Zhangjiakou cluster at Beijing 2022 with Great Wall of China in the background.

Beijing 2022: Olympics – Day 3

Release Date: February 6, 2022

Category: Beijing 2022 | Podcast

It’s Day 3 of the Winter Olympics, with so much action (even if races are postponed due to high winds)! Jill’s in Beijing today, hanging out at the figure skating, speed skating and ice hockey rinks. Alison’s got the news on a momentous medal win for the Silver Ferns of New Zealand.

Plus results from:

  • Cross-Country Skiing
  • Curling
  • Figure Skating
  • Freestyle Skiing
  • Ice Hockey
  • Luge
  • Ski Jumping
  • Speed Skating
  • Snowboard

Plus, what officiating/volunteer job would we do and more!

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

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


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

Beijing 2022: Olympics – Day 3

[00:00:00] Jill: Ni Hao fans of TKFLASTAN and welcome to day three coverage of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics on Keep the Flame Alive, the podcast for fans of the Olympics and Paralympics. I am your host, Jill Jaracz joined as always by my lovely co-host Alison Brown. Alison, Ni Hao. How are you?

[00:00:24] Alison: I have a little bit of a podcasting injury. My throat’s a little, a little tight today, but I’m going to power through like a true Olympian.

[00:00:32] Jill: Excellent. I’m sorry to hear you are not feeling well. I hope it goes away. I hope it’s not like false COVID or COVID and then, but we can make you get through on the close contact protocols.

[00:00:44] Alison: So many close contacts happening in your neck of the woods. We’ll get to that as we get to each of the sports, but man left and right on that.

[00:00:55] Jill: Exactly. I will remind you, I’m coming to you from the main media center here in Beijing. It’s vacuuming hour. So if you hear a little extra noise, I’m trying to get that out. But whenever we sit down to tape, it is like vacuuming hour and cleaning up the media center time of this. This is it. This is all like I got to work with.

[00:01:15] Alison: Well, I wonder if it’s a volunteer job, because I did want to vacuum, but I don’t know if I’m cleaning the media center.

[00:01:21] Jill: Now I’m not sure, but speaking of which a volunteer or officiating job would you like to do today?

[00:01:27] Alison: Short track speed skating. Resetting the pads after a crash.

[00:01:31] Jill: Oh, okay.

[00:01:32] Alison: On the ice, I wonder if they have special shoes.

[00:01:37] Jill: They do. They have like a Yaktrax or whatever. Those, the little stubs in their shoes are like, I don’t know. It’s like snow tire chains for shoes.

[00:01:49] Alison: That’s the only reason I want the job. I want the shoes.

[00:01:52] Jill: There you go. I actually did watch them a little bit set up for short track. After the figure skating competition, they had to take down the row of pad. That was where the judges sat because it was thin and they had to put in all the thick pads.

So that was kind of cool. And then I realized, oh, this isn’t like a regular ice rink with boards and stuff like you normally see in figure skating. So when they, if they fall, they do also crash into the pads.

[00:02:25] Alison: Well, it’s better than crashing into the boards. That hurts. I’ve done it. It’s not good.

[00:02:31] Jill: Let’s see, what job would I want to do today?

Beause I had been, I was like, oh, I wanted to do the, not the fix of pads. Oh, what would I want to do? Oh, and a long track. Speed skating again much like in Tokyo where I wanted to ring the bell, I would like to ring the bell for the one lap to go. I don’t know if it’s a real bell or not. It definitely. I definitely know, it’s not something you ring with your hand. It’s not a calling a calling a finding it’s like a boxing bell where it’s like thinking thing and you would hit it on the side. However, the gun is electronic. So I’m worried that the bell is also electronic. And I don’t know because it was, I was sitting on over it, so I couldn’t see, but.

[00:03:20] Alison: In our minds, the man who is ringing the bell is wearing a little mini Bing Dwen Dwen, just like in Tokyo, he was wearing the little mascot. So we’re going to imagine you doing that. We’re going to pretend it is not electronic. No, no prop robot, bell ringers.

[00:03:36] Jill: I hope not. Speaking of Bing Dwen Dwen, it is increasingly difficult to get one, now we are three days into the Olympics, at the store here. And the main media center is pretty well decimated. And I gotta say, I haven’t been able to get to the store. I saw all these Bing Dwen Dwens and should we run runs in the beginning? They’re nicely boxed, but they have been snapped up. The mascots are very popular here in China now. So everybody wants one and the factories have been closed for lunar new year.

So now we have to hope that they get the factory up and running and crank some of these out before the Olympics are over two times. I have tried to go to the store. The first one was New Year’s Eve, so closed to early. The second one second time, there was a line out the door. So I couldn’t stand there; I didn’t have the time.

And then every, every other time, like I tried to go today, I was like, oh, I will check out the store, closes at six on Sundays. Well,

[00:04:35] Alison: we were talking before we started recording what you were going to do during the interim between the Olympics and Paralympics, possibly shop.

