot of crying in baseball in the past 24 hours.

[00:00:41] Jill: You know, I think people are just so relieved, you know, I saw a lot of medalists crying and you, of course, you’re happy when you win a medal. But I think just the stress of the pandemic, it’s just all like I made it through.

[00:00:57] Alison: And I think we’ve hit that point in the games where it’s really happening. We’re going to make it through. They’re not going to shut them down. We’re not going to all get sent home at the last second. And I think that’s also starting to hit a lot of people like, wow, we’re really here. This is all really happening.

[00:01:17] Jill: And more and more spectators are being allowed into the games as well. So we’re starting to see fans and stands fill up. We’re starting to hear cheering, a lot of cheering, when you on the outside of the closed loop. Well, there’s a little bit on the inside, but I think it’s more on the outside that you can see is the frenzy over Bing Dwen Dwen the Panda and how much people love him and are lining up and camping out to get their hands on him.

And then I, because I was reading a story in either New York Times or NPR, and they had pictures of people camping out at the big, main pop-ups big super store. And I was just like, oh, there’s a big, super store that I cannot go to. And even though we have access to a store here in the Main Media Center and there’s one out in Zhangjiakou, it’s not the same.

I mean, it’s a small store.

[00:02:16] Alison: It’s kind of like when you go to Disney World and you have the shop. You have shopping your hotel, but you don’t have the Emporium.

[00:02:22] Jill: Exactly. Exactly. I want the Emporium, but I will say that the post office, media center post office is a little small set up popup thing. There’s always a line.

And at the end of the day, there are just piles of boxes being ready, ready to be shipped.

[00:02:42] Alison: Bing Dwen Dwen making his way around the world, bringing, bringing his paws of love everywhere he goes,

[00:02:51] Jill: All right, let’s get to what officiating or volunteer job would we want to do. What do you want to do today?

[00:02:57] Alison: So since I seem to be obsessed with cleaning floors, there are track sweepers who have these huge brooms. I assume they’re at all the sliding. I saw them today at skeleton and they just go down. Sweeping.

[00:03:12] Jill: Interesting.

[00:03:14] Alison: Maybe they’re training for curling. I don’t know, but I’m sure it’s just, you know, any loose debris you don’t want to get it into, but it’s not special. It’s not a special broom. It’s just a big wide floor broom.

[00:03:26] Jill: Hm. Interesting. Well, the tools of the trade. I would like to be, I’m calling them on the carpet rollers. When you have a panda ceremony on an ice sport, well, actually it’s, it’s in the short track and the figure skating venue, for sure, because at speed skating, they got the interior of the track is carpeted.

So when you need to do the Panda ceremony, you have to roll out a whole bunch of carpet so that nobody slips and falls and by nobody I mean a whole line of photographers too, because they have to get on the ice to get good shots. So there are teams of people that have carpet on big rolls and they roll it out and they roll it up.

It’s like, if you watch baseball and they have to pull the tarp out for a rain delay, it’s, it’s somewhat similar to that. I think it would be a lot of fun to be part of that team.

[00:04:21] Alison: And, you know, I bet they need someone to vacuum that carpet so we could work together.

[00:04:26] Jill: Exactly. You know, speaking of vacuuming, when I came back to the media center tonight to tape the show, It was the magical hour vacuuming. And I thought, oh boy, it’s just getting started. What are we going to do? And then it stopped. And we had the magical hour of push broom sweeping in and around us here and there.

I don’t know if the big vacuum will be back. And I don’t know if somebody has said, yo, can you guys keep it down? But there’s no vacuuming as of yet. Which is also pretty magical. How is our fantasy league?

[00:05:05] Alison: Lots of actions. So RAF Q is on top with 156. Monkey Cat is 152. Einarsen has made a little push. He is back at 1 49. I am hanging on at 17, but more importantly, I’m beating my sister. And you are still hanging around at 44th.

[00:05:23] Jill: I don’t remember if I managed to change my league again. And I don’t know, depending on the bus schedule. I don’t know if I will do it for tomorrow.

[00:05:34] Alison: Yeah. We’ll get to this, but I had choices on my league.

I had Shaun White and Arianna Fontana, and we’re going to talk about those choices today.

[00:05:43] Jill: Boy, in the follow-up file. I saw the medal ceremony for skeleton and I saw the flag flick, oh my goodness. Isn/t that cool? That is so cool.

[00:05:52] Alison: And they do all three flags together. Oh, please watch a medal ceremony. If you haven’t gotten to it. Nevermind that there are lots of people crying, which we are. But the way the Chinese are doing this is quite beautiful.

[00:06:04] Jill: We had a question in the Facebook group from, I believe Listener Lori who wondered about if there are spectators at medal Plaza and is it ticketed? I am going to go to an evening of medal ceremonies because they have like four back-to-back and that will be Monday night because that’s when they award, the, well that’s when I have time and B that’s when they award the speed skating, the woman’s 500 meters.

So I’m hoping that there’s a reason to go.

[00:06:36] Alison: We won’t jinx it.

