It’s the last full day of competition at the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics! The mountain is back up to its tricks, we’re understanding the speed skating mass start race, and there’s drama on the ice.

Today’s sports schedule includes:

  • Bobsleigh (Bobsled) – beginning of the 4-man; conclusion of the 4-woman
  • Cross-Country Skiing – distance races
  • Curling – Men’s gold medal/women’s bronze medal
  • Figure Skating – Pairs free skate
  • Freestyle Skiing – Men’s freeski halfpipe
  • Ice Hockey – Men’s bronze medal game
  • Speed Skating – Women’s and men’s mass start

 

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

Note: While we make efforts to ensure the accuracy of this transcript, please know that it is machine-generated and likely contains errors. Please use the audio file as the record of note.

Beijing 2022: Olympics – Day 16

[00:00:00] Jill: Ni Hao fans of TKFLASTAN and welcome to day 16 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?

[00:00:24] Alison: Ni hao. My Olympics are complete.

[00:00:27] Jill: The pairs, Are you talking pairs? Are you talking, are you talking about the bronze medal hockey game?

[00:00:34] Alison: No, I am talking about figure skating and I’m so excited to get to that.

[00:00:38] Jill: All right. Well, we will work on getting over there. It is the magical hour of vacuuming. I’m very excited to hear that because you know what happened last night after I am starting to pack up and the Italian man looked at me and said, they’re done, you just finished and they’re done now. And I said, it doesn’t matter. Those are our people. The vacuumers are integral to my show. I have to have them. Because he was just, he was upset for me and like, no, no big deal. We need these. We need these women. See what I cannot wait for is you to see the process because it is two vacuumers, one is in charge of the cord. One is in charge of vacuuming and the cord’s only so long. So they plug it into one of the workstations. They vacuum as much as they can, then they turn it off. Then they moved down to another workstation and plug it in and it repeats. There’s no extension cord. Alison: I cannot wait for you to meet these women.

Jill: I mean, don’t accost them when you come. Because they obviously, I don’t know if they know me. I mean, they might know me with the fort, but I don’t think word has gotten to them that they are magical. That we care.

[00:01:56] Alison: Someone needs to tell the vacuumers that they have all these fans in the podcastverse.

[00:02:16] Jill: I can’t, I can’t go into what is a podcast? Just can’t go there.

Alison: Magical vacuumers you have fans around the world.

Jill: No, I know maybe, but I do want to try to get a picture with them if they will let me, I think that might embarrass them a little bit I think. Maybe I can sweet talk them. I got, I got that down week to really work on stuff because of scheduling stuff.

So moving on to a feed beefs, what’s going on.

[00:02:36] Alison: So many commercials. Okay. So I’m trying to watch multiple events. So I’ve got multiple screens going, but more importantly, right now I have the same event going on multiple screens because literally they show one program. Roughly five to six minutes long and then show five to six minutes of commercials. Well one section I counted, twelve commercials in a row.

[00:03:04] Jill: whoa.

[00:03:08] Alison: Each segment will be five plus, and it will, when I was watching the free ski half-pipe after each run, five, six commercials.

Jill: Holy cow

Alison: And this is on the, this is on nbc.com. This is not on peacock. This is not on the television broadcast. I tried to watch the television broadcast, but it was just reshowing things I had already seen. So I was trying to watch some things live. And so, and if you try and scroll through anything, they stop you and give you your five minutes of commercials and they’re bad. There’s nobody like Mike and Maya to love. There’s this awful GM commercial. There is, you know, Cody, the crocheter.

[00:04:01] Jill: I know who you’re talking about. And I don’t like him.

[00:04:04] Alison: It’s awful. And then on my feed, I get all these ambulance chasing lawyer commercials. And I’m thinking, how did you afford to buy a commercial on the NBC Olympics feed?

[00:04:21] Jill: Maybe it’s cheap. I don’t know. Okay. So I have an update on the vacuumers. Not only do they have vacuums, but they also have cleaning belts. So yeah, they have a belt. It’s kind of, I guess if you run, you might have one of these similar and tuck all your beverages in there, but they have cleaning solution. And, you know, I think, probably towels to clean with.

[00:04:49] Alison: They are ready to clean at the drop of a hat.

[00:04:51] Jill: They are, and it looks pretty awesome. Anyway, I’m, I’m very sorry to hear that are all these commercials. I’m curious to know how people on Peacock are fairing because Peacock would have been like 30 minutes, 30 seconds or 60 seconds or two or three really short commercials. But this five minutes of stuff is ridiculous. I wonder if they’re trying to get you to go subscribe to peacock so you don’t deal with this and they get the money

[00:05:23] Alison: 12 in a row. I mean, that doesn’t happen on broadcast television, 12 commercials in a row.

