We love it when we get to talk with a TKFLASTANI again! Wheelchair curler Steve Emt returns to talk with us about his experiences at the Beijing 2022 Paralympics and how he found out his Russian competitors were banned from the Games.

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And his website, steveemt.com

In our history moment–all year long we’re celebrating the 30th anniversary of Albertville 1992–Jill looks at the men’s ice hockey competition (well, really, ice hockey competition, since women weren’t competing at the Olympics yet), notably, thoughts on hockey referee Sven-Erik Sold, who officiated a number of games at these Olympics.

We also travel to TKFLASTAN to check in with our Team Keep the Flame Alive (TKFLA) and have news on:

TKFLASTANI worlds collide when Evan Dunfee guested on sustainability expert Matthew Campelli‘s podcast.

And in our Games updates, we have some not-so-great legacy news from Tokyo 2020, and some thoughts on the International Skating Union’s age limit increase that will be in place by Milan-Cortina 2026.

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

Photo courtesy of Steve Emt.


TRANSCRIPT

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

Jill: [00:00:00] This episode is sponsored by Winter\Victor Studio.

 

Jill: Hello fans, of TKFLASTAN, and welcome to another episode of Keep the Flame Alive, the podcast for fans of the Olympics and Paralympics. I am your host. Jill. Jaracz joined as always by my lovely co-host Alison Brown. Alison. Hello, how are you?

Alison: Hello, so to get ready for today’s episode, I’ve been playing some of our favorite Chinese pop songs. I have. Only problem was I was playing the song that we always heard at, sled hockey. And I suddenly started craving Chinese Snickers bars because that was the only venue that had them. So that song that we always heard now in my brain is the Pavlov’s dog bell for Snickers bar.

Jill: Wow. Going to have to start exploring the Asian markets around here, just to see if they have any of the stuff.

Alison: I mean, it didn’t really taste any different than an American Snickers bar. It just had the Chinese wrapper on it. I could just go get an American Snickers bar, but it won’t be the same. No, Michael, won’t be there. There won’t be the Chinese cheerleaders. There won’t be flag boy who would just stand there with a flag.

So it just, it just won’t be the same.

Jill: Well, that’s nice because we are talking Beijing today and we’ll get to that moment. But first we would like to thank our sponsor Winter\Victor Studio. Winter\Victor believes sport and beautiful design go hand in hand. And that a designer’s versatility is just as important as an athlete’s dexterity.

Winter\Victor provides distinctive graphic design to clients in sport. From logos to digital communications, Winter\Victor brings the same passion to design that our clients bring to the field of play. Add a responsive and versatile designer to your team at wintervictor.com.

So we’re, we’re going back to talk to one of our Beijing TKFLASTANIs, wheelchair curler Steve Emt. We originally spoke to him in January as he was preparing for the 2022 Winter Paralympics. And Steve is back to talk about his experiences in Beijing, where Team USA finished fifth in the competition. Take a listen.

Steve. Thank you so much for joining us again.

Steve Emt: My pleasure. Thank you for having me.

Jill: I think it’s a complicated question. When people ask me, how was China, but how was China?

Steve Emt: China was fantastic. Beautiful, incredible people, incredible venue. The competition was amazing as always. Minus the little, the Tyvek suits on the stewardesses and the respirators and the testing and all that.

And, it’s, it is what it is. And that’s part of where we lived there at the time. So, but no, it was, it was incredible for me and my team. And, we had a real, we had a good time.

Alison: While we were there, we watched a lot of curling. Yeah, no, we had a great time. I had a very hard time, not cheering. It was a very exciting venue. So how was the venue for you

Steve Emt: The venue was fantastic. We were there three months prior for the world championships. So kind of got used to the, it is different when you curl in a big arena like that, most of the curling clubs you ever in, in the U S or anywhere in the country, basically there’s the house.

And then there’s a wall right behind it. And now you come out to these arenas where there’s a house. 500 seats or a thousand seats behind it. So the depth perception is off a little bit. So we were there three months prior to the Paras and got used to that situation and leading up to the Paralympics, trying to warn my warrants for lack of a better term, my teammates about the crowds.

And this is the Paralympic games, a little bit bigger situation that the arena was incredible. All the volunteers there were incredible. The ice was incredible. The food. I mean, everything about it, we read it was it’s A-1 situation and treated, you know incredibly so.

Jill: And I got to say curling, the spectators knew that sport, and were just going crazy throughout the games. When you weren’t playing China, was it hard to block out the noise, even if you were playing China. I mean, was it hard to block out the noise of those fans? Cause they really got into it.

Steve Emt: Yeah. Personally for me, no, it’s, it’s easy for me. And I hope that I can say the same for my teammates and any curler at this level. When you’re out there, you don’t see the crowd, you don’t hear the crowd.

I mean, you gotta acknowledge it. That’s part of, life and all that, but don’t let it get to you. You don’t acknowledge it. You don’t, or you do acknowledge it. You don’t [00:05:00] hear it. So. Yeah, it was totally different when we were playing China. Cause it was crazy loud and screaming, which was, I love, pumps me up.

But you know, when it comes down to the shotmaking, No, it’s just me and the broom when we weren’t playing China, it was like I heard on a broadcast, it was like a library in there, you know, the Beijing library. So, but it was funny cause when we were in Pyeong Chang, they bussed a bunch of kids for a couple of games.

So there’s 4,000 kids in there and they had no idea what curling was. So we were throwing shots. Like we would throw a guard in front of the house. And you could hear them go out and oh, because it falls short at a house, so they think that we had to hit the house every time. So that we’re laughing about that.

But you had another Chinese, the Chinese crowd was a little bit more knowledgeable by the game, so we didn’t get much of that, but it’s always, always a blast doing it.

Alison: But how was it listening to the Chinese team?

Steve Emt: Did you hear me growl?

They, the second, the stone is off the stick. They’re screaming and yelling. I wish I had to do. I mean, I got to learn. I wish I knew what they were saying. I don’t know it was there. I don’t know what they’re doing, but they that’s what, the way they play. They they’re loud. They come out and, maybe it’s a form of intimidation and try to get to, the younger and experienced teams off their game.

But it’s yeah, it was. It’s always interesting coming home in here and my friends and everybody watching, like, what’s wrong with those Chinese guys that’s annoying or that’s great. And it’s just, it’s not part of our sport as far as the no sweeping, but you know, they, they do what they do and it is what it is.

And it’s all good. Part of the game.

Jill: Well, it was interesting to see wheelchair curling in person and compare that to, the standup curling that we saw just before that and see. Skips or, throwers yelling at the stone likes it was going to sweep itself.

