It’s Day 12 of the Beijing Winter Olympics! The drama continues on the skating rink, as reprieved ROC skater Kamila Valieva takes to the ice in the Women’s short program. She also skates past all of the doping questions sent her way.

Jill reports from the last competition at Big Air, the men’s snowboard. Did the competitors get big air? Nine meters seems pretty big.

On today’s competition schedule:

  • Alpine Skiing – Women’s downhill
  • Biathlon – Men’s relay
  • Bobsleigh – 2-man final heats
  • Curling – Men’s and women’s round robin
  • Figure Skating – Women’s short program
  • Freestyle Skiing – Women’s freeski slopestyle, men’s freeski slopestyle, men’s aerials
  • Ice Hockey – Men’s qualification play-offs
  • Nordic Combined – Individual Gundersen large hill/10K
  • Snowboard – Women’s and men’s Big Air
  • Speed Skating – Women’s and men’s pursuit

This show does cost money to produce, and while our listeners have been extremely generous in supporting us through the Kickstarter campaign that got us to Beijing and also through Patreon patronage, we’re coming up on 2 ½ years until another Olympics, so to celebrate the Lunar New Year, we’re asking for donations of at least $8 — in China the number 8 is a lucky number symbolizing good fortune —  to help us get through to Paris 2024. Go to flamealivepod.com/support to donate.

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


TRANSCRIPT

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 12

[00:00:00] Jill: Ni Hao fans of TKFLASTAN and welcome to day 12 coverage 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? Welcome to the magical hour of vacuuming.

[00:00:26] Alison: Thank you. Ni hao. I am feeling so sparkly and so spinny this morning and I am ready to talk figure skating and a very wild day.

[00:00:39] Jill: Yeah. I will say that it’s been a day. I went up to Big Air to catch the, I wanted to catch all of it. It’s the last day of the competition, but it’s, it’s far. I left my hotel at 9:40 and didn’t even stop in the media center. And I got there at like 11:30. So I missed the women’s, and I got to the men’s. It’s like an hour bus ride from the media center to this venue and it’s still in Beijing. That’s how big Beijing is. So it’s really cool. We’ll talk about that later. So it was just Big Air and figure skating for me today.

So I am kind of curious to know what else happened in the world will be alone.

[00:01:18] Alison: We have results and reports.

[00:01:21] Jill: Excellent. Quick follow-up file. I forgot to tell you when I talked about the medal ceremony yesterday, there is a fan on the mountain on a big set up. I don’t know what you want to call it, but it’s like, it’s not quite risers or something, but there’s a, a thing in the stands and there’s a fan that is blowing kind of on all the flags. I don’t know how effective it was, but it was there. And I noticed it. That’s all I have to say.

[00:01:52] Alison: Fan-gate continues.

[00:01:54] Jill: I think so. Well, it’s really a fan novella. We don’t do gates here. We do novellas.

[00:02:00] Alison: Fair enough.

[00:02:01] Jill: All right, let’s let us talk about what officiating or volunteer job we would want to do. What are you up to today?

[00:02:10] Alison: So nordic combined started today, this is the Reese’s peanut butter cups of winter sports, because two great sports that taste better together. And it’s ski jumping and cross country skiing. And I want to be the driver who takes the athletes from the ski jump to the cross country course.

[00:02:31] Jill: Did you see them get into cars or a bus or something? Or how did this work?

[00:02:36] Alison: So it looked like, because there were buses by the athletes and they sort of showed quick glances in between of them being transported. I think it looks like the worst field trip of all time. Because, you know, it’s super tense in that bus.

Maybe some people are talking, maybe some people aren’t, but the driver is probably sitting there going, “let’s sing the wheels on the bus.”

[00:03:04] Jill: No, the drivers behind plexiglass, they’re not talking to you.

[00:03:08] Alison: He can still sing. I know you’re not supposed to sing and talk, but if I was the driver, we’d be doing 99 bottles of beer on the wall. We’d be doing the wheels on the bus.

[00:03:19] Jill: We had to work on your closed loop behavior before you come to Beijing and get yourself kicked out.