[00:06:37] Jill: No, because I really do feel like a jinx right now, but. Yeah, I think there’s like four ceremonies that evening. So I’ll just see them all and take it all in and report back. We have some updates on the Kamila Valieva case. So we have a new information from Reuters and Karlos Gromann and his team are on the case. They are really working this hard. So the sample testing that Valieva took in at the end of December, took so long to analyze because the Swedish lab that was analyzing them was backed up with COVID-19 cases.

That lab was confirming an initial result that came in. So RUSADA has said it’s initiated an investigation into her and into Valieva’s personnel. And the team around her because she is a minor. And wondering if somebody is doing something on, towards her on her team without her knowledge or consent.

Nope. The ROC has said her tests were negative before and after December 25. So I’m not sure I’m, I’m not sure if this is something that stays in your system a long time. I’m not sure if this is the day she was actually competing.

[00:07:57] Alison: It was, it was during the Russian nationals, which is why that particular date is, is crucial.

[00:08:04] Jill: Okay. And then another interesting fact. USADA, the US anti-doping agency said it could prosecute the Russians involved in her case under the Rodchenkov Act if it turns out that. So the Rodchenkov Act was signed into law in 2020 in America. And it empowers American prosecutors to seek fines of up to $1 million and jail terms of up to 10 years, even for non-Americans, if actions by them have affected American athletes results.

So this could get bigger and longer.

[00:08:42] Alison: What I find so incredibly frustrating about this case and why I lay this at the feet of the ROC and the Russian Figure Skating Federation is because there was an initial result of a positive test at the Russian Nationals in December, they knew this was brewing. There was no reason to put Valieva in the team event. You have Trusova and Shcherbakova who would have won the women’s portions of the team event, just like Valieva did. You cannot tell me that the Russian Federation was not looking to thumb its nose at the IOC? Yeah.

[00:09:27] Jill: Or like they did with the whole doping scandal around Sochi. They figured they could get away with it.

[00:09:36] Alison: I mean, what, when is the IOC going to accept Russia is not going to play by the rules when it comes to these things and they need to be more closely monitored and their athletes need to be more closely monitored? And you can’t just let all these athletes in under ROC and, oh, it’s fine. And they’re basically wearing the flag.

This is no punishment at all.

[00:09:59] Jill: Right. And the IOC keeps saying it’s punishment. Because they don’t like making hard decisions. We’ve seen this time and time again. It’s so interesting that the Paralympics has made the tough decision to say no Russia, you don’t get to come.

And the fact that the IOC just doesn’t want to get messy.

Because it’s messy and it’s not diplomatic. They want everybody to get along, but Russia is not playing nice.

[00:10:24] Alison: Right. And I do not have any animus towards Kamila Valieva. This is a manipulated child. She’s not making these decisions of her own accord. And as we’ve talked about in American gymnastics, when you are young and you are training like this.

You’re brainwashed. You are, there’s no choice. She could, she is not free to make a choice, even if she knew what she was taking to take it or not take it. So this is not the athlete’s fault, which as we all know, anything that is adverse to the athletes makes me crazy. And not that there aren’t Russian athletes that choose to dope.

There are American athletes that choose to dope there, European athletes that choose to dope. But in this situation, these skaters and so many Russian athletes do not have the freedom of choice and that is wrong. And the IOC once again is not protecting the athletes.

[00:11:26] Jill: Exactly. And I think we also have a situation. Should minors be in the Olympics?

[00:11:36] Alison: Oh, well we all know how I feel about this. A 15 year old does not belong in the world stage. The Youth Olympic Games are wrong. We’re putting pressure on children and putting children in situations that is ripe for abuse and nefarious activities.

[00:11:55] Jill: Right. And it’s kind of all in the name of, well we’re, we’re prepping them for the world stage and the biggest competition level. So they get practice and it, it just doesn’t make sense to me. Why, if we have a Youth Olympic Games now, why are minors allowed into the Olympics? There should be a no, you don’t get to play. It doesn’t matter if you’re the best in the world. Maybe you need to gauge the rules so that they’re geared toward adults and not geared towards, oh, you’re 14 and you can jump like crazy or you’re 15 and you can spin like crazy and that’s better than a more mature body.

It’s not, because it’s hurting them, it’s hurting them.

[00:12:44] Alison: And it’s not just in these glamorous sports like gymnastics and figure skating. I mean, we saw it with Chloe Kim and snowboarding. How she is able to handle this situation now at 21, that she could not handle it at 17. And the long-term effects of that.

We’ve talked a lot in, and in The Price of Gold, that documentary that was done, talks a lot about the damage this pressure is having on these young kids and a 15 year old should not be splashed across international newspapers as a cheater. Right.

[00:13:21] Jill: Yeah, it’s upsetting. And I mean, we could spend the whole hour talking about this, but we should, we’ll keep you updated on the situation as this stuff is hopefully being filed with the Court of Arbitration for Sport. It’s been said that it will be, or, and it’s been said that it hasn’t yet, so I’m not quite sure where we’re at in the process, but we’ll keep you updated.

All right, let’s move on to today’s competition. We start off with Alpine skiing and the skiers are beating the mountain.

