It’s Day -1 to the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics, and the action is heating up (but the weather isn’t). Jill didn’t pack her recording microphone before she headed out of the hotel, so enjoy the ambience of the Main Media Center.
She has been out to the two other competition zones: Yanqing and Zhangjiakou, both of which involve immense planning to get to, and both of which are cold. Very cold.
Jill also went to the kickoff event of these Games: Mixed Doubles curling at the Ice Cube (formerly the Water Cube). Four games at once is kind of difficult to watch, but the play was exciting (although depending on the end, the British journalists often declared the Great Britain/Sweden game a “disaster.” Great Britain won).
Our first TKFLASTANI competed! Jill saw moguls skier Brad Wilson compete in the first qualifying round for the men’s moguls competition. Will he be able to make the finals?
Alison’s got the scoop on the US women’s first ice hockey game and a horrible break for our TKFLASTANI Brianna Decker.
What officiating/volunteer job do we want? Which TKFLASTANIs are competing next? Listen to find out!
If you’d like to read Jill’s Beijing diary, join our Facebook Group (even if you have to make an account just for the Games).
Don’t forget our Red Envelope campaign!
Thanks so much for listening, and until next time, keep the flame alive!
Note: While we try to ensure the accuracy of this transcript, it is machine-generated and will likely contain errors or omissions. Please refer to the audio file as the record of note.
Beijing 2022: Olympics – Day -1
[00:00:00] Jill: This episode is brought to you by Winter/Victor.
Ni hao fans of TKFLASTAN and welcome to Day -1 coverage of the Beijing 2022 Olympics on Keep the Flame Alive, the podcast for fans of the Olympics and Paralympics. I’m your host, Jill Jaracz, joined as always by my lovely cohost, Alison Brown. Alison, ni hao. How are you?
[00:00:27] Alison: I am warm and comfy. How are you?
[00:00:28] Jill: I am frozen, frozen, frozen. I was going to eat a power bar on the train home from Zhangjiakou today and it was frozen. I couldn’t eat it.
[00:00:41] Alison: You’ve got to keep it close to your body. Like the batteries.
[00:00:46] Jill: That’s what, my batteries. I had a tape recorder and a microphone that were battery powered and I almost went through the whole batteries tonight and they weren’t on very, like they were on for me.
Yeah. I’m like, oh, this is real. This is really real. Here in Beijing, it’s very interesting. We’ve got a daily diary going on our Facebook group. So even, even if you’re not on Facebook, just get an email address, get on there for the times of the games and enjoy those posts there. I try to look for stuff that you all would find interesting about Beijing and how the games are being run.
[00:01:25] Alison: The posts in the podcast group and the pictures have been fantastic.
[00:01:27] Jill: Oh good, good
[00:01:32] Alison: It’s the stuff you don’t get to see when we’re watching the action. So that’s, that’s a lot of fun.
[00:01:36] Jill: Exactly. I got into trouble. I’m getting into trouble for not, I have not continued to record my daily health in the app. We were supposed to do this.
We started 14 days before you left, you had to start recording your health and that is take your temperature and then answer a list of questions about, are you vomiting? Are you coughing? We had to answer all these basic health questions and then submit it. And I didn’t realize that they needed to keep going every day. And it’s like, my temperature is already being taken multiple places and I get COVID tested every day. So I’ve learned my lesson and now I’m recording my temperature in the app again.
[00:02:19] Alison: So what happened? Did somebody knock on your, did a little robot come knock on your door?
[00:02:22] Jill: No, I got an email with a spreadsheet as my, as my own covid liaison officer. It was a spreadsheet of everybody in my organization that have not been continuing to upload their health records.
[00:02:35] Alison: The cobbler’s children have no shoes.
[00:02:38] Jill: But yeah, it’s interesting, the covid testing. Have we talked about the covid testing?
Alison: We talked about it. I’m not sure if it was on the episode.
Jill: I don’t know what’s on the episode either. But when I get covid tested, I go down in the morning for breakfast. It’s the same floor as breakfast. You go into a ballroom and the ballroom is covered in foam, like a thin layer of packing foam, that you would wrap maybe dishes or your glasses. And then the people who are working there, they’re all hazmated up and you go and you, you check in and then you get your little tube, and they take your saliva test. Then you exit and you can’t leave the hotel without scanning your ID again. And that says, yes, you’ve done your covid test today. And then your stuff has to go through an x-ray machine, but you don’t have to take off your coat. This is the fun part of this. You don’t have to take off your coat, but you go through, and it beeps and you get wanded down anyway. And then the wand keeps beeping off like crazy because I’ve got all this stuff in my pockets and it’s just like, you get the pat down and you’re on your way.
