Sitting volleyball Paralympian Lora Webster blocks in the gold medal match at the 2020 Tokyo Paralympic Games

5x Paralympian Lora Webster on Sitting Volleyball

Release Date: May 4, 2023

On this episode of the show we get to take someone off the list! We’re so excited to have the opportunity to talk sitting volleyball with five-time Paralympian Lora Webster. With Team USA, she has won a bronze, 2 silvers, and gold in Rio and Tokyo. She is also a mom of 4 and became a big story in Tokyo because she was competing while 5 months pregnant. We talked with Lora about how sitting volleyball works, her long career, her plans for Paris and how the kids help her train.

Lora will be competing with Team USA in the ParaVolley PanAmerica Zonal Championship taking place from May 9 to 13, 2023 in Edmonton, Alberta. Find out more information here.

In our Seoul 1988 history moment, Jill talks about the women’s Olympic volleyball tournament (Surprise! Women weren’t yet playing volleyball in the Paralympics), and the little country that almost toppled a giant.

Check out the thrilling end to the gold medal match (and hear just how thrilled the crowd is at the outcome):


In our visit to TKFLASTAN, we get news from:

Paris 2024 has announced the triathlon course. If you’re looking for a free event to attend, this course will give you ample opportunities to see the competitors! We also have more details about the torch relay.

The International Olympic Committee announced that tickets are now on sale for Olympic Esports Week. Let us know if you go or compete – we’d love to hear about it!

Finally, the International World Games Association announced the sports program for Chengdu 2025. We’ll be seeing many of the same sports that were at Birmingham 2022, although some are off the program, and some new ones have been added. We break it all down for you.

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

Photo courtesy of Lora Webster.

 


TRANSCRIPT

Note: This is an uncorrected machine-generated transcript. It contains errors. Please do not quote from the transcript; use the audio file as the record of note.

Lora Webster on Sitting Volleyball (Episode 285)

[Opening music]

Jill: Hello, and welcome to another episode of Keep the Flame Alive, the podcast four fans of the Olympics and Paralympics. If you love the games, we are the show for you. Each week we share stories from athletes and people behind the scenes to help you have more fun watching the games.

I am your host, Jill Jarris, joined as always by my lovely co-host, Allison Brown. Alison, hello, how are you?

Alison: Hello. I am so excited

Jill: about today’s interview. I am too. It was great.

Alison: It was so much fun and so personable, and it was one that I’ve been wanting to do since Tokyo. You know, we have our lists, our many, many, many lists and this one was, towards the top for me, so I’m

Jill: really excited.

Excellent. And it’s always some, it’s always great to take somebody off the list and put them on the show too, so. Let’s get right to it. We are talking with a sitting volleyball player, Lora Webster. She is a five time Paralympian in the sport with Team USA she’s won of bronze, two silvers and a gold in Rio.

In Tokyo. She is also a mom of four and became a big story in Tokyo because she was competing while five months pregnant. We talked with Lora about how sitting volleyball works her long career in the sport, her plans for Paris, and how the kids help her train. Take a listen.

Lora Webster Interview

Alison: lora Webster, thank you so much for joining us.

Lora Webster: Thank you for having me. I’m excited to be here.

Alison: So sitting volleyball, we watched a lot of it in Tokyo and wanted to understand it a little better. So let’s start with [00:02:00] how is it different than standing.

Lora Webster: Well number one, thank you for watching.

we love competing and knowing that our fans were. Here cheering us on since they couldn’t be there was a huge help. So thank you very much for supporting us during our competition. Sitting volleyball is primarily the same game as standing volleyball. The biggest differences are that US athletes are literally sitting on the floor.

Many of us are lower leg amputees and we don’t wear our prosthetics when we play, so you notice that we are missing limbs in parts, which is what the Paralympics are all about. The other differences is that the net is lower, so the net is about three feet high and it rests. The bottom of it is on the ground.

And then volleyball. You have foot fault rules. And in the sitting game you have butt fault rules. So when we serve our butt cheeks have to be behind the service line. And the same thing applies for our back row attacks, our cheeks, or one cheek has to be behind the 10 foot line or the two meter line, for the sitting court.

The court is a little bit smaller as well. And then the other difference is that. We can’t come up onto our knees. Not all of our athletes have knees in order to come up. Um, and so when we’re at the net, we have a butt lift rule where if your cheeks come off the ground, you have to have one cheek in contact with the ground when you contact the ball.

And if you come up like that, they call a fault. So that when we have standing able bodies players come to play, that is like the biggest mistake that they make, is that they’re up on their knees blocking, you know, chest high above the net. and that’s the biggest no-no.

Alison: It sounds like there’s a lot of butt discussion that’s happening in the city of volleyball.

Very much so. So you are a middle blocker. What does

Lora Webster: that mean?

So that means that I am at the net. During the whole time that I’m playing and we move a lot in the middle. The other big factor and the difference with standing is sitting is that in the sitting game we, since we don’t have our feet to run to the ball, all of our movement, most of our movement relies on our hands to move us from side to side, from back.

So when we’re at the net, I’m pushing with my hands on the ground to get from side to side, [00:04:00] and then have to use my hands to block the ball. So it is very, very quick movements and very difficult because the, that since the net is lower and the cord is smaller, the time that we have from the ball passing from the setter’s hands to the hitter is fractions of a second.

And so the movement part is so important in the sitting game because there is such a short amount of time for you to react to the ball. We have to be very, very quick. And so middle blockers we have to be very fast going back and forth. And so it’s a, wonderful. Position. I absolutely love it.

I love blocking and that’s what my job is. And in Tokyo, that was pretty much all I was doing. So,

Jill: on the quickness, I had a question of just the fact that you need butt agility, but you also need hand agility to move yourself and then move your hands to where they need to be to hit the ball.

Yes. What do you do to develop all

Lora Webster: that? So that’s one of the things whenever we’re trying to describe, you know how sitting volleyball is so hard because people are like, you always see on the Instagram comments of, oh, this is so easy, this is for lazy people. And it’s like, give me five minutes of you sitting on the floor trying to move like we move.

And you will realize that it is so far from that it is such a full body sport. And really the only way that we. Practice that speed and get that agility is by practicing. I mean, we literally sit there and just practice moving back and forth and front and back. And when we have new players come into the team, the biggest obstacle for them is not only learning to have your hands down by your side the whole time that you’re playing, but it’s the figuring out the best way to move with your body.

Because since most of us are amputees, We have one side that we can’t push off of as well. And so there’s always a stronger side that’s for us to move towards and it’s easier for us. So it’s about how do we counteract our weakness on one side and make sure that we’re kind of cheating one way to the other because we know we move faster going this way versus this way.

So let’s cheat a little bit to make sure that I can get to both sides just as fast. And so we really have to learn how our bodies work and adapt to that in [00:06:00] order to make sure that we are the fastest. Player that we can be and that we’re moving the best. And so it’s just retraining your thinking instead of having your feet up and ready to go.

You’ve gotta have your hands down too. And I can tell you that it is incredibly intimidating when you first come into the sport and when even enough, you’ve been here as long as I have. When you know who’s hitting against you and you’re in the back playing defense. You wanna have your hands up because you do not wanna take that ball in the face.