[00:03:24] Alison: They cannot stop me from singing.

[00:03:26] Jill: I found a job I did not know existed. This was very exciting. This is in Big Air. And between the runs, a pair went out to check the course around where the blue lines are painted.

There’s blue lines painted on the hill at the bottom to help the jumpers see where to land. And so there was a guy on skis, checking out the lines, and then there was a guy standing further up the hill from him, not super far up, but he had two yellow flags and he was holding them in a cross so that the people on the top could see that there were, that they could not jump. I want to be the person with the flags.

[00:04:04] Alison: So yet again, our personalities come through in our jobs, you like flags, clipboards, stopwatches. I like singing with people on a bus.

[00:04:17] Jill: Okay. How is our fantasy league?

[00:04:19] Alison: So RAF Q is starting to pull away at 260. Schollestan is at 255, very closely followed by monkey cat at 254. I have slipped to 18. I had a little bit of a rough day. And Jill, you are at 48.

[00:04:35] Jill: Yeah, I guess I felt, I guess I had a rough day too. I never remember if  I picked a team. I think I picked a team, but I can’t remember.

[00:04:44] Alison: Most importantly, I’m beating my sister.

[00:04:49] Jill: All right. Big day of action. Let’s get right to it.

First up, Alpine skiing, the women’s downhill. Gold went to Corinne Sutter from Switzerland. Silver went to Sofia Goggia from Italy and bronze went to Nadia Delago from Italy. So did you see any of this?

[00:05:08] Alison: I did watch this. It was a really great race. Before Corinne Sutter came down, the Italians were 1, 2, 3, and they showed a shot of the Italian coach. And he was like, shut it down, shut it down now. So that the coach, he wanted the race to end, so that the Italians would sweep. It was such an Italian move. But Sophia Goggia is the defending gold medalist and she had a heck of an accident in Cortina in January. And this is her first competition since a pretty serious injury to her knee.

We did not expect to see her competing in Beijing and here she is back on the medal stand. So it was, it was quite a win for her though she was disappointed not to repeat, but just the fact that she was there and, and in the mix at all aas a triumph. We talked about the Italians with Tom Kelly and here they are just making the march down the mountain.

[00:06:07] Jill: It’s very exciting. And you know, January is not that long ago to come back from that within a month. That is impressive.

[00:06:16] Alison: And Mikaela Shiffrin who doesn’t normally do downhill, did this race. She finished 18th and she was pretty thrilled with her time. So it’s not her specialty. She’s more of a slalom skier and it feels like just doing this race, making it down the mountain and doing well in terms of time qas it a triumph for her as well.

[00:06:38] Jill: Excellent. Moving over to biathlon, the men had their relay today. Gold went to Norway. Silver went to France and bronze went to ROC. This is not a huge surprise of a podium for me. I did not see the race, but I’m, I’m really not shocked. I’m a little surprised Sweden isn’t further up there. Also surprising in a nice way, Canada took 6th which is excellent, their best ever finish. And the US finished 13th, which is not bad for them.

[00:07:07] Alison:. It feels like all the men’s biathlon podiums have been some combination of Norway, France and ROC.

[00:07:17] Jill: Yeah. It pretty much is. For Sweden, surprisingly, the only biathlete who’s done well has been Elvira Oeberg this time around. Her sister, Hanna, who was a gold medalist, a surprise gold medalist in Pyeonchang has been just a non-factor here this time around. It’s really surprising.

[00:07:38] Alison: She will be, they both will be in the relay. They’re on the Swedish relay team. So we will see them both tomorrow.

[00:07:44] Jill: Yes. And I am hopefully going to get out to the mountain to watch that one as well.

Moving over to bobsled. The two man competition finished up today. Germany swept the podium.

[00:07:56] Alison: The Germans know how to slide down a hill.

[00:07:59] Jill: That they do. Gold went to Francesco Friedrich and Thorsten Margis. Silver went to Johannes Lochner and Florian Bauer and bronze went to Christoph Hafer and Matthias Sommer. Impressive. That’s really super impressive. You sometimes, you get an Austrian in the mix or another country in the mix. Just Germany’s crushing it this year.

