Snowflake "cauldron" at the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics Opening Ceremony

Beijing 2022: Olympics – Day 1

Release Date: February 4, 2022

Category: Beijing 2022 | Podcast

The Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics are officially open! Jill was able to go to the Opening Ceremony, and she shares details you didn’t get to see on TV, while Alison tells Jill about some of the stuff she missed by not watching it on TV. The fireworks were stellar, the details incredible, but what they did with the Olympic flame? We have thoughts.

Today also had some competitions, so we’ve got updates from:

  • Curling – Mixed Doubles
  • Figure Skating – Team Event
  • Ice Hockey – Women’s tournament

Plus an update on TKFLASTANI Brianna Decker and who to look for tomorrow!

Red Envelope campaign!

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 to help us get through to Paris 2024. Go to 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 1

[00:00:00] Jill: Ni hao fans of TKFLASTAN and welcome to day one coverage of the Beijing 2022 Olympics on Keep the Flame Alive, the podcast for fans of the Olympics and Paralympics. I am your host, Jill Jaracz, joined as always by my lovely cohost Alison Brown. Alison, Ni hao. We have a flame!

[00:00:24] Alison: Ni hao. I think the vacuuming people have found you from the curling.

[00:00:29] Jill: Yeah, exactly. I’m in the Main Media Center taping. And so you’ll hear the residual noise. I’ve got a couple of photographers who are across from me in the tables and they’re vacuuming here. So enjoy the ambience. It’ll feel like real, like you’re in a real hive of activity.

[00:00:47] Alison: Well, that’s what I wanted to ask you about the media center and we’ll start there, and we have so much to get through, but how many people are you seeing in the media center at any given time when you go into work there?

[00:00:58] Jill: I would say close to midnight right now and, or it’s yeah, it’s 11:30 pm and there’s probably 20-25 right now, but like in the middle of the day you walk in and it’s full. So there’s a few, a couple hundred or so at least. And it’s, what’s awesome is that just to have like every language. So the other day I’m sitting at a table and the guy behind me is Italian. And I couldn’t stop thinking of you because he’s like, pronto pronto!

Just get, you know, talking Italian. Yeah, you hear all the languages. It’s great.

[00:01:36] Alison: All I be able to say, because we know I haven’t gotten very far on Duolingo is “La donna mangia una mela.”

[00:01:45] Jill: And that gets you far. I have experienced with it.

[00:01:48] Alison: You know, I’d get an apple and I wouldn’t starve. And you have some great pictures of your snacks and your drinks, in the group. So please everyone join us in the Facebook group. There’s lots of opinions on the opening ceremonies, which we will get to. It’s Keep the Flame Alive podcast and jump on Facebook for that.

So lots of people have thoughts. I know you have thoughts. You were there.

[00:02:11] Jill: I was there. I was there. I think we’re going to go through some other things first. Yes. Yes. So we have first off our games time segment, what officiating or volunteer job would we want to do? What do you have?

[00:02:23] Alison: So I have decided,  it wasn’t officiating job that I saw, but it was a demanding job that you mentioned in that when you went to the opening ceremony, you had a bag of goodies.

[00:02:35] Jill: Yes.

[00:02:36] Alison: So I would like to be the person who puts the bags on the chairs.

[00:02:40] Jill: Oh, okay. Okay.

[00:02:43] Alison: It’s a rewarding job because you know, people are really going to enjoy it because there was a hat and gloves in there that you will be happy to have.

[00:02:50] Jill: Yes. And a hot pack, which I was very happy to have a blanket, like, okay, so I know yesterday I complained about being cold, not as cold today. Now I would have to work on my feet. My feet are a problem. They get cold. I have wonderful thick socks on. I have wonderful, insulated boots. My feet are starting to sweat and then they get cold. So, and then my hands a little bit today, because I had to have the gloves off to do typing and stuff, and I put them back on, but you know, they got a little cold, but I’m, I’m wearing double layers on bottom, triple layers on top, lots of cowls and hats and everything I got. So I’m, I’m doing better people.

[00:03:29] Alison: If you can get your hands on some silk sock liners.

[00:03:34] Jill: Oh, okay.

[00:03:36] Alison: That absorb the sweat and breathes

[00:03:39] Jill: Okay. That’s good to know.

[00:03:40] Alison: So yeah, if, if in the shop they have little Bin Dwen Dwen sock liners or maybe one Bin Dwen Dwen, and one Shuey Rhon Rhon, you know.

[00:03:50] Jill: oh, I would love that.

Alison: You saw lots of jobs today.

Jill: Okay. Okay. So during the parade of nations, did you notice that they alternated which way the countries went on the stage?

[00:04:04] Alison: They, we did not see, we saw them come down the center.

[00:04:07] Jill: Right. So then they either turned left or they turned, right?

[00:04:10] Alison: Yeah. We didn’t see that.

[00:04:11] Jill: Okay. So how they kept people from, to make sure they alternate. They had what I called them, the blockade. They were two groups of six kids and they would run out and form a line in the aisle where the team was not supposed to go. And then once the team went its right direction and was all through the one line left and the other line came in.