Steve Emt: Right, right. Like that’s why I wonder what the heck are they yelling at?

The thing doesn’t have ears, but I mean, we talked to it too. When the funniest, one of the things you I’ll beat my being paralyzed and there’s some amputees out there, one of the things, if it’s short, you’re yelling, get some legs, get some legs,

you know. And I said that this past week we did a camp out in Colorado this past week with a bunch of athletes and there’s a couple of double amputees in there and one of the volunteers I’m like, get some legs, get some legs, and a volunteer was like you sure you want to say that with these athletes you got here and like, they understand they’re athletes, so, but yeah, the able bodies they’re yelling, the Chinese are yelling.

We talk a little bit to it, but not as much. So yeah, it’s a totally different game, but yeah, it’s amazing.

Jill: It’s almost like there’s like a little door inside stone that’s going to pop up, and when you yell and a little broom comes out and start sweeping in front of

Steve Emt: I heard it for the driver or the stone is going to pop out have a little bit further or something but it’s the same I mean I’m when I’m watching games at home you know and watching the Celtics last night I’m yelling at the TV you know like they can hear me but you still gotta yell Right I mean he’s he’s still into it It’s all good

Alison: We thought it was great how the pointing was still done with a broom. So when the skip is, directing where the stone should be thrown to have room to point, but that’s the only time the broom comes out.

Steve Emt: Yeah, yeah. Yeah. Like I’m holding the broom for Matt or something. Yeah. I want it, that’s just coming out and guys yet, we’re going to put it right here. Oh, wait a minute. We don’t have any sweepers. It doesn’t matter. I can throw the broom into the crowd and stones are going to stone the same spot.

So yeah, it is. It’s, it’s pretty weird, but

Alison: So is that standard to use the broom or is that some kind of like, how did that, I’m not that you necessarily know how that developed, but is that, could you use something else?

Steve Emt: Well, the only reason we use the broom is that’s what we’re aiming at. The bright, yellow, or orange brush on the broom that that’s a normal broom that able-bodied is used to sweep with.

We just use it just for, for target and that’s all, and that’s always used for, so anything above and beyond that is putting on a show or just back this habits, just, watching abled-bodies and picking up stuff. And yeah, so that’s a lot of us do play with everybody curlers in their normal regular season.

I’m in I’m the only wheelchair curler in my club I believe Matt is, probably a couple of the others too. So, we’re playing with abled bodies all times when we’re calling shots and we’re skipping where we’re using that broom just like the able bodies do so it’s just a force. It it’s just a habit.

And then, like I said, that door pops open and the driver comes out and says, all right, I’ll put it right there for you. I wish I wish.

Alison: Yeah, we got lots of questions about the ice at court. Yeah, because Beijing was so dry and technicians seemed like they were really struggling with all the humidifiers going, but you said the ice was good. Was it very different than say ice here in New England?

Steve Emt: Well, anytime you get on world championship ice, I mean, they’re the best ice makers in the world. And so anytime you get on ice like that, you’re going to expect it to be pretty dang good. And I know there were some issues with the Olympics just two weeks prior.

And, they, I don’t think it was the same ice guys that were for us to Paralympics, but they pass the information along. And I believe they brought in more [00:10:00] dehumidifiers for our games. So, there were some issues, but they did their best to fix them. The ice was incredible. It’s a, it’s such a pleasure to play in ice like that.

It compared to our local clubs, we’re getting there. We’ve got an incredible, incredible ice technicians in the United States and they’re traveling around at different clubs and. Helping out the local ice men to make their lives better. Basically. That’s all there is to it. Cause you get on some bad ice and it’s no fun.

There’s no fun to throw on that at all. You don’t have no idea what a Stone’s going and it’s slow and it’s throwing my shoulder. I’ve got to get a surgery afterwards and yada yada, so that. I thought it was fantastic. I, I didn’t hear many complaints about it. There wasn’t any normally normal club wise or, wherever you are in a country, there’s some peaks and valleys to the ice. There’s some runs in here. There’s some slow spots. No, not in Beijing. That was, it was beautiful. ice and it played great. And again, once it comes, we’re all on the same place. So whether you want to complain about an eight or 11 teams were on the same ice and. One of them won a gold medal. And one of them came in last place, but we’re all on the same ice.

So we really can’t complain about it, but it is amazing what they can do with that stuff. It’s so much fun playing on it.

Alison: So speaking of other teams right before the tournament started it was announced that Russia would not be allowed to compete. And the RPC was one of the teams in your tournament.

And then all of a sudden you’re a tournament is, is quite altered. So how did you get that news? And how did that affect what you guys were doing?

Steve Emt: Yeah, we, we going into the going into the Paralympics, we heard other countries might have a problem with Russia being there.

Per personally, us five on the ice and our coaching staff. We do. We want to go out and play the best we want to. It doesn’t matter who we’re playing in. Russia is one of the best in the world without a doubt. So we didn’t have any boycott issues or we’re not going to play you just go out there and go out there and play.

Now that might rub some people in our country, the wrong way deal with what’s going on, but that was just our, our focus was winning games going in, and we got there and we heard that Russia was coming. Okay. We got them. What fifth game or so, that’s fine. You’re on a schedule. And then, the announcement came out from the IPC that said, we’re gonna allow them to compete, but they can’t compete on their own flag.

They can’t play the anthem. Is there some other things in there? Okay. No problem. And then what, 8, 10, 11 hours later, they came down again and said, no, we’re gonna, we’re going to ban them from the games. And it’s, it’s difficult because we know curling is such a close sport and all the other countries we compete against, we’re friends with everybody and we’re cordial with everybody and that’s including Russia. So the skip of the Russian team speaks broken English. The other ones don’t speak much English, but we saw them in that 11 hours there when they were ready, to compete. We, we saw them in the village, you know, hey, you know, look forward to it and joking around with them.

And then the announcement came down that they’re banning them and. You know. I saw them a couple of hours after that. It was just, it was this tough, they just want play, they w they just wanna play. So, you know, there was some tears shed, to be honest with you, it was, it was emotional. And, those poor five curlers they didn’t deserve that.

We heard, we heard a story about a Ukrainian skier from a delegation, unfortunately, in the, in the bombings or something, lost his life and his family or something. And so it was just a little. A lot of stuff, it didn’t affect us much.

The pool went from 12 teams to 11. The games didn’t count I know a couple of other coaches definitely was saying, we’re going to forfeit and, Russia can have the win, that wasn’t us, for sure.

We were playing and we were, we were just playing, we were playing the stones, when you get on the ice. And that’s one beautiful thing about curling is that when you get on the ice, you’re playing the stones and you’re playing the ice. You’re not playing the other team. You’re not playing the Russias.

