Keep the Flame Alive: The Podcast for Olympics Fans

BONUS: What’s Our Patron Audio Like?

Release Date: December 29, 2022

We’re closing out the year by giving you a little taste of the bonus audio that our silver medal level and up patrons receive every month. This includes deleted scenes from interviews, post-interview debriefs and–new for 2023–rule changes that will affect how you’ll understand the sports on the Paris 2024 Olympic and Paralympic programs.

In this episode we explore the rule changes you’ll notice in Artistic Gymnastics. Also, TKFLASTANI Shannon Galea tells us all about Maltese food.

Want more? Check out our Patreon page or our Support page.

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


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 Please do not quote from the transcript; use the audio file as the record of note. 

Jill: [00:00:00]

Hello fans, OFAN, and welcome to this bonus episode of Keep, the Flame Alive, the podcast for fans of the Olympics and Paralympics. I’m your host, Jill Jaracz, joined as always by my lovely co-host, Alison Brown. Alison, hello, how are you? Hello. Happy holidays. Happy holidays. I did not get to ask if you were doing the Dinner of the Fishes this Christmas Eve.

Alison: We actually are, and Film Buff Fran is coming over and joining us.

Jill: Oh, how exciting is that?

Alison: Yes. So we are, we are doing multiple fishes. We’re not doing a lot of the traditional fishes because who eats bk? Oh my god. . But we, we will have many fishes on Christmas Eve. I don’t even know what that is. , you don’t want to

Jill: Well, that’s exciting and I realized that this episode’s coming out after Christmas, but, Very cool that you will be able to celebrate that tradition. We’re starting a new tradition here for the end of 2022 and we wanted to give you a teaser of what our patrons get. Every month, Patreon patrons at certain levels of patronage get.

Bonus content, and we’re changing this up for 2023. Every month, Patreon patrons will get a bonus episode. Get you ready for Paris 2024. We will review rule updates, format changes, and new events in every sport on the Paralympic and Olympic programs.

[00:01:57] Artistic Gymnastics – What will be different at Paris 2024?

Jill: This month, we’re featuring artistic gymnastics there. I mean, there’s gonna be some changes here that very, very noticeable changes for us ab

Alison: Absolutely. So the biggest change that you’re gonna see for women’s gymnastics is that the size of the teams are gonna change. So last time around we had this very weird four member team and two random people that came along that qualified as individuals.

And now we’re going back to, nope, we’ve got five member teams. This is true of men’s gymnastics as well, that were not going to have these random individuals who qualify. If your country qualifies a team, it is a five member team and that’s who you are sending and.

Jill: And, and I was gonna say that change was discussed quite quickly after the four person team was announced.

And we, I mean, we’ve talked this past year, we talked about 1996, which was the magnificent seven, and then you had the what, the final five from Rio. And then, then they realized, oh, helping get that athlete quota down really made it difficult to. Good teams and inclusiveness for a lot of countries.

Alison: Right.

There was also the issue of you couldn’t have a specialist on your team. So in the days of Mikayla Moroni, who was a vault specialist, she was a member of the US women’s team. There were no specialists, there were all generalists, really. So you lose out on, on that factor though. The two others could be general could be specialists.

Originally it was done with the idea of there are gymnasts who are not favored by their federations and are never gonna make it on the team, but should be at the Olympics. But it ended up being the opposite, where there was a lot of dispute between individual gymnasts trying to qualify as individuals and not being put on the team.

There’s a huge controversy in the United States because Jade Carey qualified as an individual. and then still competed in the trials to try and make it on the team. And that spot that she had as an individual couldn’t be given to another gymnast. So the US was, in essence, possibly losing out on a spot.

So we’ve gone back to if your country qualifies a team, there will be 12 countries in the team. Competition, both for men and women. You get five. If your country does not qualify a team, you can have up to three. Who do qualify as individuals or specialists. Very nice. So the first teams qualified at the 2022 World Championships for the women. It was the United States, Great Britain and Canada. For the men, it was Japan, Great Britain, and the United States. So the rest of the teams will qualify at next year’s World Championships. Okay, individuals can [00:05:00] qualify at the 2023 World Championships will be next October, the 2024 Continental Championships and the 2024 World Cup Series.