[00:04:40] Alison: So they didn’t even go with the like the ground control of an airport with the lights. They really went for the physical blockade.

[00:04:48] Jill: Yes. Physical blockade. it was impressive. And I know it didn’t get on TV, but I just loved watching it and they’d be like, everyone’s familiar. You’d see one person in the middle of the line go, okay. It’s time to go. But the first person hadn’t gone yet. And they’re like, oh, I guess we’re not going.

[00:05:01] Alison: They needed yelling like the curlers do. Right.

[00:05:07] Jill: All right. We did have a little action today. Some were still in the mixed doubles tournament for curling. Current standings are Italy at the top of the rankings, 4-0

[00:05:19] Alison: Yesterday I said that nobody was undefeated. So I wanted to correct that, but I did bring that up. And of course, really, I made, I made a mistake about Italy.

[00:05:30] Jill: How dare you. So, and then Canada and Great Britain are tied, 3-1. Sweden is 3-2. China, the Czech Republic and the US are 2-2. Norway is 1-3. Switzerland is 1-3, and oh Australia is 0-5. They are having a tough games.

[00:05:50] Alison: Yeah. I was just watching their match against Great Britain. And the Great British team is number one in the world.

[00:05:57] Jill: Yes. Yes. I learned that from the journalist.

[00:06:01] Alison: And they’re being Scots. So I had a great time listening to that mic-ed up match.

[00:06:06] Jill: Oh, nice. I’m sure they got each other. It was fantastic.

And then we had some figure skating happening today. The team event started. So in the team event, we had the men’s a short program, the ice dance the rhythm dance, and the pairs did their short program as well. Oh yeah. I noticed that you have mentioned here that COVID was affecting the competition because I noticed that Ukraine and Germany did not have full teams and they’re out because of Covid.

[00:06:34] Alison: Yes. So the Ukrainian, I believe it’s the Ukrainian man and the German woman half of the pairs team, both tested positive, and the way the team event works, once you name your team, you can’t replace them. And in addition, not sure if Germany and Ukraine qualified more than one in that. They have an additional, you know, the Canadians were lucky enough because their national champion in the men’s division, Keegan Messing, tested positive, but they had Roman Sadovsky that was there already was qualified and he, and Keegan tested positive before they officially named their team. So they were able to add Roman to their team event.

[00:07:20] Jill: Wow.

[00:07:21] Alison: It’s really shaken up the standings and its shaken up the standings in, in an additional way in that Shoma Uno, Japanese skater and defending silver medalist. does not have his coach here. That’s Stephane Lambiel, who skating fans may remember, he was a Swiss champion back in the day, tested positive. He’s back home.

Well, last night it was a lot of fun last night.

[00:07:48] Jill: Nathan Chen was out and, oh my gosh. I just, you know, I had to watch that. I meant to go see it, but I had to watch it on the big screen here in the media center. And Nathan Chen came out and like, that is such a much stronger Nathan Chen than we saw four years ago.

It was incredible.

[00:08:10] Alison: Beautiful. Beautiful short program. The men in general were, were pretty good. The ice dancing got interesting because Madison Hubbell and Zach Donahue ended up on top of the standings, which was unexpected. So the USA is actually in the lead right now of the team standings, which was very unexpected followed by ROC China, Japan, Italy, Canada, the defending gold medalist is way down in sixth.

[00:08:37] Jill: That’s due to Meagan Duhamel, retired. And you have Virtue and Moier, and not that their current ice dancers aren’t anything to slouch over, but you still had medalist ther.,

[00:08:52] Alison: Right. The Canadian pair did not skate well on top of it. They did not skate up to their potential. So even though this is only three of eight pieces of this competition, these standings are very, very unexpected, so this’ll be a fun competition.

So when we spoke to Jackie Wong, I made the joke about, oh, here’s the softball about the team competition, but this is shaping up to be very interesting. And speaking of Meghan Duhamel, she’s one of the coaches of the Japanese pair Miura and Kihara, she and her husband Bruno Marcotte.

[00:09:34] Jill: Interesting. Becaause I believe Bruno is here.

Alison: And she is not, she and baby

Jill: And baby to be

[00:09:35] Alison: Yes. So Meagan announced that she is pregnant with baby number two. So congratulations to her and, and her husband Bruno Marcotte. So that’s exciting. So yeah, no traveling for Meagan right now. That’s for sure. No, covid.

[00:09:46] Jill: You know what else was interesting? I can’t remember who it was, but whatever I dance team had that orange number outfit on with the man who just, you know, slit down to his navel.

[00:10:04] Alison: Canadian pair, Gillis and Poirier

[00:10:06] Jill: You know, throw a banana hat on his head and he’d be the Chiquita banana.

[00:10:11] Alison: Yeah, they did an, it was an Elton John number. And those are actually new costumes. Those are not the costumes that they’ve been wearing all season. They have been wearing orange jumpsuits, but this was another level of ice dance insanity, which was fantastic.

[00:10:28] Jill: They are bringing another rhythm to their rhythm to have. Okay, then we have over in ice hockey, two more games in the women’s prelim round. China beat Denmark 3-1 and ROC defeated Switzerland 5-2.