[00:13:57] Alison: Finally the skiers, the skiers are starting to beat the mountain.

This is looking so much better. I did watch this and we’ll give the results first. And then we’ll, we’ll talk more.

[00:14:08] Jill: Gold went to Lara Gut-Behrami from Switzerland. Silver went to Mirjam Puchner from Austria and bronze went to Michelle Gisin from Switzerland. Mikaela Shiffrin infamously was not able to get down the mountain on her first two competitions, got down today and she finished at ninth and she was thrilled with that.

[00:14:30] Alison: She was, and I probably was like most people in the United States, screaming at my television. Just get down the gosh, darn rootin, tootin mountain, gosh. Those were not the words I used because I was alone in my own house, not in front of a microphone, but I was so thrilled for her to just get that monkey off her back.

And Clare Egan. Our biathlete posted a really great thing on Instagram, and I think she posted it on Twitter as well. And she said, we all need to start talking to ourselves the way we’ve been talking to Mikaela Shiffrin. You know, you can do this. We are here for you. We are pulling for you. You’re going to make it through.

And I think it is very interesting going back to what we said a few minutes ago, the difference in the American coverage of Mikaela Shiffrin’s issue. As opposed to Simone Biles in the summer.

Jill: really? How has it been?

Alison: Mikaela Shiffrin has been getting an outpouring of support. I mean, there’s always grumbles and there’s always, oh, you know, she was going to be the golden girl of these games and that has not worked out. And yet the coverage has been almost what can we do to support Mikaela? Whereas Simone Biles, when she dropped out because of, of certain mental health issues got just vitriol and attacked and she’s a loser and a, and a quitter and all these other things. And I wonder what the difference is. Is it because Simone Biles talked about her mental health issues and we don’t know what’s going on with Mikaela, is it because McKayla has been over the years vulnerable in the press. So we are more inclined to feel for her and feel with her. Was NBC doing things differently? I don’t know what the difference is, but I have seen a, a stark contrast and I’m thrilled because Mikaela deserves the support.

[00:16:37] Jill: See, I would think my memory is that Simone Biles. Yes, there was some vitriol, but there was also support.

Once it came out with mental health, there was a lot of people going, Hey, this is a mental health issue. And a lot of coverage on why having the twisties was a really bad thing and why it was good for her to pull out. So I think it was, I think Simone may have been more of the pioneer in this situation, so yeah, she got some extra flack, whereas Mikaela comes in and is having issues.

We understand more how much these athletes are going through, especially during, with the pandemic. And I think we’re all kind of at a big breaking point in the pandemic where we’re just like, oh, we have to give everybody a break including ourselves. And I think maybe we’ve just been broken down all of us.

[00:17:32] Alison: I hope it is a growth of society and a growth of the sports press. Because we all know the sports press are very, very hard on female athletes and it’s nice to see them not attacking Mikaela and saying, oh, what’s wrong with her? Why is she, you know, she was overblown. She was over pressed and they’re saying, okay, she’s got another race.

What’s she going to do here?

[00:18:01] Jill: Well, the, and the, yeah, that’s a good step forward. I mean, it’s like when, at the beginning of the Olympics here, when I was at curling and listening to those, the British journalists who were just like, every point is a disaster, if they didn’t get it. Right. And that just, I think that sort of taking a superior attitude like that, you know, the armchair quarterback as we like to call them in the US I, I think that just lends itself to being more critical with your medium in the press. And then that allows people to, or gives people permission to also hop on that bandwagon of harshing somebody’s, harshing somebody’s groove, that’s not like a good phrase, but I mean, you know, piling on and just being super critical and trolling and all of that stuff.

But I think with these two cases, we’re starting to see there is a way to be critical of somebody’s performance in a, in a sense, well critical. So that’s not even the right word, but there’s a way to understand why people have a bad day and that athletes are human. They’re going to have bad days. They’re going to have bad races.

But the, the thing about being an Olympian is how you pick yourself back up again and go down and be your best.

[00:19:24] Alison: And Mikaela did that. And so, so pleased for her and she”s still got the team competition. So we’ll see her again.

[00:19:32] Jill: All right. Excellent. Moving over to biathlon, we had the women’s 7.5 kilometer sprint today.

Gold went to Marte Olsbu Roeiseland from Norway. Silver went to Elvira Oeberg from Sweden and bronze went to Dorothea Wierer from Italy. I saw this on the fedt. I spent a lot of time in the media center today because it was a work day. I woke up late. I locked myself out of my room without a mask.

Had to go down, get a new key then came back, with my, my turtleneck over my face, because this was a) I had 15 minutes to get breakfast before breakfast closed and I just grabbed my phone and my wallet. And the key situation is it’s, it’s one of those hotel rooms where you put your key by the doorway here there’s a slot to turn on the lights.

So I forgot to pull that out and I do have a habit of leaving the room with no mask on being in the hallway and going, oh, I forgot to put a mask on and going back into the room. So they’re there, right there by the door. I have them all piled up there, right there. I see them all the time and it’s just like, oh, I’m just going to breakfast, going to get my COVID test.