So that’s where you’re gonna get people from Belgium or just sort of the random uh, individuals and the specialists. So this is where we’ll see Chu. Try and go for, I don’t know, Olympics number 24.

Jill: She can’t quit it. She can’t quit it. But this is kind of interesting because then the. Like regional games, like the PanAm games are next year, the Pan American games, there’s no qualifications for that. So that could be something where a team and a country decides to send different gymnasts to give them some kind of world experience, even if they won’t qualify for the Olympic stage.

Alison: Right. But for next year’s Pan Am games, we’re gonna. A lot of the top gymnasts from Brazil, for example, trying to qualify. Canada has qualified a team for the first time, so that’s been a change for their PanAm team. But they may send them as a prep or to try out certain gymnasts as to who’s gonna make their team.

The European championships are gonna be very interesting. For both individual uh, and apparatus qualifications. So that’s gonna be a lot of fun. France, as the host country gets one woman and one man automatically qualified. So if they don’t qualify a team, they still get a spot.

Jill: That’s interesting that they don’t qualify a team automatically.

Alison: Yes. That used to be the case. Going back to Sydney I’m not sure if it, it happened subsequently, but there was a lot of controversy in Sydney because Australia qualified a team that was then not quite up to the standards and there was a lot of risk of injury and there was a lot of controversy concerning that.

So, but since then, the hosts would’ve qualified teams probably anyway, China, Great. Britain, even Brazil. So there hasn’t been as much of a, an issue. But France does not generally have a team in the team Competi. . Interesting. So they get an individual, and then the top three non-qualifying countries at the 2023 Worlds automatically get a quota spot.

So those will not be persons qualifying. They will get a slot to fill. Okay? So you can qualify both as a slot for your country and an individual. It gets confusing with qualifications. In the big guns, the United States, China, we don’t know about Russia right now. They’ll be qualifying teams. That’s a big controversy right now is is Russia going to be at the 2023 Worlds and how that qualification goes.

So we’re gonna have to wait and see on that one. That will be the big sort of last minute scramble to get Russian gymnasts qualified. I do have some good news on the new rule book. Yes. So every quad we get new rules, things get new points, things get moved and down. Gymnastics skills are lettered, so A is the easiest, and it goes all the way up.

In theory right now, I think we’re at G as

Jill: the most difficult. Oh my goodness. Difficult. Okay. ,

Alison: you won’t see too many Gs, but

Jill: very good. Oh wait, are the GS all named the Biles?

Alison: You know what? I don’t know. Probably. These are the things that like the chenko from our last oh movie, the Cutting Edge may cause decapitation,

but here’s some things you’re gonna notice. we are killing the wolf turn. Yeah. So now gymnasts both men and women though men really didn’t do the wolf turn, can only do one wolf turn. They can’t do doubles, they can’t do triples, they can’t do back to backs. You get one. If you do more, you get no points for it, which

Jill: is nice because it, for those of you who don’t know what a wolf turn is, it’s basically you squat down to the ground, you stick one leg out to the side, and then you spin.

And once you start, Double and triples. Then you start wobbling and

Alison: it just looks horrible, right? And your arms flail. And that’s all allowed. That’s still a clean wolf turn. Unfortunately, there was an upgrade to the Wolf Turn Leap combination. So now you will see flying leap turns flying wolf turns.

Jill: So they leap and. Sand and then squat and turn ? No. Or

Alison: they squat. So you, you tuck one leg up. Mm-hmm. as you leap and you turn in a circle in the air. I will take that.

Jill: Okay. That, that [00:10:00] is more, that’s something you can control more. it’s really once you’re spinning on the surface and the surface is sticky enough that you can’t move very quickly or you’re wearing the little socks.

And then you just don’t have enough speed in while you’re squatting and turning to keep those rotations going. And then it just looks like you’re not in control and which is ridiculous because the strength that these gymnasts have in their abs alone and those and their legs would make you think that this could be possible.

But it’s just, it’s physics at work against you on these turns.