Before we get to opening ceremonies talk, we wanted to let you know about our red envelope campaign. 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 here to Beijing and also through Patreon patronage, we are coming up on two and a half years until another Olympics.

So to celebrate the lunar new year, we are asking for donations of at least $8 to help us get through to Paris 2024. Go to to donate and we appreciate everybody who’s donated so far and keep it coming.

[00:11:21] Alison: I get pretty excited when I see those notifications come in.

[00:11:24] Jill: Oh, I know. It’s very nice that we are so grateful.

[00:11:28] Alison: I kind of wish the red envelope with like pop up on my computer.

[00:11:32] Jill: Oh, that would be nice.

[00:11:33] Alison: There could be a firework with a dragon. Let’s keep lunar new year going.

[00:11:40] Jill: Right. Right. All right. So opening ceremonies, they were short, although boy, that parade of nations about long,

[00:11:49] Alison: I don’t see how they were short because they started here, the broadcast started at, they set up at about 6:30 AM. It was 7:03 by my clock and it was after 9:30 when they turned off the broadcast, but the dancing was still going on. We didn’t even see all those people dancing on the field afterwards.

[00:12:12] Jill: Oh yeah. And they had a whole pre-show. They had all these people dancing on the sidelines and I thought they were like halfway through, it kind of dawned on me that maybe they would be part of the actual show, but they really weren’t. It was interesting how these were like pre-show and post-show entertainment. Because running up

[00:12:33] Alison: Running up like volunteers and some of the show participants because the women in the dresses that used that carried the country snowflakes were definitely dancing around. And those skirts twirled.

[00:12:46] Jill: Man. Oh, I’m sure. Yeah. Yeah. They were beautiful though. Those outfits, that whole ensemble with the sign and the outfit were just stunning. My backup volunteer job would be, a lot of the dancers had pom-poms and at one point in this pre-show all of a sudden, I see two of the volunteers or two of the dancers pushing shopping carts of pompoms.That is a job I would want.

[00:13:13] Alison: Please deposit here. Would that be the pom-pom hole?

[00:13:19] Jill: Yes. Much like the food collection, trash hole or whatever. There’s a, there’s a picture I posted somewhere that now it’s on Twitter about some of the fun translations we have here. So we did have a big theme again. We have got that. What somebody has to tell me, what does the technology at the floor.

[00:13:40] Alison: The LED projection

[00:13:43] Jill: I guess if that’s what you call it. I don’t know because it’s, it’s beautiful. I was a little low to see the floor, but we had monitors with us too. And just the 3-D elements that they can do with that now and give it so much dimension. It was fantastic.

[00:14:01] Alison: So on the TV, I found it difficult at times to figure out what was real and what was screen.

Yes on the TV, everything is flat. So you don’t have any depth. So when that ice cube structure came out of the floor, until Mike Tirico told me it was actually a thing coming out of the floor, I thought that was just a projection.

[00:14:29] Jill: I had the same thought sitting there in the stadium because I didn’t see it come on as a floor. I did not see it come out of the floor because I was looking elsewhere. And then all of a sudden it was there and I’m like, is that real? Or is it not? And then they started projecting all of the winter games throughout history, which I loved that. I thought that was

[00:14:50] Alison: a little difference that they made Lake Tahoe. You know? So Squaw Valley has changed its name. Squaw being now considered a, an inappropriate term. And now they are referring to it as Lake Tahoe, which we hadn’t, we had talked about when, when Squaw Valley changed its name. Right, right. Like the IOC is in fact, respecting that change and going to refer to those games going forward as.

[00:15:15] Jill: Let’s see what else happened after that? The nice thing was we got, we got a little media PDF that was embargoed until eight o’clock and I didn’t find it until after the thing started, which is a good thing, but it didn’t, it, it told you all of the segments and they had the fun facts about it. So what Mike Tirico tells you probably is coming from this document. Except for, it did not have, it said, it told you a little bit about the lighting of the cauldron, but did not tell you who was doing it or who the final torchbearers would be.

[00:15:47] Alison: So during the very opening segments they talked about in the Chinese calendar, they traditionally have four seasons that’s broken up into 24 segments. Was this in your?

[00:15:57] Jill: yes, it was on the video. There was a video about that stuff. So

[00:16:01] Alison: That’s also, we saw that video, but here’s the best part of it. The names of some of these 24 seasons: major heat, minor heat, major snow. So I thought I absolutely do understand major snow versus major cold versus minor cold. So that made me as a New Englander, very connected to the Chinese people. I do understand that you have to break down the seasons beyond four, because I think it was sort of like false autumn. It was, it made me realize that when you have these bizarre seasons and weather, that is true around the world.

[00:16:42] Jill: Yeah. That was, that was pretty cool. I have to say the, the fireworks, there were a lot of fireworks. Okay. So there were a lot of fireworks, but I wanted them to go on longer because, and I get it. China invented fireworks. I have never seen fireworks so brilliantly clear before, because they did the countdown in fireworks and all of those numbers were clear. They did something else in fireworks that was maybe it was the rings, but there was something else in fireworks where you saw words and letter or letters or something, and you could totally read it. It was amazing.