So yeah, I walked out of the room, the door shuts and it’s like, You don’t have your key and then you don’t have a mask. So put my turtleneck over my face, go down, get another key. Get in. Now I have a backup key, which is nice. And then I go to get breakfast, which meant I got behind on work today. And I watched a lot of stuff on the feed, watching the feed. Nothing has sound.

[00:21:21] Alison: Oh dear.

[00:21:22] Jill: So, I mean, there’s, there’s multiple streams going on, so you can’t have sound with like three or four different events on different TVs in the room. So it’s exciting to watch stuff, but you lose some of the thrill, especially if you don’t know what’s going on. And so I’ll have like the feed on, plus my info system that we have access to, and you probably have this on through at home. And so I could watch like the live shooting going on at the same time and, or live timing if something is happening. So yeah, I had to watch this on the feed and biathlete and TKFLASTANI Clare Egan, not a great day of the sprint.

This is not a race where you can make mistakes. And she missed one shot, one shot in prone and two in standing. And then was just even in the prone. You’re kind of, if you miss one you’re, you could be out. So she finished 46th and was in the penalty loop quite a bit. There, the shooting seemed to be tough. And when I looked at the weather reports, it was cold, not super, I mean, cold.

It was like 17 degrees Fahrenheit. So it was negative three or four Celsius, something like that. So it was cold, but not like super bitter and the wind wasn’t, didn’t seem to be that strong, but it did bounce around a little bit. So maybe that had something to do with it because only 13 athletes shot clean out of 89.

And that’s, that’s a crazy day. The good thing though, that is that Clare, along with the three other Americans qualified for the pursuit race, which it’s really rare for all four Americans to qualify. So it’s a big deal here. So that race is on Sunday. Marte just, she is just amazing. And Elvira Oeberg is young.

She’s still in the under 25 category and she is so fast this year on her skis. And it’s sometimes to the detriment of her shooting, but she, she pulled it all out today and put together a great race and super excited for Dorothea Weirer because this is her third Olympics and she’s got medals with her team, but this is her first individual medal. And she really wanted it.

I have a theory and it goes with Alpine and it goes with some of the biathlon races. And I wonder if, because you know how silver medalists are like, oh, I lost gold and bronze medalists are like I made it to the podium. I got a medal. I wonder if races that are you against the clock?

The silver medalists are happier. Because they don’t necessarily know how they do in the lineup. Does that make sense?

[00:24:06] Alison: Yes, I understand. So the idea is when you are racing against a clock versus racing against a person, you don’t know where you’re going to end up. Right. And so when you see that silver medal come up it’s oh, yay. Look, I got on the podium. I’m a silver medalist, as opposed to oh, that person inched me out. I see them just a point, you know, just a second ahead of me.

[00:24:33] Jill: Exactly, because I noticed this in the, like the Super G competition, and I’ve noticed this in some of the biathlon things, the silver medalists have just been so excited to be on the podium. And it’s just, it’s great to see.

[00:24:48] Alison: I don’t know. There was a story on NPR I remember they did. On one of the shows and I will look this up and post it in the Facebook group about how bronze medalists are much more satisfied with their results than silver medalists.


Because they were all, but I don’t know if they did that distinction between the different kinds of races.

[00:25:09] Jill: Yeah. Yeah. So I’d be, I’d be curious about that.

Let’s move over to cross country. We had the men’s 15 kilometer classic race today. Oh, the Niskanen house, man oh man. Listener Manu, you should let us know how things are in Finland. And if people are, are really excited and are celebrating these wins because Finland pulled the off again, won gold, and silver went to Alexander Bolshunov from ROC and bronze went to Johannes Hoesflot from Norway.

[00:25:41] Alison: So I think it’s really funny. So on the first, Iivo Niskanen won bronze.  Then the next day, his sister Kerttu wins a silver. He comes back today and wins a gold. So you see sibling rivalry just in its all its glory here. Kerrtu is back tomorrow. So I had her in my fantasy league because I think sibling rivalry is going to push her to the gold.

[00:26:09] Jill: I am making a note.

All right, moving over to curling. We had more men’s and women’s action, For the men, it was Switzerland beat ROC 6-3. USA beat Great Britain, nine to seven, so go team Shuster. Sweden beat Italy, nine to three. China beat Denmark, five to four. ROC beat Denmark, 10 to two. Great Britain beat Norway eight to three and Switzerland beat Canada, five to three.

The, so the standings for the men are Sweden is the only one that’s undefeated, still at three and O. Canada, Great Britain, Switzerland, USA are all two and one. ROC is two and two. China and Norway are one and two and Italy and Denmark both have no wins and everybody’s at different stages in the games.

And the women’s round robin. USA beat China eight to four. Japan beat Canada, eight to five, whoa that must have been a match. Switzerland beat ROC, eight to seven, and Korea defeated Great Britain, nine to seven. Let’s go garlic girls. That’s right. For the women, Switzerland and the US are undefeated with three wins, zero losses. Canada and Denmark, and Japan and Korea and Sweden are all one-and-one. Great Britain is one and two and ROC and China have yet to get a win.