[00:05:35] Jill: Okay. Well, let’s move on to something happier. What officiating or volunteer’s job would be like to do.

[00:05:41] Alison: I saw a great one. So John Shuster, after the bronze medal match yesterday was going through the mixed zone at the Ice Cube and there was a volunteer carrying a plastic wrapped tray where reporters, I think, had put their sound recording equipment on it. And he held the tray right by John Shuster so the reporters would get quality sound from him. Yeah. So he’s, he stood next to him, like an attend, like, like an attendant at a royal wedding, just holding the tray of sound equipment.

[00:06:17] Jill: It is something like that because you do, I’ve been in the mixed zone a few times and you do they, when there’s a lot of people there, they bring the tray down. They also have baskets as well. So they just kind of run in when they realize, oh, there’s somebody there. And there’s a lot of, lot of recording equipment getting shoved out. Because the, the athletes are a good, they probably are two meters away from us at this point. And you can’t get super close to them, so yes, they bring the tray, you deposit your recording device on there. And then when he’s done talking to you, they bring the tray back and you take what you want. Well, not take what you want you to take. You take what is yours and you move on.

[00:07:00] Alison: You hope that people, that reporters are being honorable and not take what you want.

[00:07:07] Alison: This is not passing the hors d’oeuvres at the reception, but that’s what it looked like because the volunteer was also wearing gloves. I realize he’s wearing gloves as a COVID measure, but just him standing there with his uniform and his gloves holding the tray, I was like, oh, would you like a canape?

[00:07:29] Jill: I would like to go over to speed skating. I would also like to tell you that the garbage bin next to me, just got emptied and a new bag put in. I don’t think this person is quite as magical as a vacuum cleaners, but I appreciate him, but I would, I have things to say about the bins.So that’s something for when we get home. Just put a note, somebody take notes, what we need to talk about when we get home.

I would like to go to a speed skating long track today. I went to the mass start and there is a point where if you get lapped, you have to get out of the race. And there is an official who was there telling you, you have been lapped, get kicked to the side and get out.

And there, there was this poor skater from Argentina and she was like the pack past her kind of thing, or they were, they were far away and she’s like, can I come to the center of the rink? And no, you stay on the outside, you go around. And she kept, she went, she was done. She was so done with skating and just very tired looking and dragged herself around to the other side to another official was kind of over there and then, can I come to them? You could see her, like, can I come to the middle? And no, she had to wait until the race was over basically poor thing. But I mean, there’s a clipboard involved. It looks like they’re talking, they have got a radio system going on. And if I couldn’t be that one, I’d be one of his helper because I think they also have spotters on the sides. So there’s other people with clipboards and doing very official things. Be very fun. How is our fantasy league doing?

[00:09:19] Alison: Well I think RAF Q is going to be our gold medalist, a little more competition, at 334. Monkeycat is at 331. FF Chelsea IC is at 330, but DLN and Schollestan are at 324. So we will wait until our closing ceremony program to announce the final winners. I am in 24th, you are in 56, 1 more day competition.

[00:09:47] Jill: I’m impressed I’m in 56th to be quite honest.

[00:09:52] Alison: But we ended up with over a hundred people in our league, which was fantastic, from all over the world. So it’s been a lot of fun and it’s been a lot of fun seeing where people are. In an update, my sister is in 25th. Oh no. It could be in the actual exciting part of this end to me.

[00:10:14] Jill: Wow. Wow. Wow. Excellent. Yes, it has been a lot of fun. I realized it’s been fun even though I haven’t played. But I enjoy the fact that we have a huge league and that people from all over have played with us. So thank you so much for participating in that. I hope you have had fun as well.

Let’s get into today’s action, last full day of competition, last day of competition for most venues. So that was, it’s, there’s a different feeling in the air. The newsroom has been a little bit more lively. I think more people, at least I was in an area where more people were chatting and stuff like that. And venues were a little excited when the, the venues that were closing the volunteers were excited. I mean, there’s probably the, oh, it’s over, but oh, we had such a good time. This has been, we, “we did it” kind of feeling and you know, they’ve done a, they’ve done a great job, so. But it’s not the last day of Alpine skiing because of the mountain, score one for the mountain.

[00:11:15] Alison: Score 1? More like score 127.