Or the Koreas or the Norways whatever. You’re playing a stones in the ice. So that’s what we had going into that. So when it came down, it was unfortunate. You hate to see that. And they’ve been, they’ve been working extremely hard like we all have been to get to this point to represent their country and then they get banned.

It was, it was unfortunate. So it, but as far as the team goes, it really didn’t affect us much as far as the play. And it was just unfortunate that it happened. Unfortunate situation in the world. It’s awful. I just wished the leaders of our countries, all countries around the world would come to the games, Olympics, Paralympics and see the, see the sport and see us competing against each other and see us laughing afterwards and graduating each other and giving it all.

And, as amateur athletes, I just wish, that’s the way the world was run, but we know that’s not the case. And that’s unfortunate.

Jill: Did you have any sense in that 10 11 hours between the first announcement and the second announcement by the IPC that something was going to happen? Because on our side, we heard that in the villages, the situation just was escalating and that’s why the second decision was made to ban them.

But I mean, your village would only have had sled hockey and curling. So did you have any sense of what was, or how did they communicate everything?

Steve Emt: We heard through USA Curling and we heard stories that we you know, the people in the village were feeling endangered because Russia was there, not I, and I can speak for my team.

I can’t speak for other teams. I can’t speak for sled hockey, but it was just like [00:15:00] you said, just curling and sled hockey. The village was, I’m not sure what was going on. I personally didn’t feel any sense of danger at all. I wasn’t threatened that Russia was there at all. I don’t think the rest of my team was, I can’t say for sure, but I don’t, I don’t think so.

And we just found out from USA Curling. It came down both announcements, USA Curling, and does a great job informing all of Our athletes is what’s going on in the world and the situation we’re in and the first announcement came down, from USA. Curling said that IPC is gonna allow them to compete.

All right, cool. Another game, another opportunity to play. And then that attended 11, 12 hours later, he came down and said, oh, they banned them. It was kind of my, my window in the village was overlooking the Russian building, you know, and all the Russian flags, all the buildings were decorated with the country flags and all that, which they should be, which pride.

And then the announcement came down at, they they’re banning them in, like in a matter of minutes, maybe I might’ve happened. I was overnight, all the signage was down. I mean, you couldn’t tell from a hole in a wall, we know who was in that building and they were gone. It was like the dead of the night.

It was like a stealth operation. So, it’s, again, it’s unfortunate that it happened to them. It happened to anybody but I personally never saw. Any fear of whenever there and when they weren’t there of any danger to my life or anything, anything more than traveling to any other country in the world and competing.

Beijing was, it was an incredible place and incredible hosted the games. And, the opening ceremonies Andrew Parsons, I believe it was the head of the IPC, gave a great speech. Rumor has it back in the States or somewhere they didn’t hear it all. Supposedly there was a malfunction. No.

Jill: Did he misspoke because we were there and you could see. They had his speech also on the jumbo Tron.

And he, it said, it said Republic of China on the jumbotron and he forgot the Republic part or the people that yeah, he messed up. He did mess up and it was, it was, it was a slip. It was done. It was, it was a little scary,

Steve Emt: but I thought that was a great speech. He talks about the athletes and giving it all and, Do our best to get through this.

And I thought it was a great speech, but yeah, it was just an unfortunate situation, but competing against the best in the world was incredible, incredible experience.

Alison: Okay. So let’s talk about your play. How did ha ha okay, why are you groaning?

Steve Emt: I’m mad. I’m pissed off. I mean, I should, have a medal around my neck right now.

We ended up five and five. Fifth place, which is incredible. We were 12th in PyeongChang .We were awful in PyeongChang,, two and nine worst team in a world. And we battled the last two and a half years or so. There’s been some incredible sponsors. Toyota, Columbia stepping up some smaller, well just helping us out.

We started off slow in a tournament. We’d be finished drawing. We were one game out of medal contention and six and four were playing for a medal, five and five, if that place and we’d get to watch. Yeah, I’m mad, and I I’m it every day, every day, I think about that, and it’s driving me. And, I’m just mad.

I’m not mad at my teammates and then on a program and I’m mad at myself. I’m just, I’m just mad that we put in all that work and we come up fifth and I know I’m wired differently than normal people being a Paralympian and Olympian and you gotta be, and I am fired up. And I think about it every day and is driving me every day to get better.

So I’m sick of coming in fourth and says in six places in the world, and I want to be on a medal stand. It was an incredible experience, incredible curling, a lot of great shots, a lot of terrible shots. Got a great calls, a lot of terrible calls. So a little bit of everything, but until, until we get on a podium, I’m not going to talk about it with a smile because it’s still a lot of work to be done.

Again the people, our support is incredible. The proof is in the pudding, PyeongChang we were 12th, and now we’re fifth. So we’re getting there, we’re getting there, but you still got some work to do and it’s, it’s, it’s driving me every day to get better.

Alison: Okay. So it says it’s driving you in and you think about it every day, but what’s the line between replaying the stakes in your head and you using it as motivated to paralyze you and using it as motivation?

Steve Emt: Right. Well, in my philosophy, and when I, when I speak to people around the country about this, I, I stressed. This is very important, in life in sport and anything there’s winning and there’s learning. There was no losing and that’s important to me. Every, to being a coach, I coached basketball for 20 years, being a teacher, I taught seventh grade math for 20 years, and now I’m a, an elite-level curler, but professional athlete, curling as professional. I used to be being, being a curler, but, we did a lot of learning. We do a lot of learning in PyeongChang. I mean, that’s all we did was learned at PyeongChang because we were at two and nine. But this year, again, we’re getting better and better. So. It’s not paralyzing me at all.

It is driving me like, like I said already to, to learn and get better and watch the game film and[00:20:00] talk to other curlers, able-bodied curlers in their country. Some of the best, the John Schusters are coming out and talking and say, Hey, Steve, I’m going to sit down with you. And it goes through this end, it’s talking about this game and you know what, maybe you could have done better.

That’s huge. That’s you? That’s a learning opportunity. So to me, every opportunity we get when I’m coaching, when I’m curling, when I’m playing, whatever, every opportunity, when my kids it’s a learning opportunity. And so, five and five losses, but you know, five opportunities to get better and learn from it.

So that’s what drives me every day, every day to get better. And I talked about one. When my book and my speaking wants to just get 1% better today, just get 1%. It’s how you do it. It’s not a lot. Just get 1% better in something and over the course of weeks, a month or so you’re going to be a lot better at it.

So you take the losses, we learn from them and we keep on moving and we can get better and don’t make the same mistakes, right? That’s the definition of insanity. Keep doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results now, not going to happen. So I changed my diet. I changed my meditation.