[00:04:45] Jill: If I can, I don’t know what I’ll be allowed to do, but location Scouts on Kickstarter, location Scouts, do not worry. I have procured postcards. And those will be going out to you as I can get them written, but I’m very happy to have found some of those. So very excited to send them to you. What’s going on with our fantasy league.

[00:05:04] Alison: So our fantasy league is up over 60 participants. All over the world, we have Malaysia. We’ve got Great Britain. We have obviously the United States. We have somebody from South Africa.

[00:05:16] Jill: Oh, that’s fantastic. Wow. Oh, awesome. I would say, I would say you’re all going down, but I’m really not doing very well here.

[00:05:23] Alison: Well, you have moved up, you have moved up to 33rd. I am still beating you at 24th. I had a very bad day because I had my star athlete was for the men’s downhill.

[00:05:35] Jill: Oh. And there was no men’s downhill today.

[00:05:37] Alison: There was no men’s downhill today. So Einersen it’s still in the lead with. And Jet Jet is tied with psgola at 39.

[00:05:45] Jill: That reminds me, you know what? I have not been picking star athletes. Maybe that’s my problem, Okay. I see here we have a new segment called feed beefs. What’s going on?

[00:05:56] Alison: Well, I wanted to bring this back because we did have the segment during Tokyo. And I did want to comment that it’s better.It’s better than Tokyo and NBC has a, here in the United States, has cleaned up its act a little bit. So there is a lot less material that is embargoed. So if you miss it live, it’s pretty easy to catch it later. I’m sure figure skating will be embargoed, but so far anything I’ve wanted to see, I’ve been able to see with the exception of the opening ceremonies, which was fine.

They are still putting commercials in the worst places. So I was watching luge and literally somebody’s run got interrupted by a commercial break, so they still have not worked out that part of it. And I’m not sure if this is me or if this is NBC, I keep getting kicked out in random places. I’ll be watching an event and all of a sudden it will kick me out. I’ve got to re-login and then I’ve got to watch the entry commercials again. So only happened a few times, but is terribly annoying yet, still better than Tokyo. So we’re going to keep on the positive.

[00:07:06] Jill: All right. That sounds good. I noticed on the OBS feed in ski jumping, they’re putting a lot more data on the screen, so that’s kind of an interesting move. They’re just like speed and where the wind is going as they go down the, the jump. So I will keep looking for other stuff like that as well.

[00:07:26] Alison: NBC seems to be putting less data. I’m not sure we mentioned it yesterday. When we were talking about biathlon, there is no heart rate monitor coming up on either the feed or NBC.

[00:07:41] Jill: It was a hope, that was a hope that what they would do this.  They haven’t even done it for the IBU world cup series. It was just, it’s a dream of mine. And I know they can make this happen because they did it for archery.

[00:07:53] Alison: And they have not put much of the data that you are seeing for curling. So keeping it kind of clean in terms of not giving us data, just giving us commentary, but the commentary has been better. Skating, on the other hand, they are giving us a very detailed technical scoring box happening during the programs.

[00:08:15] Jill: I think that might be an NBC thing. Yeah. And I think they understand that the fans want that kind of detailed information. But that’s not what you get here on the feed, or like I’ve seen figure skating on CCTV and they, they are just pulling the feed for that.

So, but we had a lot of action and we had not so much action today on the Hills. Alpine skiing. Men’s downhill was postponed for high winds, date to be determined really.

[00:08:44] Alison: Right. They didn’t even reschedule it yet. And they’ve actually postponed the women’s giant slalom that was supposed to be today or tomorrow in the US is already postponed.

[00:08:59] Jill: Wow. It’s not looking good already when you have to try to cram that in, but hopefully that will get done soon. Cross country skiing. We had the men’s skiathlon. Gold went to Alexander Bolshunov. Silver went to went to Dennis Spitsov from ROC and bronze to Iivo Niskanen from Finland.

[00:09:22] Alison: Very nice to see you’ve been up there. Absolutely. And our TKFLASTANI Kikkan Randall, who we spoke to after Pyeongchang is now in the NBC booth and doing some really nice work there.

[00:09:32] Jill: Excellent. I’m not surprised. And especially if she’s with Chad Salmela and I guess it’s Bill Bowman. They’re doing the rest of the feeds.

[00:09:40] Alison: You know what? I’m not sure who the straight man is, so to speak.

I did want to mention something that’s bad. Salmela said, and I hope he misspoke, because we know Norway is a cross-country slash biathlon powerhouse. They’ve been hit really hard by COVID and the defending gold medalist in this race, Simen Hegstad Kruger, could not compete. They’ve got women that are in COVID protocol that got many athletes that are in protocol.

And Chad Salmela said that Norway should be embarrassed if they didn’t mesal. I hope he misspoke and said and meant that they would be embarrassed because cross-country and biathlon are their things, so I’m going to give him the benefit of the doubt that he wasn’t ragging on for Norway.

[00:10:27] Jill: Yeah, I don’t know.