[00:03:46] Alison: Well, wait, it’s packing foam. It’s not bubble wrap. So everyone is popping.
[00:03:50] Jill: Now that would be more fun. That would be more fun. You’re kind of sticking to this stuff.
So, in the Facebook group, if you have not been in there yet, you have to see listener Rochelle’s cowl and hat that she created. It’s beautiful.
[00:04:03] Alison: It was beautiful.
[00:04:04] Jill: But everybody should check that out. I got to say, I will say this probably every day, the volunteers are fantastic. There are lots of them. Well, there were lots of them everywhere, except for the Zhangjiakou train station when I got there. And some poor policeman was trying to help a couple of people who didn’t speak Chinese and trying to figure out which bus we needed to take to go where and that worked. But then by the time we got back to the train station, there were volunteers there again, so maybe they had a break, but they are fabulous.
Uniforms are cool in person. They have sleeves where it’s like this little yellow band that actually is supposed to be the Great Wall because there’s a gate on it with swirls. So there’s like a little yellow swirl and that’s the Great Wall. That’s really cool.
[00:04:53] Alison: And you have not been able to find the Great Wall when you went up to Zhangjiakou?
[00:04:58] Jill: I might have on the way back because it was weird. I mean, I think you can see it at night because I believe it’s lit up. I will find this out because when you look at these mountains here, everything is brown. They’re brown, rocky mountains covered with deciduous trees. So all the leaves are gone because it’s winter. There’s no snow except for what’s man-made so there’s a little dusting here and there, but it’s really pretty much the man-made snow, where it needs to be.
And then you’re looking, I’m looking around going, is that the wall? No, that’s a road. Is that the wall? No, that looks like it was built maybe a few decades ago, but when I, when I was leaving tonight and was riding the bus from the moguls area back to the train station I think it’s along the top ridge because it’s all lit up and it’s kind of cool.
So you’ll have to tell me what you see on NBC because you know that they’ve taken pictures of this. There’s been helicopters flying all over the place.
[00:05:58] Alison: They’re coming after you because you’re not doing the health at.
[00:05:59] Jill: Right. Right. We have a couple of events today to discuss, but before we get to that, let’s start are games time feature, what officiating or volunteer job would we want to do?
[00:06:12] Alison: Well, you told me you found one for me.
[00:06:15] Jill: Yeah, I went to curling last night on opening night. I didn’t even sit down in my chair and I saw your job. Somebody vacuumed that blue carpet that’s in between the sheets.
[00:06:27] Alison: Like in between each game, not each end, but each game?
[00:06:31] Jill: Well there was only one game, so they were vacuuming ahead of the time. But I saw that when, oh, that is Alison’s job.
[00:06:40] Alison: I love a good vacuum. All the pile was like in stripes? No? No, they know they need me.
[00:06:45] Jill: I have not figured it out yet. I will be honest. There were some people at moguls who at the end of the night, it’s like a line of people and they all have shovels and they have to chop up the snow at the bottom of the last jump.
That’s kind of cool. I tell you what I would not do. I would not be the volunteer who has to tell journalists to put their masks back on because I would not be happy about it.
[00:07:15] Alison: Yeah, I think you might, after your, your experience yesterday at Zhangjiakou, or today, because you’re still in the day. Yeah, something not outside. I think you need inside.
[00:07:24] Jill: I do too. I think an indoor job would be nice.
But now we have some action to report on from TKFLASTAN. Our bobsledder, A. J. Edelman, petitioned the Court of Arbitration for Sport to get into the two-man bobsled tournament, because apparently there were unused quotas and he wanted to, and because he was at the top of the list in terms of points, he wanted to be able to. His petition was denied with reasons to be released later. This goes into shirtless done. Watch Clary again. We had some action started yesterday with the beginning of the mixed doubles curling tournament on Day -2. That was cool. You have to tell me if there is like an amazing light show that they show at the beginning of the feed.
[00:08:09] Alison: They have not shown any light show. They did introductions, but the way the feed works is you watch one game, right? So while the introductions are going on, you’re hearing them introducing all the players, but you’re only seeing one game that you’re watching. Okay. So I don’t see any flashing lights.