I changed my sleep. I changed my C-PAP machine. Just tweaking things and just keep on getting better.

Alison: Though were you able to enjoy some of the shots that you made in Beijing? Because some of them were just so much fun as a fan to watch, there’d be a triple takeout or just that perfect sitting at right where you wanted it or are you able to enjoy that?

Steve Emt: Yes. Well, without a doubt. Yeah. And there’s some shots I made a shot against Korea in the eighth and a little rundown. If they got a stolen that was buried, that saved the game for us. I can honestly say that if I didn’t make that, there’s a good chance we lose that game. We get up four and six and then seventh or eighth place.

So I made that shot. I mean, there was many shots before that, that my teammates made too. But when it comes down to it in the eighth and you gotta make it. So that’s, that’s the one shot that I always go back to. So yeah, there was, there was many shots myself and my teammates made, throughout the week that, yeah, you don’t, you don’t forget.

And it’s always, always puts a smile on my face to go back and think about it and put yourself in that situation again, where you’re wearing the colors of the USA and you’re representing the best country in the world. The greatest country in the world, and a grandest stage of athletics. And you pull up for shots that you, years ago had no idea what it was.

Nonetheless could even think about making it and you made yet. It’s just incredible credible feeling and something that you lock into your brain, positive imprints, you always get positive imprints in your mind in positive thoughts and positive, whatever, and just keep it positive in mind.

So get the negative out and let that go learn from it and reload it with positive, positive, positive.

Jill: Do you go back and look at the tape and go, oh, this shot didn’t work because the angle was this far off or the, the, the weight behind it was so far off.

Steve Emt: Yeah. It’s exactly what it is.

Yeah. Yeah. It basically what the, a curl and there’s, there’s two things. There’s the amount of ice you take with the broom and I’ll have you throw it. That’s basically it. So usually every miss actually, definitely every mess is either one or both, mistakes too much, Roman too much way you flashed right by it too little broom and two little way you come up short.

So yeah, looking at, we try not to nitpick with every shot, but some important as that’s 6th end against Sweden. Yeah, we played them. We gave up a five ender, and that was a game, and Sweden is one of the best teams in the world. And they’ve done an incredible job coming back and every, every bonspiel or tournament they play and they wanted the best.

So we strive to beat them. You gave up five minutes, six that we were right there with him right there. We were beating him. I think we were up 2 at the time we gave up five because we got kinda locked in and, and throwing the wrong shot after a shot after shot. So, the ends, typically the ones we watch and we know what ends are bad.

We got them written down, we got no blocks and stuff. So we got notes on all the games. And so we just go, go through those and learn from them. That’s a lot of stuff we do on our off ice. We have meetings every week. So when we kick it on the ice again, No, we do all this stuff and go through scenarios and replay them and make them better for next time, because you’re going to see them again.

In the sport of curling you’re always going to see those shots again.

Jill: Did you find that your dry firing, which we talked about in the last episode, how did that help you? Does that make a huge difference in how you perform?.

Steve Emt: Yeah, it, it always does. It did. And it always does. It’s amazing how you can just practice something mentally over and over and over again.

And then when you get to the point where you have to perform it, it’s automatic. So yes, that was a huge part of my preparation. I still do it every day. Now we have a US team trials coming up next week in Colorado, and we have a set of shots. Stolen is going to put up their coaches is gonna put up stones in a certain position.

We gotta come through the port or we gotta take the stone out and sticking hit or whatever it might be. So I literally, we know the shots coming up. So I literally go through all those every day in my living room when they stick it in my hand and dry fire. And it goes through all those. So when I get out of the ice and next week, I’ve already seen that shot, for the last three weeks, every day.

Yeah, but it is, it is amazing how the mind works and it’s a proven, it’s a proven, and I think it’s scientifically proven that the more you, the more you do it and mentally prepare the better you’re going to be at something. So I encourage that highly.

Alison: One thing I noticed was that there was some talking, between teams.[00:25:00]

I mean, you obviously all know each other, but is it trash talking going on on the ice?

Steve Emt: No, no, it’s not. And, and that’s, what’s beautiful about the sport. And I got to go back to last week where we had a couple of sled hockey players out there. We had Rico Roman and Travis Dodson, sled hockey team gold three time, gold medalist, five, they’re incredible.

And they’re trash talking on the ice hockey, that, they got picks on the end of their sticks, they’re trash talking and they admit it. I mean, that’s what you’re doing. But so one of the first things we had to teach them, it was funny because the volunteers had Denver Curling Club said, make sure you teach these guys etiquette.

And of course, we’re going to the very, very first things we teach them on the ice is this is a gentlemen, this is a, a woman’s sport. It’s is, there’s rules here and you don’t trash talk. And so, no, there’s really no trash talk, but it’s, it’s more of like, talking to Mark Hardison from Canada or something.

Come on Mark, can you please miss a shot or something like that? He’s the best curler in the world right now, right. In my eyes. And there’s something, somebody we strive to, we stop it, Mark, knock that off, can you please miss your shot? So in that sense that it is, and he’s my eyes and we laugh about it, but yeah, that’s a great shot.

Hey, that’s, that’s incredible, incredible shot. Nice job. That’s, that’s part of the sport. And that’s one of the many, many things I love about it is, you push each other, you pushing yourself, you’re pushing the GNH, you pushing your bonus, Hey, I want to play against the best. And I want these guys to make me shots.

So I got to step my game up and make the next one even better. So yeah, that’s, that’s the way that works.

Alison: That’s how it looked. And it was a lot of fun to watch. There was one game. I’m sorry, I can’t remember which one it was where it looked like you apologized for making a shot where you’re just like, I should not have been able to do that.

And it ended up winning the end and winning the game. Like you guys totally beat us this whole match, except for that one shot. I just made it.

Steve Emt: I got goosebumps right now just thinking about it, that happens. And it’s usually a missed shot. It’s usually not the shot you called for, and you never apologize for the shot you call for it.

The triple run back, take out, you got to end up in the stands and on a boss or something, you nailed that one. No, you don’t apologize to that. But it’s the, it’s the little takeout we just want to take out, but then you roll behind three guards and you’re buried and it’s.

My bad, sorry about that. And we all know we’re all elite curlers. We all know when the shot was called and you get a little, we call it a Wiki whack or something, and stone ends up buried behind like 34 stones or something, which is impossible. But we think it is, yeah, my bad. Sorry about that.

And it, and it would have happens to you. It’s like, come on, he’s serious. Come on, like, come on, Nobody apologize. It doesn’t make you feel any better, but yeah, it is what it is. Yup.