And it happens all the time. But since the reaction time is so quick, it’s like, wait, you want me to keep my hands down while she’s hitting that hard? And so it’s really, something that, a lot of trial and error, but it’s really just about trying to retrain your brain and keeping those hands down and making that just fraction of a movement makes such a difference in our game.

Alison: Are wrist injuries a problem?

Lora Webster: not any more so than the standing game. The biggest things I think when people, especially when they first come in, is just realizing how sore your butt gets, because you’re not used to sitting on it like this and moving like this. And wood floors are really hard and so that’s a really big thing.

You’re sore in places that you never really thought that you would use to move in volleyball. but risk, I mean, all the injuries that we face except for ankle injuries really don’t happen for us. Which is nice after playing the standing game, you know, we don’t need those active ankles anymore. So otherwise it’s pretty much just mirrors the same stuff and risks as the standing game.

Alison: In terms of strategy is it different? Than standing. No,

Lora Webster: no. I will say that the whole concept of the sport is exactly the same. It is still volleyball, which is what made the transition so easy for me because I was a standing player prior to discovering the sitting team, and I loved standing volleyball and I was good at it, and I.

transferring into the sitting volleyball game. I was very nervous about because of all the stigma with Paralympic sports and disabled sports and adaptive sports as a whole. And I was a 16 year old girl who we have enough problems being 16, it’s hard enough. And then now choosing to play a sport where my prosthetic is on the side of the court and I’m just, I felt fully exposed, was really hard for me.

So learning [00:08:00] and understanding that the sport of volleyball was still here and that was still. The core thing of sitting volleyball, it really made it easier for me because I loved the sport, but in fact, sitting game is more challenging because you’ve got the movement aspect, which is so huge, and then you have the speed aspect, which just added.

It just, it was just a more challenging version of the sport that I loved. And so the strategy is all the same. You still want past that kill, and it’s just a different angles, and so it really is. It’s just. A more challenging version for standing players to come in because you have to relearn some of the things because the angle is different.

How you pass the angle in which you have your body when you set the ball is different. And so it’s in attacking you’ve gotta, you know, you’ve gotta adjust because you can’t have your feet to help you jump and rotate in the air. You’ve gotta do that all on the ground. And so it’s just, it just adds a whole different strategy to it.

Personally as an athlete, not in the sport itself, but just as an athlete coming in, you have to figure out. How to adjust to these little things and it’s, it’s fun.

Jill: So how do you adjust? Cuz I was thinking about that when I was watching some matches and how you have to hit differently. And especially with spiking and not really lifting up off the ground.

where is the energy coming from? Because if you’re in standing volleyball, the energy comes from that squat and jump and hit, but. You’re obviously not getting the same lower body energy in sitting

Lora Webster: volleyball. Yes. So a lot of it is the core. Core stability and core strength in our sport is really important just because you are trying to remain upright without having your feet below you to balance on and so much of the ball, so many of the balls that we take, I.

We’re rolling off of one cheek and we’re trying to stay upright because it just takes more time to get from the floor back up. So you really wanna stay upright as much as you can. So a lot of the energy just comes from the angle in which we come at the net with typically one shoulder forward so that when we attack and we rotate that core and that twist within our upper body is what helps to give that momentum and that speed as well as just overall shoulder strength.

Alison: How aware do you need to be of your teammates [00:10:00] disabilities in terms of how they move? Or is it just getting used to that person?

Lora Webster: It’s both. So, and I’ll say this because she doesn’t mind me talking about her. One of my best friends on the team, she’s not on the team any longer, but Kendra Lancaster, she was a left arm amputee below the elbow.

And so whenever we played back row together, it would always be that conversation if I would know if I was on her weak side or not. And I’d scooch a little bit over that way just to help protect that. The seam, you know, the in between the players, as we call it, the seam. And so we just, you learn. As with all of your teammates, you learn kind of what their strength and weaknesses are and when it’s something as that is pertaining to the disability or the prosthetic, we really make that adjustment just to try to help each other out.

And we, a lot of those conversations happen like, Hey, can you cover me here? I have a hard time moving this way. Okay, sure. And then we, and we play, and that discussion happens on the court and off the court where we talk about kind of like when things go wrong, how can I help you? What can we do differently here?

And so it really is just making those adjustments. Not only as a team, but just depending on which lineup we’re doing and who is next to you. Each time you kind of look at that and know how you’re gonna move. At the net, it’s about which side your legs are on. So some people have two legs and when they go and push to block, both their legs are on your way, so you can’t really get as close to them as you need to because in the sitting volleyball game, legs really do get in the way.

And so if that’s the case, you’ve gotta, some of us have to shift our legs the other way to make sure that we have room so we’re not leaving a hole in the block. So there’s a lot of talk, especially when you’re playing next to somebody kind of for the first time or the first few times, you have to figure those things out.

And so that is something that is definitely different as well for the sitting game, is that you have to figure out where these legs are going at the net in particular, so that you’re not leaving your back road to get blown up by whatever who, whoever is attacking.

Alison: Do the legs get tangled up?

Lora Webster: Absolutely. So, and especially with the players on the other side of the net, because it’s legal for us to have our legs underneath the net. And so, because just as far as the ability to move, you have to have ’em underneath there as long as they don’t interfere with the other side. But some of the players that we’ve played against, other [00:12:00] countries, they have fused legs and they can’t, get them out of your way.

And so there’s many times that like you’re getting stuck or you’re hitting each other and. The knee to knee contact on the net hurts like a son of a gun. And there’s, you know, you know, immediately when it happens and you know, we always try to make sure that they’re okay on the other side, but that stuff happens all the time.

Alison: Do players ever use that to their advantage? For example, you have an amputee, so your other leg is fully feeling. Whereas another player may not have feeling, and if they smack into you, they don’t feel it, but you

Lora Webster: do. Well, so I will say with the amputees, most of us don’t have, we have feeling whether it’s your amputated leg or not.

And those legs are sensitive regardless, but there definitely are players who will make sure that they get in your way. And it’s not something, a ref is really gonna calm us. It happens again and again. And so things can get a little chippy. Up there. Because you, you the whole point, the movement is so important and you’ve got people that are blocking you and they know that they’re getting in the way.

And so, it’s definitely can become a factor.

Alison: So you’ve now been pregnant twice at Paralympics? Yes. First time in London was your first child.

Second. Second baby. But first trimester and then Tokyo, you were a little further along. So

Lora Webster: actually I was equal. I was five and a half months. Both times. You were, cuz you

Alison: kept it a secret in London. Yeah. Yeah. How’d you manage that? To be honest, five and a half year. People know,

Lora Webster: you know, I, thankfully I rebounded rather quickly from my first, and so my strength kind of came back a little bit and I sucked it in a lot.

There was a lot of holding it in and it wasn’t fun. It wasn’t an enjoyable experience to keep that a secret, but because of the team dynamic and what was going on, I didn’t feel like I had the ability to be open about it. And I didn’t want to jeopardize my team’s performance and I wanted to be able to contribute because I was able to.

And so I wanted to be able to help my team and support them whether I was pregnant or not. And so it wasn’t a fun experience, but I [00:14:00] was, for me personally, I loved being up on the medal stand and having him with me and you know, it was a special moment for me, for sure. My husband did a terrible job of keeping it a secret afterwards, cuz as soon as I saw him after the loss, he came up and was rubbing my stomach and I was like, Douch stomach.

