A para snowboarder competes in banked slalom at the Beijing 2022 Paralympics.

Beijing 2022: Paralympics – Day 8

Release Date: March 12, 2022

Category: Beijing 2022

It’s Day 8 of the Beijing 2022 Paralympics – competition may be winding down, but our adventures in Beijing are certainly not! Jill’s in Beijing for Para Ice Hockey and Wheelchair Curling, while Alison’s out in Zhangjiakou for an adventure at Para Snowboard.

Sports on today’s schedule:

  • Para Alpine Skiing – Giant slalom
  • Para Biathlon – Men’s and women’s individual
  • Para Ice Hockey – Semifinals and 5th/6th place
  • Para Snowboard – Women’s and men’s banked slalom
  • Wheelchair Curling – Semifinals and bronze medal game

 Thank goodness for the fantastic volunteers of Beijing 2022. Without them, Alison might still be stuck at the Para Snowboarding venue — literally. The weather’s been fluctuating over the last few days. It was very warm yesterday, so the snow melted. Today it froze…..which meant the venue area became pretty icy and tough to walk on. Alison found the ice stairs especially…..challenging to say the least. We’ll let you listen to get the full effect of her mishaps.

Meanwhile, Jill hung out in Beijing to catch some thrilling semifinals in Wheelchair Curling….and some pretty shocking scores at the Para Ice Hockey semifinals.

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 — 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.

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


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

Beijing 2022: Paralympics – Day 8

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

[00:00:26] Alison: Ni Hao. I made it home from the mountain and this is supposed to be the good mountain and I had a bit of a day.

[00:00:35] Jill: Oh boy. Well, we are in the media center. We’ve been handing out pins to the cleaning people kind of right and left. So today, they brought us coffee.

[00:00:46] Alison: Yes, we got these special bottled coffee, low sugar Americana Costa coffee.

[00:00:53] Jill: So that was very nice.

[00:00:55] Alison: I’ve been wanting to try these so. But not now because it’s late.

[00:00:59] Jill: That is absolutely correct. So sadly, no magical vacuums. I just, I feel so bad. No vacuuming, but maybe, maybe if we tape early one day.

[00:01:08] Alison: We are very late tonight. We got a late start.

[00:01:11] Jill: Okay. So, let’s get into it. What officiating or volunteer job would you like to do?

[00:01:15] Alison: Okay. So before I got lost on the mountain, went to snowboarding. And I discovered that the medal ceremony girls and their beautiful coats and hats do not show up in the mountain in those outfits. Oh, they have a changing room.

[00:01:31] Jill: Ooh.

[00:01:32] Alison: There is an attendant in that changing room. So I don’t know if she’s there with hairspray and hairpins and emergency sewing kit and spot remover. That is my job.

[00:01:45] Jill: That is totally your job. I can totally see that.

[00:01:48] Alison: Tying those hats in a bow there because there’s a ribbon in the back and the ribbon is perfect. And I think it’s tied. I don’t think it’s attached if you know what I mean. So someone’s got to tie that ribbon. I am so good at bows on the back of dresses. I am ready for this job. I will polish those white boots up until you can see your face in them.

[00:02:10] Jill: Well, I bet they’re probably glad that there’s only two days left because you probably take somebody out to get that role before we leave.

[00:02:18] Alison: I might, to actually touch those dresses. I am there.

[00:02:23] Jill: With your little steamer.

[00:02:24] Alison: With my steamer and my sewing kit.

[00:02:26] Jill: There you go. I know this is not a volunteer job or, an outside official job, but is a team official job. I would like to hold the rifles and give them to the athletes as they come into the shooting stages for biathlon.

[00:02:39] Alison: You just want to present gun?

[00:02:41] Jill: Yes.

[00:02:43] Alison: Fair enough.

[00:02:45] Jill: All right. Competition today started with para Alpine skiing early in the morning because everything’s been moved up. We had the women’s slalom competition today. In the standing competition, in the standing class. Gold went to Chang Mengqiu from China. Silver went to Mollie Jepsen from Canada and bronze went to Andrea Rothfuss from Germany. In the sitting class, gold went to Muraoka Momoka from Japan. Silver went to Liu Sitong from China and bronze went to Chang Wenjing from China. And in the vision impaired class, gold went to a Veronika Aigner from Austria with guide Elizabeth Aigner, her sister. And silver went to Zhu Daqing from China with guide Yan Hanhan, and bronze went to Barbara Aigner from Austria with guide Klara Sykora. Dude. This is a total family thing.