Jill: The other thing I noticed was that you were relentlessly positive, even when stuff was not looking good. And there were some games that were just really tough for the U S but we, we both noticed how you just stayed super positive How natural was that. Cause you’re very positive when you talk to us, but you know, when things are not going your way as a team, it can be easy to get down.

But that seemed to be your role to be like the cheerleader for the team.

Steve Emt: Yeah. And I appreciate you now reading that and I appreciate you say something and I take a lot of pride in that. And that’s important to me, that’s everything. I do, coaching my 13 year olds, AAU tournament. This weekend, we went 0 and four.

We lost every game by what we were too close. We lost the other games by 30 or 40 points, so there’s other people watching and there’s other people that, that you’re, you’re affecting. And two quick stories, one Lindsey Vonn, American skier, incredible woman. Back in PyeongChang she did an interview with Mike Tirico before she went over and she said, listen, we all want to win. We’re all Olympic athletes. We all want to win, but we all can’t win and it’s more important to be a good person and a good teammate and a good leader. And to show all the millions of people watching at home, that you’re, you’re a good person.

And I wrote that down on my, on my, on a three by five card parts of that. And I put it on my wall. in PyeongChang. And I looked at it every day, probably felt 40 times a day. And I made sure when I, when I was on the ice, I had a smile on my face and I was positive and I was pushing my teammates and I was congratulate my opponents and all that.

That that taught me something that, because before I went over to PyeongChang, I’m like, wait a minute, I’m a Paralympian. If I don’t win a medal here, right. It’s going to be hell for myself and everybody around me. And that’s not fair. That’s not fair. You got so much support and love around me. So, basically, but I’ve been that way my entire life.

And another quick we were in Scotland probably six years ago and our team was doing awful. I was, I was a jerk and the ice. That was a jerk. I was a terrible leader. I was a terrible teammate. And Mark DiPerna, who was, our program director called me from the States. It was like three o’clock in the morning and I’m in Scotland.

And my phone rings and it’s Mark. And he’s like, Steve, what are you doing? He goes, I mean, it got all the way back to him, and, and I was just like, what are you doing? So your teammates look up to you. You are the leader of this team. There’s people watching you and if you’re gonna act like that, you’re no good to us.

We don’t want you around, so that. That was important to me. They get a little kick in the butt to be like, Hey, no, it doesn’t matter. It’s it’s yeah, we all want to win. And again, go back to these words. We all want to win, but you know, the Paralympics, the granted stage in the world [00:30:00] to go out and there’s millions of people watching gotta stay positive and as hard as it is at times, I’m not going to lie.

I’ll get back to the locker room and I’m looking for the first thing to break. And I’ll tell you that right now, if my teammates know that, but you know, when you’re out there and it’s. Because when he goes south, everything goes south and his sport, everything. And as much as the individual sport, it is the next person is going to miss and the next person is going to miss.

So, yeah, I appreciate acknowledging that. And that’s important to me to stay positive, no matter what’s going on in my life. Yeah. I, again, I was just in there fixing the shower and the, my wife didn’t turn the water off and I took the straw. I got soaked, so I’m sitting here, I’m soaked right now, talking to you, but Hey, great.

It’s a warm day out. At least it’s not 20 below and I’m not freezing here. It’s a one day. So it’s all good. So yeah, stay positive in life and everything you do. It’s. Important, you can get through a lot of stuff when you’re positive, games, life, whatever it might be. So, and again, thank you for acknowledging that.

I appreciate that. And yeah, it’s, it’s just, I’m out there wearing red, white, and blue, and I’m in Beijing, China at the Paralympic games playing a sport that I love, and it brings tears to my eyes thinking about it. And that’s what it’s about. That’s what it’s, that’s what it’s about representing country and doing it with pride and joy and love.

And keep doing it.

Alison: We would have waited for you to change your shirts to,

Steve Emt: yeah. It’s all good. It’s dry now. It’s like 80 degrees in Connecticut it’s all dry.

Alison: So, some cool moments, not related to playing cause you were in Beijing. We were in a bubble. We couldn’t really go around town, but you got to be in the village with all the hockey players. And I know you went to the gold medal hockey game cause he saw you there.

We weighed you couldn’t tell, we were waving our little, our little bubble, but what are some fun things that happened elsewhere?

Steve Emt: Well, the, I mean, obviously these ceremonies, the opening ceremonies and closing sale opening ceremony. When he said again, I got goosebumps, when you come out, the American flag is five feet in front of me.

He carried and wavering and come out in front of 30,000 people. They were there at a stadium that holds 80. To be with those athletes. And there’s no that you represent your country is absolutely amazing closing ceremonies kind of less formal than opening ceremonies. So, that was amazing. The one thing about the opening ceremonies, though, a lot of, we only had about 35 of us in the contingent because there was a lot of skiing events the next day.

So the skiers didn’t come to the ceremonies, which to me is a bummer. I think they need to change that. I think they need to have the ceremonies day off and then competition starts I don’t know how logistically that’ll work. to not marching, especially somebody that was the first time Olympian, a Paralympian going to be out on that March.

And it was a bummer, but the ceremonies are incredible. The people, the people of China and the volunteers, I think it wasn’t 9,000 volunteers. There would bend over backwards for you to, walk a mile to get you a bottle of water. And it just it’s incredible. We got out of the bubble and went to the hotel.

I believe it might’ve been the same hotel we were at. We had, Peking ducks for dinner, that the Chinese food and the setup and the different, that was a great time. So, and again, the gold medal game, like you mentioned sled hockey as he, hopefully you probably heard me before you saw me.

Cause I know I’m a loud mouth and we were there in our wool hat. The plaid, vest and sleeveless and represent like they came to our game, they came no one of our current matches and represented. So we had to, pay it back incredible time, incredible time. And to be honest with you, I don’t know, minus the crowds.

Minus, I don’t know if COVID had that much effect on it. And if the bubbles had that much effect on it, what w what would have been different? Yeah, there would’ve been 4,000 in the stands watching us play instead of a thousand, no big deal. Maybe the stadium for the ceremonies would be packed, but the coverage was incredible.

The media coverage was absolutely incredible. Delta flying us over. No. I had a suite and a plane, I had walls in my room and a plane and a big screen TV. And my chair laid flat, for 13, I brought my C-PAP on a plane and I passed out for eight, nine hours. It was amazing Delta and again, Toyota and Columbia just incredible.

Incredible.

Jill: And I got to say out of the four ceremonies that could, I got to see all of them in person. And we would agree the closing ceremonies of the Paralympics was the best out of all, four of them. It was so beautiful and so well done.

Steve: So it was amazing. It was amazing. Yeah. And I agree to you opening versus closing, definitely to closing.