But it helped in the sense that it wasn’t my first pregnancy because if it was, I would not have felt comfortable enough to have continued to compete. But at that point, I, I knew how my body felt. I knew what I was supposed to be feeling, being that far along. And so I, I felt comfortable in my.

Doctor felt comfortable with me playing. But the Tokyo experience was entirely different

Alison: because I’m gonna say, I think the second trimester is the best time to be in that kind of situation because you’re not sick anymore, but you’re not so big that you’re uncomfortable.

Lora Webster: Yes. I will say that with my newest baby, the one I was pregnant with in Tokyo, I felt much larger than I was at, um, at five and a half months with my previous ones, You don’t bounce back as much with your fourth kid and, you know, so I felt like I was showing more. And sitting volleyball is very tough on your hip flexors and because it’s such a core, strong sport it was not easy Towards the end I was definitely getting a little fatigued. I was a little more of a weeble wobble up there as I was trying to go from side to side.

I didn’t kind of bounce back as well or pull back into straight like I typically would have. So it was, I was a little bit more tired but I felt fantastic. It just, you could feel it wearing on us. And Tokyo for our team was such a huge emotional rollercoaster. We had a lot of issues going in, um, with Covid Pete.

We had two teammates that had to be replaced and there was only four of us there until what I think 24, 48 hours before our competition began. And so it was such a stressful environment. Anyways. And then the daily testing and the fear of testing positive, the experience was kind of tainted by all of that.

And so having the pregnancy to focus on really helped me mentally, but the exhaustion, because of everything. It was when that last game was over, it was like, [00:16:00] thank gosh. This is over with. We’re done. We did it. We won. Let’s go home.

Alison: So often when you’re pregnant, your joints will get looser. Your tendons loosen.

Did you have that and you were saying, we will wobble. Did you just feel like, your limbs are flailing all over the place?

Lora Webster: I’m pretty lanky as it is. I’ve got some long arms and legs, so I feel like that often, I didn’t feel so like that too much. I just felt tired. And just that like I couldn’t.

You know, my ad muscles were not engaging the way that they probably needed to be. But definitely. And then you’ve got a, you know, a five and a half month old baby kicking around inside of you. And so that, I so much aware of that. It was a very weird feeling to be reminded of that in the middle of a match.

And as much as I could put it outta my mind, I did. But sometimes you’re sitting up at the net and it’s just like, Ooh, rib hit. You know, you just, you can feel it all. Let

Alison: me, lemme get that foot out of my spleen. Exactly.

Lora Webster: Definitely.

Jill: Did the cardboard beds help with the exhaustion?

Lora Webster: Oh, goodness. Thankfully, I don’t know if it was USA volleyball or the U S O P C who had mattress toppers.

There. And the Olympians used them and left them for us, and so we had some mattress toppers that were, or different mattresses, whatever it was, we all hauled them outta storage and that was a lifesaver. And being prepared. The nice thing about the Paralympics going after the Olympics is that they get to work out all the kinks and then we get to go in there with everything, knowing everything and what the experience was like, and so we, we were prepared.

And not to say that that made everything easy and. A good night’s sleep. They were rock hard even with the mattress stopper, but it was okay.

Alison: Probably the best sleep you had cuz your other three kids were home.

Lora Webster: If only it worked that way. Cause it was, I think a 13 hour time change. I knew my children were awake and I’m getting texts from annoying that I’m gonna get a text from my husband, like, You know, all hell’s breaking loose at home and you just as a mom, that guilt, whether you’re halfway around the world and I can do absolutely nothing.

But it’s like, guys, please just keep it together today. Please. I really need to sleep. Just let’s just all get [00:18:00] along. No fighting. Listen to Daddy, please. So, no I, that did not help the sleeping factor either.

Alison: So in 2012 versus 2021, what was the reaction from the team that made you feel like you could say versus couldn’t say?

Lora Webster: So we had put a lot of work into our team from Rio, but even from 2018 when we lost at world, we put a lot of focus on. Our team, unity and the mental health of our team, and we had a lot of conversations with our sports psychologist and for Tokyo, he made a huge impact on making sure that we had these conversations with our team and being comfortable and just that whole buildup and the focus of supporting the life that we all have outside of the sport, which was not something that was involved in our conversations.

Prior to that in my prior experience and understanding that, you know, we do have people that we are responsible for and that things do come before this team. And because there were so many more people that were living that life and had full-time jobs and understanding what a life outside of this sport meant, there was a lot more understanding and consideration for that.

And just because these conversations were happening within our team and that we were prioritizing it and making it acceptable and. You know, healthy and supportive that it was able, I was terrified to tell them because I didn’t want anybody to be worried about that, and especially with Covid and all those protocols, I was nervous that.

That would have to be a conversation with the medical staff. Like, Hey, you know, we don’t want you as a liability. And so that was my biggest fear. I didn’t want somebody else telling me that I couldn’t play when I knew that I could. And so I was scared for that reason, for the, pretty much the only reason, that’s what I was afraid of.

But my teammates, when I told them, apparently they all knew, and there was no secret. By the time I did tell them, even though it was a total surprise to my husband and I, but when I finally told ’em, they were like, oh, thank. God. I mean, you couldn’t, we just couldn’t wait for you to say something. [00:20:00] And so I felt like, what, what are you like looking at myself?

Like, what do you mean? How do you know? Do I look worse than I thought I did? But they were just so supportive and so sweet and it really I could cry thinking about it because it was such a relief to feel that support. I mean, we talk about it all the time, but when it impacts you and your chances at gold and what you’ve been working towards so hard for the last five years, you worry about what that’s gonna do to other people and how they’re gonna take it.

And it’s such, our team really is, we try to care for each other in that way. And so I wanted to make sure that they were really supportive of it and that they were okay and that they, you know, so it was a really hard conversation for me to have, but they were so supportive and happy and just excited that it really just made everything okay.

Alison: Did it bother you that this became the story that you being pregnant became the story of the, of the tournament?

Lora Webster: I didn’t really think of it like that. \ and I can see why that. You would say that? Because it was a lot of headlines about playing five and a half months pregnant. In my mind.

There were so many other athletes leading up to Tokyo that we saw playing pregnant and competing pregnant. Um, and I don’t know her name off the top of my head, but the, there was a track and field runner who ran at World Champ, I think it was World Championships with a qualifying, and she was, I think seven months pregnant or something like that.

I loved that it was a conversation and I loved that it was always about, Just because I’m pregnant doesn’t mean I have to not be competing and playing my sport. I’m healthy. I can do this. And I think that’s such an important conversation to have is that it can be seen as such a delicate time and sure, it definitely can be, but for some of us, we can maintain this athletic lifestyle and I, it’s healthy and it’s important for you to do that, and it’s so good for your mental health as well.

Instead of just sitting around and not missing out on things. And that wasn’t something that I needed to do, and that can happen in some pregnancies. Sure. But for me, that was not the case. And so I loved the message that it gave, that doing this as well as being pregnant is okay, and that we can still be a force even though we’re creating life.

And I think that’s a really [00:22:00] important thing because it is, as a professional athlete, As a woman, whether you’re an athlete or in the workplace, it is really hard to tell you know, the seniority people in your environment that you’re pregnant because you feel like it’s going to be a burden on them, whether it’s maternity leave or whatever it is.