[00:08:30] Jill: Okay. And I don’t know if this was like a beginning of Olympics fanfare kind of thing, because he did have the bagpipe.
As well to start off the tournament for Chinese. No, I think they brought them in from somewhere
[00:08:50] Alison: They brought the bagpipers with the stones.
[00:08:52] Jill: But then they had a light show with drums and music and it was flashing lights and spots of lights around the audience. And then like the ice turned into flowers and stuff like that. It was really, really beautiful. So I’m sorry you couldn’t see that.
The other thing I don’t know if you can see on the feed is on the jumbotron. One side is a jumbotron that shows the four houses, the targets that each person slides to when you see that on your feed. But what you’re not seeing is a graphic on the side of it that shows the trajectory of the stone as it’s moving. So I think every stone has a sensor in it and you see the stone as a dot. It’s either yellow or red, whatever color it is. As it moves down the ice, you see the curl and the speed, and then all the dots are in the house. So you see how they’re all.
[00:09:48] Alison: Okay. I was watching the feed. I was not watching the broadcast, so I will check out the broadcast. Okay. Because they’re replaying the games on normal times. So that maybe they’re putting that on the broadcast because I was watching some of them on the feed, so we will check it out and see. Or if anyone has seen the broadcast, let us know if they’re using that trajectory or in other countries, because so far I have not seen that.
[00:10:13] Jill: Yeah. It’s, it’s really fascinating. And it’s a nice little addition. But it would be nice if you could see it at home too. I mean, it’s great. It was fun. There’s the, we do have spectators, this audience was about third full and I bet they brought them in from some curling club because they knew what they were watching because every once in a while you’d hear them really cheer. And they, the Chinese, they were right by the audience so they could see that game more easily. And China just had a really great game.
[00:10:51] Alison: The wearing spectators were also matching masks.
[00:10:54] Jill: Oh, nice. Okay.
[00:10:55] Alison: I noticed that because they did show some closeups. I was looking for you, but I did not see you, and I do want to say to anyone who’s watching any of the feeds, if you get a screenshot of Jill, if you get a screenshot of Jill at an event, either post it on Facebook, or send it to our email, email@example.com. And I will send you a set of pins because I want some screenshots of Jill at events.
[00:11:21] Jill: Okay. Well then I will work on sitting where I could be seen because I didn’t, I was on the side. I was on, I was next to the sheet. Well, I was next to sheet one, with where a Great Britain was playing, Great Britain and Sweden. That’s where I was for that one, just because I knew there’s not that much media seating behind the four teams. And I thought a side view would be better. And then I get to sit next to the British journalists
[00:11:52] Alison: Who were complaining about, no milk for their tea.
[00:11:55] Jill: It was really interesting because every shot, every bad shot that Great Britain made was just, oh, it’s devastating. This is awful. The world is going to end. And they actually use the bright at the end. They’re like that one was Shoddy Dottie. It was like really Shoddy, Dottie, eh? They’re not, they’re not doing a bit. And then Switzerland no, not Switzerland, Sweden just missed a total shot and Great Britain ended up winning because of that. But it was like anything that they let open a little bit, just the whole world was going to end their game had totally fallen apart and they were horrible, the worst players.
[00:12:38] Alison: I do want to mention the Australian pair who unfortunately right now is 0-3, Tahli Gill and Dean Hewitt. I watched them yesterday against the United States. They are such a joy to watch. They are so excited to be there and they are such fire and ice. She is all emotion, totally on her sleeve and he’s cool as a cucumber. Please watch them during the round robin, because I don’t know, given their score if they’re going to advance. But they were actually shooting for 2026 so this was a bonus. So I don’t know if they really expect to get out of the round robin, but, they had some really good shots. Tahli had a shot yesterday where she took out three American stones and left hers right in the house. Yeah, I don’t really understand the nuances of curling, but this I could understand was an amazing shot. So if you can catch the Australians, definitely let me, let me know how it feels because they’re all emotion and I love them.
[00:13:39] Jill: Well, it’s interesting when you watch it live. I mean, you get the benefit of having the competitors mic-ed up so you can hear their strategy and going to talk. And that makes it really interesting to watch at home. We don’t get to hear that because obviously. That’s four sheets of ice, all talking all over each other, and that would not do, but yeah, I’ll try.
So we, so right now we have standings are Australia 0-3, Canada 1-1, China 2-1, Czech Republic 2-1, Great Britain 2-1, Italy 2-1, Norway 1-2, Switzerland 1-2, Sweden 2-1 and the USA 1-2.