Let’s take a quick break to talk about our red envelope campaign. As you’ve heard the show costs money to produce, and yes, you’ve been extremely generous and supporting us through various campaigns we’ve had, especially the one to get us to Beijing. We have patrons who are very generous year round, but we are going to come up on a slow season for the podcast. It’s two and a half years till 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’re hoping to cover our operating expenses at least so that we can work on ways to boost our income in other ways, and provide a better listening experience for you. So go to flamealivepod.com/support to donate.

[00:09:09] Alison: I want to mention that you are meeting a lot of interesting people while you are there. So during our down season, we’re going to have some pretty cool shows coming up.

I hope we’re going to have, I think, a pretty exciting two and a half years in between. So thank you to everyone who has supported us and thank you to the people in advance.

[00:09:30] Jill: Thank you very much. And I’m just, I have to say, so the vacuuming started yesterday. And then it stopped and they swept and they like used a broom.

We have carpet in here and they used to broom and a dust pan to sweep up stuff. And the vacuum is back out today. And I don’t understand the pattern of vacuum versus non vacuum yet. And I don’t know if I want to try. I don’t know if my brain needs to go there. I just had to say that because it’s really loud today is really loud.

[00:10:03] Alison: Well, speaking of sweeping.

[00:10:05] Jill: Yes. Let’s look at the curling tournament. Men had a couple of sessions in their round robin. First off was ROC faced off with Norway. Norway won 12 to five. Canada beat China ten to eight. USA beat Switzerland seven to four. Sweden beat Denmark eight to three.

And then in the next session, it was holy cow. Great Britain beat Sweden seven to six. Italy beat the USA ten to four. Norway beat, China beat Norway eight to six and ROC beat Canada, seven to six. What happened in session two?

[00:10:44] Alison: All of the favorites fell in that session. I don’t know what was going on. Because I’ve seen bits of the Italy-USA and a bit of the Britain-Sweden, but I haven’t watched the entire matches yet. So something was in the air over at the Ice Cube in that session where all the favorites went down.

[00:11:06] Jill: Wow, that is something. But it shakes out that now the standings are Sweden is 7-1. Everybody has lost a game at this point. Great Britain is six and one. Canada is five and three. USA and ROC are four and four. Switzerland is three and four. Norway and China are three and five. Italy is two and five and Denmark is one and six.

For the women, they had a one session today. ROC beat China, 11 to five. Sweden beat Denmark nine to three. Switzerland beat USA nine to six and Great Britain beat Japan ten to four. That means the standings in the women’s side are Switzerland is six and one. Sweden is five and two. USA and Japan, Great Britain, Korea, they’re all four and three. Canada is three and three. Denmark and China are two and five. And ROC is one and six.

So it’s still anybody’s game to make it to the medal rounds in both the men and the women. There’s a lot in that middle ground that can go up or down. So this is turning out to be a pretty unpredictable tournament.

Fingers crossed, come on, Team Shuster. You can get in. You can get in.

Okay. Figure skating time. All right. We had the women’s short program and w you have thoughts?

[00:12:34] Alison: I have thoughts. The ladies brought the crazy.They did not bring me a Malaguena, but they did bring me a Halloween and a Christmas themed program, which was great. We had a lot of the usual suspects. We had The Four Seasons. We had some tango.

[00:12:56] Jill: And Gladiator.

[00:12:57] Alison: We had Gladiator, a lot of typical music, Clair de Lune, but some of it was just wild. And what really surprised me was in the early sessions, which are the lower ranked skaters, there was some beautiful skating in groups one and two.

[00:13:16] Jill: There really was. And I I’m guessing it’s just, they didn’t have the speed. They didn’t necessarily have the same kind of programs. But they’re generally,

[00:13:28] Alison: The jumps weren’t as difficult, but some really beautiful spins and footwork going on.

[00:13:35] Jill: Yes, I quite, I quite liked it. The Christmas program was right away. That was Anastasia Shabatova from Ukraine and the, it kind of threw me off.

I do like Carol of the Bells. I cannot really imagine doing a program to it and having to hear it a lot, a lot on repeat.