It’s a hard thing. It’s not always a joyous thing to share with those people, and so it’s very stressful and so I think that, I hope that the message around it was that. It’s, you know, that we can be supportive of this and it doesn’t have to be a burden, and it doesn’t have to be a scary situation to tell people that you know that you’re pregnant and that you can continue to do it, and you don’t have to sit on the sidelines.

What’s the most

Alison: ridiculous thing somebody said to you about

Lora Webster: it? Oh gosh. There was a couple and my sister went to bat on Instagram on one post and she was like, she texted me and she said, I’m sorry I couldn’t hold my tongue. I just could not believe what this person said. And it was something about how I wasn’t endangering my baby and how dare I be doing this.

And it was something along those lines. And it’s just, if that’s the worst that somebody could have said. Then I’m okay with that because those, there’s some really nasty things that can go out there. So if that was it, that’s okay. But, you know, people say really weird things sometimes.

Jill: Did you ever get hit in the stomach with the ball and then had the baby kick back?

Lora Webster: \ I don’t think I ever got hit in the stomach with the ball. I did dive for a ball though, and when I came off my teammates were like, what were you doing? and there was one time, then I dove forward and I was like, it’s okay. I went, you know, I went to the side. I did it the right way, but it is, there’s kind of the moment of like, but no, that was, thankfully that didn’t happen.

Yeah,

Alison: we’ve talked a lot on the show about what various officials have said about women’s body parts falling out during competitions. was there any concern that like you’re gonna go into premature labor and deliver on the court?

Lora Webster: Um, no. Although with the environment that we were in, With that level of stress, I could see why that conversation would happen.

But I wasn’t sure that there was a, you know, that they had ultrasound before I went. We talked about everything. If something [00:24:00] happened, there was a contingency plan, what we would do. I was so taken care of and they just did such an amazing job of supporting me as well as everybody else. But it was a unique situation and the staff, the medical staff was just incredible.

And, had something like that happen, I know I would’ve been perfectly fine. And being halfway around the world is hard for something like that and thinking about that, but I was really, my other pregnancies were so healthy and great that I was, I had no concern whatsoever.

Jill: Speaking of support, you’ve been in the Paralympic movement for a long time, since 2004. Yep. How has the level of support changed? I mean, obviously U S O C changing to U S O P C is a big deal. Mm-hmm. But like what have you seen in your career in terms of support for Paralympians?

Lora Webster: So, Athens in 2004 was my first games. And I can speak to this cause I remember it so clearly. After we competed, we came home. So mid-September, early September, something like that. The recap of the games was I think a 90 minute special on like the outdoors network. Something that n very few people, not nobody, I’m sure there’s, there’s obviously people that.

Watch that I didn’t. but it was, you know, some network that wasn’t very common and so nobody was really watching that. And it was so far, it was like in end of November, December that they finally aired it. So it’s so far past. We have such a short memories, you know, such short, a short attention span. And so it was like, Hey, yes, you can see what I’ve been doing for the last three weeks, but it’ll be in December.

So it was really hard because you come, I mean, the Olympic and Paralympic world is so weird anyways, because you feel like you’re living in this alternate universe. For the three weeks that you’re over at the games and you come home, and unless you’re one of the big names that they’re covering all the time, people have no idea really what you’ve been doing.

And they, especially social media now helps because they can follow you and they can see what you’ve been doing. But back then there was nothing. So if it wasn’t in the media coverage, nobody had any idea what was going on. And so going into Beijing, [00:26:00] we had social media was more of a, a factor. And I think our coverage was maybe a couple of hours.

London. Same thing with it being in England. There was a little bit more coverage and a little bit more available to people at home. Rio, we saw a huge influx. We saw the TV ads, I think after the Super Bowl. I saw so many Paralympians or amputee athletes competing. And these are being spotlighted in these commercials. And I, I just came up as like a Facebook memory, which made me remember it.

Is that, you know, you were three commercials in and you had an amputee in one of these spotlighted commercials, and it was so cool to see because it’s like finally it’s happening where we are being seen as just athletes and it doesn’t have to always be prefaced by amputee or disabled. We’re just athletes.

And so seeing it now on the big screen and become normal for people to see was a huge, huge shift for me. And you know, Rio, my family all got to watch at home live, which was so cool. And it made it feel like we mattered. And now with Tokyo, I mean, it’s between the fact that we are now paid the same for our awards, money for the medals is massive because the amount of time that we put in is no different than what the Olympians put in and our time away from our families and the sacrifices that we make.

It finally feels like we’re being validated and that, that we’re being seen as equals. Because before it definitely wasn’t. It was why is my time away from my family way less than what they’re sacrificing? And so that has been such a huge thing for us because it makes it feel like we’re valued and it helps us because financially we don’t get paid.

We didn’t, you know, up until really the social media shift, we didn’t have the sponsorships. And in a team sport it’s so much harder. A lot of these individual athletes are able to promote themselves a little bit differently. And, but when you’re in a team sport, it’s a little bit harder. Although I have some awesome teammates who have put themselves out there and have awesome sponsorship deals, and I’m so happy for [00:28:00] them, you know, it’s, but you’ve really gotta kind of run your own.

You become your own business and you’ve gotta put yourself out there. And being able to market yourself that way is so cool. And it’s not about being a Paralympic athlete or Olympic athlete or whether you’re missing a limb or not. It’s just about the person that you are, which is what it should always be about.

And it’s just so cool to see the diversity in that and the mix of who people are really focusing on and spotlighting on. And it’s just, it’s great to see where the movement has become and it’s just becoming a normal thing now, which is just exactly what it should be.

Jill: We have heard a lot about the crowds in London and how the London games was just a game changer in the acceptance of para sports as sports.

Versus people who have disabilities. Oh, they’re playing something. That’s nice. Did you notice that in your event?

Lora Webster: I did. So my teammate, Kendra, who I mentioned before, she actually married a British sitting volleyball player. And so they were at that games competing and talking. They were dating at the time, and his name is Ben.

And he made a comment about how it was so cool to see in London, all of the flags flying, the British flags flying because he’s like, you know, in America there’s American flags everywhere. You guys show your patriotism all the time. That’s not how it is here. But it has been for this leading up to this, there was so much local pride and I think that was really.

Really what helped bolster the attendance because people were so excited about hosting it and being there. And it’s so much fun for the host city because people get to come in and experience these sports that they don’t get to see every day. And that’s what I love about the Olympics and the Paralympics, is that these aren’t the sports, you know, it’s not golf that’s on every weekend or basketball that’s on every night.

These are the sports that don’t get the visibility. And so having it right in your. You know, so close in being able just to go over there and see Bachi or to see badminton. It’s just such a fun environment and I’m such a fan of sports in general that I love the idea of just being able to go and see these sports.

I mean, the first time I was introduced [00:30:00] to Goalball was so incredible. I don’t know if you’ve ever seen the sport, but it is just amazing. And you think about how hard that is and then to watch it, it’s just so much fun. And so it’s a really cool, I think that that help to. Not the visibility of it, but just the passion behind it is that London was just really excited about hosting it and it showed with their attendance.

And I think that seeing that and people sharing that experience just helped to spread the Paralympic movement as well, because they put a lot of effort into it and they paid a lot of attention to the visibility of the Paralympics. I mean, we had, Royal family was at the opening games and our closing ceremonies was, Phenomenal.