Yeah. But being there to see all four of that, must’ve been incredible. Yup.

Alison: Yeah,

Jill: you got a lot of stuff. How’s your swag. What kind of swing?

Steve Emt: What I mean, what kind of slacking didn’t I get, I mean, I come back and I got, I still, I mean, it’s amazing. I get four large duffle bags of, again, it’s incredible polo, Ralph Lauren, Nike, head to toe of everything.

And I’m S I’m still wearing stuff from PyeongChang. And they still have stuff in plastic from Beijing, a large duffel bag. I mean, open [00:35:00] yet. It’s, it’s incredible. It’s incredible. And very proud to wear it all. Even the funky stuff.

Funky’s like the wool hat, the hunter, I don’t know what it’s called and you know that there’s some funky sweatshirts and, It looks like American flags threw up on it, but it’s amazing, stuff like it’s pretty cool. I mean, it’s, you definitely, you go out in public and you’re wearing stars and stripes and people and they see the Paralympic patch on something or the Team USA.

Oh. And it’s a conversation starter and they love to hear the stories of all of us. And I love telling it.

Jill: So now we’re going into another quad. How much did PyeongChang fuel this experience? How much is this? And maybe even PyeongChang piggybacking on it. Does that fuel you for the next quad? Cause it’s a long four years.

Steve Emt: it is. And PyeongChang fueled me big time for Beijing.

There is no holding back for Beijing. And when I started this journey, eight years ago, I told myself I need to get three Paralympic games. Again, know that that would make me the most decorated U S Paralympic curler in the history of our country. So I’m on my way. We got thousand next week. And I, I normally go out there and nail it.

So I’m on my way, but PyeongChang fueled me big time for Beijing. Right now, it’s not as much to be honest with you. There needs to be some changes with our team and our curling and our tag, whatever it attacks. Again, I’m sick of coming in fourth and fifth place. And we’ve done that now for two and a half years or so, to me, that’s not good enough.

To the USO PC, that’s not good enough.

Their job is to win medals. And it was when I went in medals, then we there’s always room for improvement. So there’s gotta be some tweaking done. If that tweaking is done, I’m all in a hundred percent for, Cortina in 26, if not, I got to seriously consider if I want to do this again for four years, I’m in for this year, for another world championship.

But do I want to go through this with her four years, the sacrifices to being away, I’m fortunate, today’s my wife’s birthday and I’m fortunate to be home for it. But years past that, it wasn’t. Am I stepping into my kids anniversaries party. I mean, it’s, there’s a lot of sacrifices that Olympians and Paralympians do for their sport.

So as long as there’s some tweaks made a little bit of changes, then I’m all in and w w we’ll nail it in Cortina, and give it a one more try. If not, then I need to seriously consider whether or not it’s worth the heartaches and the sacrifices that come along with what we do.

Alison: One of the things that we both noticed was you have to have a woman on the ice, but the teams always just have one woman on the ice. So how are women coming in? You see that expanding.

Steve Emt: Yes. Well, it’s, got to be mixed gender, so it’s not necessarily just one woman. There’s got to be mixed gender.

So it could be three minutes, three women, and one male, two, a two, three, and whatever it might be. The woman, I think right now in our country, I think everywhere, actually, it’s kind of a holding pattern right now. There’s some countries that only have one female curler and that’s difficult. I know like Slovakia.

One of Monica is a sweetheart. I believe she’s the only female curler in the country. So there. I think there, their alternate was actually a ping pong player from the summer games that they brought that curled in case they need to use it. So if you travel with four males and one female or four females and one male, and if something happens to that, Then you forfeit games.

So it teams usually try to travel with three and two either way, but it’s difficult again for some countries in the U S we’ve kind of hit a holding pattern ourselves. We’re trying to get some younger generation women into it. I had about 23 year old basketball player last week out in Colorado, who was just awesome to work with and, she’s a basketball player, so I’m trying to sell her on, like, you think, when you’re 60 years old, think back, you could be the most decorated Paralympic woman athlete ever in history and their eyes got big, so we’re always trying to go to sport.

The women are just as important in this sport as males. And again, it could be three women and one male out there. And if that happens in the U S and that’s, so be it, I want to put the best team out there. And if I’m the only male on the team and there’s four women, then I’m gonna do my parts and when that medal for our country.

So, but I, I think to answer your question right now, I think all the countries are kind of struggling a little bit to find those female athletes and. To continue on and grow the sport and it’s not going to ever, I don’t think it’ll ever get to a point where countries can’t compete because of it they’ll find a way, like I was, I think it was, it was, Slovakia found a way or it might’ve been last year, whatever.

But yeah, it’s difficult to find curlers and especially young curlers, because all these young people that newly injured or whatnot want to go play the glitter sports and wanna play basketball and track and all that. So curling it’s not that. you know showmanship yet, so it’s difficult to recruit.

The women are very, very important and we need to keep on recruiting as many people as possible male women, whatever it might be.

Jill: Oh, Steve, you got to wear face paint, glitter, make it fun.

Steve Emt: Yeah. When you something right. Tutus out there, bells and whistles. I yeah, something we got to come up with something we’re working off the air.

Three of us thought we were working on it. We’ll get that. Excellent.[00:40:00]

Jill: , Steve thank you so much. It was so much fun to see you compete in person

Steve Emt: Definitely. I appreciate your time. And as always we look forward to do this again

Thank you so much, Steve, you can find Steve at steveemt.Com on Facebook. He is Steven.emt, Instagram. He is steven.emt and LinkedIn. He is steve-emt, and we’ll have links to all of that in the show notes.

Alison: So fun to hear the perspective of all those matches that we watched.

Jill: It really is. Being there and seeing the stuff that happens when the camera is not on them is really important. Especially in curling I felt.

Alison: I almost want to go back and I don’t know if it’s still available to watch some of the more memorable matches, how they were aired. I wish I’d almost taken more notes.

And now I know for next time that when I’m watching something in person take so many notes and then go. And compare the broadcast to it, to really see what the differences are between what we see versus what people see at home. Or if, we’re able to watch one in person and one on the TV at the same time.

Oh, yeah,

Jill: yeah, yeah, yeah.

Alison: To really compare it. We did a little, a bit of that in, in Tokyo and, and, and to the Beijing Olympics, but really not focused on that and that I want to do next time around.

Jill: Well, maybe that will be some of my summer project because virtually all of the things that have been taped for me are still on our DVR from the Olympics.

Alison: There you go. We know these things. Let’s keep, do you find yourself watching any of that? And remembering being in the space

Jill: Sometimes. I mean, I think about things and I can put myself there, feel the, I try to remember how cold it is and not that that’s pleasant, but. Like it’s so cold. Doesn’t matter.

