Book Club Claire is back for our final book of 2023, Speed Kings: The 1932 Winter Olympics and the Fastest Men in the World by Andy Bull. It covers the early days of the sport of bobsledding–and so much more. So much so that Claire’s take on it surprised us!
Buy your own copy through our bookshop.org storefront (affiliate link, for which we may earn a commission).
We’re winding down our Seoul 1988 history moments. Jill looks at the Closing Ceremony for the Paralympics, which includes a lot of sappy K-pop, a revolving dais and floating Gomdoori.
In TKFLASTAN News we have updates from:
- Nordic combined racer Annika Malacinski
- Bobsledder AJ Edelman
- Slider Brendan Doyle
- Speed skater Erin Jackson
- Para powerlifter Louise Sugden
- Filmmaker John MacLeod
- Race walker Evan Dunfee
- Former bobsledder Nick Cunningham
- Boccia player Alison Levine – vote for her CAN People’s Choice award here!
The International Olympic Committee has invited two bids into targeted dialogue for Winter 2030 and Winter 2034. Did our faves make the cut?
Plus, news from Beijing 2022 and Paris 2024 (including a surfingnovela update!).
Thanks so much for listening, and until next time, keep the flame alive!
Note: This is an uncorrected machine-generated transcript and may contain errors. Please check its accuracy against the audio. Do not quote from the transcript; use the audio as the record of note.
Book Club Claire on Speed Kings (Episode 316)
[00:00:00]: [opening music]
Jill: Hello, and welcome to another episode of Keep the Flame Alive, the podcast for fans of the Olympics and Paralympics. If you love the games, we are the show for you. Each week we share stories from athletes and people behind the scenes to help you have more fun watching the games. I’m your host, Jill Jaracz, joined as always by my lovely co host, Alison Brown.
Alison, hello. How are you?
[00:00:47] Alison: I am very well, getting ready for the holidays and busy, busy, busy, like a little elf. I’m sort of elf sized, so I figured that’s appropriate.
[00:00:58] Jill: it’s wintertime, so it’s getting colder. I have pulled back out my big, puffy, poncho with a hood that I had in Beijing, which is fabulous.
[00:01:08] Alison: blanket.
[00:01:09] Jill: Fabulous. But it’s appropriate that we have a winter book for our book club this week. ,
Book Club Conversation: Speed Kings by Andy Bull
[00:01:15] Jill: today we’re excited to welcome back contributor book club Claire for , our final book club session of 2023.
This time we’re discussing the 2015 book Speed Kings, the 1932 Winter Olympics and the Fastest Men in the World written by Andy Bull. Plus we have news about changes for Book Club in 2024 and the titles we’ve selected for next year. Take a listen.
Claire, welcome back. We are talking Speed Kings, the 1932 Winter Olympics and the fastest men in the world by Andy Bull. And it’s appropriate that we’re talking about bobsled because the International Bobsled and Skeleton Federation just celebrated its 100th anniversary.
[00:01:56] Book Club Claire: How cool is that? And how the sport [00:02:00] has changed greatly because this book did, I mean, even on the cover, if you only have time to look at the cover, you can see, four men, on their stomachs. Going down the hill with their sled. And it’s interesting. You learn a lot about early above sled in this book.
But I want to get your thoughts first and then I’m going to tell you my thoughts.
[00:02:22] Alison: Well, I remember another book where I referenced Stefan from Saturday Night Live when he used to talk about the clubs. This place has everything. This book had everything. We had Melville Dewey, Franklin Roosevelt Mary Pickford. I mean, there was not a cameo that this author missed. It was wild how so many stories and characters and events of, the 1910s and 20s and 30s just crossed somehow, no matter how tangentially, into bobsled.
It’s wild. It was wilder than a ride in Whistler.
[00:03:06] Jill: Well, I will say, I like a good tangent, but man, Andy Bull has not met a tangent. He did not want to put into this book. , I would say that the… Subtitle is not really accurate, to be quite honest, because we get into the 1928 Winter Olympics a lot, then we go on many, many tangents, and then we get to 1932 and, and there’s a lot of interesting stuff with the.