We’d like to take a moment to thank our sponsor today, Winter/Victor. Winter/Victor Studio 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
And we’ve got proof because those who have donated to our Kickstarter at the pin collector level got a lovely set up here.
[00:15:03] Alison: And our Winter/Victor person did an amazing, gorgeous job because we had sort of sketchy ideas of what we wanted and they made it happen, and it’s beautiful.
[00:15:12] Jill:. Right today we had some qualification action in moguls. It was, the women went first and then the men, and is this so sad? Yeah.
[00:15:25] Alison: Brad had a little bit of a rough run.
[00:15:27] Jill: And, and I had to tell you, I was standing down in the mixed zone and the mixed zone, that’s where I was freezing my butt off. The mixed zone is in between the moguls and the ariel’s competition. So they’re right next to each other. And the mixed zone is in between them and athletes walk through the mixed zone afterwards, and they can decide whether or not to talk to people. And I had just thought like a couple people before Bradley, like nobody’s had like a really big wipe out fall. That’s great. And then Bradley and he was going really fast. It looked like he got his skis all kind of caught up in the hills and then he was off course.
[00:16:10] Alison: Right. The feed announcer was saying that he seemed to purposely go off the course because he was losing control. And so it’s to protect himself from injury, he kind of bounced out of the course. So he didn’t fall. He’s not hurt. He just had a sketchy run. It’s fine. He’s got another shot at qualification on Saturday. Yes. No, he will. He will take a shot there. But man on TV it looked like they were going incredibly fast.
[00:16:39] Jill: I have to look at the results and what happened with the time that they have to match or get under. If they’re over then that starts affecting their score negatively. Because there’s, it’s all based on the scores and there’s a time score and people were coming in at that time. Very often, I seem to think, but I could be wrong, but that’s, that’s the way it looked.
He, he went through the mixed zone and I was kind of at the end of the zone, like, “Bradley!” And he just looks at me and he looked like he didn’t want to talk and I go, “I have a pin for you.” And he’s like, “Okay, thanks.” And then we only chatted for a few seconds because he was really frustrated. Oh, sure.
And of course that’s not how you want to have your run, but yeah, like you said, he’s got another.
[00:17:30] Alison: And it’s the pin that’s going to make all the difference.
[00:17:33] Jill: It might. It might. Then we had the women’s ice hockey tournament also got underway today with four games. There are 10 teams in total competing. Okay. So we had a couple of games from Group B and a couple of games from Group A. In Group B Czech Republic defeated China 31. Japan defeated Sweden 3-1. Switzerland defeated Canada, or sorry, Canada defeated Switzerland 12-1, and USA beat Finland 5-2.. So something happened with TKFLASTANI, Brianna Decker.
[00:18:06] Alison: So in the first period she got caught up with one of the Finnish players. It was nobody’s fault. They just got tangled up. She went down and it was serious. The ice was mic-ed up so you could hear Briannascreaming. Oh no, that was, that was a little rough. So we know it’s leg injury. She was taken off on a stretch. She did not hit her head. We saw her come back out in a boot, on crutches. There’s not been any official report yet as to what the injury was, but I don’t know if we’re going to see her back, at least in the round robin because they had her booted up and she went down really hard.
Thankfully the Finnish player was not hurt in this tangle up. It just looked like her leg or her knee got snapped in the wrong way. She, yeah, it was, it was tough. The other players, it was tough too. The only little joy it brought me was Wayne came out, our athletic trainer that we had on the show. We saw him come out. We saw the hand signals that he talked about, communicating with the medical staff and they had that stretcher out right away. And it seemed like she got the attention she needed immediately. So Brianna has not posted yet, USA hockey has not posted yet, so we don’t have any official word on either what the injury is or if we’re going to be able to see her again in the tournament. But the good news is that she was still in the arena. Right. And that there was no head injury. There was no complication that they were concerned about because they let her stay.
[00:19:44] Jill: Oh, well, hope you are doing okay, Brianna. I don’t know boots, man, to me seem not coming back, but at least like, she’s stable. So that’s good.
Right. We wanted to let you know about our Red Envelope Campaign that we’re having during the games. This show does cost money to produce. And while our listeners have been extremely generous in supporting us through our Kickstarter campaign that got us to Beijing and also through Patreon patronage, we’re coming up on two and a half years until another Olympic. So to celebrate the Lunar New Year, we’re asking for donations of at least $8 to help us get through to Paris 2024. Go to flamealivepod.com/support to donate.