[00:17:23] Alison: We saw the rings in fireworks, but I did not see the numbers because they were showing the video.

[00:17:30] Jill: They were showing the video. So yeah, they did, they did fireworks at the numbers going down and it was incredible. So I’m hopeful for the fireworks at closing ceremonies to be equally, if not more incredible.

[00:17:46] Alison: No, not too many charming children.

[00:17:49] Jill: Wait. No. Oh no, not charming individual children charming as a group of them, but no, like story of following the one child

[00:17:54] Alison: So that was very different than we’ve seen previously.

[00:18:01] Jill: Maybe that’s why I liked it so much because I don’t mind the following the kid thing, but it’s just like, oh, we’re following the kid again.

They have a dream to play sports or whatever, unite the world, or imagine that there’s no countries. For an event, that’s all country-based.

[00:18:17] Alison: I mean, “Imagine” did play a part here and I know you were just cringing. We’re not up to that yet.

[00:18:23] Jill: So after we did our countdown with the beginning of spring, the Olympic rings formed out of that ice block that they did the, all the winter games, then that, that disappeared and rings appeared in it. And they were above the stadium the whole time. They were in white, but there were little bits. I bet they were lights, but it looked like they were bubbles in the rings that kind of sparkled here and there.

The whole show that made it seem like the rings were made of water or ice.

[00:19:00] Alison: They definitely twinkled on camera. Okay.

[00:19:04] Jill: So that was cool. Parade of athletes.

[00:19:08] Alison: Oh, I got to start this. Okay. What was going on with the music behind the parade of athletes? We had the William Tell Overture. We had selections from the Nutcracker. We had Dvorak New World Symphony, made no sense. It wasn’t nice. It wasn’t international. It was random in the most bizarre way. I don’t know, international elevator to hell.

[00:19:41] Jill: I don’t know because I wondered myself and I wondered on Twitter. Book Club Claire said, oh, they love Western orchestral music in China. So that is

[00:19:53] Alison: probably it just

[00:19:56] Jill: favorites here. And that are internationally known because I had really expected some Chinese music or elements of Chinese music and somebody else pointed out that in 2008, I guess they were over the top with the, the music in a, in a different way. So they reversed course for this one.

So parade of nations, the, there was a gate. Or it was like a big box that went all the way up to the top of the stadium. And they would project things on it as well throughout the show, but it opened up and that’s, the athletes came down a ramp. They hit the edge of the track area or stage area, and then they alternated going right or going left.

And then they got taken into the stands. So leading them where these ladies okay. Snowflakes for each country. And the country name was, I believe in English and in Chinese. And it was lit up and they wore these stunning white and blue coats and tiger hats. Because it’s year of the tiger. Each hat was different.

[00:21:02] Alison: Oh, they were, they were all different? That we could not see, but what was amazing to me is these women held that snowflake above their heads the whole time. So they would come in holding it chest height, and then as they hit that edge of the ramp, they shot that thing up and kept it up. And I’m like, man, those girls have been training.

[00:21:23] Jill: I totally agree with you. That’s exactly what I thought too. I couldn’t believe that they did that for as long as they did because it was quite a long walk to where they needed to go. And then they played a bigger part in the next segment. But did you have uniforms that you liked?

[00:21:41] Alison: I did have, I did have just a three that I wanted to comment on.

So first Nigeria, because I thought they did an excellent job of integrating something about their dress, but keeping them warm. So they had green and white cloth headpieces with these particular folds that you see in, in Nigeria and traditional dress. And I thought that was beautiful. And then they had a matching scarf. Yes. And, and it looked warm. I thought it was a really good blend of traditional clothing. What you needed to stay warm here.

I liked the Finnish silver spacesuits.

[00:22:27] Jill: I did not see, I don’t know why I did not see too much to take in with

[00:22:31] Alison: Wiyj the exception of the fact that not all, but I guess they had the option, some of the Finnish women were wearing skirts. They had tights underneath them, but I’m thinking there was a breeze blowing up that skirt. Is it like Finnish? I can take this cold. This is nothing. I don’t know what was happening there.

And then of course let’s mention Nathan Crumpton from American Samoa who seems to be taking the Pita Taufatofua.  He did this in Tokyo where he was shirtless. And now he’s competing again here in Beijing. Did the shirtless things, he’s oiled up. But I do want to compliment NBC. They did not fall into the Pita trap again. They showed him for five seconds. Didn’t comment moved on. Wow. So he was not a center of attention, which I was very pleased that we didn’t go through this whole rigmarole of, oh my God, he’s the naked. Oh, he’s done it. He did it. He was competing now in the winter and had competed in the summer then. End of discussion. Tirico and Savannah Guthrie, good job on that one.

[00:23:46] Jill: I will say there there’s some, I mean, partially because there’s so much going on at the same time and you’ve got the rows of volunteers that actually kind of blocked my view of seeing most of the athletes and if they went the other direction, because I was sitting kind of, stage left. So I was a little off to one side and did not see everybody on top. So the US went opposite of my direction.