[00:13:56] Alison: We saw that program in the team competition, and I still liked it. I still enjoyed it.

[00:14:03] Jill: Wait, who was the Halloween? Was that just the spooky fun house music? I didn’t think that was halloween.

[00:14:08] Alison: She had on a black and purple dress that really looked like a witch costume.

[00:14:13] Jill: Oh, I did not get that from where I was sitting up in the nosebleeds. That was wacky.

[00:14:20] Alison: And then Mana Kawabe skated to what eventually it became Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, but the whole first two thirds was just wind sounds.

[00:14:32] Jill: Yeah, that was, that was wild.

[00:14:34] Alison: And then at the end she scooped up some snow from the ice and threw it into the air, I guess that was in the four seasons of the winter.

[00:14:42] Jill: It was winter. Yes. But that was, I, I really liked that program. I thought that was, it was gutsy to do that kind of music. And I thought she did a lovely job.

[00:14:53] Alison: Did you have a favorite dress? Beause I had a favorite dress.

[00:14:57] Jill: I know your favorite. I think the dress that wowed me the most, I don’t know if it would be my favorite. It was Eva Lotta Kiiba who based on what she wore, I thought it was going to be, it looked like a mod dress. It was like color blocked in a funky way, very short mod.

I wanted her to have go-go skates on and then the music was just kind of crazy and it wasn’t quite the go-go thing. I thought it was going to be, but I didn’t necessarily love how she did it. Because I don’t think she quite loved her program as much as I did, as I love that music. But I mean, like that was along the lines of Ashley Wagner in like 2014 where she did this. It was like a Hip, Hip, Chin, Chin situation. I loved that.

[00:15:50] Alison: So, yes, I made a note of that dress as well. I called it the Mondrian dress. Yes. That would be a great, because it was totally sequins. Yes.

[00:16:03] Jill: It was something. And yours?

[00:16:06] Alison: My favorite dress was Mariah Bell. It was a midnight blue velvet with just a little beading on the collar.

It was totally different. It reminded me something that Sasha Cohen would have worn back in the day. And right now the fashion seems to be a lot of Swarovski crystals, a lot of scarf material. Yes. A lot of rags wrapped around your body in unusual shapes and lengths where her dress was very classic, very clean looking.

Too bad her program wasn’t clean looking.

[00:16:41] Jill: That was a shame because she obviously loved her program and loved doing it. Adam Rippon does choreography for her and is one of her coaches. It’s just a gorgeous program with so many little details and she just, you could tell how much she loved doing it. And then she fell, stumbled.

[00:17:10] Alison: She fell on the second half of her combination, which was just, oh, it was so sad. Did you have a favorite program overall?

[00:17:13] Jill: No, I will put it like that. I have many ideas that I like. I have. I know you, don’t play the doping sound on me. Kamila Valieva is a gorgeous, beautiful skater. And she just puts so much feeling into her skating and for even being as young as she is, to be able to do that. Because Alyssa Lui is about her age and Alyssa is not like that. She needs another year or two to get that artistry that she needs to have. But Valieva is just a beautiful, gorgeous skater. I wish she didn’t have the cloud of doping hanging around her and all of the unknowns  with what she really skates like.

With that, I did also love, I was very happy to see the emergence or the re-emergence of Japanese skaters and Korean figure skaters. This, I was so happy about that.

[00:18:06] Alison: So my favorite was Wakaba Higuchi. We saw her in the team competition. Elton John clearly is having a moment this Olympics. She skated to an Ellie Gould version of an Elton John song. And, you know, you talked in the ice dancing competition about the skater enjoyment factor. She was smiling before she even started. She loves this program and it fits her style so beautifully, really showcases all the things that make her skating so beautiful. If you want to see what I consider a perfect short program, yeah, she is the one to watch. I love everything about it. Beautiful spins, beautiful edges, nice clean, sharp jumps. Just really, really lovely. And she ended up in let’s see, fifth place I think, and absolutely deserved. And I’m so glad she’s going to be in that final group.

[00:19:08] Jill: I also liked Young You from Korea, just when, when she came on, I was like, oh, we are back Korea. Korea is back.