I mean, but, but also Norway’s team is so deep in both of those fields that you would wonder, even if with COVID happening. If these other athletes will be able to step up and, and take the, the place there. So I don’t know. It’ll be interesting to see what goes on with all these COVID protocols that are happening. Because it just seems like every day more and more people are going into isolation. More athletes are testing positive, and it’s just, it’s really frustrating for the athletes. We don’t have short track on the list for today, but there is a Polish short track speed skater, I believe who tested positive.

Then they said, oh no, no. You’re okay. And then they said, oh no, you aren’t. Okay. And she ended up missing a race and it was just devastating, and pulled around in many, so many emotional directions. And I think that’s just so frustrating. It’s been so difficult to get here. I know athletes are under stress anyway, to try to compete and they’ve got, you know, they’re not competing wearing masks and they’re, they’ve got to be close to other people on these sports.

So they’re doing the best they can. But at the same time, just the testing and the testing you have to do every day, the being careful beforehand tracking all your health stuff. It is very stressful and they can’t let up just because they got in the closed loop. Like I feel since I’ve been here, just like, oh, okay. I made it into the loop. That’s all that matters. I don’t really worry about testing positive. You know, even if I’m crammed on a bus with people, because Hey, guess what? The bus is good and crammed, but I think that stress can’t let up for the athletes until their competitions are over. For some of them that’s the entire games.

[00:12:22] Alison: COVID is definitely affecting Beijing much more than it affected Tokyo in terms of changing the actual competitions.

[00:12:32] Jill: Yeah. And I, I, I wonder why that is. I don’t know if it’s omicron and that being more contagious or is it the measurements they’re going by here and the measurements they’re going by, they went by in Tokyo. I don’t know, but it, it seems off.

[00:12:52] Alison: Well, this is a perfect segue to move into our next sport on our list, which is curling, because on the Australian team Tahli Gill apparently tested positive before she came to Beijing, then tested negative, then tested positive again.

So there was a whole to-do last night, they were going to pull out of the tournament. I went to sleep, I woke up and they had competed. She was given permission to, to finish out the round robin portion of the tournament.

[00:13:22] Jill: Yeah, it was amazing that I, because I saw how you put that in that they pulled out and we got the press release from Australia that they’d pulled out and some of the curling journalists had posted on Twitter that they would have to forfeit because she had tested positive, and then it was like, oh no, well, we looked at the results again and you’re okay. That along with some of the other COVID stories, it’s just kind of like, huh, what’s what’s really going on here.

[00:13:49] Alison: So the best news of this is that Australia beat Switzerland, won their first group match. So this is the first Olympic curling victory for Australia. And I was just watching some of this before we got on to tape. And Dean Hewitt says to Talia at the end of the match, “We just needed more stress.”

[00:14:14] Jill: Ah,

[00:14:16] Alison: So that really just is pretty fantastic. I’d love to talk to them about their partnership because they just seem to work so well and interestingly together. So that was a feel good story after I not very feel good story yesterday.

[00:14:31] Jill: Yes. And so now we are into the medal rounds for the mixed doubles tournament and curling standings ended up being Italy, undefeated 7-0. Canada, Great Britain and Sweden all were 5-2. Norway was 4-3. US was 3-4, and then the last teams were eliminated from the medal rounds. That would be Czech Republic with a record of 3-5, Switzerland with a record of 2-5, China who finished 2-6, and Australia who finished 1-7. I’m sorry. I’m sorry to see the Chinese team ended up not doing so well because it seemed in the beginning, their first, well, their first game was a real stunner.

We’ve had Chinese curling on Chinese TV. So it seemed like they were doing well, but perhaps not.

[00:15:27] Alison: I watched some of the Chinese match yesterday and it could have been, they lost simply because the Chinese woman would just scream the entire match. Oh, wow. And, and she wouldn’t repeat a word. She would, and I’m not quite sure what word she was screaming, but it just sounded.

I think she was actually speaking in English. Because it sounded like she was saying “hard” because sometimes they’ll say to each other, most of them will say hard, hard, hard. She will just say hard the entire time that her partner is sweeping. And in this pitch that I could no longer watch the match. Wow.

My ears. So, I mean, there’s a lot of yelling that goes on in curling. I get it. And sometimes it gets annoying pushed to a whole other level.

[00:16:16] Jill: Interesting. Well, medal rounds are coming up and then we will move over to the men’s and women’s team events. So more curling to look forward to. I got to say, so I was watching, I, I would imagine you get overhead shots of the Olympic park area.

There is in the, the Ice Cube. So they’ve got multicolored lights. They’ve got some single color lights. They can spell 2022 on the sides of the Ice Cube and on the roof. And then today I noticed when I was walking by the big screen, a TV that’s in the main hallway, that there’s like a curling stone look that they can do with the bubbles. I’ll try to get a picture and put it on whenever they do it

[00:17:00] Alison: Whenever I saw it on TV, it’s just white. I think they must just have the same repetitive shot. They sent one drone up at the beginning and that was it. But no, we have not seen all these cool colored figures.

[00:17:13] Jill: Yes. Oh yeah. It’s really cool. How the lights change for the venue. It’s, it’s really, really interesting.