[00:11:19] Jill: So it was supposed to be the mixed team parallel competition today. And I didn’t happen because the winds were really strong and the International Skiing Federation communications director said when you have air fences flying, then it’s a clear decision. So this was a huge hullabaloo because there’s no time left to reschedule this race.

So they had to have big meetings today to try to figure out, could they reschedule it for Sunday? They are doing so at like nine in the morning. I don’t know how that shakes out the team situation. Because some teams were leaving, planning to leave on Sunday morning. So they may have changed their travel plans last minute, which as they see as a COVID liaison officer, I can tell you, that’s probably just not what you want to hear, but we’ll have to see who ends up showing up for the competition and how that goes tomorrow. And I hope the weather is good because that’s tough to not get in. I don’t know what they do if they can’t do an event.

[00:12:28] Alison: I don’t think that’s ever happened. So we’ll find out.

[00:12:31] Jill: So hopefully not.

Moving over to bobsleigh. We had the first two heats in the four man competition, which means Josh Williamson competed at the Olympics. I’m so proud of him.

[00:12:44] Alison: That would be Josh Williamson, OLY.

[00:12:50] Jill: I’m so happy for him. He is pushing for Hunter Church for the USA. Hunter is in 13th position right now. We, at the top of the leaderboard is Germany one and two. Well, I don’t know if it’s Germany one and two. At the top of the leaderboard is…

Jill: Oh, that’s interesting.

[00:13:08] Alison: They don’t seem to be referring to them that way anymore. You know, they used to call them, you know, the Germany one sled, Germany two sled. They’re simply calling them by the driver’s last name.

[00:13:20] Jill: Huh, that’s cool. I wonder what that would, that shift was. Put that on the list. Okay. So at the top of the leaderboard, Germany, Francesco Friedrich, then Johannes Lochner, also from Germany. Justin Kripps from Canada, Christoph Hafer from Germany, Oscar Kibermanis from Latvia and Bradley Hall from Great Britain.

[00:13:41] Alison: Nice to see Latvia and Great Britain within striking distance.

[00:13:47] Jill: That is correct. And we have the end of the two woman competition. Gold went to Germany, Laura Nolte and Deborah Levi. Silver went to Germany, Mariama Jamanaka and Alexandra Burkhart, and bronze went to USA, Elana Meyers-Taylor and Sylvia Hoffman. Fourth where usually, the big name in this race was Kaillie Humphreys, who was with Keisha Love. And she ended up finishing seventh, not a good day, not a good two days.

What happened?

[00:14:18] Alison: She just made some small mistakes and they just kept adding up and they just kept adding up sliding down. And the Canadian sled Christine DeBruin, who medaled in the monobob also just kept making mistakes, making mistakes, making mistakes. Who did very well was China. They had a sled in the top 10, which was very surprising. And the announcers were saying, what good drivers for being such new drivers. And obviously this is the sled, this is the track they’ve been training on. So they have that advantage, but still, I mean, we’ve seen some very inexperienced teams come in and just bang up the sides of the wall and they were pretty clean looking.

[00:15:03] Jill: That’s interesting. I will, I’m looking forward to going back and watching that race because it’s just one that could not get out to Yanqing in time to see either one of these, because the men were early in the morning and that’s really, I’d probably get there right when they were wrapping up and the women are run late. And that is when I’m afraid I would never get home.

[00:15:29] Alison: So American Elana Meyers-Taylor has five Olympic medals.

[00:15:35] Jill: Good for her.

[00:15:37] Alison: Over four Olympics and all of her two women medals are all with different pushers.

[00:15:46] Jill: Wow. That’s interesting. I’d be curious to know. I wonder if she’d talk with us sometime to, to know how you create a winning dynamic with new pushers all the time, especially because everyone on the world cup circuit, they are constantly rotating through different people. As we learned from Lauren Gibbs you have to learn how to constantly adjust.

Moving over to cross country today was the men’s 50, supposed to be 50 kilometer mass start free race. This is where the weather won again, they had really strong winds up in Zhangjiakou. So the mass start got rescheduled to an earlier time, rather than later, it’s probably also quite cold and it was shortened to 30 kilometers. So that’s a huge deal. And you kind of wonder, like what, what, in a sense, what does it do in the history books.

[00:16:42] Alison: Right. And more importantly, your entire plan probably for all the races focuses on this race as this particular length. And my whole race plan is based on, I have to go 50 kilometers. Oh no. Now you’re going 30 kilometers. And on the fly, you’re going to change your entire race plan.