Alison: So another downgrade you’re going to be happy about is the candle mount to the beam. So this is where I, I’m, I’m not quite sure I can explain this well. So you are, your back is towards the beam. You flip over backwards and end up in sort of an arm stand, hugging the beam with your body straight up in the air,

Jill: right?

So your feet look like the flame of a candle.

Alison: It has been downgraded, so we will see fewer of those. However, there is an upgrade that I am not particularly thrilled about. On the beam, you’re required to do a turn. Okay? And in the past, pretty much a pirouette in some fashion has been what that means. Now they’re counting circles, rolls, and flares.

So we’re gonna see women doing flares. Which is, which is where you press up in the air, your legs are in the air and you circle, it’s what men do on the poel horse. Whoa. With their legs in a straddle. So we’re gonna see some women doing that, but we’re also going to see the return of the women circling the beam, like it’s the uneven bars.


Jill: no. So they’re going to like whip their bodies around the beam again.

Alison: Yeah. That now counts instead of a pirouette. And it’s also been upgraded. Oh

Jill: no. Oh, and when was that popular? Would we say like the eighties? I would would say the nineties. Okay. Nineties, okay.

Alison: That was big in the nineties where they would do a back, flip over the beam, catch it, and then swing around under the bottom.

Mm-hmm. . Also not a good look. It’s not good. The beam is not meant to be flipped around. I’m, it’s not my favorite move. No. Okay. So

Jill: back on this flare thing, , because this is throwing me for a loop. Are

Alison: they not a loop, a flare ?

Jill: Are they saying that the beam would be the equivalent of the poel horse just narrower?

Yes. And they will flare so that. That always looks like it hurts to me.

Alison: It’s very difficult and women have not done this move. Most women gymnasts cannot flare just because they’ve never been trained on it. So we may see only a few people do this, but what they did upgrade, which I love on the beam and on the floor, is the back roll to the handstand.

Oh. Which is such a pretty move. and it had such a low value that women just never did it. But now they’ve upgraded it and they’ve upgraded it in connection with other things. So you’re gonna see a lot of back rolls to a handstand and then say into a back tuck or into a flip. Okay, so that’s, that’s gonna be some fun.

Other big downgrade is to the start. Scores of many vaults because if you’ve watched a lot of both men’s and women gymnastics, Vaults get scores way higher than any other apparatus. So if you are really good at Vault, if that’s your best event, you have an unfair advantage

Jill: when it comes to the L round or even the team competition.

Alison: Correct. Okay, so now they’re trying to level that off. So there’s a, there’s a lot of four-tenths drops to starting values for vault. Okay. But across the board, so it not, doesn’t necessarily favor one vault over the other. They’ve just dropped what those starting values are.

Jill: Okay. So w th that’s something I’m not sure I would notice as a regular fan, but I bet the announcers will be talking about that.

Alison: I would agree with that. Okay. Other thing you might notice in bars, both uneven bars and high bar for men is the taca. Everybody loves the Taca. So you swing forward, you release over the top of the bar and you catch, I do

Jill: love the, I do love that move.

Alison: Okay, you can do it in a pike, you can do it in atra.

it’s kind of a basic release move. And sometimes on high bar you would see men do three and four of these in a row. No more. You get one taca.

So they’re going to have [00:15:00] to vary their release moves.

Jill: Oh. So they wanna see some variation in the routine versus Let me just do the same thing over and over. And the repetition. It’s like variations, right? Yeah. The repetition

Alison: will wow you. Exactly. So men do several release moves in a row on the high bar, and we expect to see that, but now they can do one taka and then they’ve gotta do something else.


Jill: that’ll make it interesting.

Alison: So overall, the rule changes are pushing for more variation. You can’t just do one thing over and over again. Nicole Lenin, when we spoke to her was saying, you know, you can’t do three flips on the beam in a row that are the same. So this is an extension of that rule change, which was made last time around.

So high bar beam and uneven bars are going to look significantly different.

Jill: I wonder if that variation is a good thing. I, I mean, How the repetition of certain moves affects your body. Does, does that make sense?