So, yeah, there was oh, I loved Haiti’s hat. They had the ball camp and they had Haiti that when that started, it was written sideways so that it was vertical and started with the H on the top and continued down the brim. I thought that was really cool. And, oh gosh, somebody else had something.

[00:24:35] Alison: Kyrgystan hats were back and very appropriate.

[00:24:38] Jill: The Italian poncho, did not like

[00:24:41] Alison: Oh, come on.

[00:24:44] Jill: I thought it was good. I thought it was going to be something puffy, but it looked in person just like, oh, let’s take a plastic poncho. That’s solid because now it’s red, white, and green and we’ll wear it.

[00:24:59] Alison: You know who, and I’m hoping this looked stylish in person, the Brits were sort of different, because it was a wool coat. And then the, the, the Union Jack on the sweater that looked very sharp on TV.

[00:25:11] Jill: It’s very sharpen in person too. I really thought that one was stunning just because the way they did the sweater and the Union Jack covered it, but in a, in a very different way, because I believe it was sideways. Maybe, maybe not. Don’t remember already, you know, we’re not that far away from these. I can’t c remember because I couldn’t get a good picture or anything either.

[00:25:34] Alison: I liked that they went, you know, how many variations of a puffy coat can you do?

And they kind of went pea coat and they had really good shoes, too. They had these nice,

[00:25:46] Jill: it was a Ben Sherman outfit. I believe.

[00:25:48] Alison: It was nicely done. A little more interesting. And I want to mention the USA definitely looked better in motion than it did standing still, but here’s my one criticism of it. Some people tied the belts, some people just had hanging strings on the waist and that looked very messy. And you know, who was one of the people with the hanging strings? John Shuster, as the flagbearer and his strings are flailing around.

[00:26:17] Jill:Oh John,

[00:26:18] Alison: You know, tie your strings. You’ve got kids. You know how to do this. If Elana Meyers Taylor had been there, she would have made sure his strings were tied. Because she’s a mom.

[00:26:28] Jill: That’s true. That’s very true.

[00:26:31] Alison: Speaking of coats, I was very concerned about TBach because when they first showed him up in the box, he looked like he was just wearing his suit. It was freezing. But then when he came down and did a speech, he was wearing a much more sensible puffy coat and hat and, and more, more appropriately garbed for the night. He didn’t have a hat and he didn’t have glasses. Didn’t know what was going on there.

[00:26:55] Jill: I didn’t know what was going on in there. We’re getting ahead of ourselves because the glass has just, no glasses really threw me.

[00:27:02] Alison: I was like, who is that man? What was happening? But I know he had a change of costume, mid show, so that was good.

[00:27:08] Jill Well, we’ll get, we’ll get to his speech. So then once a parade of natioms was done, all of the placard women brought their placards down and they formed a giant snowflake with them. And that was like the big theme or motif throughout the whole

[00:27:27] Alison: And they did the dance number.

[00:27:30] Jill: Oh, yeah, that was, yeah, it was very lonely.

[00:27:33] Alison: The whole thing was just absolutely fabulous.

[00:27:36] Jill: And then let’s see. And that was something that apparently on TV and also looked fake, like it was LED as well. So, but that was actually real. And I thought that was a really nice. Really embodying that whole stronger together kind of a talk that the IOC has now with the adding faster, higher, stronger, together into their motto.

They had a little video, a stronger together video. Then we had our speeches and the president of the Beijing Organizing Committee. Nice. Short, sweet. And TBach’s up and it’s, he, we heard the same speech six months ago. I’m sure it was. And it was long then, and it was really long tonight.

[00:28:25] Alison: The biggest cheer moment seemed to be when he said happy lunar new year in Chinese.

[00:28:31] Jill: Oh yeah. Yeah. That was, that was a nice touch.

[00:28:33] Alison: Could you, could you hear that cheering? Did that sound as loud or was that sort of magnified?

[00:28:38] Jill: No, it sounded loud. Because there wasn’t a whole lot of cheering. That was a weird thing about the parade of nations that you had,

they cheered a little bit for Hong Kong. There was a little cheering for Chinese Taipei and there would, of course, massive cheering for China and then like nothing for nobody else. And I’d see on the feed, like different, they’d find different people from different countries and you’d see them clapping, but they were like the one person and it felt really odd because nobody cheered.

You know, you’re not allowed, you’re not supposed to clap or you’re not supposed to cheer. But it was really weird to have all these, especially like two athlete delegations come in and nobody seems to care.

[00:29:25] Alison: Well, those volunteers were dancing up a storm to the William Tell Overture.

[00:29:29] Jill: They did. They, they worked really hard. That was a tough one. Because they had to do it for like an hour. It seemed like every once in a while, some of them would start to flag in front of me. Then they’d be like, oh, I got to go to keep the energy. And then they’d somehow get some more energy again.

Then we had a little tribute to the people where this was something where they had 76 people crossing the stage and it was just walking and something happened on the video screen, on the floor. As they walked in, it was supposed to be ordinary people of different races and skin colors, walking shoulder to shoulder towards the same goal.