All right, we got TKFLASTAN Watch. What’s happening?
[00:20:27] Alison: The best part of the TKFLASTAN Watch is curler John Shuster will be the flag bearer for the United States in the opening ceremonies.
[00:20:34] Jill: So excited. He’s flag-bearing with Brittany Bowe who gave up her spot to Erin Jackson and the 500 meters. Brittany’s filling in for Elana Meyers Taylor, who is unfortunately isolated from covid still.
[00:20:50] Alison: rRght. And a little good news on Josh Williamson and his covid situation. He’s gotten a whole bunch of negative tests. He is in LA at processing, so he will not obviously be here in time for the opening ceremonies, but it, it is looking good for him to get here for even just even the two-man. So we have our fingers crossed for Josh and cheering for his white blood cells.
[00:21:14] Jill: And you know what is not looking? The possibility of me seeing him compete in person.
[00:21:19] Alison: You said it’s a little rough getting up to the sliding center.
[00:21:23] Jill: Yes, it is. We have a hub and spoke system on transportation and there are many, many spokes to get to the sliding center and almost every
bobsled and luge competition, any sliding competition for the most part is at night, kind of late, except for monobob is early like nine something in the morning. And then the last men’s two heats of four-man are at like 9:30 in the morning. So I don’t know if I can get out there in time and I definitely can’t stay late because the trains, just stop at some point. So we’ll see. And I don’t know, I can’t plan either because they only have a few days of train schedule up and they only have like the next day of bus schedule up. So I don’t know what they’re doing. Here’s a fun transportation, but you would think it would be efficient.
But it’s like whoever scheduled everything said, we’ll have the buses run every 20 minutes. So tonight I get off the train and we had to take a bus back to the media center. And what happens is there’s no other train, but the bus isn’t not going to come for another, like 20 minutes. There’s a bus sitting there. That’s our bus. And after about 10 minutes, he pulls up so we can all pile on and you’re supposed to be spread apart, but there’s a lot of people and a lot of photographers and they have a lot of gear. So we’re pretty packed in it compared to the covid rules that they would like. There are people sitting next to each other. What can you do? The bus sits there until it’s 20 after, and then we can get moving again. And it’s just like, there’s no other train. Then when I went to Yanqing, yes, I waited. But then the Zhangjiakou came and I was like, oh, we waited for those people. Cool. But the idea that it’s the last train of the night, how many people are going to be there, get enough buses, fill it up right away and get on the road.
That’s, that’s my transportation for today. I will try to not talk about the transportation or the cold very much, but it is cold.
[00:23:30] Alison: Well, during Tokyo, we had feed beefs. Now you have transportation beefs.
[00:23:34] Jill: I don’t think so.
[00:23:40] Alison: On to happier things. Bing Dwen Dwen is everywhere you said,
[00:23:43] Jill: Oh my gosh, they are everywhere. They’re always together, Bing Dwen Dwen and Shuey Rhon Rhon. Actually that might be one of my jobs, because if you were in the costume, it might be a little warmer.
[00:23:57] Alison: Well, we too here at Keep the Flame Alive, have our own mascot. And today’s mascot is Luna. Luna is a lovely cat who lives with listener Beth and her family. And this is a big week in Luna’s household. Dad Andy, sister Ellie, and brother Sam are all celebrating birthdays. So happy birthday to Luna and her family. I want Luna to get extra treats. And we want to say thank you to Beth for being a mascot level supporter for our Kickstarter campaign.
[00:24:26] Jill: Yeah. Thank you, Beth.
And we would also like to thank today’s researchers, Scott Kitchen and Seth Kirby.
So that’ll do it for today. Tomorrow, we have some more sports action plus the opening ceremonies, which I don’t know if I get to go to yet. I was not on the list, but I might be, I might be able to get a ticket if there are any. We’ll find out. So if not, I will watch them here at the media center. And when the fireworks are on, I will wander outside and look at the fireworks show.
[00:24:58] Alison: And I will be here watching it on TV. So please celebrate with us at our Keep the Flame Alive Podcast Group on Facebook. And Jill is on Twitter, I am on Insta and both are @flamealivepod. You can also email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call or text us at (208) 352-6368. That’s 208-FLAME-IT.
[00:25:22] Jill: We’ll catch you back here tomorrow. Thank you so much for listening and until then, keep the flame alive.