[00:03:43] Alison: Isn’t there also a Johannes Aigner?

[00:03:48] Jill: Yes, yes. Hansi and Babsi. She’s got this look.

[00:03:51] Alison: So are they all siblings?

[00:03:53] Jill: There’s a set of twins. I think the sister is older and then the brothers there and there is another sister somewhere because I believe he’s got four sisters if I’ve read the article right today. And there’s a vision genetic defect that runs in the family that some of the family has and some of the family doesn’t. So that is why Elizabeth is the guide for her sister.

[00:04:16] Alison: But does Barbara feel bad that Elizabeth isn’t her guide?

[00:04:19] Jill: No, I don’t think so. And maybe instead of saying, just right and left, they just say hup, hup.

That is one thing I’m really bummed about not being able to get out to Yangqing and see the downhill vision impaired communication work. If you can even see that or hear that from the media viewing point, but we’ll have more competition. They got to squeeze a lot in before the Games are over. So there’ll be men’s tomorrow.

We would like to take a quick break to talk about our Red Envelope campaign. This show does cost money to produce. And while you all 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 another two and a half years until another Olympics. So it’s a little lull in our cycle. And so to celebrate the Lunar New Year, we’re having a little campaign to get us through to Paris 2024. We are asking for donations of at least $8 because as our magical interpreter, Jesse, told us tonight, eight is a lucky number symbolizing good fortune here in China. Also happens to be my favorite number because it’s “bah.” It’s so much fun to say. And if you appreciate the coverage you’ve gotten through the Olympics and Paralympics, please go to flamealivepod.com/support to donate and thank you all so very much for everything you’ve done for us.

Moving over to biathlon, we had the 12.5 kilometer race today. Did you see, you did not see any of this?

[00:05:51] Alison: I did not get over. We’ll get to that story.

[00:05:54] Jill: Okay. All right. In the women’s sitting class gold went to Oksana Masters from USA. Silver went to Kendall Gretsch from USA and bronze went to Shan Yilin from China.

I did see this on the feed and Oksana Masters missed a shot in one of her early stages. And she, and, it might be Shan who were like two and a half seconds apart. She was a little bit ahead. And then Kendall shot cleanly. I was like, oh boy, then that one shot because you get a little bit of a time deduction or a time addition on, that’s going to mean Kendall’s probably going to win here because she’s clean.

And Oksana Masters just took off on that last lap look like nothing was wrong. Skied so hard. I saw Kendall come down the last bit and it looked like she was skiing through glue. Just like they said, it had got, I don’t know if the temperature had changed very much by the time she got into that same bit of path, but there’s not that many skiers. It couldn’t have been that long. Maybe just a couple minutes at tops, but she. Either she was tired and kind of lost the energy and/or it was so slushy that she just had a tough time with it, but it did look like it was colder out there today because people were pretty covered up.

[00:07:16] Alison: Yes, it was very warm yesterday. It dropped tremendously last night. So everything refroze and it was about at the freezing point for most of the day. Problem was, it rained all morning and night. So that there was a lot of fog and there was rain. So I did not get over to biathlon, but I was over at the Snow Park on the other side of Zhangjiakou and it was a mess. So I’d expect that biathlon was also a mess.

[00:07:50] Jill: Uh, yeah, so tough race to get through, but a good job. They were happy to be one-two. And Oksana said that she was channeling her inner Kendall for this race. And that was really sweet.

[00:08:03] Alison: Yeah. They’ve done one-two. Now they swapped from the other race. So Oksana has a gold at this time around both in cross-country and biathlon.

[00:08:11] Jill: For the men’s sitting class, gold went to Liu Mengtao from China. Silver went to Taras Rad from Ukraine, who’s a multi-medalist now, and bronze went to Liu Zixu from China. In the women’s standing, gold went to Lyudmila Liashenko from Ukraine. Silver went to Zhao Zhiqing from China and bronze went to Brittany Hudak from Canada.