Alison: Like Right. If you’re always using the same muscles mm-hmm. does that, like we were talking to different people who always have to turn left or turn right in their sport.

Right. And their legs get uneven. Yeah, yeah,

Jill: yeah. Does that affect like your joints, your arm, or your shoulders or something like that? But I, I wonder how not doing like 50 tacas in a practice. Be good. Will that be good for a gymnast that, that’s kind of interesting to think

Alison: about. They’re also giving bigger bonuses for harder dismounts.

Jill: So you, so is this, is this like skating where the attempt is valued more so than the stuck landing?

Alison: Yes and no. I think what they’re trying to do again is get more. So that you could do a relatively comfortable dismount without getting as much with, you know, risk reward. Okay. Was much less. So now you’re getting much more reward for when you take the risk for a harder dismount.

And also again, they’re encouraging the variety because there’s more choices in the higher letters. Right. Okay.

The other big thing you’re gonna see, you can only spray with water. The bars and the para, the uneven bars in, in women and the parallel bars and men and the high bar. You ca you will not see people spraying water on anything and everything.

apparently did they give a reason, apparently spraying water on the beam. I had not noticed this, but it has become a huge trend. Huh. And I think the problem is that unlike the bars, the beam retains the water. So if the next person doesn’t like the water, it significantly changes the feel of the apparatus.


Very good. You will. Interesting. You will, however, still be able to mark the beam with chalk. Okay. Cause you will see women especially doing that so they can keep a sense of where they are on. Okay, so that’s still allowed. Other big change is brushing the floor and grabbing the apparatus to catch yourself from falling will be more of a deduction.

So you may actually see people falling off more, because sometimes when you go to catch yourself, that’s when you can hurt yourself. Right? But they do it because if you don’t fall off, you get so much less of a. . So I think they made that change to discourage some weird catches.

Jill: Right. And I’m, I’m thinking of like rings or high bar or peril or uneven bars specific really?

Because those are some odd

Alison: big places where you can fall. Right. So falling is okay, but you gotta get up faster. Oh, okay. Because there was there’s a clock for how long you can take for a routine and when you fell, the clock would. I know

Jill: this is one of the jobs I want ,

Alison: and then they had a separate clock for how long it took you to get back on the apparatus.

That amount of time has shrunk considerably. So because there would be a gymnast would fall and just kind of lay there. They want you up and going, right? Which is kind of going against the, we’re trying to prevent more injuries because when you fall, sometimes you’re so stunned that you need that second to assess your body and say, am I actually hurt or am I just stunned?

Jill: That I understand. I also wonder if there’s enough of a, well, let me re chalk everything Yes. And walk around and, and kill a little bit more time so I can get my, get it back

Alison: together or, right. So they, they, they do want the routines to continue and because now it’s no longer out of 10 and you’ve got these points, [00:20:00] if you took a long time that didn’t affect your.

and now it will. And now it will because I mean there was a limit. There was always a time limit, but it was a lot. And now it’s much cer. So you’re gonna see people kind of fall and pop up and get moving to get back on whatever apparatus they’ve fallen off of. Interesting. So, big, big routines that are gonna look different are high bar in the men’s.

Mm. Beam and uneven bars in the women’s

Jill: right. I’m excited about this. I’m, I’m actually mostly excited that they’re going back to five person teams.

Alison: it was very odd to have these teams, especially in countries like the United States and like Russia, who just had these people with them who weren’t part of the team, but they are part of the team.

Mm-hmm. It was uncomfortable. It was strange. The press made a mess of it in terms of how they spoke to Jade Carey especially.

Jill: Yeah, that, I mean It was really hard on her, I think, to, to tell somebody, oh, you qualified for an individual spot. You’re not allowed to qualify for the team because I’ve deemed it so I’m in, you know, I’m in the press.

You should be able to go for as many opportunities as you can. You don’t tell Michael Phelps, oh, well you qualified in the fly. You can’t qualify in the free now. You shouldn’t take that relay spot because somebody else

Alison: needs it. And it’ll be interesting to see now that we have this reckoning in gymnastics.