[00:17:04] Jill: Yeah. I wonder, I wonder how that works.

[00:17:07] Alison: Not well.

[00:17:10] Jill: What makes you say that?

[00:17:11] Alison: Because the favorite Johannes Kleibold just dropped out at 20 kilometers. He was kind of far behind and there was nothing wrong. He wasn’t hurt. He just kind of skied off the track, took off his skis and walked away.

[00:17:27] Jill: The medals for this, the gold went to Alexander Bolshunov from ROC. Silver, went to Ivan Yakimushkin from ROC and bronze to Simen Hegstad Krueger from Norway. This I think is the best United States finish since like 1976. Scott Patterson got eighth place.

[00:17:49] Alison: In a men’s event.

[00:17:54] Jill: Okay, right. Because we’ve gotten medals in the women’s side recently, so that’s good news for the US cross country program for the men. Maybe we could find out from him how that went with training plans or changing the training or changing the race plan.

Let’s take a quick break to talk about our red envelope campaign. As you know, this show costs money to produce. And while you all have been extremely generous in supporting us through the Kickstarter campaign that got us here and through Patreon patronage, we are coming up on another two and a half years until the next Olympics. So we are celebrating with lunar new year. And asking for red envelopes to help get us to Paris 2024, and cover the costs that we need to for the show and to make it even better for you. So we’re looking for donations of at least $8 to get us through, go to flamealivepod.com/support to donate and thank you to everybody who’s donated so far. If you appreciate what we’ve done, coverage wise for you and help, I hope we’ve helped make your Olympics a better. Please consider donating.

Moving over to curling. We had the men’s gold medal game. This was between Sweden and Great Britain, Sweden won 5-4, in an extra end. This is a big deal

[00:19:18] Alison: and down to the last rock. Great match. Really, really great match, smart play, interesting play. And apparently one of the announcers speaks Swedish because he was telling us what the Swedish team was saying to one another.

[00:19:38] Jill: Oh, oh. In the, their little strategy pattern. Yes. That’s cool. That doesn’t happen very often.

[00:19:49] Alison: No. I mean, if it’s Spanish or even Russian, you expect someone to have picked this up along the way, but Swedish?

[00:19:57] Jill: Maybe, I mean, if you’re in the curling world, you probably do know a bit of those languages. So this is a nice story that the Swedish skip Nicholas Eden. This is his fourth Olympics and his first gold medal. So last Olympics, he lost to John Shuster and Team Shuster in Pyeonchang. So it’s nice to see him get the gold as well.

[00:20:23] Alison: And in Sochi he won the bronze. So he has a full set.

[00:20:26] Jill: Oh, that’s so nice. But this one, probably his favorite, I would say.

[00:20:32] Alison: I would say so. He was pretty excited.

[00:20:35] Jill: So to recap that tournament, it was gold going to Sweden, silver going to Great Britain and bronze going to Canada. Hey, I would, I’m pleased that Great Britain won silver. That’s very nice to see as well. It’s a different team up there.

[00:20:50] Alison: Absolutely. And, and given that they’re all Scotsmen and Scotland is birthplace of curling and the home of where all the curling’s stones come from, you want to see the Scotsmen do well.

[00:21:06] Jill: We also had the women’s bronze medal game today, and Sweden won that as well. They beat Switzerland nine to seven.

[00:21:13] Alison: And nobody was celebrating harder for them than the men’s team who stuck around to watch this match. So it was a very nice day for Sweden over in the Ice Cube.

[00:21:27] Jill: Okay, here we are, figure skating time. We had the pairs free skate. Skating is over. Well, the competition is over. We still have the gala to go to. But what did you think?

Alison: Malaguena!

Jill:Yeah. Oh, I saw that and I went, oh boy, well, Alison’s happy. Could they have gotten a newer recording? That sounded like it came out in 1963.

[00:21:52] Alison: I did like that. They didn’t go with an updated, hooked on classics version. That it was kind of a traditional Malaguena. And, you know, we joke about a lot of these repetitive musics and having only one Malaguena in the Olympics reminded me why this music gets picked so often. It’s so good for skating. It’s naturally got the ebb and flow. It has a drive to it. You can automatically do the Spain, the Spanish inspired costumes. So it works. And it works because it was the only one that we heard for two weeks.

[00:22:30] Jill: That may be it too. And you get excited because you think, oh, where are my standards? And this, it’s kind of like Christmas carols. You want to hear the same songs over and over, except for I don’t, you know what? Go ahead.

[00:22:44] Alison: Same songs, more Elton John.