I think it was Jay-Z and Rihanna was there and somebody else was there. And it was just, it was like, it felt like an equal show, which hasn’t always happened in the past. And it felt like they actually really cared about making it that way and making us feel just as appreciated as the Olympians did. And it was, and that just, it really showed, and it really, I think, became evident in their promotion of it as well.

Don’t get Jill started

Alison: on goal ball.

Lora Webster: I wish she love, love it. Right.

Jill: But I, I, it’s interesting because you might be able to move well on a gold ball court. It’s just getting used to having no

Lora Webster: vision. Yes. Isn’t that, I mean, that’s just one of the things, whenever I talk to people about adaptive sports and I’m like, imagine swimming full speed at a brick wall and having to rely on somebody to tap you and let you know.

When you’re approaching that wall because you’re visually impaired, can you imagine doing that? Like, do you not trust anybody enough to do that? My kids are like, no, I’d never let you do that. It’s like, well, thanks guys. But it’s just, I love introducing people to The difficulties of adaptive sports and the challenge and the differences and because people don’t think about that, like, oh, it must be hard to swim when you’re visually impaired.

It’s like, no, but you don’t even but think about what they’re actually doing. And I just, I love blowing people’s minds when I talk to them and I tell them about like, just how much more challenging the adaptive sports are. I just [00:32:00] absolutely love it and goalball is one of them. Looking forward

Alison: to Paris.

Are we going to see you there?

Lora Webster: I would love to be in Paris. That is my goal. it’s only a year away, a year and a half away, not even, which is absolutely crazy to think of. My body feels good. I, my kids are, Looking forward to it. I think my daughter’s already picking out hotel. She’s already planning everything.

And we have, my husband’s from Italy, so we have family over in Europe that he’s already talking to about the dates that they should come up. So he’s getting a little bit ahead of himself. But that is the goal and I would love to be there. I’d be honored to have a six games under my belt.

Jill: What is your pathway to getting there?

Lora Webster: Not having any more children.

That’s a big one. Um, No husband,

Alison: stay away from her.

Lora Webster: Thank you.

Um, but it’s just, I mean, the same thing that it always is. Work at, home to be the best that I can when we get to be the opportunity to compete. And this year’s a little bit different because, our big tournament this year is early. It’s usually in the fall and now it’s coming up in May.

And so we’re preparing for that right now and we didn’t qualify at Worlds back in what month was that? October, November. And so this, we’ve gotta qualify at this tournament. And so it’s really one step at a time. We’ve gotta get there and qualify in order to even be having that discussion about Paris.

But you know, my kids are older now and so they are much better training partners at home and. It’s really fun to be able to incorporate them into it and making them a part of the goal and the work going into it makes it easier for me to be gone because they understand a little bit more what I’m doing and I’m still bringing the baby along with me.

So it’s easier for them all around because she’s not here and you know, it’s, it’s a whole family thing for me. And if they don’t support me then I don’t go, but they do. And my husband’s. Just the biggest supporter and thankfully we make a good team and he holds down the fort while I’m gone.

Although he has already talked about traveling [00:34:00] to Paris with four children alone, and he’s not, not okay with that. We gotta figure the logistics of that out.

Jill: How do the kids help with training and do you bench press any of them?

Lora Webster: Squat? Yes. My arm strength, my bench strength is not there. My children are very thick children.

They are dense. And, um, my boys are like, my 10 year old is taller than my 12 year old and my eight year old is not, or not even eight year old is following in his footsteps. So I’m not benching that. And, but they, you know, for a team sport when you’re training at home, it’s really hard to mimic the same kind of training you get when we’re all together.

So they are my teammates. When I’m here, we literally train downstairs in my family room. We have no furniture in the downstairs except for a couch, and that is where we play. And moving on carpet helps with the drag because it’s much harder to move. We’re much slower on carpet. So if, if I can be somewhat quick on the carpet than I’ll be in good shape when I get onto the court.

But they toss balls at me. They set for me to hit. We just pepper, just ball control. I serve at them. We have quite a few training videos where I’ve. Smack them in the face when I’m hitting, and they did not shag properly or block the ball. So my husband and I just sit there laughing and they’re in tears in the corner.

You can’t not laugh at that. It’s just we both played volleyball. We’ve both been on the receiving end of it, and they’re fine.

Alison: Don’t put that on Instagram cuz then you will get the haters.

Lora Webster: Thankfully it’s not like a shot put, it’s just a volleyball. they bounce back quickly.

Alison: What’s changed for you the most in terms of playing as a very little kid and now so much further along in, your life? Having done so many Paralympics,

Lora Webster: being a seasoned mom, now The time when I’m at training or the time that it’s hard, I allow myself those moments of being frustrated or crying or screaming or getting so stressed out that I just need to like vent. And thankfully my assistant coach is a mom [00:36:00] as well, and she’s who I go to because she understands and there’s, there’s some things that are just, you just gotta talk to somebody who’s been there and I’ve come to the point that I know.

That we will all get through my absence being gone and that they’ll be okay. But it’s so much guilt that we put on ourselves and that is a huge shift for me since Tokyo, going into Tokyo that I didn’t carry with me, not even in Rio, but especially not in London. I carried so much guilt with my absence.

far as what it’s done from when I started playing even as a kid to playing now, I think I appreciate it a lot more. As we always do in hindsight, because you know, I know when I started playing, I wasn’t sure what I was getting myself into. And now I know how incredible this journey has been. And so I’ve had, because I have been here for so long, I’ve had a lot of people talk about retirement and it scares that the Jesus out of me because this experience has been.

So life changing in every sense of the word and every games is so different. And the experience that I’ve had at each games, the people you meet, the things that you see, there’s nothing like it. There’s absolutely no other experience out there. And so the idea of like retirement and moving on past the volleyball thing, I don’t know who I am.

And half of me isn’t a sitting volleyball player. And so it’s, it’s, I really appreciate it a lot more and try to take in each experience because I know it’s gonna be coming to an end sooner rather than later. And, um, you know, I sound like an old lady talking now, looking back on my golden years.

But it really, it’s just, it really has been such a cool experience and I never thought that it would continue this long. And so it’s just appreciation.

Alison: Well, what haven’t we asked about studying volleyball that we should have?

Lora Webster: I will say, so speaking primarily to the volleyball players. when I first started playing city volleyball, I was 16 and I was playing on my varsity team in high school.

And the sitting game helped my standing game so much, and so just because it teaches you so much upper body, since you’re not using with your legs, [00:38:00] you are adjusting with your shoulders and with your, with your hips and those little changes that you make. Really help your standing game and it really translates.

And so whenever I go to talk to teams or when I’m talking to coaches, I always encourage them to use sitting volleyball as training for their standing team because it’s not just a disabled sport. You don’t have to be disabled to play it. It’s a sport and it is fun and it is challenging and for my standing volleyball people, it does help you improve your game.

And so it really is a fun way, fun thing to incorporate into your practices. And so I just encourage people to try it. Adaptive sports are a lot of fun, and I played sled hockey once before the London Games and it was so much fun and I made such a mistake. I was wearing shorts at the time and I came out with scrapes up and down my leg from the pick.

I kept catching myself and I was just bleeding and smiling, and I had such a great time, and it’s just, you know, those experiences. People are like, oh, disabled sports, you know? But it’s just so much fun. Adaptive sports are so fun and it’s, you know, you missed out if you just, if you think that they’re just for disabled people, because that’s so not the case.