Moving over to figure skating. We had more competition in the team event. It was women’s short program and the men’s free. I did. I was there for the men’s free skate, which was weird. Because it was well, I was very, very late for the session, but it was only six skaters. So it was just very unusual to see just such a short program. But how was, how was a women’s?

[00:17:45] Alison: Women’s was a lot of fun. I mean, Kamila Valieva, who is the European champion and from the ROC. She’s a baby, she’s all of 15; landed, a triple axle, fourth woman to land a triple axle in Olympic competition. Here in the US, Tara Lipinski and Johnny Weir went a little over the top with their commentary. She’s stunning. She’s beautiful. She’s an amazing, amazing skater. And you know, they’re calling her once in a lifetime, once in a generation. Great Johnny, where he said her skating could change the world.

[00:18:21] Jill: It seems like they’re digging deep. Although she is a beautiful skater. I will say that, but as we’ve talked before the Russian skaters, I tend to be like, well, let’s wait and see what happens because somebody who’s skating changes the world to me is somebody who sticks around for a while.

And we’ve talked about the revolving door of Russian skaters.

[00:18:40] Alison: Right. And we have a totally new ROC team of women this year. You know, we have a totally new ROC women who went to Europeans. So they’re interchangeable in many ways. Valieva, to me, she’s doing harder things, but she doesn’t look any different than the Russian women we’ve seen the past three Olympics.

[00:19:02] Jill: So perhaps the ROC way of skating could change the world.

[00:19:07] Alison: Possibly, but you know what I did enjoy Ukrainian Anastasia Shabotova did the Carol of the Bells. The Japanese woman Wakaba Higuchi, for those of you who have been around skating for a while, please tell me that you see the connections to Midori Ito, from the ’80s and ‘90s,looks just like her, how she skates. It was quite late. Right. Also want to mention the Canadians were in a hole going into the women’s free skate.

It looked like they weren’t. I mean, excuse me. In the women’s short program, it looked like they weren’t even going to make it. They were going to get cut off into the next round and Madeline Schizas – one heck of a program, unexpectedly. And so Canada got to stick around. They are in fourth place, currently, most likely out of medals. With the defending gold medalists will likely not be on the podium, but at least they didn’t get the embarrassment of not even making it to a long program.

[00:20:13] Jill: Okay. Interesting. So, so then we moved on to the men’s. But Canada. Oh, no, they did. Okay. That makes more sense. Because I didn’t know, there were only five teams in the free skate. So one thing that I took away, well, first off Nathan Chen, who had skated, the short program for the U S was replaced in the free skate by Vincent Zhou.

And that decision, I thought it would be fine until it wasn’t and Vincent did not have a good free skate.

[00:20:47] Alison: He popped some jumps

[00:20:48] Jill: Yeah, popped jumps and it just wasn’t, wasn’t good. It wasn’t quick. I expected him to be a little faster or have a little bit more intensity in the skating. And I just didn’t see that.

I will say that when you watch a figure skating competition live versus on TV, there, there are different things that you get out of it. So on TV, you get the closeups and you get to see the details, but when you pull back and see more of the rink and especially live, because I think the ice rink and stuff out, I could better anticipate when somebody was going to make a mistake.

I could see it going into jumps and stuff like, oh, this is not going to go well. And it didn’t. And I was really surprised at how having the longer perspective or the wider angle really changed how you saw the program. Even if you, you know, even if they look like they were two inches. Yeah.

[00:21:44] Alison: Were you able to hear much of the, the ice sounds?

[00:21:50] Jill: I would say yes, but I couldn’t tell you. I can’t remember. Because I heard, I sound all day.

[00:21:56] Alison: You’re hearing ice sounds in your sleep as your brain is freezing from the mountain.

[00:22:02] Jill: But what else did you think about this?

[00:22:06] Alison: So there was a program. Did you see the Russian short program?

[00:22:13] Alison: This is Mark, and I’m going to pronounce this wrong, Mark Kondratiuk had a program to Jesus Christ Superstar. It was great music, but man was that Russian drama writ large. And the other thing I wanted to mention, we talk about the rest of women, but the Japanese men. Unbelievable because Yuzu Hanyu is not skating in the team event.

Jill:  No, he just got here today, right? I think because of the ankle injury,

Alison: They had two programs from two other male skaters that were just absolutely stunning. So I don’t know what’s in the water, but every male skater needs to apparently go to Japan. Find out what these guys are doing and copy it because it was last night was Yuma Kagiyama who’s all of 18. And just so, so, so beautiful.

[00:23:09] Jill: Yeah. I would agree. And the standings now after five of eight, segments is ROC leading with 45 points. USA is behind them by three, with 42, then Japan with 39, Canada with 30, and China with 29. China got in, because there was a tie. Georgia and China tied for fifth, the tiebreaker put China in the finals and the tie-breaker was the combined total of their two best scores.