And she was a beautiful and light and just gorgeous to watch. She also made a mistake. I was really looking forward to Ekaterina Kurakova from Poland and she’s just a lovely skater and had a big mistake in her program, unfortunately, but I do love watching her as well.

[00:19:37] Alison: Yeah. Both Korean skaters were just lovely and they are, you know, the daughters of Yuna Kim, in the sense that they skate like her in that very light, airy, beautiful style. And it’s wonderful to see the Koreans skaters come back and that generation growing up, watching Yuna Kim, and now they had Pyeongchang and they’re really starting to emerge or re-emerge on that world stage. And Young You will be in the final group. And then the other Japanese skater Kaori Sakamoto.

[00:20:12] Jill: Oh, she’s beautiful. It was a lovely way to end the night because that final group had the top three skaters from the ROC and all of them have a little gray cloud around them because of what’s going on with Kamila Valieva Ava, and none of them skated clean.

[00:20:38] Alison: None of them skated clean. They all have little mistakes.

[00:20:41] Jill: Yeah. Yeah. And, and yes. Valieva stumbled. Shcherbakova, didn’t she fall?

[00:20:49] Alison: No just a stumble.

[00:20:50] Jill: Oh. Trusova fell. Okay. Valieva stumbled. Trusova, I can’t remember what the problem with her.

[00:20:59] Alison: Stumbled as well.

[00:21:00] Jill: Okay. Yeah.

So none of them skated cleanly, but then you ended the night with this beautiful program from Kaori Sakamoto, and it was just lovely, and she loved it too. Oh, she loved her program so much. It was gorgeous. So that was a nice way to end it. The crowd was way behind the Russians.

[00:21:19] Alison: I thought so on the television. And I was wondering if that’s because so many of the Russian athletes showed up because it looked like there were a lot of people when they panned the crowd wearing the Russian uniforms. So I’m wondering if a lot of the ROC team came to support her because of the controversy.

[00:21:43] Jill: That could be. There were a lot of people from ROC in the crowd. There were also a lot of outside spectators cheering very loudly for ROC. So I think there’s, it could be an east-west kind of thing or a Cold War kind of issue, but there definitely was a lot of support for ROC

[00:22:09] Alison: I wonder how, and I don’t know if you’ve been able to see this, because obviously you don’t speak Chinese, how the doping controversy is getting played in the Chinese press. Is it getting played as the Western authorities are coming after the Russian athletes and trying to keep them down? So that’s why the Chinese fans would say, oh no, this is a beautiful skater. And she is a beautiful skater and she is incredibly talented. So, if it’s presented to you as the IOC and Westerners are trying to keep her from winning her rightly deserved medal, you’re going to support this very young girl as she is struggling. And she was clearly struggling emotionally on the ice.

She was nervous. She looked nervous in a way that she doesn’t normally. She was emotional coming off the ice more so than normal. So she’s going through it right now, clearly.

[00:23:09] Jill: And it was interesting to see her stumble because in the, her last little warmup, while they’re waiting for the scores for the skater before her, she nailed jumps, she did several jumps that she just nailed.

And then to come out and within the actual program and make a big mistake. You could tell that just shook her. She’s not used to it.

[00:23:31] Alison: And she stumbled in the long program of the team event as well. So, and that was before all of this came out. So the pressure is, the pressure is a lot for a 15 year old to handle even without the doping scandal.

[00:23:48] Jill: Just a quick note, I found it a little ironic that Karen Chen used music from Requiem for a Dream in her program.

[00:23:58] Alison: That’s an unfortunate choice.

[00:24:00] Jill: And I do love that music. So I did like her program a lot. She didn’t do great, but I liked the program.

[00:24:06] Alison: I think, and I thought of this later, we need to do skating music bingo. There are so many things that, you know, you’re going to hear, but for me, apparently in this Olympics, my holy grail is Malaguena. I have not heard it once. I’m a little heartbroken.

[00:24:25] Jill: Maybe it’s taken the year off.

[00:24:27] Alison: It’s gone out of favor, but just like the broken leg sit spin has come back. Malaguena will have its moment.