Moving over to ice hockey. We had a men’s preliminary round action, ROC beat Denmark, two to zero. Czech Republic defeated Switzerland two to one. Finland beat Latvia three to one and Sweden beat Slovakia four to one. We also had quarterfinals playoffs for the women’s tournament, Canada beat Sweden, 11 to zero.

And the US beat the Czech Republic four to one. So a lot of hockey going on, I’d like to get back out and see something as fast.

[00:28:11] Alison: We have to wait for the other set of quarterfinals to get these semi-final games.

[00:28:16] Jill: Well, let’s take a break to talk about a red envelope campaign. The show does cost a lot of money to produce. And while you all have been extremely generous and supporting us through our Kickstarter campaign that got us here to Beijing and also through Patreon patronage, we’re coming up on two and a half years to another Olympics.

So, to celebrate the Lunar New Year, we’re asking for donations of at least $8 to help us get through to Paris 2024. We know listenership can be cyclical. So this money will help get us through the lean times until we get to the next Olympics. And the $8 is because eight is a lucky number here in China, symbolizing good fortune. So if you appreciate the work that we do, please take a moment and support us. Go to to donate.

[00:29:05] Alison: And we should say that if people want to donate $800, that would be okay too. No donation is too small or too large. And we are so incredibly grateful to all the people who have participated in the red envelope.

[00:29:20] Jill: Yes, we really appreciate everything you’ve done for us.

Moving over to skeleton, we had women’s heats and we had the men’s competition finished. Gold went to Christopher Grotheer from Germany. Silver went to Axel Jungk from Germany and bronze went to Yan Wengang from China,

[00:29:39] Alison: And apparently he only started sliding a few years ago. after China was awarded the games.

[00:29:45] Jill: Good for him.

[00:29:46] Alison: So he was one of those athletes. They, China recruited a whole bunch of athletes for these sports that they didn’t really have participation in. And Yan Wengang was one of those athletes. And here he is. On the medal stand in skeleton. So that’s really exciting.

And also shockingly, given how much Germany dominates in luge, they have never medaled in men’s skeleton before.

[00:30:09] Jill: That’s really interesting, but I wonder if just the tradition of luge and people always went to that because that was where the, the medals were until 2002. And then they had to build a program when skeleton came in.

I think, oh, I’m sliding down the ice just head first or feet first. What’s a big deal. I think it’s a big deal because there’s a lot of different skills that each of those disciplines needs that are very precise to be in the sports. So I bet it’s just taken Germany a while to build up a program.

[00:30:42] Alison: Right. And that’s something that we talk, we’ve talked about a lot in this Olympics. Building a program. It, you can be as talented as anything. You can be as talented as Michael Phelps, but if you don’t have a sliding track, if you don’t have somebody to build your sled, if you don’t have a wax tech that is experienced, you’re not going to end up on the podium.

It takes a village.

[00:31:07] Jill: Doesn’t it, it does. It really does take a village.

Moving over to the ski jumping hill. We had qualifications for the men’s large hill individual competition. They narrowed the field of 56 competitors down to 50. So qualifying at the top, we have Marius Lindvik from Norway. Halvor Egnor Granerud from Norway, Cene Prevc from Slovenia, Stefan Kraft from Austria, and Daniel Sadreev from ROC.

Big names also in this competition Kamil Stoch from Poland who is sitting in eighth, Ryoyu Kobayashi from Japan who’s in ninth and Simon Ammann from Switzerland who is 24th. And, okay. So I didn’t realize this. Because I just know Simon Ammann. Every time the Olympics comes around, like, oh, see Simon Ammann, the big ski jumper.

He’s 40 years old. I didn’t realize this is his seventh games. He’s been in since Nagano 1998. He is celebrated in this sport because he was the first person to sweep both events in two games. He won the goals for both the large hill and the normal hill in 2002. And then again in 2010. So, I mean, he’s just a master of the sport and I just didn’t realize like a whole decade or decade and a half went by without me knowing it.

[00:32:32] Alison: Right. So if I’m doing my math,right, that would mean he was 16.

[00:32:38] Jill: He was really young when he started.

[00:32:41] Alison: And now, so he was obviously a teenage peanut, but here he is still at 40 years old and ski jumping seems to allow for this. We see a lot of ski jumpers going. I mean, Kamil Stoch is, is no spring chicken either, right.

In terms of going to multiple, multiple, multiple games. So that’s. Do you think you’re going to get out to ski jump at all?

[00:33:04] Jill: I did see some of it and an earlier qualification. I don’t know if I’ll get to see another finals mostly because all of the events seem to run concurrently. They’re either out of the snow park, early in the morning. Or they’re all at the same time, on the other side, in the Nordic cluster kind of thing.

[00:33:26] Alison: Okay. So I’ll be sure to watch this final so that we can, we can get some details on it.

[00:33:31] Jill: Okay. Excellent. And Simon Ammann, not without injury. He’s had a couple of concussions and had like a big comeback from something else. So this is pretty impressive that he is still able to compete at this level.

Moving over to snowboard. We had the men’s halfpipe final runs. Whoa. This seemed like a competition, man.

[00:33:55] Alison: This was great.