[00:08:38] Alison: I want to mention something funny that happened when I was working on the sheet. So we type in all the names and Hudak kept getting autocorrected to dude, which I think is actually so appropriate for Brittany Hudak because she is just tough. And when I watch a race, I’m just always thinking to myself, dude, look at you go. So in my head, Brittany Hudak is Hude the D ude.

[00:09:05] Jill: I think that could be a good nickname. If ahe doesn’t have it, we should make sure she gets it. In the standing class, gold went to Benjamin Daviet from France. Silver went to Mark Arendz from Canada and bronze went to Grygorii Vovchynskyi from Ukraine.

And in the vision impaired class for the women, gold went to Oksana Shyshkova from Ukraine with guide Andriy Marchenko. Silver went to a Linn Kazmier from Germany with guide Florian Baumann, and bronze went to Leonie Marie Walter from Germany with guide Pirmin Strecker. Hup, hup, it worked and it did work. She’s got another medal under her belt.

And in the men’s class, gold went to Oleksandr Kazik from Ukraine with guide Serhii Kucheriavyi. Silver went to Vitalii Lukianenko from Ukraine with guide Borys Babar, and bronze went to Yu Shuang from China with guide Wang Guanyu.

And we’re just about done. I think that’s it for the individual races for biathlon?

[00:10:10] Alison: Yes. Tomorrow is, biathlon’s done. Tomorrow is cross-country relay.

[00:10:16] Jill: Moving over to para ice hockey. We had the semi-finals today, as well as the playoffs for fifth and sixth places. In the first semi-final, oh boy. Both semi-finals were really lopsided.

In the first semi-final, Canada beat Korea 11 to zero. The shots on goal were Canada-43 to Korea’s three shots on goal. And I noticed very early on, like, oh, all the players down at the other side of the rink, because that’s where the Korean goal was and that’s where Canada stayed. And it was just so lopsided and tough to watch. But we did have some spectators there for that. That was nice that they brought a bus in.

Play-off for fifth and sixth place with Czech Republic and Italy. I walked in with like a minute in regulation and they were tied 2-2. S o Czech Republic scores with 45 seconds left. Michal, who was a couple of rows below me, goes crazy.

[00:11:13] Alison: Our Czech friend

[00:11:13] Jill: Our Czech friend, Michal, below us, going nuts. And he’s with somebody this time and they are very excited and I’m excited for him because he’s had a downer of a tournament. Then with 12 seconds left Italy ties it.

[00:11:27] Alison: Wow.

[00:11:28] Jill: That was a bummer because our friend, our, Chinese volunteer friend, Leah, who is at the hockey venue, who we talked to almost every time we were there, she’s like, oh, you know, this is good, Michael, all the Chinese volunteers love Michal.

[00:11:44] Alison: He’s quite a good-looking young man.

[00:11:46] Jill: Yes.

[00:11:46] Alison: Very charming.

[00:11:47] Jill: I’m not surprised that they all have little crushes on him. So she said, “Oh, you know, this is probably good.” I said, whoa, we got a long time, you know, 45 seconds. It’s still a lot of game left and sure enough, Italy ties it up. They have to go to overtime and probably halfway through overtime, Italy scores a goal, wins it four to three. Michal is a little bit beside himself. I felt so bad for him. I really felt bad for him.

[00:12:18] Alison: And I felt bad because this is the first Czech game that I missed because I was up on the mountain and Michal and I have been sitting there through all the Czech games together. Commiserating when they lost the other day. And so I feel really terrible, but having not been there for him for this one.

[00:12:36] Jill: Yeah, very sad. So, Czech Republic ends up in sixth place. Italy ends up in fifth place and their tournament is over.

The second semi-final was USA versus China. We were expecting a match. The crowd was big. They were excited until USA started scoring and didn’t stop.

[00:12:57] Alison: Four goals in the first period where boy, and that was just the warmup. So the final score was 11 to nothing. Shots on goal: 37 to six.

[00:13:11] Jill: Yeah, it was, that was tough.