It’s just there are a lot of fun sports to play. We’ve

Alison: talked about getting the Anna Sled, so I’m with you on that.

Lora Webster: Ah, it’s great. You absolutely should.

Jill: do people wear butt pads? I was trying to figure that out. Illegal. They’re the butt. Headss are illegal. Illegal,

Lora Webster: yes. So you can’t wear anything that adds height because we’re sitting and it doesn’t rely on jumping.

If you’re adding height, you’re cheating cuz you’re making your reach higher. So they’re very, like our uniforms, you have to make sure that they’re not padded in the seat area so that you’re not gaining any height. And for me, I don’t have a lot to sit on, and so my butt bones dig into the floor badly. So I would love some butt pads, but we can’t do it.

Alison: Huh? So if you’ve got a dump truck, this is the sport for you.

Lora Webster: Absolutely. Wow. I’m gonna do more squats leading into Paris. That’s what’s gonna change.

Alison: Hold the kids one on each arm. [00:40:00]

Lora Webster: I’m gaining three inches. It’s happening.

Jill: What gets floor burned

Lora Webster: Hip bones. Okay. Your sides by your love handles.

When we dive, cuz we do dive all over the floor. We’re rolling and diving. So elbows back, I come home, bruise my back, and my hip bones on my back are just terrible. My kids poke ’em. Oh, that’s nice. Yeah. My husband too. That’s that kind of household. But it makes me work hard and I, I feel bad. I don’t feel good when I come home and I don’t have something to show for it.

So. Good floor burns. You worked hard, you put yourself out there.

Alison: See, that’s the difference. And I say this with all seriousness, that’s the difference that we keep seeing when we speak to athletes. They love getting bruised and cut and coming home showing like, look at how much I pled today.

There’s a certain joy in that that, that we see a lot.

Lora Webster: It’s true, it’s true. You feel like you walk out a little bit battered and you feel like you put in a good work.

Alison: Lora Webster, thank you so much for joining us.

Lora Webster: Thank you for having me.

Jill: Thank you so much, Lora. You can follow Lora on Insta. She is at Lora dot Webster. We’ll have a link to that in the show notes. Lora. Will also be competing in the Para Ali Pan America Zoneal Championship.

Taking place from May nine to 13th in Edmonton, Alberta, we will have links to the tournament in the show notes.

Seoul 1988 History Moment

Jill: It’s the time of the show where we look at our history moment. All year long. We are looking at Soul 1988 as it is the 35th anniversary of those games. It is my turn for a story and because we talked sitting volleyball, I wanted to talk volleyball. Not necessarily para because women did not compete in para and para is kind of complicated because it’s both standing and sitting in those games.

So we’ll get to that at another time. Yeah, There were two competitions. Both for men, but we’ll get to that another day. But I wanted to talk about the women’s volleyball tournament in the Olympics, and you [00:42:00] might look at the top of the podium and yawn because, oh, the Soviets won again And every games they participated in, they’d either gotten gold or silver.

So they’ve been pretty dominant in this sport. But this tournament was different, and it was one where a small country almost took down the giant. Oh, I love those. Yes. Right. So first off this is also an incredible note. The Soviets were lucky to be there at all. So because of the 1984 boycott, they were not the defending Olympic champions.

So they didn’t get that by, they didn’t win the 1986 world champs, which also got you in. They did not win the European championships, which got them in. And of course they don’t lie in other geographic regions. So that was the out. How they got lucky is that no country from Africa wanted to feel the team.

So Africa gave up their Continental. Place and they had an Olympic qualifying tournament and the Soviets won that. Oh, I bet that did not go

Alison: over well.

Jill: So in the tournament itself at Seoul, Soviets did not get off to a good start. They lost two defending bronze medalists Japan in their opening pool bout, but then they won the rest of the games in the pool and they were on top of their pool standings.

That’s , not too surprising there. And in the semi-finals, they handily defeated, the defending Olympic champion China three to nothing allowing China just 11 points across the three games. Yeah, it was pretty bad. So who were they gonna meet in the finals? Would it be defending silver medalist?

U S A. Nope. USA tough time at Seoul. They finished seventh Japan. Oh yeah, I know it’s Japan. No, they lost their tough semi-final match by two points to the only team who had gone unbeaten in the entire tournament so far. Peru. Why? What? I know. So [00:44:00] obviously Peru’s not a country that you think of when you think of Olympic powerhouses, but it actually has a fairly long history of Olympic participation in general.

So they had one random Peruvian man fenced at Paris 1900, and then a couple decades later, the National Olympic Committee was formed, and then they sent teams to every summer games from 1932 on and Peru as a country. Not too, familiar to the podium. They had won just two medals overall, both in shooting a gold in 1948, in a silver in 1984.

But they happened to be a powerhouse in volleyball at this time. And in, in 1988, they sent just 21 athletes to the games pruded. 12 of them were the women’s volleyball team. What a strange sport

Alison: to be a powerhouse in.

Jill: From that area of the world. Well, let me tell you why. So volleyball is very popular.

With women and its popular girl sport in that area of the country. It got there in 1910 via A Y M C delegation that brought, I love the look, of course we bring bibles and balls. That’s right. So it became entrenched as a sport. Women’s bodies could handle. And I didn’t need to go down, uh, a whole rabbit hole of, the delicate woman’s physique and what they could and could not do.

It was also an easy game to play in the streets, and Peru is a pretty poor country. So while little boys from poor neighborhoods were playing football in the streets, little girls were playing volleyball in the fields. And it was also seen as okay because the women weren’t encroaching on the men’s turf.

By playing the same sport. So there was none of this. Oh, we, we feel so emasculated because you’re taking over our sport. So that was [00:46:00] okay. And in the 1960s, Peru started having regional success and it first qualified for the Olympics at, uh, Mexico City, 1968. And that was the second time. Volleyball for women was on the program.

So they were in most games in the Olympics after that, up till 1988. Twice they had finished in fourth place, but this year was a different story and it’s also kind of important to set the scene of what life was like in Peru in 1988 to show what. You know the power of what the Olympics can do, cuz it was not a great time to live in Peru.

in the early eighties there was a gorilla movement started an armed unarmed conflict with the government and that killed about 30,000 people from 82 to 97. 1988 happened to be a very intense year in this conflict. And on top of that, the country had a lot of poverty and the economy was going in a period of hyperinflation and it was facing economic collapse.

So there was not much to be happy about if you were living in Peru. But then we had the Olympics and with it the Peruvian women’s volleyball team, so it’s captain was Cecilia t a fear fierce Spiker known as Lado del, or, or the golden lefty? I love her already. So Tate was in her third Olympics and she was leading a veteran squad that included four other three time Olympians, four, two time Olympians, and only three rookies.

at Seoul, they beat all of the favorites. Starting in the pools where they beat Brazil three, nothing. They upset both the US and China, three to two. In the semis. They beat Japan by two, four points in the fifth set. And along the way, the team became this source of joy for the country. So people were getting up early in the mornings to watch the matches live on [00:48:00] tv.

Buses would broadcast the games on the radio. So like if you were traveling around the country on bus, you could listen to the game because they would just broadcast it on the radio. So, Everyone’s following the team. Doesn’t matter if you’re old, young, rich, poor, everyone’s got something to talk about.