[00:24:37] Jill: Well, I’m, I’m not holding my breath.

[00:24:43] Alison: You can’t stop me from singing.

[00:24:45] Jill: Let’s move on to, oh, well, hold on, hold on. So the standings currently are Kamilla Valieva from ROC first, followed by Anna Shcherbokova from ROC and Kaori Sakamoto from Japan, Alexandra Trusova from ROC Wakabe Higuchi from Japan and Young You from Korea.

Moving over to freestyle skiing. We had some slopestyle that was scheduled for today, but the finals are going to be rescheduled for tomorrow. They did do runs one and two. The leaders after those runs are Andre Ragettli from Switzerland, Birk Ruud from Norway, Nicholas Goepper from USA, Jesper Tjader from Sweden and Alexander Hall from USA.

The women’s slopestyle free ski had its final runs today. Gold went to Matildd Gremaud from Switzerland. Silver went to Eileen Gu from China and bronze went to Kelly Sildaru from Estonia.

[00:25:54] Alison: Estonia is on the medal table now.

[00:25:57] Jill: I know. And this is Eileen Gu’s second out of, I believe, three events and she has already medaled in both. So very excited for the, the hometown crowd will be very excited about that.

[00:26:09] Alison: They were throwing down some wild tricks in this run, where they, the condition seemed to be a little better than the first time out with free ski. So that was, that was helping.

But yeah, there was flipping and twisting. And so there weren’t a ton of clean runs because they were going for just enormous tracks. But at, in one run, Gremaud’s binding snapped, and it’s been reported it’s because it was so cold.

[00:26:41] Jill: Oh, that does not shock me because I have a microphone here with a shock mount and the rubber bands that holds it together snapped.

[00:26:50] Alison: Right. Beause with the equipment, they’re always going to go for a lightweight and flexibility over durability at this level. So, and it is not designed to be at negative 427 Kelvin.

[00:27:08] Jill: Oh yeah. So were there any garage sales at the slopes?

[00:27:14] Alison: There were some garage sales. It’s still one of my favorite terms. So who told us that term?

[00:27:22] Jill: That was Devin Logan and Bradley Wilson.

[00:27:24] Alison: Yes. So when, when somebody crashes and everything goes everywhere, it’s a garage sale.

[00:27:31] Jill: The immense aerials competition had its first qualifying runs leaders.

After those they are, Oleksandr Okipniuk from Ukraine, Pirmin Werner from Switzerland, Ilya Burov from ROC, Stanislav Nikitin from ROC, and Justin Schoenefeld from USA.

[00:27:50] Alison: So how hard is it for you to say Pirmin with a different last name than Zurbriggen?

[00:27:56] Jill: It’s very hard, but I was very excited to see somebody named Pirmin. It’s a lovely name.

Let’s move over to a hockey. The men had it’s playoffs, qualifications. Slovakia, beat Germany. Denmark beat Latvia three to two. Switzerland beat Czech Republic, four to two. And Canada beat China 7 to 2. The fact that Canada has to get into the playoff qualification or, or the fact that Canada had to be in the playoff qualifications was a like surprise, I would say for me, for, for the world, probably, probably for Canadians.

[00:28:39] Alison: I was going to say, this is a slap to Canada’s national pride. And I don’t say that sarcastically. I say that literally, but I think this comes from the fact that at the last minute, the NHL players were pulled from the tournament and they, and Canada and the US and several other countries, but certainly the US and Canada were most effected, had to cobble together a team out of, you know, junior level college players, AHL players, and they haven’t played together.

[00:29:12] Jill: Yeah, and that makes a big difference. When I walked into the media center tonight, the game was still going on and it was five to two Canada and they ended up scoring two goals. In the last five minutes. I was shocked that the point differential was as small as it was until the end of the game.

But I mean, seven goals is nothing to a snark at or boast, but it was very surprising that they were a lot closer for a while.

[00:29:40] Alison: So earlier in the tournament, you were concerned about the Chinese goaltender just being exhausted. And yet he seems to have made it through the tournament and saved face here. I mean, there was no really embarrassing scores. So the Chinese team held up surprisingly well in this tournament.