The federations and about some of the abusive behaviors and about some of these coaches and officials who control too much how these teams get named. Cuz this will be the first time in the United States especially totally postly, where people can’t qualify as individuals in any way. . Hmm. Because if your country gets a team, it’s the team that is named, you can’t qualify separately.

So what does that mean in Canada, gb, the United States, all these countries where you’ve got these stories of federations overly controlling lives. And are we gonna have another controversy like we had in London, like we had in Rio? Where, huh? That’s who you put on the team. Interesting.

Jill: Good question. Very good question. You. And the, the problem is, is that

NGBs work slowly and federations work very slowly. Are these things that are happening with the abuse scandals that keep popping up in Federation after Federation? Will they finally get corrected by this one? And, and I think for gymnastics and for all sports, but gymnastics, especially with Simone Biles stepping outta competition because of her mental health You know, making it dangerous for her to compete and, and showing how important mental health is in competition. Especially when you’re in a sport like gymnastics, that’s literally life and death. Sometimes well, if you, you have to wonder if federations are moving more quickly.

I don’t know, because the abuse scandals keep popping up. And those have to be thoroughly investigated as well.

Alison: Well, the other protection you’re going to need is padding on your hips cuz we’re gonna be circling these beams, left and right. Please just don’t do it. . They’re all gonna do it. You’re gonna see it in every beam routine, flipping around like it’s the low bar in the old days.

Jill: Ah. . Well, we’ll see how that goes. . There’s always next quad

Alison: and there’ll be extra water spray bottles for you to relieve the pain. ,

Jill: I’ll just have my own can. , what we can do is if we get accredited. And we’re in the Press Tribune. We’ll just have our own water bottles and we’ll spray ourselves off . We’ll, we’ll

Alison: chalk up our chairs, put our grips on, you know, like our, our carpal tunnel protection grips for typing mark out our spot on the desk, you know.

Chalk outlines for where things go. Hey, I

Jill: already salute the judges every time I get off the couch. . I dunno if we, we need to mountain dismount from our

Alison: chairs. Get get your d, e, and F skills ready, .

Jill: We’ll have to work on the jarris and the brown

[00:24:40] Bonus audio – Shannon Galea

Jill: All right, so that is an example of what our rule change format will be like. This year we also started dropping some other types of content into our patron feed. When possible, we drop teasers of interviews and we’ll do longer.

Post interviews where you get our instant reaction to what we just [00:25:00] recorded. We also have some deleted scenes like this one from malts, skeleton athlete Shannon Galea, where we got distracted during our interview by talking about food. Take a listen.

Alison: Okay, so what one malty food, should we all dry?

Shannon Galea: the Pastizzi it is the most highest calorie item that you could ever eat, but it, it is the best thing. Oh gosh. My, my teammates in softball would always make fun of me. Like I don’t eat McDonald’s I don’t eat fast. but I will crush four Pastizzi at 500 calories and they’re worse than a big Mac.

and, and what is it? It’s this it’s phlo pastry. So it’s like this pastry that a lot of mals people eat with their coffee, maybe breakfast, it’s a snack. And inside it there’s two types. A Pastizzi there is the RI Rico and cheese, or there is the meat and the meat is like minced meat mixed with a, you. A little paste of vegetable.

I love them both. Like I, I always get one cheese and one meat because they’re just, they both bring a different taste and they’re just so good. They’re, they’re warm, they’re crispy salty. And one or two is enough. I wouldn’t recommend overindulging in them, but they are a treat mm-hmm hot biz-zejt’ is another popular food item over there.

there’s this place called Champions in St. Julian’s, it’s crazy how cheap the food is over there. They make these little Timpana pasta. It’s one of the dishes that my Nana would always make, and you can get it for two euros and it literally comes in a, a little foil rectangular foiled, individual sized container.

And it’s portioned for like one, it’s probably about one and a half servings. And it is the most filling thing ever. And it was two euros and it’s just pasta. It’s like this special pasta that the malts make. And it, I’m pretty sure it’s called Timpana and it’s like noodles, tomato sauce. I wanna say some sort of meats in there and it’s just a simple pasta, but it just tastes so good.