[00:23:38] Alison: So there are several layers of tiebreaker, but the tiebreaker that they hit was the highest total segment scores of the top two. So since they had Sui and Han who finished first in the pairs segment, they ended up going in over Georgia, but Georgia coming in sixth is a huge accomplishment for that program.

[00:24:01] Jill: I’m sure that’s, it’s, it’s exciting. It’s exciting to see another country kind of in that mid.

[00:24:07] Alison: And to have the USA so close to the top going in is a huge shock.

[00:24:14] Jill: Right? Right. So we’ll be interested to see who ends up skating in the free programs for the rest of the discipline.

Moving over to freestyle skiing.We had the women’s moguls event today. They did the second qualification and then the final runs. Gold went to Australia’s Jakarta Anthony, silver went to USA’s Jalen Kauf and bronze went to ROC’s Anastasia Smirnova. A great win for Australia. They were very excited.

[00:24:44] Alison: I think it’s their first gold medal since 2010.

[00:24:49] Jill: Wow. That’s a, that’s a long time.

[00:24:52] Alison: So it’s a, it’s a big deal.

[00:24:54] Jill: Excellent. So happy for them. It’s nice because you know, I noticed they had a really large contingent at the opening ceremonies, so it was really cool to see a country that doesn’t really have a tradition of winter sports, really building a winter sports program.

[00:25:13] Alison: You know, like we were saying before now they have a curling team. Now they’ve got medals. It’s just really exciting to see a whole program emerge like this in, since we’ve been watching it in the, in the last 20 years or so. I mean, it seemed like even though Sydney was a summer games, it catapulted their entire Olympic program, both winter and summer.

[00:25:35] Jill: Yeah, I bet it has. If our Australian listeners know anything about that, let us know because we’d love to explore that more. It is really exciting to see sports grow and blossom in the country Aussie! Aussie! Aussie! Oi! Oi! Oi!

So before we move on to ice hockey, we wanted to let you know about our red envelope campaign that we’re doing during the games. This show does cost money to produce. And while our listeners have been extremely generous in supporting us through the Kickstarter campaign that got us here to Beijing, and also through Patreon patronage, we’re coming up on two and a half years until another Olympics. To celebrate the lunar new year, we’re asking for donations of at least $8 to help get us through Paris 2024. Go to flamealivepod.com/support to donate. And thank you to everyone who’s donated so far. We’ve had a lot of support and it’s really exciting and very heartwarming to know how much you appreciate the show.

Okay. Ice hockey. We had more preliminary round action today. We had, oh, it was just two games. So, China versus Japan, China won two to one, and then USA versus Switzerland, USA won eight to zero. And I saw one period, one of this game, but boy, every time the US scored one goal and then a couple minutes went by and then they just started scoring goals like crazy.

It was something like five, zero at the end of the first period.

[00:27:08] Alison: Well, a little piece of good TKFLASTAN in the news. Brianna Decker is on the sidelines with her clipboard. She is there. She is staying in Beijing.

[00:27:17] Jill: Excellent, excellent. And I think I saw TKFLASTANI athletic trainer Wayne Lamarre on the sidelines too.

I, I may have a picture of him. He is on the other side. The closed loop prevents me from getting to him, but hopefully I’ll get back to the hockey venue for the women’s tournament and get to somebody to get the pin to him. He needs his pin. Exactly. We have a special Team TKFLASTAN pin for all of our guests to thank them for their time.

And yeah, we’re trying to get to them, the athletes and, and other support staff who are here in Beijing. At hockey, this is exciting. I mean, the Wukesong Sports Centre looks like it should be a hopping place if there was no COVID protocols here going on, I believe, but you can’t quote me that outside of this venue is like a plaza and it looks like they had stuff planned to do and just have like fans zone areas.

I don’t think that’s happening. We do have fans with their flags. Every, all the fans are funny because they all get their Bing Dwen Dwen flags and they just waved them like crazy throughout the whole whatever competition they’re seeing. We see flags waving. The hockey arena has cheerleaders who do dances.

[00:28:39] Alison: Are they on skates? Are they in the crowd?

[00:28:41] Jill: They are up in the crowd and they are like on the second tier. So there are you know, the top of the first tier that, that balcony level that you have to get into, or you walk into the arena and then you go down for the bottom tier seating there in that, that.

So the first number they did was to a popular song. And then after the first period, and during the first intermission, they came out and did something in a traditional thing, and I was busy packing up my stuff so that I could get the right bus to get back to here to the media center to tape. And I could not catch this on video, but it was equally as impressive.

They have these rows of dancers dancing in the middle of like the walkway.

[00:29:31] Alison: I hope you don’t need to go to the restroom while they’re there, ruining the whole thing.

[00:29:37] Jill: Bing Dwen Dwen was there of course. And he kind of toddled around a little bit and waved, but one of my favorite things here at this arena was on the jumbotron.

They had little game. And, you know, like when you go to baseball games and it’s like, which, where where’s the baseball underneath the caps or different races that they can do on the video monitor. Okay. So they show somebody from the audience and then they do an overlay of a whack-a-mole game, but it’s a whack Bing Dwen Dwen.