[00:30:03] Jill: Well, I do think they were helped by the fact that the NHL pulled out because if they had pro players, that would have been a totally different story. Agreed. So for the men, the quarterfinals will be USA versus Slovakia, ROC versus Denmark, Finland versus Switzerland and Sweden versus Canada.

And tomorrow will be the women’s bronze medal match, Finland versus Switzerland.

Okay, moving over to Nordic combined. You have obviously watched this because you have a job from there. What can you tell me this?

[00:30:35] Alison: So two long events, you know, you’ve got ski jumping, you’ve got a 10 kilometer cross-country the medals were decided by less than a second.

[00:30:46] Jill: Wow. Wow.

[00:30:48] Alison: Between the silver and gold was less than half a second. You don’t expect these races to be quite this close. You know, even in just cross-country you don’t expect it to be these races to the finish, but this was a here comes Diggins kind of race. It was great.

[00:31:06] Jill: Nice. So a gold went to Joergen Graabak from Norway.

Silver went to Jens Luraas Oftebro from Norway. Bronze went to Akito Watabe from Japan.

[00:31:19] Alison: Yeah. And you don’t expect to see a Japanese athlete in a cross country race, but they are so good at ski jump that they now are making this push into Nordic combined, which makes sense.

[00:31:33] Jill: Very cool to see.

Moving over to snowboard. It was Big Air day. Women’s snowboard. Gold went to Anna Gasser from Austria. This is her third Olympics and she is the defending gold medalist in this event. She was quite surprised to get it. She said she wasn’t really concerned about points or anything. She just wanted to lay down good tricks.

And that seemed to be like, the theme of the day is just like, oh, let’s see what we can do here. And whatever the points fall, wherever they fall, they’re going to fall.

[00:32:05] Alison: And I think we’re seeing that a lot in snowboard overall, we’re seeing the comradery. We’re seeing the love of sport in a way that we don’t see in a lot of other events.

I mean, we saw it earlier with the women and Zoi Sadowski-Synnott from New Zealand, how excited they all were when she won the gold and they all, you know, puppy piled on her and Anna Gasser is kind of the grand old dame. S he’s I think 31 or 32. And in this sport, that’s a grandma.

[00:32:37] Jill: Right. But she said she feels really young in the sport because she picked it up when she was 18. Which is just incredibly old to pick up snowboard, but she’s just made it her own and just lays down huge tricks. So she walks away with another gold. Zoi Sadowski-Synnott from New Zealand won silver, so two medals for her. This is great for New Zealand.

[00:33:03] Alison: Go silver ferns!

[00:33:05] Jill: And bronze went to Kokomo Murase from Japan.

In the men’s Big Air, this was a competition, man. So I got to say that venue is so cool. The big air competition is so cool to watch. I am happy with the results on one level, because that is a permanent venue. It is all concrete man. So I want people here in China to get inspired and pick it up and they have lots of big air aerial competitions right there because that thing needs to get used.

But it’s also on the grounds. I mean, you see all the shots and it looks very industrial because it was an old steel factory, but the whole industrial area has been kind of revitalized a bit and it’s kind of office parky in a way, but more different offices. I was listening to some people on the bus talk and I guess the organizing committee have their offices there in this area. There’s a National Winter Sports Training Institute there. So there’s a lot of sports stuff going on, but I’ve heard there is also movie studios and soundstages there too. So there’s a whole lot of stuff going on, but you still get this, you have like office buildings and then you have this industrial feel as well on top of it.

And it’s just kind of funky and fun and it’s a perfect environment for a sport like this. So, the men were laying down huge tricks. Mark McMorris was going big and his, his last jump. Oh man. He just couldn’t hang on. Just couldn’t land it. But he had gotten nine meters up in the air.

[00:34:57] Alison: And he spun 326 times.

[00:34:59] Jill: Yeah, I know. He just, it was so high and it was, that was just amazing. So, he ended up finishing 10th and he was really pushing for a gold medal. Gold did go to Su Yiming from China. Silver went to Mons Roisland from Norway and bronze went to Max Parrot from Canada.