[00:22:46] Jill: Right. And you know what I would like to have hooked on classics, “Imagine.”

[00:22:53] Alison: A lot of Beatles too the past two weeks.

[00:22:55] Jill: Yeah. It’s really interesting how that has been popular this time around, but I mean, you got to do better. You got to do better than “Imagine.”

[00:23:06] Alison: And this time there was a variation on a theme. We had a lot of sad girls in unitards.

[00:23:13] Jill: Yes, there were a lot of unitards.

[00:23:17] Alison: But those last group and a half of skaters. Wow. This was, and I hope this was true in the arena. This was the best skating we’ve seen for two weeks. Just in terms of the excitement, obviously there’s a Chinese pair. Oh yeah. I felt something from a lot of these pairs.

[00:23:45] Jill: Oh, well, that’s good.I’m glad you did. I did not. I have to say I’m sorry. I think at home was better. I did not have a monitor at my station today. They don’t have them at every desk. But I, so I, I was going off of what I could see and I was maybe halfway up the arena and there were a lot of very flat programs, a lot of scared people, a lot of very nervous people. It seemed like there were a few performances I really loved. And even when they so badly messed up, there were some that I really loved, but I think the men’s competition was better for me. I think that was, that was the one that made me feel more. And Sui and Han who were the favorites and everybody was cheering for did phenomenal except for a little bobble by her. And that I think was like, Ooh, then I was worried that they weren’t going to be able to pull it out and they pulled it out a very small point differential.

[00:24:47] Alison: Well, I believe it’s less than a point.

[00:24:49] Jill: Oh yeah. Much less than a point

[00:24:51] Alison: But they did it and they were beautiful and they did have a couple of bobbles, I guess, no outright falls, but the energy, the style, his charisma we’ve talked about. And you know, you got to love when they cry at the end of the program.

[00:25:09] Jill: Right, right. The other one that I also love, I love the other Chinese pair Peng and Yang and, and they were so unbelievably thrilled with how they did they, the smiles were all the way up to the rafters. It was beautiful to watch them.

[00:25:30] Alison: So it’s very unusual to have the pairs competition as the last figure skating competition in the Olympics. I believe this is the first time it’s happened. We talked about that, we talked about this with Jackie and the Chinese did this because you had such a good chance for a Chinese gold medal. And I think, obviously they won, so it lived up to that. But having that second Chinese pair do so well, also speaks to that pairs tradition in Chinese figure skating. Yes. Other program I really liked was the Americans, Knieram and Frazier, who ended up sixth, which is the best US finish in quite a while.

[00:26:12] Jill: I would agree. And I believe she had a mistake early, early on.

[00:26:19] Alison: She doubled a triple.

[00:26:19] Jill: Okay. And you could tell that she was, but she got it back. And they did quite well. The other American pair Cain-Gribble and LeDuc honestly, they were beautiful to watch. I will say that. The artistry and expression was lovely on that pair, so yeah, yeah, yeah. They had some bad mistakes, but I thought just the artistry and connections was was really nice. Let’s run down the leaderboard. Gold went to China Sui Wending and Hon Cong. Silver went to ROC. That was, Evgeniya Tarasova and Vladimir Morozov and bronze also went to ROC, Anastasia Mishina and Alexander Galliamov, and honestly, me for those two, you could put totally different heads on them.

[00:27:16] Alison: They were very Russian, you know, there, we got a siting of Tamara Moskvina, who is the absolutely legendary Russian pairs coach and her pairs tend to be a little interchangeable. They’re all really, really good. And that’s so, but it was really funny was when she stood up next to Alexandra Galliamov. She was the same height as him when he was sitting down.  Tiny little woman, do not mess with Tamara Moskvina.

Before we get off of pair skating, I do want to mention the Japanese pair who is coached by Bruno Marcotte and our very own TKFLASTANI Meagan Duhamel. Gorgeous gorgeous, gorgeous. And nobody celebrated like they did. Kihara just weeping,  Miuri was trying to console him, but then she starts weeping. They did a beautiful program. I was so excited to see them in the next couple of years, and so exciting to see the Japanese moving into pairs and having success. Yeah, there, there, there are men in there. Women are so beautiful and to see a pair coming out of Japan with that same grace and style and beauty is exciting because their style is different. They’re still Japanese skaters and bring that Japanese style. And yet now we’re seeing it in pairs.

[00:28:39] Jill: Yeah. And I loved that program as well. So I totally agree with you on, on the whole package, it was.