Obviously some cheese. And I would eat that like on a hot. Ask me if I’d ever eat passed on a hot day in Canada, never, but over there, two euros in a little hot. Oh, it’s just so good. We might make pizza better than the Italians, but that didn’t come for me. I don’t wanna, I don’t wanna start a fight on your podcast.

Alison: That’s okay. I’m always insulted countries. So, I’m always glad when somebody else does

Shannon Galea: yeah, I like another big favorite, like seafood is just a big part of the culture over there. I learned how to cook, octopus and for my Nana and every year, my friends here in Montreal, it’s always a big joke, like when Shannon making her opto or her pulp, boo.

And I give it a name. You make it on Christmas Eve. Yeah, exactly. But over there, the, the um the octopus and rabbit are two very common meats that. is culturally eaten quite a lot. But it’s very similar to a lot of the Mediterranean foods that you you’ll see in, in Spain Italy very, light fresh, but also, you know that’s why.

Yeah, my, my menu always used to say to me, when I visited the country, you would say life’s too short to eat bad food. That’s why you come to Malta. . And I’ve always stuck. I’ve always stuck with that little saying, because it’s so true. Like you eat really well there. And it’s very, very cheap to eat well with the amount of food that you get.

So it’s, it’s a big part of the culture is, is eating and dining.

Jill: So that is a little hint of the bonus audio that’s at certain levels of patronage, and we’re constantly looking for ways to involve our patrons more. Check out our Patreon content because we’re adding some other exciting things for 2023. If you would like access, go to and look for the link to Patreon.

That’s gonna do it for this year.

Alison: I can’t believe we made it through .

Jill: I know, I know, I know. . I gotta say, okay. We are getting to the time where we’re a year out from preparing from China, and I will honestly say, so my body feels like it’s repeating what it went through before China, so I was really stressed.

I couldn’t sleep well. My back constantly hurt, so my back has started hurting again, and I just was taking Tums like, no, nobody’s business. and I’m starting to do that again. And I kind of wonder, is it just the stresses that happen at this time of year or is my body like, oh, you’re getting ready to go back to Beijing, which is probably never ever going to happen.

Alison: We can’t go [00:30:00] back. And that’s something actually the Patriots got, they got some bonus stuff from what happened to us in Beijing and why we can never go back. We

Jill: can’t. And then, you know, I, the realization of that makes me sad in a way. But we, we can’t, I mean, and, and, and you think, oh, well, we’re just two podcasters.

but you know, they look at journalists a little differently. We, we would be

Alison: journalists and they would recognize that poncho, anywhere,

Jill: that they would but you know, I do, I have Jones and for some good Chinese.

Alison: Oh, some bow and some, oh, I think I’m gonna make an omelet this morning for omelet, man. There you

Jill: go. There you go. Sounds good. Me and Shoey, Ron, Ron have been hanging out a little bit more.

Alison: Get ready to be friends with the freezes

[00:30:54] Patron Shout Out

Jill: All right, well look forward to that too. So We have many different bonuses at different levels of patronage, and one of those is getting a shout out. We like to thank our gold medal level patrons on the show, and this week our shout out is going to Jennifer Schultz.

Jennifer’s a, a new gold medal level patron I, I believe, this year. So it’s very exciting to have you, have you on board, Jennifer? Really appreciate it.

Alison: We always love a new gold medalist .

Jill: So thank you for jumping up on that podium and thank you for all of your support. And so, yeah, don’t forget to check out all of the different benefits at the different slash support.

Look for the Patreon link. 2023 is gonna be a great year for the show. We have some big stuff coming up right away in January. We are so excited. So a look forward to that. That’s gonna do it for this year.

Let us know what you’ll be watching. Come compare 2024

Alison: and you can get in touch with us by email. Flame alive pod Call or text us at (208) 352-6348. That’s 2 0 8 Flame it. Our social handle is at Flame Alive Pod. Be sure to join the Keep the Flame Alive Podcast group on Facebook and be sure to join slash support.

Jill: That’s right. Thank you so much for listening, and until next year, keep the flame alive.