Bidding for 1932 and the development of the Lake Placid plans. And that’s when we get into the Dewey’s and that’s an interesting and related side bit. And we get into the 1932 games and then we go on a very long ride that is. Billy Fisk’s life. And that takes up a big chunk of the book.
[00:03:56] Book Club Claire: I will say, I have never been more disappointed in a book club [00:04:00] book than this book.
[00:04:00] Jill: Oh! Wow!
[00:04:03] Book Club Claire: And we have been doing this for five years, I want to say. So, happy anniversary. And it can’t get worse than this. I love Bobsled. I was so interested to see, how things came together. And this book is about 270 pages. And I want to say about 30 of those were actually on the 1932 Olympics.
And there was so much. I didn’t need to know about everybody’s multiple girlfriends and wives and, ventures into Hollywood and world travels. I wanted to know about Bobsled and I got so little. It was so disappointing. I, by the end of it, yes, Billy Fisk, great guy, really love him. But I wasn’t here to read a Billy Fisk book.
I was here to read about Bobsled and the 1932 Olympics. I think St. Moritz got more coverage than Lake Placid did. They talk about both of them. St. Moritz was 1928 and then Lake Placid was 1932. And there’s so little talking about with Lake Placid. It just. By the time it was over, I thought I had whiplash because I’m going, where’s the rest of the story?
There’s like a hundred pages still good to go. And it just, it was epilogue city and I didn’t like it. And. I don’t think I’ve ever really said that about a book. Usually I give our books a fair shake and this one was like, absolutely not. book stinks. Yeah.
[00:05:45] Alison: When he did talk about bobsled, it was incredibly detailed and interesting.
We start, like you said, in San Moritz and the development of recreational bobsledding. The idea that San Moritz was not this winter [00:06:00] sports capital that we think of it. Now, it was, oh, let’s get this summer place going with some winter fun and like Placid the same way. It’s like, let’s get this summer place going with winter sports.
So not skiing, not ice skating, but they decided bobsled was going to be the new big thing.
[00:06:21] Book Club Claire: And that was great. I agree. It was wonderful, but it was only one sixth of the book. Total, between the two Olympics and then the development of both the host city’s bobsled tracks. Stemmeritz, by the way, if you are not aware, still has one of the best tracks in the world.
and correct me if I’m wrong, it’s like the only natural ice track, is that the one? Yeah. it was one of the first, still one of the best. But, Lake Placid did… Adjust and they also have been able to maintain their track. It was nice to hear about that for sure.
[00:06:57] Book Club Claire: I really enjoyed hearing about the team, but not for a whole chapter on Jay O’Brien and his many conquests.
And that, I think that that was like chapter two. So I’m going, is this how it’s all going to
[00:07:11] Jill: be?
[00:07:12] Alison: Well, I have to tell you, I dated Jay O’Brien.
[00:07:16] Jill: I am not surprised.
[00:07:17] Book Club Claire: Did he force you into marriage?
[00:07:19] Alison: No, I escaped at the last minute on my bobsled.
[00:07:22] Jill: Oh, man. Well, when you told me the date you started reading the book, Claire, I went, oh, I don’t know how long this is going to take her.
Because there was… a lot of the book where I could only stomach a page or two at a time. And then when we got to the bobsled parts, it was flying by. It was so interesting and fast read. But this book reminded me a little bit in the sense of Munich by David Clay large, I believe that was just so difficult to read until he got to a part he cared about. The cover of the book has a picture of one of these movie stars or glamorous women that is one of the conquests [00:08:00] of somebody else. and I don’t know why she made the cover. Like, seriously. it was disappointing. Yeah,
[00:08:06] Book Club Claire: I don’t know if anybody else has read this book.
If you have, please tell us. We would love to know your thoughts. But it really did only cover the main team of the 32 Olympics. with Tippie Gray and Eddie Egan and Jay O’Brien and Billy Fisk. And each of them got their own chapter, which, I’ll I’ll be honest, the Tippie Gray chapter was kind of interesting, and I did really like the Eddie Egan chapter.
I thought that was great. But… Yeah, the other is not so much. And I would have loved to have learned about the second team. I mean, if you’re going to be talking about speed Kings, well, Hank Hamburger is. the captain of the other sled and is competitive. Why can’t we learn more about that group and see how that U.