You know, I feel the connection to Bruno, even though we’ve never talked to him, but you know, TKFLASTANI by marriage, that’s not too bad. Right. The other pairs I’d like to mention would be Hase and Seegert from Germany, I don’t know what happened because I couldn’t see, but all of a sudden, he could not lift her anymore.

[00:29:11] Alison: I did not watch it with commentary. So I don’t know what happened either.

[00:29:17] Jill: Eh, something gave out and he just could not lift her. He had tested positive for COVID. They could not compete in the team competition because of that and were able to be here. What, besides the fact that they had, the program does shut down basically, but their connection was so beautiful to watch. I will say that they can, and, and she just was like, come on, we can, you know, let’s do what we can do basically. And they, I just loved watching them this whole competition.

[00:29:47] Alison: And I don’t know if he was sick with COVID right.

Jill: Right, I don’t either.

Alison: And they certainly weren’t training for the past couple of weeks. Was it just, he ran out of gas. I mean, it’s not easy to lift people over your head as you’re speeding down the ice.

[00:30:05] Jill: No. And then the other pair I thought was interesting were the ninth place finishers from Georgia, Karina Safina and Luka Berulava. They are 17 and 19 years old and looked it, I will say that, but they skated beautifully. I thought the program was really lovely and I thought, geez, Louise, in four years, what could they be like? But he’s got to grow into something and get, just get some more strength. And just there was a very much a lack of presence, but there was potential there. You could see something really special.

[00:30:50] Alison: This Olympics has been an absolute coming out party for the Georgian figure skating establishment.

[00:30:57] Jill: I am here for that.

[00:31:00] Alison: They almost made it into the finals round of the team competition, which was amazing. Because you’ve got to have decent skaters in all four disciplines and wouldn’t it be nice to see Georgia come through, because again, you’re going to get, you’re going to have some of that Russian style. But it’s a little different and you get a little different look from them and it’s, oh my God, they’re babies, 17 and 19.

[00:31:30] Jill: But those, that pair I think is one to watch for and makes me very excited. I’m very excited for skating in Georgia.

Okay, moving over to freestyle skiing. We had the men’s free ski half-pipe final runs today. Gold went to Nico Porteous from New Zealand.

[00:31:52] Alison: Go Silver Ferns.

[00:31:54] Jill: Silver went to David Wise from USA and bronze went to Alex Ferrara from USA.

[00:31:59] Alison: There were two Kiwi in the final round. So Nico’s brother Miguel Porteous finished eleventh.

[00:32:08] Jill: Aw, that is nice.

[00:32:09] Alison: A couple, had a couple tough runs, but man, two Kiwis in the finals of a winter Olympics event, that’s awesome. What is going on down there?

[00:32:17] Jill: Hey, you know, we’re starting to see stuff come to fruition and good for all of the silver ferns for plugging away at it.

And for a country that doesn’t have much of a winter sports tradition and they’re building this and it’s fabulous to see it pay off. Also fabulous was the fact that Nico got a haka for his win and it’s been posted in our Facebook group. I know I’ve retweeted it. Besides the fact that I love a good haka, the panda ceremony girl got caught up in it and she, well, she’s standing there like next to them because they’re going to do their ceremony thing and the haka starts and she’s just like, oh, what is going on here? You can tell, just kind of moves out of the way, but I just, that’s another little touch. I like to this haka.

[00:33:17] Alison: And very admirable of the New Zealanders doing a haka at all because the conditions during this competition were brutal. So the same conditions that canceled Alpine, that postponed and shortened cross-country were affecting this. It was windy. There was no visibility. It was bitterly, bitterly cold. A lot of experts that I’ve followed up with said this should not have been run, but tomorrow is supposed to be worse. Oh, so again, they’re running up to it to that end bumper.

You can’t keep postponing it when the Olympics are supposed to be over the next day. So this goes back to our original question of what happens when you really pick an inappropriate host city whose conditions really are not suitable.

[00:34:16] Jill: Yeah. And granted you’re, you never know what the weather’s going to be like, but we kind of knew what the conditions would be, but, but, you know, we are also in that age of, this is still from the old bidding system. And I don’t know why nobody’s gotten hip to the fact that they seem to lie. Every bid city lies about the weather. Remember Japan was supposed to be really nice and comfortable in July and August.

[00:34:45] Alison: Well, this goes back to Atlanta. I mean, we ran a marathon in Atlanta in the summer.