And then spectators in Seoul also started following the team because they were coached by a South Korean named Parkman. Oh, this is getting better by the second. Right? So Coach Parkman Buck, had uprooted his family in the 1970s to go coach the women’s national team. So this classic underdog story, Everyone is here for this, right?

we get to the final between Soviet Union and Peru. Incredibly intense game. Peru quickly jumps ahead of the U S S R two sets to zero. In the third set, Peru was ahead. 12 six Golden Site. But. Soviet Union took a timeout. They regrouped, they made some substitutions and they won that set. 15, 13, so now it’s two.

One U S S R also dominated the fourth set, 15 seven In the fifth set. Soviets quickly took a six oh lead and it looked like it was all over for Peru, but they clawed their way back. To tie the game at seven, all Soviets again took over pushing ahead, but Peru came back to tie the game at 14. 14. They took the lead 15, 14, but you gotta win by two.

I know. And then it’s, it goes back and forth and they’re tied and they are both fighting to win. Matchpoint. Soviets finally pull out the victory. 1715, but it wasn’t all sadness for Peru. In winning the silver, they won the country’s third Olympic medal and its first team medal. And when they got home, thousands of people greeted them at the Lima Airport to cheer them on and thank them for all they did for the country.

That’s really beautiful.

TKFLASTAN Update

Alison: [00:50:00] Welcome to

Jill: shk fk.

It is the time of the show where we check in with our team, keep the flame alive. These are, past guests to the show and listeners of the show who make up our citizens of our very own country. Shk fk. First up,

Alison: Alison Levine won Bronze in the individual and gold in the Paris Competition at the Baia World Cup in

Jill: Montreal.

Yay. Beach volleyball player Kelly Cheng and Sarah Hughes finished fourth at the Elite 16 beach volleyball event in Uber, Landia, Brazil. Stephanie Roble

Alison: and Maggie Shea finished eighth in the French Olympic Week regatta in e a, which qualifies them for the Olympic test event and the PanAm games.

Jill: Ho that is exciting.

And you get to say Yk Yk, uh, speed skater. Erin Jackson is going back to her alma Mater, university of Florida to serve as the Universitywide commencement speaker. This weekend,

Alison: Alex Diebold has officially retired from competitive snow boarding. The crack on the head in 2022 before the Olympics was not enough to get him to retire.

He did compete this season, but he is moving on.

Jill: Good for him. Nice long career too. para Archer Matt Stutzman is on the cover of the spring issue of Move United Magazine. Thank you to listener Meredith for that tip.

Alison: And mark your calendars. David and Andrew Marinus will be appearing at the National Sports Media Association Sports Book Festival on Sunday, June 25th from two to 5:00 PM at bookmarks, a bookstore in Winston-Salem,

Jill: North Carolina.

And Team Schuster is competing this week at the Kyoto Tractor Champions Cup. So far they’ve lost one game, but it is a long week and they can turn it around. So we will have a link to the events in the show notes, and I believe part of it will be streamed so you can watch it along while they play.

Paris 2024 Update

Jill: [00:52:00] I, I have a feeling there’s going to be a lot of that every week.

Alison: I try so hard not to, but then I get excited and it just comes out. So I’m re I’m really getting excited now because we’re gonna, we’re coming up on the second round of tickets that’s gonna start next week. Mm-hmm. The, the lottery for the second round, and that’s gonna be individual tickets, so.

Watch your emails for that and it’s just, it feels so real now. I don’t know what changed in my brain.

Jill: Well, yeah, like you said. Okay, so we have another ticket phase. Uh, we’re gonna get more and more details about, more and more things are starting to come out and so you can start visualizing it and seeing it in your mind and you get excited about like, oh, I know this is coming.

And it’s just more to look forward to. at least for me it is. I know, I know. So in the things to look forward to, the triathlon course was announced, this is really cool. And if you are going and you, if you’re having problems getting tickets, this is one of those events that you can watch for free.

So just you forget, because I kind, I, we’re lucky enough to be accredited, but if I was going as a spectator, which we were working on, just in case the accreditation didn’t come through, it’s easy to get frustrated at not being able to get the tickets you want to, the events you want, or things are just financially beyond your reach.

But there are events like the triathlon, like the marathon that you can watch for free. Even though there will be ticketed areas, so the course got announced. The swim start will be on a pontoon underneath the Pont. Alexander th TW may. Ah, thank you. The Pont Alexander TW May Bridge. And this is also the area where the marathon swimming event will be.

So the athletes are gonna swim two laps in the sun and then an Olympic first. They will [00:54:00] climb 32 stairs to the bike transition zone.

Alison: Oh, that’s a whole different set of muscles. Awesome.

Jill: I know I now want to talk to a triathlete so bad to figure out like, how are you training for this? Because that is a definitely a different thing because you know, they’re trying to undo their wetsuits and things as they come up or as they go through transition.

But this’ll be, uh, interesting to see how the 32 stairs, there’s no joke. Especially, I’m betting these are like nice stone steps that are old and what you have on your feet. Nothing, right?

Alison: Oh, this could, oh, this could be bad though. Hmm. It could be because you can’t exactly put an orange cone out and say floor may be slippery.

No, I’m Now, I’m really curious, like, are they gonna put, what are these stairs made of and are they going to adjust them? Yeah, I in some

Jill: way, well, we will look into that. So the bike transition zone is back up on the bridge area. The bike portion is gonna be seven laps. So this is cool if you’re out spectating because they’ll go past you seven times.

So you you’re gonna go north a little bit, on the AM Avenue. Winston Churchill, you take a left on the champ. And you go down that not all the way to the Arctic de Triumph, you’re gonna, you’re gonna make a u-turn at the five guys, basically. Is it really at the five guys? Well, it’s at, it’s at a street where the street name is, Uhe to the right and Pierre Sheron to the left.

you know how that happens in some places. So it’s one of these, street intersections where if, if you look one way, the street’s one name, and if you look the other way, the street’s the other name. But yes, there is a five guys, right? There song.

So they’ll do a u-turn, then they get their way back they don’t go all the way back to the PO Alexander TW bridge. they go to the bridge before that and that’s the po they in, they cross theen. They, take a left and to get onto the Boulevard, St. Germaine, and then they go down that make a U-turn, come back.

And they [00:56:00] do that again.

Alison: Well, that’s really nice. Like you were saying that there are so many laps. Mm-hmm. You stand in one place and you will constantly see people going by during that section E.

Jill: Exactly. That’s very cool. And then the run is going to be four laps of the first portion of the race that’s north of the bridge.

So that again, you know, if you’re standing north of there, you will see them come by seven times for the bike and then four times for the run. That’s pretty good. sites include the grand PA and the pit Deep ballet. There will be cobble stones on part of the course, so this will be another obstacle to watch out for.

in the para course, it’s a little bit different. There’s just one lap of the swimming, but it does again, start. Underneath the bridge, the cycling transition is going to be on the lower banks of the sun. So they don’t have stairs, but they’re probably gonna have to ride up some kind of ramp somehow. the, the cycling, the beginning of the route is the same, but instead of turning left, they’re gonna go right and go down a street and do a u-turn back to the transition area.

Part of that is because, the run also goes, then goes the other direction, back down the St. Germaine. And makes a U-turn back to finish on the Poon Alexander ua. And the reason they do that is because, they’re gonna have the biking go one direction, the run go in a different direction because men and women are racing on the same day and they have multiple classes going.