[00:33:56] Jill: I got to, I watched this mostly on a CCTV here in my hotel room, so I got a little commentary, but I don’t know what they said. Because it was in Chinese.

[00:34:07] Alison: Well, I can tell you some of the commentary here in the United States. So Todd Richards, who is the NBC analyst, lost his mind after run two, because Scotty James the Australian was scored higher than Ayuma Hirano in run two and in run two Hirano did the first triple cork ever completed in the Olympic games, maybe even he’s the only one who’s ever done it in competition. Three turns, three flips. This thing is insane, but he was scored below Scotty James by four out of the six judges. So it wasn’t just the American or the Australian or the Japanese judge out of whack. The whole panel was according to Todd Richards out of whack.

So lost his mind, spent a lot of time talking about it. And then when Hirano drops in for his third run, because he was sitting in second place, he’s thinking, yeah, stick it to those judges. You show him Hirano why you should’ve been scored higher before, don’t let them get you down. It was wonderful. And I, I love when the commentators dropped the facade.

And it wasn’t an anti Scotty James thing. He, he was very supportive of, of James throughout the competition. He was angry at the judges. For what he saw as unfair placement.

[00:35:32] Jill: Interesting. Well, Ayumu Hirano did pull out the victory. He is from Japan, got the gold medal. Scotty James from Australia got the silver Jan Scherrer from Switzerland won bronze and Shaun White from the USA finished fourth in his final run.

And it was the, I think the sad thing about this is he had a couple of good runs and then the last one, he crashed out. He hit his board, hit the lip of the pipe and he couldn’t recover from that. And that’s, that’s tough that your last run is going to be a not so great one, but he’s, he put it in. He put in the work, he’s put in a massive career and he was ready to hand off the torch.

[00:36:14] Alison: He was sitting in fourth going into that final run. So he was really going for some big, big tricks in that last run, which is how you want to see Shaun White. Going for the big tricks, not playing it safe. And as they were showing him after the run, you could see it slowly dawn on him that his career was over.

And, you know, at first he’s laughing and then he’s crying and then he is sort of still, and then he’s talking to the other competitors and you could just see the waves of emotion rolling over his face. And it was really beautiful because we’ve watched Shaun White for a very long time. You know, he’s 35 now, we saw him as a wild, crazy kid.

And to see that development because it’s, I feel like I know him because he’s been so much a part of the Winter Olympics for so long and such a figure in, in American pop culture. And to see that it was, I felt like I was sharing it with him, which made it really special. So he was crying. I was crying.

You know, I had my Puffs, so the IOC can be happy with me. I wasn’t using another kind of tissue. It was, it was a great competition. And more importantly, some of these tricks, holy cannoli, it was amazing.

[00:37:29] Jill: I’m still kind of in awe of the amplitude, because that’s what I can see. Without having a commentator telling you what the trick is, the, when they spin, they all kind of look alike to me still. I don’t get to see much half-pipe so I’m really impressed with just how high they go and how much they spin and how fast they can spin. It’s just death defying. Indeed.

[00:37:56] Alison: So NBC has an amplitude meter for each of the jumps. So they tell you how high.

[00:38:03] Jill: That’s an Omega thing because that’s from the OBS feed.

[00:38:06] Alison: Yes. And there were, they were talking 20 feet off the lip.

[00:38:10] Jill: It’s incredible. It’s incredible. You have a note about Louis Vito.

[00:38:14] Alison: I do have a note about Louis Vito. So Louis Vito, who was a snowboarder who competed for the United States in 2010 was back this time competing for Italy.

He ended up finishing 13th in the prelim, which is just outside the 12 person final. And I mentioned this because we’ve been talking a lot about country shopping and going to different countries. And I figured out why Louis Vito competing for Italy or Gus Kenworthy, who was an American athlete, who’s going to be competing for Great Britain this time around doesn’t bother me, but Eileen Gu competing for China does, and it’s because I am evaluating their intentions. And when the intention of country shopping feels selfish or opportunistic that bothers me. When it feels like I’m trying to end my career or I’m trying to start a program in another country or there’s some altruistic aspect to it, it doesn’t bother me. And also how deep the connections are with the shopped country. So for example, Gus Kenworthy was born in the UK. He has a very strong connection to the country. The UK would probably not be sending another athlete in his place. He’s doing something that the UK wouldn’t have a rep for. So that doesn’t bother me at all.

Eileen Gu bothers me because it felt like she was following the money.

[00:39:47] Jill: I think that’s interesting that you say that because I see Louie Vito and I, this is just going off of what you wrote here, because I haven’t followed it at all, but he competed for the US in 2010, so when you say that, oh, they just want to finish out their careers and retire that to me is a selfish reason for country shopping. I want to finish out my career and I want to do it in a place I can. Well, I can’t finish it out in my own country because it’s too competitive and I’m not good enough anymore. So I’m going to go shop for a country that’s not as competitive and get in that way.

And that’s what Gus Kenworthy is doing too. And sure. He’s got a really good llink to Britain, but he’s competing because he’s competing for Britain because there’s no competence. He’s the one that’s able to do it. I see Eileen GU\u as yeah, it’s opportunistic, but I see her as having ties to China and having a big, strong tie, especially when she can speak the language very well.