- team fared? we don’t need full chapters on each of the people, but I would like to have learned more about them. Instead of just saying, Oh yeah, and then Dewey wanted that team instead. And that’s I really wish I could have gotten more.
[00:09:12] Jill: Right. You got a sense of the one team he wanted to focus on and you didn’t necessarily get a sense of the full competition.
Like what did the other countries bring in? Because of course you’re talking about Germany too, who is a powerhouse. And was it that the only information. You could really get was in German and the author didn’t know it and didn’t go down that route because of that, or was there another reason why none of the other teams really mattered in either of these Olympic competitions?
And yet, Billy Fisk’s travel, travels around the world, got a big chunk of that.
[00:09:47] Alison: Though Eddie Egan, the original two Olympic athlete, it seems like, because he was a boxer, switching to bobsled, which we know today is still… The norm for [00:10:00] pushers, they usually come from other sports, track, soccer, football, all these other places.
And yet in 32, we were doing the same thing, pulling an athlete from another sport.
[00:10:12] Book Club Claire: We’re just pulling in a random guy. Hey, our pusher is sick today. Can you just hop in this sled and we’ll just go. That’s how someone got injured. Like they were just randomly selected because one of the guys got injured.
That was my favorite chapter, by the way, the suicide club chapter of where it’s talking about . how dangerous, the track is in Lake Placid and how they are desperately trying to get runs in so that they can be familiar with the track and all of these accidents and you hear how sleds are going, they’re going off the curve into a tree and I’m thinking, are all these people dying?
Well, they’re very close to dying and that’s why they call it Suicide Hill because people were so crazy enough to go down it. But that was one of those chapters that flew by because it was interesting. They were covering a lot of different athletes from all over the world and the safety of the track, which we still talk about that to this day.
This is not a new concept that, they develop a track and then everybody tiptoes around it for a while because they aren’t used to it and someone, gets gravely injured. So I really like that. I thought that. The coverage of the Olympics was great. It was just so small and I don’t think it was a lack of information as a whole, but I wish there could have been more.
[00:11:35] Jill: I also thought it was interesting how both 1928 and 1932 had weather issues with the weather being too warm to make some of the bobsled runs and how the competition kept getting delayed and kept getting delayed and you had the closing ceremonies. At Lake Placid and yet the bobsled competition had not yet happened and would they get it in?
It was [00:12:00] just really fascinating to know that even back then they struggled with weather. It’s a little different today because it’s because you know there’s climate change, but it’s interesting how weather has affected the Winter Olympics pretty much from the beginning.
[00:12:16] Alison: Yeah, we think of that as such a modern problem. And yet from the start, as you said, rain and freezing rain and heat and there was no refrigeration for the tracks. So if the ice melts too bad,
[00:12:32] Book Club Claire: Of the non Olympic stuff that got talked about, what was your favorite?
My, my personally was Eddie Egan’s boxer rollercoaster, how he came out of Colorado and, and fought like Jack Dempsey of all people and became this gold medal boxer. I thought that that was the most interesting of the side chapters, which ended up being like over half the book, but did you have a favorite in particular?
[00:12:59] Alison: I did love being reminded how awful Melville Dewey is. Because, in library school, obviously you learn Dewey Decimal System, you learn about cataloging, but there’s always a teacher or professor who says, don’t read about Dewey, it’s just going to make you angry. And of course we all do. And then we find out he’s even sleazier than we knew.
And his son is just as sleazy. So that was fun and infuriating. Which always makes for a good story.
[00:13:34] Jill: I liked the tangent about the Lake Placid Club.
Because again, the Dewey’s, but also that writing style that they insisted on changing how we were going to spell things and it was fun to puzzle over these documents that Andy Bull kept in the original Dewey language, just trying to read, like, why you think this is a [00:14:00] good thing to do? I don’t know.
Although I guess, People text that way today. So I’m surprised this hasn’t just surfaced and resurfaced and made a comeback.
[00:14:09] Book Club Claire: I honestly knew nothing about Dewey. So talking to two librarians I love this deep knowledge that you have. It’s like, Oh, Oh, honey, you have no idea.