[00:13:13] Alison: It got, yeah, it got blood bathy, but you know what was really tough? Listening to the American players who didn’t dress tonight. I was horrified.

So obviously Team USA had a really nice contingent there. Lots of the officials, I think some other athletes came in. It was a nice group, nowhere near as big as China, of course, because China had its own spectators. There are players who don’t dress for every game. It’s just how it works. I don’t know. I don’t have the notes in front of me and I’m certainly not going to name names, but there were players who did not dress tonight who were sitting in the stands and behaved like drunken frat boys.

I was disgusted. I really was angry about this. And, and, you know, because you heard me complain about this through the whole match. So they were blowing out China very fast. Sit and be gracious winners. Oh no, let’s not sit and be gracious winners. Let’s chant things like “it’s all over” and “check the scoreboard.” And as China’s fans are trying to do a little cheer, let’s try and drown them out with a USA cheer. Come on.

[00:14:30] Jill: It was tough. But it, and thank goodness they were small contingent. But yeah, it was hard because the mood in the arena was very excited.

[00:14:57] Alison: There was a lot of energy and it continued, it didn’t get killed after that first period, they were still trying to buck up their team and cheer them as they should. It was, it was enjoyable to be in that area with those fans continuing to support their team. Right?

That’s the home field advantage when you’ve got the games, you’re going to have the spectators and I have no problem with Team USA. I mean, we were cheering when Team USA scored.

[00:15:07] Jill: Right. And you know, there’s always the USA chant, but like smack talking.

[00:15:12] Alison: This is the Paralympics, this isn’t the NHL. Have some class. Come on.

[00:15:18] Jill: I’m sorry. I don’t mean to laugh at you, but you’re, you’re, you’re really turned Italian grandmother right there.

[00:15:24] Alison: I was really insulted, you know, because the USA is the reigning gold medalists. They are the world champions. They are the, the heavy favorite. You don’t need to act like a hooligan.

[00:15:39] Jill: And be arrogant about it. It was, it wasn’t really confidence. It was arrogance. And it was a look at me kind of thing versus, hey, we’re cheering on our team.

So that’s not good, but we noticed, because now I’m starting to see more of the play, you know, and not just watching hockey, I’m kind of watching the setup and trying to figure out how they’re doing their play. And you know, you’ve, you noticed very quickly that the Chinese team, because they were coached by a Russian, have a very Soviet style type of play, which I don’t think works very well anymore.

[00:16:14] Alison: One, does it work very well in a sled hockey format? And two, does it work well now because the game has evolved?

[00:16:22] Jill: Because they were both playing zones, but the USA’s zone was much tighter. And the, so of the Soviet zone, the Chinese zone, they would have two players past the blue line towards the goal. And then like a couple, two to three players in the center of the rink in between the blue lines. And you go, they can’t get to where they need to go fast enough. And they weren’t setting themselves up for good passes.

It was really weird, especially when they were down a man for penalties. There was just times where it was one guy on his own. And then he gets swarmed by three USA players and no wonder they couldn’t get stuff set up because people were so far apart. And I think with the sleds being low to the ground, more of your body is low to the ground, you see that puck a little bit better and you have more mass to block it.

[00:17:15] Alison: Oh, absolutely. They are using that whole sled and the whole length of their sled. And especially for players who are not amputees, or not double amputees, there’s a lot of space there that, that they can use. I mean, we see a lot of the sleds tip over throughout the game, you know, a hard check and you’re sideways, and then you pop back up.

So it’s a very different style. And one of the things when we were doing some research on the coach, we found China has not played an international tournament since 2019. Team only came into being in 2017. So I think their early success in this tournament was lack of knowledge. You know, we said this the other day, about how, when the Czech Republic played them again, it was a very different game. It wasn’t quite so imbalanced. And that may have been, we know the US has lot of coaching, a lot of scouting. So by the time the US got to this game, they’ve seen all the previous Chinese games, they had a good game plan for their speed and their aggressiveness. China did not seem as aggressive.

[00:18:25] Jill: No, they still had the speed, just not the same attacking that they had in previous games.