So I am curious, it’s interesting. The way you think about that.

And also definitely a factor. Is, are they taking a spot from somebody else? And I, I don’t think, I don’t know much about the half-pipe or not, I’m sorry. I don’t know much about the teams that Eileen Gu, because she’s competing in multiple sports here, but I think she is helping to build a program in a sense.

And even if it’s just inspiring others to pick up the sport, because we don’t have the winter sports tradition here and she’s able to put them on the map.

[00:41:20] Alison: Fair enough. Yeah. It’s a complicated issue. And I’m yelling at myself to say I can’t judge their motivations and yet I am. And that’s why it’s bothering me so much.

And so I need to take that out of my own head and say, as a fan, that’s not fair. That’s not fair to judge their motivations positively or negative.

[00:41:44] Jill: I understand that NBC has some feed beef competition from NHK in Japan because I saw this in the New York Times and maybe somewhere else so I can clarify. NHK was running just the half-pipe competition live. And they had scheduled news and weather to come on at a certain time. And it cut right out to news and weather when a Ayumu Hirano’s final run was going to start.

So they moved, they had moved the feed over to a sub channel and everybody’s screen went like, oh, you got to go to the sub channel now. And everybody is like so angry because they all ended up missing the run by the time they got there, but you know, you got to get the remote and find the right channel. It was done.

[00:42:30] Alison: Japan, I feel you, and he’s a huge star. I mean, this is not some unknown kid.

[00:42:39] Jill: Right? So, and I mean, it was one of those, like they had this previously scheduled, this was all blocked out. Not really knowing what would happen and knowing that they would need extra time to cover their star.

[00:42:54] Alison: Oops.

[00:42:55] Jill: Let’s move over to the speed skating track. First in long track, we had the men’s 10,000 meters. Nils van der Poel from Sweden won another medal here, set a world record, which it’s a big deal because this is a sea level world record. Most of the world records tend to get set at altitude because there’s less air. They can move a little faster there.

So it was a huge deal that he’s done so well here. He beat out Patrick Roest from Netherlands who won the silver, you know, and I’m not going to say it like that. Patrick Roest from Netherlands won the silver and Davide Ghiotto from Italy won bronze.

[00:43:33] Alison: And this gold/silver is a repeat. So Patrick Roest is going to be really mad now, number one, he’s Dutch.

And if he didn’t win the gold, then he’s going to be mad because the Netherlands put so much pressure on these speed skaters, but Nils van der Poel  is a joy to watch skate and a joy to watch celebrate too.

If you don’t want to watch, because 10,000 is a long time, a long race. It’s sort of like that swim racing, where they go to commercial and come back and they’re still swimming, right?

This is the same thing. So on the feed find Nils van der Poel and watch his coaches celebrate.

[00:44:13] Jill: Oh, nice. Over on the, over, on the short track, we had several different races. The women’s 1000 ended up with having its full final run.

Then we had heats for the men’s 500 and semi-finals for the men’s 5,000 meter. I was there for most of this stuff. So this was a lot of fun. Again, it was in a little funk today because again got locked out of my hotel room, thanks to my own brilliance. And I was just in a funk and moving slow all day.

And I said, what’s going to get me out of a funk, short track. And it did.

In the women’s 1000 Suzanne Schulting from Netherlands won gold. Minjeong Choi from Korea won silver and Hannah Desmet from Belgium won bronze.

[00:45:02] Alison: First medal for Belgium in short track.

[00:45:06] Jill: Excellent. This was the whole night was exciting. I ended up in the Press Tribune, kind of at the top of the getting into the nosebleeds, but I was sitting by the commentators. More importantly, I was sitting by Asian commentators that I believed were Korean because they were so animated and so excited during these races, it was so much fun.

[00:45:29] Alison: And Mingjeong Choi is, was one of those criers when she finished her race, she just fell apart. I hope out of joy and not out of disappointment because she skated a beautiful race, several beautiful races to get to the final and then a beautiful race in the final.

[00:45:48] Jill: I noticed her tears and I did hope that they were tears of joy because Schulting just edged her out. And so I don’t know if she was upset that she lost this race. And that made me think of my theory of being an individual running against the clock. Is, is that better than competing against people? So I hope it’s happy or I hope it’s happy in the finals.

Sad to say, your girl, Arianna Fontana from Italy. She got a penalty for an illegal lane change. So she got her results, were nullified. I don’t think they call it a disqualification, but she just that’s it. She, she doesn’t get to finish. She ended up falling and Kristin Santos from the USA went down as well on that. Kristen got up and finished fourth in this race.

[00:46:39] Alison: Kristin, a girlf from Fairfield, Connecticut. Right next door. So she’s been getting a lot of press in the local news and it was, it was hard to watch her go down.

[00:46:49] Jill: Yeah, it really was. It really was. I know that fans, that we’ve got some listeners who are real big fans of Maame Biney, who is an American who skated in the 1000 meter and she made it into the semis and into the B final, but in a couple of her races, she’s just.