He was so driven in one way, and this is both of them, father and son, they insisted on their way, they didn’t feel like they were wrong, except that they most of the times they were, and the formation of the Lake Placid Club and how that lasted a lot longer than you have wanted, than you would have wanted it to, and just the anti Semite community.
ideology of that club and how that persisted for so many years. It’s shocking to see, like you had mentioned with the Olympics how the weather had, it was a factor. It’s so many modern problems that we think are only relevant to the 21st century. We’re still so relevant a hundred years ago. It’s mind boggling and depressing at the same time.
[00:15:10] Alison: I do want to talk a little bit about bobsledding itself and what you thought of how they talked about the early days of it. Were you surprised? Did you know any of this? Like how they were first five people and the whole going down face first and on your stomach, because I didn’t know any of this.
[00:15:29] Book Club Claire: I was not aware. I had a sense that they didn’t go down the way that they do now. they have the high sides on the sled now. It’s almost like a metal bullet almost. Whereas back then it was, it looked like it was a toboggan. Honestly, you know, you’ve got wooden slats and the runners underneath and you go.
So it was interesting to see that even then they were talking about the technology of the sled. Oh, you know, this [00:16:00] is the specially designed sled that’s going to work for Lake Placid where, the Germans are going, it doesn’t matter. It’s who’s driving the sled, which probably is, is something that gets discussed today.
it was very interesting to see how in 28. They were on their stomachs, but by 32, just a little while later, everybody had to transition and be upright again and how they were able to maneuver with that. Maybe think of cool runnings a little bit when them practicing in the bathtub and cool runnings.
people in this crowd. So, yeah, I, I did enjoy that. I wish there had been more of that. I would have loved to have gotten a little more into the science of, why do they do this? How is it able to slow you down, speed you up? What were the sleds made of, what were each people doing to make things different?
How are they cheating, quote unquote cheating? Stuff you could do today that I would have loved to have heard more about.
[00:16:57] Jill: Yeah, I didn’t really know anything about how Bobsled was in the past besides seeing old sleds in like the Lake Placid Olympic Museum, but also how they got the term. Bobsled from bobbing their bodies to make the thing go and turn it , that all was very fascinating and also right when they moved from being on their stomachs to sitting upright, how did they drive and, you had people who were like, Oh, I’m using these rings and no, I’m going to use like a steering wheel or something.
And it just was very interesting to see how everyone was trying to figure out this. Quote unquote, new technology for the time and. Be the best and it would have been interesting to go down the route of, these people are building the sled this way. And these people are building the sled this way.
Were there arguments about what were sled standardizations within the bobsled community? what was happening there
[00:17:54] Book Club Claire: when it did expand? into the greater bobsled world and [00:18:00] hearing about all of the international drivers and how they maneuvered around or how they were reckless or how they were careful.
That was when I was engaged and really felt like, okay, this is not just a core group of four who has all these random escapades in Hollywood and New York city and around the world. But it is a group of guys that are just dumb enough to think that they can. Race down a track super fast on a sled, just like any other dumb kid, who’s 10 years old, you know, they’ve just taken that recklessness all the way.
If he had really wanted to emphasize the speed kings, okay. It’s not just USA1 that he’s talking about. He’s talking about all of them. I would have loved a book like that. Maybe there’s a book out there of that ilk, but it was not this book. And I’m a little, I, yeah, I could just say it again.
I, I was disappointed and it’s not badly written. , the book it keeps you interested in certain things, but then, you know, it gets into, yeah, the tangents, the sidetracks, all of these extra things. , I did see why he chose to put Billy Fisk’s information last.
In the story because he started with them. He’s like, okay, here’s what his parents are doing and why they were in France and blah, blah, blah, but you don’t hear a lot about Billy Fisk until after the Olympics. And then you get his diary and the stories of how he joined the. Royal Air Force in England to help defend against the Nazis and Hitler, where that wasn’t something that Americans usually did.
He had to claim he was Canadian for a little bit just so that they would let him. That was a good story, but. I don’t know if I needed that much information. Did you guys have issues finishing the book with that or did you, was that interesting to you?
[00:19:56] Jill: I had issues with it because I I didn’t know [00:20:00] if this was supposed to be a book about bobsled, which the title led me to believe, or if this was a Billy Fisk biography, which the content led me to believe that it was.