[00:18:32] Alison: Right. And then I think the American game plan neutralized that because they figured it out. So it’d be interesting to see how this program develops because they’re very young, clearly very talented, you know, there is some good skating and good puck handling going on. So you were saying you really want to see where this goes in 2026.

[00:18:54] Jill: I, I do. I really want to see, I really want to see how it maintains that investment that they so clearly put into both the Olympics and the Paralympics in developing teams for these games, will they continue that investment and try to just become dominant in winter sports as well? Which would you know, that would be very interesting, I think.

[00:19:16] Alison: So we’ve got bronze medal tomorrow, which will be Korea and China. And then on Sunday we have gold medal, which will again be Canada-US that was the first game of this tournament. That was not so great for Canada, for Canada. So it’ll be interesting to see where Canada is. Obviously they handled Korea no problem.

[00:19:40] Jill: Right, right. I am actually very excited to see the bronze medal game, because I think that will be a good matchup playwise. Because it’s still, what I really want to see from the sport is more teams developing because we didn’t see RPC. We don’t know where they stand as a team and in terms of talent, but it’s clearly USA, Canada, and then a gap between the abilities of the next teams.

[00:20:08] Alison: It’s like women’s hockey. Right. For so many cycles, it was USA-Canada. And now we’re finally starting to see, you know, the Japanese and some of the European teams kind of climb their way in, but that took 20 years.

[00:20:25] Jill: Right.

[00:20:26] Alison: And I hope it doesn’t take 20 years for this to happen in sled hockey as well.

[00:20:33] Jill: All right, moving over to snowboard. Okay, I want to hear your transportation story.

[00:20:39] Alison: So I got there no problem. I got there. I did my transfers. Everything was fine. First problem was I forgot my top layer.

[00:20:48] Jill: Oh.

[00:20:49] Alison: So I had my fleece. I had my hat. I had my gloves. I left the hotel because it was warm here. I was going to carry my outermost layer and I left without it. So that was the first problem. I knew I was going to be cold.

[00:21:02] Jill: And also you told me that your hand warmers were in your pocket,

[00:21:06] Alison: Of the coat that I forgot. So I said, okay, I’ll, I’ll stay outside as long as I can and then go inside and okay. So I stayed outside as long as I could. I was like, oh, I probably should go to the workroom for a little while. My feet are really getting cold.  So I’m walking all over the place and you warned me. It was very hard to find the workroom.

[00:21:26] Jill: It is because it’s one workroom for three of the parks. So it’s more stationed away from the snowboard and kind of more down, closer to half pipe.

[00:21:38] Alison: And this facility is a whole bunch of temporary buildings with really, it kind of looks like a trailer park.

[00:21:47] Jill: In a way, but it is similar. Yeah. The prefab buildings and they’re all, they look the same. So you got to wander around doping control and I wandered in somebody’s food set up that I wasn’t allowed to eat and all this other catering, this kind of stuff

[00:22:03] Alison: Which is how I found the medal dressing room. So that was a positive. Okay.

So as we mentioned earlier, yesterday was very, very warm. Today was very, very cold. Now there are several spots on this facility at this venue that have ice steps. So these are steps that are carved into the snow. Some of them had mats over them. Some of them did not. Problem was that a lot of these steps melted yesterday and then refroze so that they weren’t steps anymore. They were sort of mounds and cavities. And so I know the workroom is down this way, so I sort of start working my way down the snow steps, but some of the steps aren’t there. So as I’m going down the steps, I go down twice.

[00:23:01] Jill: And it just, did you slide feet, and just land on your butt or what happened?

[00:23:06] Alison: Well, once I kind of caught myself, because there was a handle. Once I just sort of toppled over like a weeble wobble. I get down to the bottom. I see the next volunteer and she tells me where the workroom is and it is way, way down. And the entire distance between where I am and where that is, are snow stops.

So I said, forget it. I’ll try and find another little place to warm myself up. So now I got to go back up the snow steps and my feet are just not, I’m like, I’m like Bambi on the ice. So I’m about to go down again. A this heavenly volunteer, reaches out her arm, pulls me up because I can’t get any traction. I’m not going up. So she pulls me up to the bottom of the next snow step. And she and her friend realized I am not getting up these snow steps.