[00:30:13] Alison: It was pictures. It was a lot of pictures of healthcare workers. Oh. That’s related to the endemic.

[00:30:19] Jill: Okay. Okay. And then of course we got to “Imagine,” the unofficial Olympic Anthem, which you know, that Olympic Anthem is also long. I’m not sure which would be better to have.

[00:30:34] Alison: And we need to come up with, I, you know, I almost wanted Celine Dion there. Would you take Celine over Imagine?

[00:30:42] Jill: Oh yes. In a heartbeat, but if Celine was singing Imagine I know that would be bad. This must have been the pre-show, but they sang the song from 2008. The famous one. And I only know, because I got sucked into it when we were talking with Claire, I believe.

And I’m like, oh, this and people cheered for that when they heard it. So she’s right. I mean, it was popular, like really super popular. And you know, what else is really popular right now?  That “Together for a Shared Future” plays all the time.

[00:31:17] Alison: Right. It could be Imagine.

[00:31:20] Jill: It could be, but when I’m saying, Or you got to say that one again,

[00:31:27] Alison: or Celine Dion could be singing it.

[00:31:29] Jill: There you go. I don’t know what’s going on, but like I thought, I think it’s a connection because you’re kind of every, it’s, it’s weird. It’s a weird connection, but you know, we can connect.

So after our beautiful tribute to the people, the Olympic flag comes in. Okay. Let’s talk flags. We have mastered this floor LED floor light technology. We need to work on flag fan technology, because they’re loud, those fans are loud. And they’re a little aggressive.

[00:32:03] Alison: It seemed a little unnecessary because I have to say when they brought the Chinese flag in and they had the fan going, it actually kind of folded it up. Like it didn’t blow in a nice, flat, straight. So I agree. I think you may be right. It may have been turned on too high.

[00:32:21] Jill: Oh, there it’s like a jet, not a fan. It needs to be a fan of air. You know, why, why. Fan, there you go. And that really bothered me the whole time when I could hear that the fan going and, and I’m not that close to the flags, I’m near the flags, but I’m a good hundred feet if not more and I could hear them the entire show

[00:32:51] Alison: I wanted to mention about the Olympic flag. We talked about this in Tokyo. This one is the Oslo flag. It is different from the summer flag. Oh, it is slightly smaller in size. Mike Tirico said it is called the Oslo flag. I assume like the other flags we talked about in Tokyo, because it was first flown in Oslo and they haven’t had to replace it yet. So we’ll look into that a bit more.

[00:33:17] Jill: Yeah. We’ll look into it and see what’s up with that. Then we had the Olympic Anthem sung by a lovely choir of children, mountain children who were wearing little tiger shoes.

[00:33:28] Alison: I couldn’t see the tiger shoes on TV.

[00:33:30] Jill: Shame because the kids look cute. They did sing a lot. It was like the song ended and then they decided to do verse two and you’re like, oh, verse two.

So yes, on their feet, they were tiger had shoes worn for the new year to symbolize cuteness, health and growth. And believe you me cute is the word. They were very cute. The kids were cute, they were cute. They also had this video of like the future generation. Well, after, after the oath, they took the oath. Then they had this video of the future generations. Get this, I thought was adorable where the kids were doing its thing.

[00:34:09] Alison: You’re getting sucked in with all these kids.

[00:34:13] Jill: I’m getting sucked in with some of it, but I like the cute. So they had all these kids doing winter sports and they were little, teeny, tiny kids, and then they would fall down and then they’d pick themselves back up again.

But I think what really got me on this video is that there were a couple of them that were like snowboarding or skiing and they had plush turtles attached to their waists. So then if they fell on their butts, the turtle shell would take the brunt of the blow. And that got me. That was really, really clever. And I can only imagine you going to the ski slopes and there’s all these little kids with big stuffed turtles attached to their butts.

See, then we had another big snowflake element to the show with a big song and there was a children’s chorus. They had doves on, lighted doves on sticks, flying around, and the, this was supposed to be a really big deal. I don’t know, did Mike Tirico talk about the technology at all?

Alison:  You know what I don’t recall.

Jill: Okay. So apparently, they had some kind of like live motion, AI technology going on. And when the kids walk, you see snowflakes appear where their feet were. It was cute. So yeah, that was, that was very cute. But that led to the big moment, the big finale, the flame. Oh man.

And I see we’re both sighing because boy was this anti-climax. Yeah, this lovely ceremony and then this,

[00:35:53] Alison: So there’s no cauldron, they just sort of attached the torch into the circle of the snowflakes they created with the, with the country banners, which would have been a lovely way to transport the torch to the cauldron.

But there’s no cauldron. I mean, can you see the flame from anywhere?

[00:36:21] Jill: I don’t, I don’t know. Well, wait, I will, I will take that back. Because I did see on the monitors a flame and I believe it’s in because it kind of looked familiar from where I was yesterday and, but it’s another one. It’s the snowflake and there’s just a torch in the middle of it.