And I wondered two different things. I wondered if. The author got his hands on the Billy Fisk diaries and these biographies that had never been published. If that was just like, I have all this gold, I have to use it. And Billy Fisk deserves a biography. And I don’t know if anybody can sell one.
To a publisher, but this is my chance to, slide this in here. I don’t know why he was able to sell a book on bobsledding if you got this big adventurer here, but such as the case, I also wondered if the editor or publisher wasn’t interested in having a big chunk of the book dedicated to Billy Fisk’s military career, because then you could sell the book to.
Military history buffs, because that, that can be an issue as well. So I, I don’t know, but I didn’t, I didn’t love it. I missed the bobsleds. Like, well, 1932 is over. We still got a long way to go. What’s left. And, I got a little bored of reading, uh, wealthy person’s adventures, to be quite
[00:21:13] Book Club Claire: honest.
We get it. You’re rich. You’re able to go around the world. Yay. Big whoop. Yeah. that was something too. And that’s something that I’ve. If you remember, I have issues with rich people doing sports kind of things I’m not a fan of sailing, basically for the reason of it’s usually something only rich people can do, so this book kind of emphasized, even during the depression, how they’re still able to have all these crazy adventures while everybody else is suffering.
I did want to mention that this is Andy Bull’s first book. If you look at the jacket and he has covered more than 50 different sports. So you can definitely tell he’s not of a one track mind. So he’s kind of all over the [00:22:00] place. And hopefully the second book, get a little more focus on it.
[00:22:05] Alison: The one thing I will give him credit for, I thought was very interesting was that so many issues that faced a bobsled.
In its earliest days are the same issues that we still talk about track maintenance, track safety are too many races in Europe. So the Americans are disadvantaged. Are the Germans taking over and nobody else gets a fair shake? How crazy some of these guys are and the need for the adrenaline rush.
So that and weather being an issue again. So I thought That somehow bobsled on the one hand has evolved to this very high tech sport and yet the same questions we could have raised a hundred years, almost a hundred years ago are what we’re still talking about in the sport today. But Cary Grant isn’t at any of the races.
So that’s disappointing. But he was mentioned. He was mentioned. You never knew who was going to show up in this book.
[00:23:02] Book Club Claire: You’re right, though. Stefan was a good… It has everything. It has everything.
[00:23:07] Alison: Franklin Roosevelt. Avery Brundage.
[00:23:10] Jill: Well, if you’re looking for a book with everything, this is a good option for you.
This is it. Or if you’re looking for a little bit of information about Bobsled, read those chapters and you’ll have a really great time reading
[00:23:21] Book Club Claire: it. Yes, if you’re doing any sort of research, he has some good information, just read those chapters, like, what, 8, 9, and 10, and that’s going
[00:23:31] Jill: to be your cheat sheet.
Oh, well, Claire, I’m sorry that the year ended on a down note for book club, but I’ve had this on my shelf for a long time, and I’m happy to have read it or can say I can read it what do we have on tap for 2024? 2024. Well,
[00:23:47] Book Club Claire: I hear that it’s going to be a pretty crazy year for you guys.
Is that correct? So you’re, you’re going to Paris for like six weeks?
[00:23:54] Jill: Yes. We’re going to Paris. Yes. We’re going to Paris for a while. so for 2024, we decided to [00:24:00] do just two books because with Tokyo we found it was really difficult to fit in. A couple of books between all of the things that happened just ahead of the games and then people coming back from the games and wanting to catch up with them.
So we’ll have a book in the 1st quarter, we’ll have a book near the end of the year. So what have you chosen for us?
[00:24:19] Book Club Claire: The 1st book that we’re going to read. is called If Gold is Our Destiny, and it is by Sean Murray, and it is about the 1984 men’s volleyball team. And I’m kind of on a giant volleyball kick right now, so I’m very excited to read more about this.
And this is one of those eras of history where you two have more knowledge of this than I do. And I am very curious to see how that context comes into play with, with this first book.
[00:24:54] Alison: Well, I can tell you how it’s going to come into play for Jill.
[00:24:56] Jill: That’s right. I hope there are pictures because I got two words for you.