[00:24:19] Jill: So basically you could be stuck just there. We were very lucky that volunteers come to your rescue. Did they get pins?

[00:24:27] Alison: I had no pins left at that point. I felt awful. So then I had one on either side of me, because one rescued me and then the other girl kind of realized I’m not Chinese-sized, I’m round American-sized and we needed help to have to keep the round American woman from toppling over. So the two of them basically haul me up the snow steps, one on each side, and I’ve got my backpack on with all my stuff in it, you know, my computer and my media guide. And it’s, so that’s tipping me backwards as well. So these two just lovely, lovely girls get me up to the top of the snow steps and I thank them profusely, and now I’m still cold, but at least I’m at the top where the event is happening.

So I watch a little more of the event and all this has warmed me up, obviously, so I could stay outside for a little while longer, but then I’m like, I’m really cold. I just need a minute inside. And so I go to the bathroom. I figured that’s a safe place to kind of, you know, run some warm, warm water on my hands.

And the problem is that the toilet is like a two foot step up. So you go inside the stall door and then there’s a two foot step up. I do fine going up. I don’t do so well coming off the toilet.

[00:25:53] Jill: Oh no. Oh no.

[00:25:56] Alison: Thankfully, I had put my clothes back on when I fell down and went crashing through and went crashing through the door of the stall. I knocked the lock off the door. And then, kind of slammed into the opposite wall.

And then I heard this very lovely voice from inside the other stall, in this very gentle German accent, possibly Austrian. “Are you okay?” And I was so embarrassed that I couldn’t even speak. So I just ran the water, figuring if she heard the water run, she knew I was okay. Or just assume that I didn’t speak English or something. And I’m trying to go as fast as possible because I do not want to see this woman because I am so humiliated by what had happened.

So she opens the door, so she opens the door and she says to me, oh, is everything all right? And I look at her. So I’m just going to pretend like I had just walked in. So I said, oh, what do you mean? So I went back into the other stall, like I was just coming in the bathroom so that she didn’t think it was me.

[00:27:41] Jill: And I have to say, when you were telling me this story and I’m visualizing everything. I’m also going, where is the bathroom up there? I have to go all the way down to the media center to find a bathroom.

[00:27:52] Alison: There’s a bathroom, right by the medical tents right when you walk up the walkway. Yeah.

So then I found you could take the bus to the workroom. I got to the workroom, I got my soda, I got a pear. Everything was great. I took the bus down to transfer station. I get on the bus. I can’t get the bus over to biathlon. So I was like, oh, I’ll try and take the early train. So I get on the bus and of course it’s a putt putt bus. It’s a putt putt bus.We get to the train station at 2:23, the doors close at 2:25.

[00:28:31] Jill: Oh my goodness. And, okay, so when it drops you off from the bus it, you have to go into the underground garage to get off the bus, and then you have to go through a walkway, kind of long corridor, up a flight of stairs outdoors again. So you see the Medals Plaza and the snowflame, you make a U-turn into the station and then once you get through, then that’s the waiting room, once you check in, then you have to hustle down another– oh, you have to go up some stairs —

[00:29:04] Alison: Up another flight of stairs to get to the train platform. So I take off at a clip. My feet are frozen, so I’m not really feeling my feet as I’m running. I’ve got the backpack and I’m waddling, you know, like a penguin. And by the time I get to the top of the stairs, I can’t even breathe.

So again, the volunteers waving me on and they’re so sweet as they see me running, they know I’m trying to make the train and they’re all encouraging me. They’re like cheering me on like I’m a track star. Trying to get this train. And so I get to the ticket gate. Thankfully, I had my QR code that lets you in ready and this very kind, very beautiful attendant says to me, “It’s okay. It’s okay. Train is here. It’s okay.”

So they held the train for like an extra minute so that I could make it up the steps and get onto the train. I got onto the train and I collapsed in my seat and I thought I was giving myself a stroke. I could not breathe. But let me tell you, getting to para snowboard was worth it because I heard Oscar.

[00:30:10] Jill: And was Oscar in fine form today?

[00:30:12] Alison: He was in fine form and I could see them dancing in their office.