And the, the audience member has to try to watch the jumbotron and whack where he is with their hands. It is fantastic.

[00:30:21] Alison: I hope they continue that over in curling.

[00:30:25] Jill: It doesn’t quite have the same effect. They have the organ music going. It’s loud. It’s fun. There’s a lot of atmosphere to high-key and this is a really fun venue to be in, even with, you know, even though the fan base is really small, it’s, it’s really fun to be there.

The other thing that I did see, the new LED light thing that they had. It was facing out. So I didn’t see it much an accident, but it just looked like there. Oh, hey, somebody is in the penalty box. There’s a clock there. If you happen to notice it, it’s not like anything gets projected.

[00:31:04] Alison: This was the end game.

[00:31:08] Jill: Yes. The clock for the penalty box. Oh yes. The revolutionary new way of putting a clock on the board that lets, you know, when somebody penalty is going to be over

[00:31:20] Alison: Find the Omega guys and have some discussion with them.

[00:31:22] Jill: I know maybe they are official timekeepers and I can have a word. So now we have the standings in group A. US, they’re undefeated three, nothing. Canada is also undefeated, 2 to nothing. ROC is one-on-one. Finland is 0 and two and Switzerland is 0 and three.

Over in Group B, Japan is two and one, as is China. The Czech Republic is two and O. Sweden and Denmark are both 0 and 2.

Over to luge, we had the last two runs of the men’s singles tournament. Winning gold was a Johannes Ludwig from Germany. Silver went to Wolfgang Kindl from Austria, and Dominik Fischnaller from Italy took the bronze.

So I did not see any of this. Did, did you did watch it?

[00:32:11] Alison: I was surprised at how late they were doing these runs. Does it just get dark really early there or was it just late?

[00:32:20] Jill: But no, those, the whole sliding competition is extremely late. It ends at like 10 something at night.

[00:32:27] Alison: Right. So they, it, it was clearly dark.

I was just surprised because usually in the past, those have been done during the day. So I’m wondering why that was scheduled that way, because it’s gotta be just bitterly, bitterly cold.

[00:32:41] Jill: Oh, it is. Let me, let me tell you about the cold here. It’s really cold. No, it’s interesting. When I look at the schedule, there’s a lot of stuff that just seems to happen in Chinese primetime television, which makes sense, because we’re here.

In a way, it doesn’t make sense because of the weather. Like when the sun goes down, it just gets colder. And so these athletes were already in harsh conditions, especially in the mountains to make them compete later at night. Just seems almost unnecessary.

[00:33:18] Alison: I agree. It seemed, it just seemed very odd. Because I would think under the lights would actually make it more difficult, but maybe it’s easier because they can control the shadows.

But Felix Loch, who has been sort of the king of, of luge for a generation finished fourth, but there was nobody more excited for Johannes Ludwig than Felix. Oh, really, both Germans sliders, and nobody gave him a bigger hug than, than Felix Loch. It was, it felt like that generational passing of the torch.

Yes. Which was such a joy to see when you see a, an older competitor with a younger competitor and there isn’t, I mean, I’m sure there’s a rivalry, but there wasn’t hostility.

[00:34:07] Jill: Oh, that’s nice. So then that’s not the only great thing that Felix Loch has done. One of the stories that we’ve had here is the Olympic debut for Georgian slider, Saba Kumaritashvili who only made it through rounds one and two, he placed 30th and didn’t move on from on, into the rest of the competition, but he is the cousin of Nodar Kumaritashvili who crashed in Whistler and in 2010 and died instantly from the crash right before the Vancouver games started. So Saba becoming a luger and now competing just continues that legacy there for that family. And the Felix Loch tie is when he won the gold in 2010, he melted his gold medal into two disks and he etched the years of his birth and death on one and gave it to the family.

I know. Try not to cry.

[00:35:20] Alison: Yeah. You got me a little with that one. I had not heard that story and that just speaks to what a champion. Yeah, but he would with that family and now for Saba to be able to compete against Felix Loch, I hope they had a moment. I hope they, they got to speak, you know, that would be amazing.

Beause I, I think Felix Loch might finally be at the end of his very, very long career, coach the Georgian program. Oh, wouldn’t that be amazing? Oh, well, first of all, they would grow leaps and bounds. Felix Loch. You can’t do better than him. No, this is, share that. Felix, I’m going to get you a job now that you’re going to be unemployed.

[00:36:05] Jill: I don’t think he’s going to be unemployed for long. I’m sure everybody wants to snatch him up.

Let’s move over to a jumping. We had the men’s normal hill individual tournament today. We finished up after the qualifying rounds. Gold went to Japan’s Ryoyu Kobayashi. Silver went to Manuel Fettner from Austria, and bronze went to David Kubacki from Poland. Wow. So this is, what happened here because I have not heard what this competition was like. Because there’s no Simon Ammann. There’s no Kamil Stoch from Poland, what happened?

[00:36:47] Alison: Stoch competed.

[00:36:49] Jill: Yeah, I know, but what happened? Because he’s a champion. You gotta do it again.