It’s just kind of stationed. So I think they put one in that village to be kind of representative for that area. I don’t know if there’s anything in a Yanqing and I don’t know if they’re putting this one anywhere. So,

[00:36:58] Alison: Okay. So I had two thoughts at the time. So first of all, everyone in the Facebook group called it anticlimactic, disappointing. It’s not a real cauldron. So I think we’re hearing a lot of consensus that this was, this was not good.

So it made me think of two things. During the pandemic, as I’ve mentioned before, my daughter graduated high school and they, this was in 2020, right in right in the height. So they couldn’t have a formal graduation. So they had this little drive through ceremony and it kind of felt like, well, you know, nice that they tried to give the kids something during this pandemic. And that’s how this felt – nice that they tried something during the pandemic. But it’s not.

And then the second thing that it made me think of was, have you ever had this situation where it’s somebody’s birthday and you forgot to buy birthday candles, but you find like this one used one in the ack of the drawer and like, sorry, this is the only one I had, but you could still blow it out.

Yeah. Like they just ran out of ideas or, I mean, not ran out of money, but it almost just. Like this is, that’s it.

[00:38:13] Jill: Yeah. And like you said, flame transport vehicle is really a great way to describe it. Because I, I did think, okay, where’s this going? Because I couldn’t see any kind of cauldron thing when I looked in the beginning and I thought maybe this would transport it up, but it really, it should be a flame, a torch transit.

You know, torch transit object or whatever you want to call that, but the torch is still there and the flame is in the torch. It’s not in the cauldron where it’s supposed to.

[00:38:43] Alison: Like wouldn’t it have been beautiful if that thing had turned sideways into the ring around the cauldron, like it turned sideways and like lowered it onto the top.

[00:39:09] Jill: Yes. I mean, there’s so many ways we could’ve, could’ve gone with this. If you want to keep the snowflake.

But it’s, it’s just, I’m just disappointed because there’s, you know, the games are on when the cauldron is lit by the torch, but we just have a torch that’s still lit and there’s no much bigger flame because that was the thing with the torch. It becomes a much bigger flame. And that’s the big event.

We had in the final run up, there were seven torchbearers carrying six torches. And the deal was that they were from different decades.

[00:39:43] Alison: So the decade of when they were born.

[00:39:45] Jill: Yes. So it was fifties, sixties, seventies, eighties, nineties, and for the last two with two thousands. And I thought, all right, here we go.

It’s going to be Sui and Han. I don’t remember who this was, but boy, because, when we got to Yang Yang and like Yang Yang, this is going to be, we’re getting good. And then they went to a hundred meter athletics, which just was weird because all of a sudden, we’re in a summer sport. Ideally you’d want to keep these all winter athletes.

And then these two born in the two thousands. That’s nice. But it just,

[00:40:27] Alison: They had none of the pair skaters. Yeah. China is not a force in the Winter Olympics and, and bringing, I mean, pair skating is what got China into winter sports and to not have any of those couples is just wrong. And I knew it wasn’t going to be Sui and Han, because they’re too old.

They would have been in the nineties, the nineties, I’m like, it’s going to be some randos. They’re not randos. They’re, they’re very successful athletes who are competing in this Olympics, but it was disappointing not to acknowledge that the legacy that Chinese pair skating has had.

[00:41:13] Jill: Yes. I would agree because it was a lot of speed skating, which they also have a big legacy in, but to, yeah.

To not get the figure skating element of it is just really sad. And maybe they tried and they got turned down, but it’s, it was kind of shame and the drive to have the youth of the world light the cauldron. That doesn’t work because you’re always, you always want it to be somebody so important to the Olympic movement or the Olympic movement in your country.

That’s just the hero that everybody looks up to and to not get that here.

[00:41:54] Alison: So Mike Tirico and Savannah Guthrie on the American broadcast were talking about how in the past, the United States has chosen that kind of hero – Muhammad Ali in Atlanta, or the Miracle on Ice team for Salt Lake City and that other countries seem to be going in a very different direction. Tokyo had Naomi Osaka, and a young athlete way back in Sydney. Oh God, what was her name? Cathy Freeman, who was also then still the competing athlete that, and he sort of made an offhand comment like, well, each country to its own, where was trying to make a point saying he does not like the direction, the cauldron lighting is going to these athletes who are currently competing, that he would like to see it, have some more resonance with historical connections. And that sounds like exactly what you’re saying. I don’t mind the young athlete. I don’t mind if they had a child of somebody, it feels like they’re patronizing. Like, oh, look, we’re going to have the kids do it.

[00:43:04] Jill: Right? Yeah. We’ve got to focus on the youth of the world coming together because that’s all that matters. Because that’s, who’s coming up in the Olympic movement. And once you’re done being an athlete, we kind of discard you unless you are available for committee work.

[00:43:15] Alison: That they use Cathy Freeman.  I hate to say that because she wasn’t used. Having Cathy Freeman do it in Sydney did not feel patronizing because that was a whole connection with the Aborigine and a new generation. And they had the women passing it off one to the next, even though she was a young competing athlete, it didn’t feel that way. It felt like passing the torch in very profound way. Whereas these last two have not. It felt very silly.

[00:43:50] Jill: Yeah. I would agree with you on Cathy Freeman. And she was just such a well-known woman in Australia.