[00:35:21] Alison: So this was big revenge for the judging controversy, right? So China won the gold and this sport makes sense to be popular in China because they do have such a history of diving and gymnastics. This feeds into those same skills. So I would expect them to do well in it now that they are developing this program.

[00:35:47] Jill: Yeah, I would not be surprised if they just started dominating at it some point soon. The Canadian drum was in the house and out in full force and the Chef de Mission was banging away for the Canadians. So that was nice. A little side note, Red Gerard who’s from the USA finished fifth. He was the first gold medal winner from Pyeongchang. He’s been shut out here in his different events.

Moving over to speed skating. It was team pursuit day on the long track. So we had both men’s and women’s pursuit. For the women, gold went to Canada, silver went to Japan and bronz, went to the Netherlands. For the men, gold, went to Norway, silver went to ROC and bronze went to USA. And Producer Brian said that Sven Kramer missed his 10th Olympic medal and his chance to be only the second Olympian to win bronze in the same sport event and discipline that four times.

[00:36:49] Alison: Sven Kramer has disappointed us apparently.

[00:36:53] Jill: So, so that means a Robert Dover from the USA and team equestrian remains the only one who have accomplished this feat.

[00:37:01] Alison: Sven Kramer, I do not find this acceptable.

[00:37:04] Jill: I would imagine that this is going to be on replay for me because  I did not get to see this live, but I do like the pursuit. So I’m hoping to be able to see it here.

[00:37:15] Alison: So if you haven’t seen pursuit and you are confused, that’s okay. I have been watching so much pursuit and I understand it’s whoever has the fastest time. But it confuses me. And no matter how many times I read how this works and how the strategy works and who’s in front.

And do you swap and do you keep it the same? It still doesn’t make sense to me. I can’t wrap my head around it.

[00:37:46] Jill: Well, those are the finer details, but it’s basically, you start on opposite ends of the track and you’re chasing each other. So you either get time because you both finished the race or one team catches up to the other.

[00:38:01] Alison: I mean, I said, I get the, I get the basics of whoever is fastest, but there’s so much going on. And I don’t like the split screen. I don’t like them not being together. I think I would enjoy this a lot more in person.

[00:38:16] Jill: You might you know. The starter was interesting because the starter for this race, instead of being on the side of the track is in the center of the track. There’s a staircase there and the starter has sight lines of both teams, kind of in a, so they’re looking kind of in a V towards the two sides and that’s how they start this race.

[00:38:38] Alison: Sven Kramer.

[00:38:40] Jill: Disappointment. Well, what’s going on with our Team Keep the Flame Alive and TKFLASTAN?

[00:38:47] Alison: So as we mentioned, Team Shuster in men’s curling split their two matches today. They, I believe have another session off, so we will see how that goes. But tomorrow our biathlete Clare Egan will be back in the relay.

[00:39:02] Jill: Yes. And I’m hopefully going to get out to the mountains to see her. Very excited about that. We would like to thank today’s Location Scouts, Robin Morphin, and Brittany Cook.

[00:39:13] Alison: And we’d also like to say thank you to our mascot of the week, who is Millie our beautiful puppy. So where Millie lives there is a lot of snow, as there was in Beijing, and she has a set of little red snow booties to protect her little puppy feet. And we actually have some video of her in the snow, and we’ll be posting that on our social medias today.

[00:39:37] Jill: Because there’s nothing cuter than puppies who are trying to understand snow and how to navigate it.

[00:39:45] Alison: The only thing cuter is when they’re trying to understand snow when they’re wearing little booties.

[00:39:51] Jill: All right. That will do it for this episode. Tune in again tomorrow for another day of competition from Beijing.

[00:39:57] Alison: And celebrate the games with us on our Keep the Flame Alive Facebook group. It’s the place to hang out with us and other listeners. Jill is on Twitter and I am on Insta. Both are @flamealivepod. You can also email us at flamealivepod@gmail.com or call or text us at (208) 352-6348. That’s (208) FLAME-IT.

[00:40:22] Jill: We will catch you back here tomorrow. Thank you so much for listening. And until next time, keep the flame alive.

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