This happens, I think a bunch in short track where if they know they’re not going to be in the mix at the end, they kind of pull up. And take it easy. Like I’m very curious as to why that happens and hopefully we can get a short tracker on, or hopefully we can get a short track skater on to talk about that and talk about that strategy.

[00:47:27] Alison: If I had to guess, and we all know, I love to speculate. I’m going to say two things. One, if they’re saving themselves for a later race or two, if they are preventing themselves from getting involved in somebody else’s crash at the front.

[00:47:43] Jill: I think those are two good theories, so hopefully we can find out if anybody knows, let us know.

But that’s what I saw in Maame’s races that she just kind of held back after a while and the last couple of laps or so it was just like, oh, okay. You’re not going to try to push it because I also wonder if you’re, I want to know what the distance is for being far enough behind to know that you’re not going to be able to catch up because that track is so short and you’re moving so fast and the curves, how hard is it to accelerate and get yourself back into the big pack.

In the men’s 5,000, the relay. Again, people all over the place. And the cone guys started getting, they had a lot of work to do in a relay. The cone, the cone replacement is just, that’s tough. That is really tough because there are skaters all over the place. They’ve got to come in and get the cones.

And I thought at some point the athlete is going to accidentally push the cone guy and they’re going to suddenly have their own relay. And then I realized it would be okay because they could probably hang.

[00:48:55] Alison: Yeah. They’ll just be part of the team. Oh, we’ve recruited you. Hey, it’s like country shopping you race for the Netherlands now.

[00:49:08] Jill: What they need is a little, all the, all the suits have the country acronym on the, the calf area. We need the track team to have like track on their calf area, just in case. They can be ready just in case.

[00:49:24] Alison: Cone kid.

[00:49:27] Jill: All right. Well, let’s check out to see what TKFLASTAN is up to. These are people who are on Team Keep the Flame Alive, past guests of the show who are now citizens of our country TKFLASTAN. What’s going on.

[00:49:41] Alison: So we talked about Clare Eagan, so she will compete in the next race, the pursuit on Sunday. We talked about Team Shuster, beat Great Britain. They will be back tomorrow against Norway and Josh Williamson has landed and is in the village.

He’s going to be starting training tomorrow, and also landing in Beijing is Shiva Keshavan, who is a candidate for the IOC Athletes Commission. So I’m getting some great photos and pictures of TKFLASTANIs in the wild.

[00:50:14] Jill: Excellent. We would like to thank our Kickstarter location Scouts today, Erica C and Chris O’Reilly. Special note to you, location scouts.I will probably be sending your postcard between, or I will be writing your postcards between the Olympics and Paralympics, because I don’t know what’s going to happen.

[00:50:35] Alison: They’re not letting you out.

[00:50:36] Jill: I don’t know, I have asked what’s going to happen and I’ve gotten no response so far. So here’s the deal. We can’t travel. We can’t leave the closed loop. Or if we leave the closed loop, we have to go home and that just, and then come back and going through all the procedure again, we said no way. So I’m just staying here. Well, the Media Center closes at midnight, the final day of the games. So after the Closing Ceremonies you have until midnight. Media Center closes and is closed for a week while they transfer it, change it over to the Paralympics.

And I said, well, what happens during that week? And right now, as far as I know I’m going to be in my hotel room, or maybe I will check out the gym or go to the restaurant for another meal other than breakfast and do some laundry if I can get my hands on some laundry soap, but I think I will have plenty of time to write some postcards.

[00:51:36] Alison: The line at the post office should be short.

[00:51:40] Jill: I don’t think I can get here. I don’t, I really don’t know. I don’t know if the post office will be open because oh, well the whole media center will be closed.

[00:51:51] Alison: Sadly in your hotel room, pining for Bing Dwen Dwen.

[00:51:55] Jill: That’s right. So we shall see, but thank you, Location Scouts. We really appreciate your support.

[00:52:02] Alison: And speaking of mascots. Today is our last day with Luna, our mascot from listener Beth is so special. Thanks to listener Beth for sharing Luna with us and for supporting our Kickstarter campaign. Tomorrow, we will have a new mascot that we’ll be debuting on social media and in the newsletter and on the show.

[00:52:23] Jill: Luna, thank you for your mascoting ways. I love the picture in the newsletter by the way. That was great. That one was great today. And if you don’t subscribe to our newsletter, it’s coming out daily. Now it comes out weekly after games are over. Go to and scroll down to the bottom. And that’s where the newsletter sign up is.

That will do it for this episode. Tune in again tomorrow for more action from Beijing, going to ice dancing, going to have to get ready.

Skater enjoyment factor. I am going to be on fire.

[00:52:56] Alison: And if you want to see what Jill is up to and celebrate the games with us, be sure to join our Keep the Flame Alive Facebook group. It’s the place to hang out with us and our other listeners. Jill is on Twitter. I am on Insta and both are @flamealivepod.

You can email us at Call or text us at (208) 352-6348. That’s (208) FLAME-IT.

[00:53:24] Jill: We will catch you back here tomorrow. Thank you so much for listening and until then, keep the flame alive.

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