It doesn’t doesn’t resonate very well. And it’s, it’s also interesting when you’re talking with someone. I think we felt this with Rob when we were talking before and after the interview where it’s just, you have this instant camaraderie with people who were there and in a way that you don’t have, and this happens in, in various special events or conferences or whatever you go to, you have this built-in camaraderie.

That’s a lot of fun.

Alison: I feel like in my time in Beijing was, was half of what yours was, but it feels like this little bubble that almost didn’t happen. Like almost wasn’t a part of my real life in a way. And I wonder, okay. One, if we get to go again and as we get to go again, if that will continue to be, if the, if being there is such this little bubble and not the COVID bubble, just you’re going to these events, you’re with a certain group of people, you’re going to a certain place.

It’s not like visiting a city as a tourist. It’s a completely different experience.

Jill: But I do wonder if Paris will be different because you will have the hopefully knock on wood. Still have the opportunity to see the tourist stuff. If you’ve got the time, because it will, you won’t be in a closed loop.

Alison: Well, remember without Paris, I’d still be on the mountain. So Paris is going to be the best Olympics ever talking to you. Paris 2024 organizing committee. You people are perfect.

Jill: That sound means it’s time for our history moment and all year long. We were, are looking at Albertville in 1992 as it is the 30th anniversary of those games. My turn for a story. So I decided to look at ice hockey and ice hockey. Probably going to be my version of your figure skating. There are probably a million stories, but today I would just like to talk about Swedish referee Sven-Erik Sold from what I could find.

Sold was born in 1956 and he turned 36 just before Albertville. And according to the New York Times, he is a celebrity in his small hometown of gang NIF because he is one of the most respected, or at least at the time, he was one of the most respected officials in Sweden’s first division hockey league.

He reffed some group games. And then he got his semi-final assignment, which was Unified Team versus USA.

Alison: Oh boy.

Jill: So this is considered to be the rematch of the Miracle on Ice because since 1980 USA did not do well in the Olympics. And so, end of the first period Unified Team is up two to one USA ties it in the second period on a power play. And that, that the fact that they were tied at the end of two periods was pretty amazing. Cause they had [00:45:00] been out shot 30-11 and the Unified Team had so much more control of the puck throughout the whole game. So this is a big deal that they’re tied.

In the third period, our friend Sven-Erik calls five consecutive penalties against the United States.

Alison: Oh dear.

Jill: A Unified Team scores at three points in the third, two of them on power plays and they win five to two. The other thing that we look at shots on goal. Keep that in mind. Unified team 55.

Alison: Oh no.

Jill: To USA 18.

Alison: Oh. Wow,

Jill: but the USA is not happy. Apparently they have been pretty rambunctious. The whole Olympics.

Alison: Is that your nice way of saying they were goons?

Jill: Perhaps. I don’t know because the, the quote I have from it’s either the New York Times a Tampa bay Tribune, I think it, the Americans who have rocked the Olympic community with rambunctious behavior all week long, didn’t go quietly tonight.

Alison: Wow.

Jill: So after the match is over USA’s captain Clark Donatelli decided to take out his frustration at Sven-Erik Sold, and he berated him in a ramp way after the game. Donatelli thinks that Sold is getting back at them from A game earlier in the tournament where the Americans were tight tied with Sweden three to three in a match that deteriorated into rival players and coaches exchanging curses, shoves, and insults.

And this happens after. A brutally physical exhibition match between Sweden and the United States. So now pretty much their hockey relations are pretty bad for those two countries.

So Donatelli thinks that Sold has part of the problem why the USA did so poorly. And he told the referee we’d gotten rid of his boys.

And since he was the only damn Swede left on the ice, that he decided to screw us Americans. Donatelli told the media, oh no, we had to go out and kill five penalties in the last period. The NHL all-stars couldn’t do that. Sure. Some of those might have been legitimate, but five.

Alison: But they were rambunctious.

Jill: Yeah, I know. I know. So w this is a, he said, he said kind of thing, captain Donatelli later apologizes saying, and this is one of those classic apologies. If I offended any fellow Americans back home. I’m sorry. I

Alison: don’t care if I offended the Swedes don’t care. If I offended the

Russians,

Jill: I want us to take the loss as men, not as a bunch of babies.

Alison: You don’t go to the Olympics to be a wuss.

Jill: Very true.

uh, while the US, wasn’t thrilled with Sold’s officiating, the officiating committee of the tournament thought differently and they selected Sven-Erik, to be the ref for the final, that was Unified Team versus Canada. Unified Team. won that three to one, and it turned out that Sold.

Selected to referee one game in every round of the whole tournament, an honor afforded no other official .Sold himself has said that that semi-final game was the best game of his career. In a publication called Sporthelg he said the semi-final team between the Soviet Union or OSS as they called it back then.

And the USA in the 1992 Olympics is probably the best match I’ve done. Then I really felt the buzz when the United States went and hit the walls because they would’ve had the Russians out in the corridor to fight. Before the match, he talked to both coaches, the three of us had a chat and. It was like an eight to nine minute chat.

Then they finally agreed on the level of play, you know, and I think just what, they’re, what we’re going to call stuff and how we’re going to call it. That took a while. But at least they got on the same page and everything was well but even with everybody being on the same page, You still know that in the last 10 minutes, they’re going to do anything to win and you’re all alone by yourself out there.

After the match, both the coaches came and shook his hand, thanked him. Coaches are both happy for him. It’s a good grade. So that was. And he got selected to be the final judge and the, like the head of the efficient rating or somebody came in and they told him ahead of the time, you have free reign feel the match.

And he was able to judge at the level he wanted to judge and didn’t have to poke around at every little tiny thing.

Alison: So I’m looking quick at this roster of the American team from 1992. And I’m just going to say. This is a very [00:50:00] Massachusetts heavy team.

So you have lived in Boston. I have lived in Boston. I have married into Boston. I am not surprised they were a little rambunctious.

Welcome to TKFLASTAN

Jill: It is the time of the show where we check in with our Team. Keep the Flame Alive, who are citizens of TKFLASTAN our very own country. Shooter Tim Sherry competed in the I S S F grand Prix in Granada, Spain last week. He took the bronze in the men’s individual small bore event and was part of two silver winning two silver winter. Two silver medal winning teams, the three men air gun, and the three men small board.

And thank you to listener Meredith for that little tip.

Alison: Speed skater. Erin Jackson has been named to the U S Speed Skating national training program.

Jill: Race Walker, Evan Dunfee wa. This is, I love it when TKFLASTANIS collide . Evan Dunfee was on our sustainability expert. Matthew Campelli’s podcast. We’ll have a link to that in the the show notes.