I felt like Naomi Osaka was chosen because she was a big tennis star and everybody around the world knew her. Not because she was something important to Olympism, which I think Cathy Freeman had. Kind of innate quality and just, I can’t find the words I’m looking for, but there was something different about the Cathy Freeman choice versus Naomi Osaka.

But then when we get these people who we don’t know, or it’s just somebody, it’s a random person, it just, it doesn’t make the cauldron lighting as special, I think because there’s nothing to connect to in a way, hopefully these two athletes do well and that’d be really cool, but I feel like they’re all not yet in their prime of the careers. That’s what, that’s what it feels like. I’m not sure, but that’s what it feels like, you know?

[00:44:56] Alison: And there were many political elements to the opening ceremonies that we’re really not going to get into because we don’t want to give too much air time to that. And I don’t like that either. Of course.

[00:45:11] Jill: Right. but a flame. I don’t know what to say. It makes me so upset.

[00:45:15] Alison: I know that the cauldron-ette is lit.

[00:45:21] Jill: All right, we’ll go with that then. Okay. Sure. But overall impressions?

[00:45:27] Alison: Disappointing.

[00:45:29] Jill: Oh, okay. But being there, I really enjoyed it. You, you felt the energy. It was interesting to have the stadium was a good, at least half to two thirds full, and then you put the athletes in and it really kind of filled up. So that was neat to see people around. I loved the snowflake theme and I thought the way they used those placards was just so beautiful, but ultimately the choice of not having a real cauldron, that just ended the show on such a sad, not a sad note, but just a downer. It was just like, ah, that’s it. That’s all you got. Okay. So hopefully these games are not, oh, that’s all you got.

Alison: Now you made me sad.

Jill: Oh, well what is going on in TKFLASTAN watch? That’s got some sad news too.

[00:46:23] Alison: It actually has some good news going on. So we got an update on Brianna Decker. WTNJ, that’s the NBC in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, not far from where Brianna’s from, spoke to her family. And her mother said that they know it’s not a knee injury. She’s gotten an MRI. They haven’t gotten conclusive results. Her mother said Brianna is in good spirits. She’s getting excellent care. And her brother Brody was like, oh, she’ll be back. She’s had worse injuries. Ah, whether she’s going to come back to the tournament or not is still up in the air. We haven’t gotten any official word from USA hockey, but she’s doing well. It’s definitely not her head. It’s definitely not her knees. So we are cheering for Brianna and glad to hear that. It’s not as bad as it sounded when we heard her screaming on the ice.

[00:47:13] Jill: Oh yeah. That’s excellent news. And she gets out of the hospital. She does still have excellent care with our atheletic trainer, Wayne.

[00:47:23] Alison: We’ll get her up on those skates. They’ll push her out, because Brianna on one leg is still better than half of the players in the rest of the world. And they’ll be back on the ice tomorrow against ROC.

Also competing tomorrow, Bradley Wilson. He’ll try for a second shot to make the finals in men’s moguls and the finals will follow directly after that qualification.

And we’ve got the start of biathlon. Clare Egan has been named to the mixed relay team so we will see her get going with Rifey on the snow.

[00:47:57] Jill: I’m so excited about that.

[00:48:01] Jill: USA is big number 19 in the biathlon. So look for them. Claire is the second leg.

[00:48:09] Alison: Also want to mention the Beijing Viewing Guide, because if you are confused now that we’ve gotten started as to when things, or where things are happening. We do have a full-scale viewing guide with day by day charts and lists, and that is available at Amazon and Apple Books. So you can check that out. The link to that is in our store, on our website.

[00:48:32] Jill: Stuff’s in alphabetical order, you also get start times and end times of events to help you plan your viewing.

[00:48:39] Alison: And for year of the tiger, we’re going to talk about our mascot. Our mascot this week is Luna, who is a beautiful cat. So it’s appropriate for our year of the tiger. Her mom, Beth also likes to call her Luna Lovefood. Yes, she loves food. And I just have to say girl, same. You should’ve seen me last night when I was up at two o’clock in the morning and watching skating. So thank you to Luna and especially thank you to Luna’s mom, Beth, for supporting our Kickstarter campaign.

[00:49:10] Jill: And we would also like to thank our researchers for this episode, Max Mendelson and Amanda. So that’s going to do it for tonight. Tomorrow, is our first full day of competition. I’m going to head back out to the mountains to go check out Clare in the relay. And I think if I’ve got it planned right, I may also be able to see some ski jumping. That’s also on my agenda. The ski jump hill is quite impressive. I will say.

[00:49:34] Alison: Well, stay safe and stay warm. And if you want to see Jill’s pictures, be sure to be celebrating the games with us on our Keep the Flame Alive Facebook group. Other people are commenting. We’d love to hear what you think about the cauldron-ette. Jill’s on Twitter and I am on Insta. Both of those handles are @flamealivepod. You can email us at Call or text us at (208) 352-6348. That’s 208-FLAME-IT.

[00:50:04] Jill: We will catch you back here tomorrow. Thank you so much for listening and until then, keep the flame alive.