Karchkirai. Oh, man, did I have a crush on him?
[00:25:03] Book Club Claire: wHo does the foreword for the book?
[00:25:05] Jill: Oh, well, that’s good. I’m all right. We are good to go. I am excited
[00:25:09] Book Club Claire: about this. yeah, I’m also super stoked. I hope I’m not disappointed. I’m just setting myself up for failure because I’m so excited. You only
[00:25:17] Jill: get, one disappointment
[00:25:18] Book Club Claire: every five years, Claire.
Okay, I hope so. Well, the second book, I’m pretty sure will not disappoint me because it is called Today We Die A Little. It is about Emil Zatopek, who was called the Czech locomotive and really helped to transform marathon running.
And so much has been written about this guy. And I don’t know that much about him and I can’t wait to find out more. about him and how he was able to transform the sport and also influence his country a little bit. So it’s by Richard Asquith and you mentioned we’re probably going to do this in the last half of the year following the Olympics.
So you’ve [00:26:00] got some time. It got released in 2016. So it should be a lot of good, relevant information. And once again, I am pretty excited about it.
[00:26:08] Jill: Excellent. Well, we are looking forward to those books. Thank you, Claire, for another great year of reading and we appreciate all you do for us.
[00:26:16] Book Club Claire: Thank you guys.
[00:26:18] Jill: Thank you so much, Claire. You can follow Claire on Insta at Light the Cauldron and on X at Cauldron Light. How’s our Kickstarter doing?
[00:26:27] Alison: Our Kickstarter only has hours left. We’re not even talking days anymore. We are talking hours. So what are you giving yourself this holiday season? Have you picked out your own present?
[00:26:38] Jill: Me? I don’t give myself a present. Well, you should. , It’s never been my jam. There’s a lot of stuff I want. but I just usually don’t. There you go. You should,
[00:26:46] Alison: you should give yourself a present and I have some suggestions. What about our viewing guide for Paris 2024 or a must have, a must have or our limited edition media pin?
[00:26:59] Jill: a must have. It’s very cool. Do
[00:27:01] Alison: you fancy access to our exclusive WhatsApp group? I totally do. And you can get all of that as incentives through our Kickstarter campaign. And best of all, you will get 34 daily episodes from the Paris 2024 show. The Paris 2024 Summer Olympics and Paralympics. Give back to your favorite Olympics and Paralympics podcasts and make it your jam to give yourself some gifts.
Find the link for the Kickstarter campaign at our website, flame alive pod.com.
[00:27:33] Jill: Excellent. I’m also looking forward to sending postcards, ’cause that’s one of our, . Rewards. And I do enjoy sending a good postcard. And this time, there will not be the stress of wondering if postcards are available. And is there a post office that will have a short line that I
[00:27:50] Alison: can use?
And the question will be, will we have to glue the stamps on ourselves?
There’s still a lot of great stuff left. So [00:28:00] please check it out flamealivepod. com.
Seoul 1988 History Moment
[00:28:07] Jill: That sound means it is time for our history moment and it is my turn for my last time for Seoul 1988. So I, uh, as we wrap up the coverage of the, these games, it is the 35th anniversary year of Seoul 1988 Paralympics and Olympics. It’s only natural that we talk about the closing ceremony for the Paralympics.
So this took place on the 24th of October on kind of a misty night. So it was, the track was a little wet.
It was a little foggy, but that invoked an interesting element compared with the dancing and performances that we saw during the show, uh, capacity crowd. They were excited, they were very into it started with a victory ceremony for the men’s marathon, multiple classes, we moved on to the show after that, which had seen some pop singers that apparently seemed to be pretty famous because people were cheering like crazy. I don’t know the history of K pop very well, and I don’t know who was popular in 1988, but instead of like BTS and groups like that, or Psy with some very exciting music we had cheesy 80 pop songs, 80s pop
[00:29:20] Alison: songs. Did Corianna make another appearance?
[00:29:24] Jill: Close, but it was along that kind of slow, cheesy, ballad synthesizer, heavy on the synth. Nice. Perms. Oh my gosh.
[00:29:34] Alison: Flashy makeup. I love this already.