He talked about crafting your voice as an athlete, climate activist, an activist, and then he also did a 10 K race in Madrid. He placed 23rd. Did not think too much of his own performance, but Hey, I think you did.

Alison: He was saying, he, he didn’t get to train much beforehand, so he’s just getting back into the groove.

So he kind of raced to force himself to train. So getting back in the swing of things and speaking of swinging, Michelle Carter is putting on a You Throw, Girl sports confidence camp in Dallas on August 4th.

Jill: And another shooting update McKenna Geer, unfortunately got COVID and could not compete in the Para Shooting world cup in France that’s happening right now. And, and we’ve got reports that some other TKFLASTANIs are injured.

Decathlete, Jordan Gray and canoeist Lukka Jones are both recovering from injury.

Alison: Kelly Claes Cheng and partner. Betsi Flint will compete in the beach volleyball world championships in Rome, on June 10th through the 19th.

Jill: And curling’s Team Schuster is going to stick around for another quad and make a run at 2026.

Alison: Is a six or seven. Cause I was going to say, this is going to be six in 2026, right?

Jill: Torino might have been his first. No, no, no. Yeah. I

Alison: From Italy to. Italy.

There you go.

Jill: Nice, full circle.

Alison: I love it.

Jill: You know, if that happens, do you know how many stories we’re going to hear about that?

Alison: And I’m here for it.

Jill: Last week, we talked about venue legacy, and then we got some news from Tokyo 2020, that there’s issues with the legacy plans for it’s brand new Olympic stadium.

Alison: which was not part of the venue legacy report, because that was too soon.

Jill: Right, but, but Tokyo built so much for these Olympics and the national stadium was supposed to be privatized after the games to reduce costs to taxpayers.

But that’s project a, has fallen far behind schedule, according to the Kyodo News and is showing no sign of getting back on track. So

Alison: COVID related issue or is this a money-related issue or we don’t know.

Jill: I think it’s a, we’re not getting stuff done situation because the detailed plans about what was going to happen to the stadium. Could not be disclosed to interested businesses for security reasons during the games. So that put out the privatization project. And then since November, they’re in this phase of soliciting opinions from interested businesses, but there’s no plan yet.

So that’s really tough. And that does leave taxpayers on the hook for right now. Because. The annual price tag for maintenance administration and large scale repairs is $18.8 million a year or 2.4 billion yen.

I don’t know why, but after a depressing Tokyo legacy. Discussion moving over to Milan Cortina doesn’t

does not uplift me at all. Even though we are not talking about any building. No, nothing whatsoever. This is actually good.

Alison: Well, it’s funny you say that because it has been met with a lot of controversy. So the International Skating Union has adopted new rules that we discussed a couple months ago. Now that will gradually raise the minimum age for competing on the senior and international level to 17.[00:55:00]

And that will be in time for Milan Cortina 2026. So the plans being, it will be raised every year, so that nobody who was current. Competing at the senior level, we’ll be kicked out. So it’ll be 16 this year and then 17, the following year. Yes, it will affect some 13 and 14 year olds who were planning to compete in 2026, too bad.

You need to grow up first before you compete in the Olympics, but some people are it’s, it’s mixed reviews. Really? It is. You’re seeing a lot of people say, if they’re good enough to compete, they should have. And then you have Mariah Bell who now is 25, who was competing in her first Olympic saying, now we’re going to make staying a competitive figure skater, more of a career option.

Yes, because if girls can’t compete until they’re 17, you’re not going to have these girls who haven’t gone through puberty yet competing against women.

Jill: True. Maybe coaches will go, let’s perfect. A smaller revolution jump versus going for the big jumps and hurting your body.

Alison: Right. And we’re going to have to see how this trickles down to does junior competition just become the wild west of the crazy jumps and girls are burning out just as soon as they were before. And will this trickle down to the new school. We haven’t seen the new scoring system yet from the ISU. So it’s part of a larger discussion, but bottom line at the very least now girls competing at the Olympics and at the senior level have to abide by the same WADA rules as everybody else.

You don’t have that under 16 protected. Like Kamila Valieva, so that we will avoid, we hope that same controversy.

Jill: Yes. And it’s interesting that this proposal has been around for quite some time and has been bad to down time and time again, but it did take the situation with Valieva to make change happen.

And hopefully it’ll be good change. I won’t say, I don’t think it can’t be not good because then the wild, wild west thing you popped up said, but I always think of Alysa Liu retired at 16. Right. And granted, I don’t mind people retiring that young in a sport that you have to start at like three or four or else you’re not going to get to the top.

Supposedly. I don’t know, but when she was 13 and winning national championships, when she could not compete at worlds, doing these jumps and then she grew and her skating wasn’t no, I don’t want to say it wasn’t as good, but you could tell that her talent level or her abilities suddenly she had to grow into her body.

And I just think the transition to, to a more adult body was very tough in trying to do the same level of stuff she was doing when she was a little girl.

Alison: I mean, she’s not the first female skater that goes away for a season, comes back, four inches tall or 20 pounds heavier and can’t jump anymore.

I mean, we have been seeing this for. The entire time I’ve been watching figure skating 40 years, you know where these little girls are doing these crazy things. They come back and all of a sudden they can’t do them anymore because they didn’t learn how to do them with a woman’s body, very different situation.

And then the trauma, the psychological trauma and the physical trauma of having to relearn everything with this new body and what that does to them psychologically. And. Guess what that triggers an eating disorder, because you don’t want to develop, so you starve yourself delays development. So you’ve got this whole circle of physical and psychological difficulties when you’ve got girls competing at worlds and they look like they’re 12, and we all know what we’re talking about, but you hit 17.

These girls are going to be developed so that if they’re competing at that level, they’re competing with an adult body. It’s women’s skating. It’s not girls skating.

Jill: There you go. And on that note, that will do it for this week. let us know your thoughts on what Beijing television coverage was like and the wheelchair curling competition.

Alison: You can get in touch with us through email@flamealivepodatgmail.com. Call or text us at (208) 352-6348. That’s 2 0 8. Flame it, our social handle is at flame alive pod, and be sure to join the, Keep the Flame Alive Podcast Group on facebook.

Jill: Oh, so [01:00:00] next week is an important show because we’re talking Nordic combined with Annika Malacinski. And this is just ahead of the IOC vote on whether or not women’s Nordic combined will be in the Milan Cortina 2026 games. So be sure to tune in for that because we all have thoughts here.

So it was a great conversation with Anika and we can’t wait to share it with you. So it join us then. Thank you so much for listening and until next time, keep the flame alive.

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