So they need to keep the courses kind of separate for that. So that will be a different viewing experience for, uh, they will just

Alison: racers. Everywhere on that Paralympic triathlon, that is gonna be fantastic.

Jill: So that is very cool. I’m very excited about that. also, the mayor of Marsai announced on Twitter that the Olympic flame will arrive in the city on May 8th, 2024.

Something to get excited about. I know, according to inside the games. It gets there after a 10 day journey across the Mediterranean. [00:58:00] So if they’re doing the traditional relay in Greece, like they usually do, like a week in Greece after the, the flame is generated, we can look for that lighting ceremony around mid-April.

Is it swimming

Alison: across the Mediterranean? I don’t know why it’s

Jill: taking so long. I don’t know why. Maybe it’s a, just an old boat. Maybe they’re paddling. Could be. It could also be something that’s wind powered, so I, I don’t know. I don’t know if they’re making stops along the way. It just. That seemed like a long time to me too.

Is it

Alison: a cruise where you know the torch will get its tan and maybe try some

Jill: cocktails? You’ll leave the boat for an excursion?

Alison: Well, we have had the torch go underwater before, so maybe the torch will do some Mediterranean snorkeling. That would be cool. I would love to do that.

Jill: We will find out when the full details of. Are released on Olympic Day this year, which is June 23. So excited.

International Olympic Committee News

Jill: We have a little bit of news from the I O C tickets are on sale for the Olympics eSport week in Singapore, which is June 23 to June 25. Also around, Olympic Day tickets are kind of cheap. They’re they’re 10 to 15 Singaporean dollars. .

Uh, three day pass is uh, $30 for adults and $20 for students. And we can say the

Alison: Singapore, airport is

Jill: lovely. it really is. So there is a fair amount of promotion going on from the I O C about, taking part in these games. So we will have links to that information in the show notes.

World Games News

Jill: We don’t have a World Games sounder, but we have World Games news. I got nervous there for a

Alison: second. It almost sounded like the doping sounder.

Jill: But we do have some World Games news. We had talked about the World Games last year when they were in Birmingham, [01:00:00] partially because they are connected to the I O C.

So there’s a, a relationship between the two organizations and that makes it interesting to us. It’s also interesting to a lot of our listeners, it was fun. Watching World Games stuff with everybody and, watching everybody who got to go and see the games in person. So the next edition of the World Games is in 2025.

It will be in Chengdu, China. The big news is that they announced their sports program today during World Games’ annual meeting. the World Games is interesting because it doesn’t have a set program. Every addition of the games, there’s no building allowed, so they can’t make new venues.

You have to use what you have available. So they come up with a program and they have sports that are part of the world games, and then there are ones that, the host city can choose as well. And then if there are sports that are part of world game sports that don’t fit, they just don’t fit, and they don’t get to compete that time.

we’ve got 30 plus sports on this program. Don’t know what disciplines or events they will have, so that, that also makes a big difference because a lot of these, uh, disciplines have very many events underneath them. but we know that it will not feature any event that is in an Olympic games. to compare Birmingham 22 head, 34 Sports, Chengdu is going to have fin swimming.

Gymnastics, karate, power lifting, roller sports, tug of war and water skiing. These seven sports have been on every World Gains program. Going back to the beginning of the, the games. Returning from Birmingham will be air sports, archery, billiards, bull sport. Canoe dance sport. Fist ball, floor ball, flying.

Disc, beach handball, jujitsu, kickboxing, korf ball, lacrosse, [01:02:00] lifesaving, mui, Thai, orienteering, racket, ball, softball, sport climbing, squash and wooo shoe.

Alison: No

Jill: idea what Woo shoe is. It’s a martial art. Oh, I can’t remember. I can’t remember where it originates from, but it’s one of the martial arts. Okay. Also new to the program. Brand new to the program will be Sambo, which is another martial art. Fighting sport. It had been in previous editions of the games as an invitational sport, but this is now the first time it will be a full metal sport.

samba was not at Birmingham. the host city also gets to select some approved sports. So Chengdu is proposing to have flag football. Dragon Boat,

Alison: dragon Boat. Okay. I have no idea what that is about and I don’t care. I want in

Jill: Oh, we’ll have to get you some of that. I think there’s a dragon boat racing here in Cleveland. I could

Alison: hang off the front of that boat and spit fire.

Jill: I’m not sure they have to do that.

I’m not sure that’s in the rules. Um, also they’re proposing to do du athlon cheerleading and freestyle inline, which is, uh, inline skates, but freestyle skating, dragon boat cheerleading and freestyle inline, were not at Birmingham. Yeah, we would’ve noticed those. Yeah. Right. Interesting. I thought that flag football is one of these that’s you gotta hope that the host city takes you.

Whereas like lacrosse, which is also trying to get into the Olympic games. They’re on the program, you know, softball on the program. I was surprised to see that softball stayed on. To be quite honest,

Alison: I’m not. Softball is one of those things that I think people really love watching.

And is fighting to get back in for la.

Jill: I’m not surprised about that part. I’m surprised that there’s a facility that they have softball. Oh, ball. You just, yeah. Yeah. Or you turn a, I don’t know. I think they could probably turn a field into, you just need a field.

Alison: [01:04:00] I mean, that’s, that’s pretty simple.

Jill: parasport that are up for possible inclusion, cause they didn’t have any on the, full list, but wheelchair rugby was at Birmingham.

It is also on the inclusion list for Chengdu, along with wheelchair dance, para jujitsu, and free diving disabled. So don’t know when those are gonna be officially added or what will be officially added on the parasite, but those are up for discussion out that was at Birmingham are just definitely not gonna be at Chengdu, Sumo and Bowling.

Okay. and power boating also made some kind of proposal to be on the program, but there’s no mention of its. Whether it’s gonna be successful or not, maybe it’s just an acknowledgement. We see you power boating. We know, we know you wanna be there, but we haven’t decided yet. We’re not quite sure. also on the World Games annual meeting agenda is uh, a.

Going to be an update to something called the World Games Series. This will be a new format that will present a selection of five to six sports of the world Games in the context of a four day multi-sport festival to be held twice in the years in between additions. I think this is also to. Help promote the World Gains brand and get more awareness about it.

So have not seen anything about it yet. I’m not sure if that’s come up in the meeting agenda, But we will keep an eye on that for you cuz it would be cool to be if something like that came around where you were living, I’d go see it. I would

Alison: go see it if it wasn’t in Birmingham where I would burst into flames.

You don’t need the dragon boats for Birmingham.

Jill: Maybe that’s why they weren’t there.

All right. That will do it for this week. Let us know if you are looking forward to watching sitting volleyball at Paris.

Alison: You can connect with us on Twitter and Instagram at Flame Alive Pod. Email us at Flame Alive podd gmail.com. Caller text us at 2 0 8 [01:06:00] 3 5 2 6 3 4 8. That’s 2 0 8. Flame it. You can join the Keep the Flame Alive Podcast Group on Facebook.

And lastly, you can sign up for our weekly newsletter filled with other fun stories about this week’s episode@flamealivepod.com.

Jill: Next week, get get, just hold on, hold on to whatever your, your hats. Your seats, your phone. We are so excited to bring you an interview with the one and only wheelchair rugby star, Chuck Aoki.

Will Alison keep it together? We’ll find out. Thank you so much for listening, and until next time, keep the flame alive.