[00:29:37] Jill: Right? A woman sang, then there was a duo that sang, we had another person, but then the show really got going with a marching band. Complete with rifle and flag girls and then dancers came on into the mix as a performance went on.
It was a long marching band performance and then they had the chorus come in. So huge chorus that took up a huge chunk of the stadium. [00:30:00] Also saying beautifully then the athletes came in, all countries were mixed together as they are wanted to do in closing ceremonies. And they entered to a medley of, I believe folk songs from around the world, because as they were coming in, you just zone out a little bit.
Cause it takes time for everybody to get into the stadium. And then all of a sudden I heard way down upon the Swanee river. And I went, what is this? And then I heard Yankee doodle dandy. But then they also had Alouette in the mix. So then I wondered, okay, are we just doing folk songs from around the world?
Athletes took center stage for the show. They were down in the field for the duration. Performances from Seoul 1988 organizing committee kept coming and showcased a variety of traditions, including lots of cymbals for this. We had some drones, but there were a lot of symbol things.
And they used this very cool S shaped runway that went through the middle of the stadium or middle of the field so that they were enveloped within the athletes around them. And it was very cool. Lots of very cool lighting things and like streams of people in very colorful costumes. In the final round of farewells from the president.
Of the organizing committee and the international Paralympic committee president, the IPC presented the very first Paralympic order to the president of the sole organizing committee, and then Paralympics closed. And this is happening all on a little revolving platform that, that.
While they are speaking it turns around so everybody in the stadium can see their faces at some point. Oh, that’s really cool
[00:31:32] Alison: Why haven’t we done that since
[00:31:34] Jill: I don’t well, you know jumbotrons and even though they had a jumbotron there They still had a like when we were in Beijing Remember like half of the jumbotron was dedicated to sharing whatever the speech was in another language That’s the way it was here.
So but I just think It was very cool that, that they did this revolving thing. the, Handover to Barcelona happened, and it was really just handing over the flag. There was no [00:32:00] spectacular performance awaiting us. Then the flame slowly went out, but we weren’t quite done with the show.
We got another slow, sappy eighties pop song and then there was one final number with performers carrying Chorong lanterns or the light of harmony. And they were dancing to this Korean folk song, which I would say it’s kind of famous because I played it in high school band, but it’s a song that you will hear often when you think about Korean folk songs.
As they did this dance, giant balloons of the Gomdori, our mascots, rose up and out of the stadium, and they had this big, long banner attached to their feet that talked about seeing you next time. It was very cool. It was like a big Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade balloon rising up into the air.
[00:32:47] Alison: I wonder where it landed.
[00:32:50] Jill: I’m very curious. And then we got this great fireworks display in the final send off to see you in Barcelona 1992. It was a beautiful ceremony to cap off a truly revolutionary Paralympics. This was the first time that the Paralympics were equal to the Olympics because they were being held in the same city.
And one of the farewell speeches really summarized how the Paralympics impacted the country. This, I will say, this could be. The prime minister could be the president of the organizing committee that said this. I just had screenshots of the scoreboard , that said this and they didn’t attribute it .
But it said the flame that lit the world during the games is now slowly burning out. However, the flame of human love, which is deep within our hearts, will go on burning forever. We shall remember your warm friendliness and unyielding courage. The people of Korea shall treasure always the valuable memories of meeting you all.
[00:33:49] Alison: to Shookflastan.
TKFLASTAN (Team Keep the Flame Alive) Update
[00:33:54] Jill: It is the time of the show where we catch up with our team, Keep the Flame Alive. These are [00:34:00] past guests and listeners of the show who make up our citizenship of our very own country, Shookflastan. Shookflastanese have been very busy. This week. It’s been an incredible every
[00:34:11] Alison: day. I keep going back in and putting more stuff on the sheet and it’s, it’s all good stuff.
So Annika Malasinski finished IN the first women’s Nordic combined World Cup event of the season in Lillehammer. She will be competing in Lillehammer again this weekend on the Continental Cup circuit.
[00:34:28] Jill: Bob Sledder, AJ Edelman scored the first podium finish in Bobsled for Israel. He and Jason Dunn finished third at the North American Cup race in Whistler.