[00:36:54] Alison: I didn’t see it yet.

[00:36:55] Jill: Oh, okay. All right. Well put it on the list. I hope it’s going to play around here somewhere. We got curling on right now and one commercial and hockey. Well, this is one to look into. I will have to look into what happened with that one.

Over in snowboard. This is so exciting. Women had their snowboard slope style competition. Gold goes to Zoi Sadowski-Synnott, New Zealand, first gold medal, winter Olympics medal wait, sorry. First gold medal in the winter Olympics for New Zealand. I am so thrilled for the silver ferns. Oh, that’s such good news. That’s such good news.

USA’s Julia Marino won silver and Tess Coady from Australia won bronze. So Oceania is cleaning up here.

[00:37:52] Alison: This was a great competition at the very end of it. Zoi Sadowski-Synnott hit the last run. Julia was sitting in first, Tess sitting in second. They’re waiting for Zoi, who I believe is the world champion, to come down.

She comes down. It’s close. It really was just a few point difference. The commentators weren’t sure which way it was going to go, but as she came down to the bottom of the run before the scores even came up, Zoi sort of collapses at the end and then Julia and Tess run over and pile on top of her.

Oh, just in this, this puppy pile of joy. It was fantastic. This is similar to what we saw with the skateboarding community and the surfing community. The snowboarding community clearly has a lot of love and affection for one another, and a lot of joy just to see people throw down great runs.

[00:38:49] Jill: But this, I hear this was a tough, tough competition.

Like not, not necessarily the athletes competing against each other as athletes against the elements.

[00:38:58] Alison: Yes. So. Weather was tough. And the course seemed to be very, very difficult. People were falling left and right there was even a competitor who, when she went across one of the obstacles, there were sparks coming from her snowboard off the rail.

That is because it is so dry and so cold that that friction created a spark. So I guess now snowboarders can burst into flames. I was a little concerned, but unfortunately, Jamie Anderson. The American who was going for a three-peat had no clean runs at all. Wow. In the finals. Yeah. She’s the only woman previous to this who has won this event. Because it’s only been, this is only the third time around for slopestyle snowboard. So she had a disappointing competition.

[00:39:54] Jill: But a gold medal for New Zealand, Winter Olympics. Go Silver Ferrns.

Okay. Moving over to speed skating. In the long track, we had the men’s at 5,000 meters today. I was there for this one too.

[00:40:09] Alison: Oh, you were here?

[00:40:10] Jill: Yeah. Yeah, I was there.

[00:40:16] Alison: This was a race.

[00:40:18] Jill: Yes. It was. Gold went to Sweden’s Nils van der Poel, who got in the Olympic record. Silver went to Patrick Roest from the Netherlands who, his time also had broken the Olympic Record. And then bronze went to Hallgier Engebraaten from Norway and your favorite Sven Kramer was in ninth place, but he was in the first pair and I think that had something to do with it. And he was ahead of his place from Pyeongchang. He was doing really, really well and then just trailed off. And he was so far ahead of his competitor that I wonder if he just didn’t have that push.

[00:41:02] Alison: He’s old now and cranky.

[00:41:04] Jill: Yeah, I think so. I think that’s it. And as we learned, he had a very tough time making the team. So I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw him retire after this.

[00:41:16] Alison: I should say he’s older and crankier.

And this was a race to watch Nils van der Poel, pull it out at the absolute last lap. He was ahead. And then he was trailing and then he was ahead. But this, the first speed skating gold medal for Sweden since 1988. The Swedes were going nuts.

[00:41:42] Jill: Oh, they were, they were going nuts in the venue and you weren’t supposed to be cheering yet they were. So, you know, themselves know who could this was another sport where the whole having the perspective of the whole track, let you see just how well they were doing, because I could see van der Poel speed up on the end. And when you’re watching. Generally, you have either a closeup of them, the one skater or kind of the two together, but you don’t get like the whole straightaway.

And that’s where you really saw him build speed. It’s that long bit from the one, one curve into the next. Seeing it from the furthest angle. Really? It was just so impressive. And the, the announcer in-house, the in-house, the in-house announcer is really fun. He knows his stuff. He loves the sport. He was excited.

He’d be like, oh, he’s off the pace. But every lap you got the times and how far back they were. And I know that information was coming instantaneously, but it was, it was really nice to have, and they they’re just, they’re doing a good job.

[00:43:01] Alison: There was a cute moment. And I don’t know if you saw this live, but they replayed it on television at the end of the race.

The Swedish coach, you know how during the race, they, they sort of write on whiteboards and hold up how far behind on each lap. And he held up a big zero and he, as in Nils, wasn’t behind at all. Nice. It was a cute little moment. And. It was fun to watch this and celebrate it.

[00:43:35] Jill: It was fun. And you know, what else was, who else was in the venue?

[00:43:42] Alison: Bing Dwen Dwen?

[00:43:43] Jill: No. Oh, it’s better than Bing Dwen Dwen. It is the Team Canada drum.

[00:43:55] Alison: It’s made a return?