[00:34:53] Jill: So I’m not surprised that it’s a big shock here because we should have expected something if anybody had looked at the weather. And so what it was like. I saw a little bit of this on the feed here and just, it did look like, oh, bad crashes into the top, into the top lip. Not good.

[00:35:18] Alison: Couple of really scary crushes, but thankfully there has been no serious injuries reported from any of those crashes and a few of them, really scary. I mean, I’m sure there’s a lot of bruising going on and some headaches, but thankfully no reports of really serious damage.

[00:35:37] Jill: That is good. Let’s move over to ice hockey. We had the bronze medal match for the men

[00:35:44] Alison: Speaking of serious damage.

[00:35:47] Jill: So Slovakia beat Sweden four to zero. This was just a wipeout.

[00:35:56] Alison: It was a humdinger in that it got very physical, very fast. At one point a Swedish player just clocked one of the Slovakian players in the jaw, just round housed him. And it was the frustration of, you know, being blanked. Never okay. But, and especially on Olympic ice, they don’t put up with any of that kind of stuff. So that was a little rough to see, and he did not come back in the game. And I apologize for not knowing the player’s name. He didn’t come back.

[00:36:28] Jill: Oh, not good, not good at all.

[00:36:33] Alison: But Slovakia, you said this is their only medal.

[00:36:37] Jill: No, this might be their second medal of the games. They were on the middle table as one and I didn’t know how fast the, my info system updated. So this could be number two. But, but still it’s, it’s really good for the country. As you said that they showed pictures of what was going on in Slovakia as well.

[00:36:59] Alison: Well, so they showed again, you mentioned this yesterday, the film of junior players watching it at their rinks all together. And then when they win and they showed video of the kids celebrating as if they had been playing the game. So they throw their gloves up in the air. And the sticks and they all pile on each other in center ice. So in you know, 2030, do the math for me, 4, we could see another wave of Slovakian hockey players just taking over from those kids in that one rink.

[00:37:38] Jill: So, yes. Congratulations to Slovakia, big, big victory for you today.

In speed skating in, it was the last day for the long track competition and we had the mass start race for the men and women today. I did go to this and it was a lot of fun. Mass start’s a weird race. As we’ve talked about a little bit, we don’t know what’s going on and I got to watch semi-finals and finals.I think I’m getting it a little bit.

So it’s a 16 lap race. The first lap is just like, everybody’s getting warmed up and you’re all like in position. And then the race really starts and there are three different sprint laps. And my guess is to make this exciting because otherwise people would just be going around really slowly for 15 laps and then sprint to the end. So these sprint laps are spaced out evenly throughout the race. And if you win the sprint, you get three points. Second place in the sprint gets two points and third place in the sprint gets one point. If you get like five points you advance to the next round automatically, and then they take the top six.

So if you don’t score points, then it goes to like time after that. So, and then winning the race, they get huge bonus points. So it’s like 60 points for first place and 40 or something and 20. I did not remember the exact numbers there, but it’s this huge differential in points. So that, that means like usually the top three will automatically go on.

But if you get points in this sprint event, even if you finish back behind somebody, you would overtake them because you got the points in the sprint rounds. And then the weird thing about this though, that I don’t, then I still don’t understand is in the final. That all doesn’t really matter because the final is the top three finishers because they get the most points anyway.

So it doesn’t really matter if you go all out in the sprint round and get those sprint points. The only thing that could happen that might work for you is you go out hard. Your race strategy would be to go out hard early on and have a lead and keep your lead. And nobody can catch up to you because you’re so far ahead. I’ve seen this happen in a couple of other races where somebody has just decided to jump the gun and like lap five, and then nobody can catch up with them because they’re, they’re just hanging back and they can’t accelerate that fast. They want to stay with the pack because they figured that this guy will bonk out and be sucked back in.

So it’s kind of interesting too. I’d love to talk to somebody and hear about the strategies that they put together for the race. And when do you decide to sprint? When do you decide just I’m going to stand in the pack for this race and then go forward at the end or how that works?

So it’s a complicated race. This is only the second Olympics it’s been at. I had forgotten about that. It was at, it was introduced last time at Pyeonchang. I think it’s a fun event, but I also think it needs a little refining maybe to be a little bit more spectator friendly.

But for the men we had, gold went to Bart Swings from Belgium. Silver went to Chung Jae Woo from Korea and bronze went to Lee Seung Hoon from Korea. It was very exciting to see Belgium get the gold. They were very thrilled. It was a photo finish at the end, though. And who lost out on the photo finish race was USA’s Joey Mantia, who missed the podium by 2000th of a second.