[00:30:18] Jill: Jealous, I’m jealous of that.

[00:30:20] Alison: The Italian stallion, he was calling all the Italian racers. There is a Korean snowboarder whose last name is Lee. So he says, oh, Bruce Lee. I heard him sing “O Canada.” Even he was cheering me on when I was running through the train station. He’s like, go Buster Brown.

So all of that means I missed hanging out with Michal at the Czech hockey game.

[00:30:54] Jill: But you know, and this is a, this is a good story. You got a great story out of the deal. And I thought, I thought yesterday, we had lost it. Apparently it just continued on through today. Well how was the actual competition?

[00:31:07] Alison: It was great. Brenna Huckaby was so much fun. So she is the American snowboarder who originally was classified out of racing here in Beijing, reclassified back in and ended up with the gold medal. And she was just thrilled and glowing and literally jumping up and down. And I saw her Shuey ceremony and she was very emotional and, and very excited coming through.

Banked slalom is a lot of fun. There’s 21 turns. There are three rollers at the top, three rollers at the bottom that they go over and it’s sort of like surfing.

[00:31:51] Jill: Oh, okay

[00:31:51] Alison: They just race around the edges. It’s not hard to watch. Whoever’s got the fastest time. And in this, you know, we’ve been talking so much about is the OBS feed cutting things off? In this race in the early round, the racer was starting before the other racer was finished.

[00:32:12] Jill: Oh, okay.

[00:32:13] Alison: So then they would go, right. They would go back, show you the start and then cut live. And so that was actually what was happening at the race until they got to the contend, the medal contenders.

[00:32:25] Jill: Oh. And then they let them,

[00:32:26] Alison: then they each went through on their own.

[00:32:29] Jill: Interesting. I would be very curious to see what they do if somebody goes down and they have to hold the course, do they just take that person off and then say you go back up and start again?

[00:32:42] Alison: I don’t know. There weren’t any crashes, wipeouts.

[00:32:45] Jill: Maybe this is not a stuff, something that you wipe out on because it looks, it did.

I mean, I saw the course from where I was, and it did look very gentle. It’s just kind of maneuvering turns and trying to go as fast as you can, but it doesn’t look like super icy.

[00:33:01] Alison: Right. People didn’t wipe out. One person bounced out and bounced himself off the course. And then there’s a, a course for lack of a better word that they can just snowboard down off to the side.

And a couple people had some bobbles, but people did not, unlike at Alpine, just crash and totally lose it. And I think it’s because it’s, not as, risky is not the right word, but I think there is a gentleness to it. But obviously if I tried it, we know what would happen, but at this level they know what they’re doing and it’s how fast can you go? How fast can you control it? But it’s fun to watch.

[00:33:42] Jill: Interesting. Cool, very cool.

[00:33:42] Alison: Because it’s easy, it’s easy to understand what’s happening. I mean, obviously you don’t know all the technicalities of. You can watch it without much background and say, that looks like a lot of fun to try.

[00:33:53] Jill: Excellent. Well, in the men’s bank slalom, upper limb class, gold went to Maxime Montaggioni from France. Silver went to Ji Lija China and bronze went to Zhu Yonggang from China.

In the lower limb one class, gold went to Wu Zhongwei from China. Silver went to Chris Vos from Netherlands and bronze went to Tyler Turner from Canada, who won in the snowboard cross.

In the lower limb two class, gold went to Sun Qi from China. Silver went to Matti Suur-Hamari from Finland. Oh, it’s nice to see him get another medal. And bronze went to Ollie Hill from Great Britain.

[00:34:35] Alison: The other announcer, the English language announcer, called him Ollie Ollie Oxenfree.

[00:34:39] Jill: Oh, aw, that’s fun. He was fun. I mean, I really liked that pair in-house announcers. I thought they did such a great job.

And then in the women’s lower limb two class, gold went to Brenna Huckaby, as you said, from USA. Silver went to Geng Yanhong from China and bronze went to Li Tiantian from China.