[00:43:57] Jill: Yes. So  the chef de mission and I, sorry, I cannot remember her name at this moment, but the, the indigenous nation who provided the drum for the summer Olympics also bestowed a drum upon the winter Olympians too.

And she is bringing it around to all the venues and I heard something beat and I was like, you know, kind of like a bird dog, Wait, is that the, is it the drum? Is it the drum? And I had to go, I took a little video of it because I tracked it down and got to hear her drum, the drum. It was so cool.

Yeah, but she is definitely getting out to the different venues and cheering on the Canadians in style. Interesting fun fact, because this is not something I’m looking for. The Zambonis at the speed skating oval are different from the Zambonis at the hockey rink, like one is blue and one is red and Bing Dwen Dwen, is doing different stuff on them.

[00:44:55] Alison: Wait, the mascot is on the Zamboni?

[00:44:59] Jill: Yeah, like a decal.

[00:45:01] Alison: Oh, I thought you meant he was like riding on it.

[00:45:04] Jill: wouldn’t that be fun?

[00:45:06] Alison: I wouldn’t be, that would be my volunteer job. I would sit on the Zamboni in the Bing Dwen Dwen costume and just

[00:45:14] Jill: No Bing Dwen Dwen, as a decal on the side and doing different things, but there’s different Zambonis. I got to see the Zambonis reverse, done. The ice did not know that was going to happen. That was, that was exciting. And it doesn’t take much to throw me apparently when I don’t have much sleep. And I enjoyed that very much. I also got to see the one, one ceremony, the handing out of the pandas at the end and oh, wow.

[00:45:44] Alison: You got to see more.

[00:45:45] Jill: The girls got to see more panda girls and also one of them did, I forgot this and it might’ve been my officiating or volunteer job. They have the mask on / mask off signs because they’re allowed to have the mask off to receive the panda or medal, but then you put it back on for the group photo.

[00:46:08] Alison: Well, considering that, you know, so many people are in COVID protocol. That if you get close to anybody, and I forgot to mention this while we were talking about curling, because Tahli Gill, obviously isn’t. Tahli Gill is in COVID protocol. They went to shake her hand and then remembered and just waved, laughed like, yes, I know.

Stay away, get away.

[00:46:36] Jill: I will say one other thing. Maybe it was my vantage point. None of the speed skaters’ thighs looked as massive as they do on TV.

[00:46:46] Alison: I think you needed a normal person standing next to them.

[00:46:51] Jill: Maybe, but I I’m going to keep an eye on that because I’ll be back at speed skating. Other thing I really liked was Sweden’s uniform. It is. Because they have the, the cross that’s on the flag, that’s like from their calf down. And that looks really cool. It’s something I’ve never seen before in a uniform.

[00:47:14] Alison: And it’s that beautiful Swedish blue.

[00:47:15] Jill: That is correct. So that wraps up today’s competition. What is our TKFLASTAN watch? Like for tomorrow.

[00:47:24] Alison: Clare Egan and will be back for the 15 kilometer individual race in biathlon. She is bib 59.

[00:48:22] Jill: Yes. So the individual is a race against the clock and everybody goes off at 30 second intervals. So the race starts at 5:00 PM local time. And Clare will go off at 5:29 and 30 seconds. And that is probably more helpful to me because then I know when to skedaddle back outside from, from taking a break, you know, I’m going to watch the first people go off. Because I have the whole start list here. I’m going to watch the first ones go off. And then I go to slide inside, warm up for about two minutes and slide back out to, to root for Clare.

Oh man.

[00:48:23] Alison: You have 29 extra minutes to get to the bus. And we already got

[00:48:27] Jill: Speaking of what?

[00:48:29] Alison: And speaking of mascots.

[00:48:32] Jill: Yes.

[00:48:34] Alison: We have our beautiful mascot this week. Her name is Luna. She is Listener Beth’s cat. And right now I hope she is getting more sleep than we are. And apparently her favorite place to sleep is in the hallway linen closet. So they have to leave the door open.

[00:48:54] Jill: Don’t want to lock the cat in with the, no, not at all. We would also like to thank our researchers for today, Holly Miller and Laura, thank you so much for your support. So that will do it for this episode. Tune in again tomorrow for another day of coverage from Beijing. I will be out at the biathlon venue and I think that’s going to end up being the only competition I see. I thought I was going to catch some slopestyle, but I don’t think I’ll make it just because I need to get a seat in the workroom so I could actually work.

[00:49:30] Alison: And, you know, stay maybe slightly warm. That’s right. Yeah. So if you’re home like me, please celebrate the games with us at our Keep the Flame Alive Podcast Facebook group. It’s the place to be with me and Jill posting her daily diaries. Jill is also on Twitter. I am on Insta and both those handles are @flamealivepod. You can email us@flamealivepod@gmail.com or call or text us at (208) 352-6348. That’s (208) FLAME-IT.

[00:50:05] Jill: We will catch you back here tomorrow with more coverage from Beijing. Thank you so much for listening. And until next time, keep the flame alive.