[00:41:46] Alison: This is one of those few sports that uses thousandths.

[00:41:51] Jill: Yeah, when they need to, they have to. And he was hoping that there’d be a replay look. I don’t think so because they awarded the medals, but that was rough for him. And it’s one of those things. He was really right in the mix. And it’s the final sprint. When do you take off? How long do you go? How hard can you go? How fast. That’s kind of a, it’s a fascinating little bit, and there were some crashes and lapping and all of that jazz. This was the last race of Sven Kramer’s competitive career.

[00:42:29] Alison: And Producer Brian was asking why Sven Kramer was in this race at all, because there are many, many Dutch skaters who have fared better than he in this Olympics. And I think something you just said, there are many crashes and I don’t know how keen a lot of those Dutch superstars are to getting involved in mass start.

[00:42:55] Jill: I don’t know. Because there were, there were a couple of people from the Netherlands throughout the races. Sven actually won one of the sprints. He did really well in one of the sprint laps. And I, when he pulled out, I’m like, oh, here we go. He might do something. And then he just fell behind. He just pushed it too hard on the sprint. And that was it. So it’s interesting to see that dynamic of necessary endurance plus the sprint element and how you manage that physically.

[00:43:42] Alison: So we say auf wiedersehen to Sven Kramer.

[00:43:46] Jill: I don’t really think they say auf wiedersehen in Dutch

Alison: But it’s the best I got.

Jill:  But you hold your auf wiedersehens, maybe. I don’t know. In the women’s mass start gold went to Irene Schouten from Netherlands. Silver went to Ivanie Blondin from Canada and bronze went to Francesca Lollobrigida from Italy or as the in-house announcer would say, LollobriGIda.

[00:44:10] Alison: Well, I think that’s actually correct.

[00:44:13] Jill: It was very nice. I loved this in-house announcer. He was fantastic.

You maybe were saying, auf wiedersehen to Claudia Pechstein who is in this race as well.

[00:44:23] Alison: Yes. I, we have not talked about her all Olympics. Claudia Pechstein is turning 50, I think next month. So she is the oldest woman, I think, to ever compete at the Winter Olympics. She has been around since the stone age.

[00:44:40] Jill: Or 1992

[00:44:46] Alison: Close enough. And how she’s still standing never mind skating is amazing.

[00:44:52] Jill: She, so she also did what Sven Kramer did and was in the mix in the sprint and then just kind of bonked out. This is a tough race, I think, to manage and have a good strategy for, because I bet you get sucked into thinking, oh, maybe I should go, they’re going, I should go too, and it’s, it’s really, really tough. There was a Japanese skater at the end of the women’s who was right in the mix. And on that last turn, she lost her edge. Went flying. Oh, that was so sad.

So it was a really good competition for the speed skating event I think this time in Beijing. At the end of the night after they did the whole podium ceremony, they played a little zoom choir of “Auld Lang Syne,” of Chinese children singing “Auld Lang Syne.” Just saying goodbye to the ice ribbon. That’s right. And see you in 2026.

We have one more TKFLASTAN watch.

[00:46:01] Alison: One more. Josh Williamson will be back in the sled with Hunter Church for the bobsled four man runs three and four.

[00:46:09] Jill: Excellent. Josh, so glad you’re here. I’m so glad your event was at the end. So glad you get to compete. Hope you all do well in the sled and have a good time and enjoy how you finish. So we would like to thank today’s Location Scouts from Kickstarter. That is Steve Schiavone and Kimberly Lucas.

[00:46:32] Alison: And we have a mascot for each half of the Olympics, and this half, coming to an end almost, is our mascot Millie. Listener Claire pointed out that there has been another Olympic mascot Millie from Sydney in 2000. That Millie was a spiny anteater. Our Millie is way cuter.

[00:46:54] Jill: That’s true. I have to say Millie, our Millie is very cute.

[00:47:00] Alison: I don’t think you would want to scratch the spiny anteater’s ears the way you would want to scratch our Millie’s ears.

[00:47:08] Jill: Well, we appreciate you Millie. We’re so glad to have you as our mascot, and that is going to do it for this episode. Tune in again tomorrow for the final day of competition.

[00:47:19] Alison: And celebrate the Games with us for a couple more days on Our Keep the Flame Alive Facebook group. It’s the place to hang out with other listeners. Jill is on Twitter and I am on Insta. Both are @flamealivepod. You can email us at flamealivepod@gmail.com or call or text us at (208) 352-6348. That’s (208) FLAME-IT.

[00:47:43] 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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