And we ended the day with wheelchair curling. We had semi-finals today and the bronze medal match. So in the first semi-final, it was China versus Canada. China won nine to five in seven ends. So China just got out there early. They had some big ends and Canada tried to claw back, but they couldn’t. Again with the vocal stuff, lots of crowd noise. They were, I will say that the crowds are so into the curling. It’s really cool. Really, really nice.

[00:35:30] Alison: And very knowledgeable

[00:35:32] Jill: In the other semi-final with Slovakia versus Sweden, much closer. It came down to the last rock. Would that give Slovakia the tie or the win? Because they were down and sadly, no for Slovakia. Sweden won six to four and our Omega timing friend Sylvan, when that last rock was going, he’s like he made the violin motion. He’s like the rock is sliding down the frozen river. It’s so funny.

And in the bronze medal match, Canada beat Slovakia eight to three. Canada had a big four point end in the eighth to seal the deal because it was very close again. It was four-three after seven ends and Canada just came out there and said, we are taking this medal home.

Tomorrow’s gold medal match. We are getting down to the end of things.

[00:36:25] Alison: Well, what will be nice is we have not seen a medal ceremony all Paralympics, because the only medals that have been awarded have been at Yangqing and Zhangjiakou and the medal ceremonies at Zhangjiakou start after the late train leaves. So you can’t stay there. And Yangqing, we won’t even talk Yangqing. But that’s the issue so that we haven’t talked about going to the medal ceremony, because we haven’t been to one. Right. And if curling awards their medals the way they did in the Olympics, they’ll do a venue ceremony right after the gold medal match. So maybe we’ll get to see a medal ceremony.

[00:37:04] Jill: And I think they should because the Medals Plaza is sort of broken down. So all of the crowd stuff has gone. The flagpoles are gone. The rigs that held like cameras and things, those are gone. The shell is still sort of up, the back is down. So they’ve got to have them at the venue.

[00:37:20] Alison: So it looks like we will see the curling ceremony and the hockey ceremony at the venues. But that also means no flag flick because it’s the two-sided poles at the venues, not the straight flag pole.

Jill: Sadly, I guess we have to wait for closing ceremonies for that last flag flick.

Alison: No, because the flags come down, they don’t go up. All I got to see was the marginal flag flick done at Opening Ceremonies.

[00:37:46] Jill: Oh, you’re right. Sorry. I guess those we’ll just have to go back to the feeds. Wacth them again.

[00:37:52] Alison: It’s okay. I’ll be all right. I came back from the mountain in one piece. You’re not letting me out of Beijing for the rest of the games.

[00:38:04] Jill: No. Well, there’s no reason. Well, I mean, we can’t get anywhere else in time for anything for the rest of the games. So Beijing it is.

And we would like to thank our Kickstarter Collectors, Meredith Briski and Charlotte Jackson for their contributions to help us get here.

[00:38:21] Alison: And you know, who would make me feel better?

Jill: I can guess.

Alison: Our mascot Theo, he would cuddle with me. He likes love, and Theo has also been known to sport some fancy Team USA gear. I have seen collars, bandanas, hats, scarves, sweaters, occasionally a pair of sunglasses.

[00:38:45] Jill: Sounds like Theo’s ready for the gold medal sled hockey match.

[00:38:48] Alison: I think he’s ready. He will be watching. No doubt. I wonder if he barks at it.

[00:38:54] Jill: Good question. Gets all excited. Cheers on Team USA in a dignified manner.

[00:38:56] Alison: And he, he would never act like a drunken frat boy on a world stage. I hope those boys are disappointed at themselves.

[00:39:12] Jill: Well, and if they aren’t, you can just be disappointed for them.

[00:39:16] Alison: I am.

[00:39:17] Jill: Huh? Well, I think that will do it for this episode. Tune in again tomorrow for one of the last days of competition.

[00:39:24] Alison: And if you want to hear what else I’m going to tell these athletes, you can come join us on our Keep the Flame Alive Facebook group. It’s the place to hang out with us and all our other listeners. Jill is on Twitter and I am on Instagram. Both are @flamealivepod. You can email us at flamealivepod@gmail.com or call or text us at (208) 352-6348, That’s (208) FLAME-IT.

[00:39:52] Jill: We will catch you back here tomorrow. Thank you so much for listening and until then, keep the flame alive.