[00:34:38] Alison: Also, at the North American Cup in Whistler, Brendan Doyle finished second in the men’s skeleton. Next up, Park City, Brendan was also announced as one of eight winter athletes to receive Milano Cortina 2026 Olympic scholarship funds from the Olympic Federation of Ireland. The money comes from the IOC’s Olympic Solidarity Program, and Brendan’s going to be getting about 26K.
[00:35:03] Jill: It’s so awesome. I was so happy for him when he got that. Speedskater Erin Jackson won silver in the 500 meter in the World Cup race in Stavanger, Norway.
[00:35:13] Alison: Paraparalypter Louise Sugden is competing at the World Ability Sport Games in Thailand. Her competition is on December 7th. So depending on when you hear it and what December 7th is in Thailand and your Time zone.
[00:35:28] Jill: John MacLeod;s short film, Conviction, The Steve Gentner Story, is a December semi finalist in the San Francisco Art House Short Festival.
[00:35:36] Alison: Evan Dunfee will be walking for Ken Fund, Canadian Athletes Now, which supports hundreds of athletes in their journey to the Games. He’s aiming to beat his daily step record of 62, 000 steps. And is challenging others to walk 10, 000 steps and donate 10 to help Canadian athletes.
He’s also having an intro to race walking event at, , [00:36:00] Minoru Track in Richmond, British Columbia. That will include walking, snacks, and trying on Evans Olympic medal. That’ll be Sunday, December 10th, 3 to 4 p. m.
[00:36:11] Jill: , Nick Cunningham has been named the College Coach of the Year for the women, for Women’s Cross Country in the COAST Conference.
[00:36:19] Alison: Alison Levine has been nominated for People’s Choice Most Trending Moment for the Canadian Sports Awards. We will have the link for you to go vote for that through Saturday, December 16th.
International Olympic Committee News
[00:36:36] Jill: Uh, we have some IOC news. I see your face. You’re excited to talk about this. I’m not,
[00:36:45] Alison: and I’m not even going to say it.
[00:36:47] Jill: Oh, okay. So, uh, the, uh, international Olympic committee, uh, executive board met last week and they announced preferred hosts for the 2030 and 2030. 34 Winter Olympics. They are going to award both games at the same time.
There are a number of cities who have put their hats in the ring to bid and now they are moving from, hey, we’re interested in bidding to what’s called the targeted dialogue phase. And the cities that have Been accepted into the targeting dialogue phase, it’s the next step in the process and pretty much what we know of , the new process of choosing a host.
once you enter targeted dialogue, it’s almost a done deal. So, France has been selected for 2030, and Salt Lake City has been selected for 2034. And Switzerland was invited into a preferred dialogue for future Winter Games, which is most likely 2038. And Stockholm, once again. Left out of the mix.
[00:37:43] Alison: I knew this was going to happen. I don’t want to say I told you so, but I told you so. But I was wrong. I will admit I was wrong because I thought Switzerland over France. So that surprised me. But then I read some of the France, , material [00:38:00] and I see why people got so excited about it.
[00:38:03] Jill: Okay. So, , tell us all about that.
[00:38:05] Alison: So the Alpine events are going to be in Maribel, Courchevel and Val d’Isere. These are very familiar names if you follow Alpine events. Great facilities, great runs. Everyone’s going to be so excited. The skating events are going to be in Nice.
[00:38:24] Jill: Not necessarily what I would think of a, as a hotbed of winter sports activity.
[00:38:30] Alison: Yes, but who doesn’t want to go to Nice?
[00:38:34] Jill: Right. It’s a beautiful city on the Mediterranean. And we went to Sochi, which was a summer resort city.
[00:38:40] Alison: So they’ve created this, not only regional, I mean, really national games. It’s very spread out. You’re really going to have these two centers and you get to go to Nice and you take away the issue of government, really, because they’re working with France right now.
They know the government and they know how to deal with them. Europe, because honestly, who’s watching the Winter Games? It’s Europe. They tried to make Asia happen, but it only kind of happened. So France is it.
[00:39:12] Jill: I am very curious if they are in this targeted dialogue, because it does feel like France Um, some people who do organizing, they’re very, very excited about Paris.
Hey, let’s do a winter games too. And let’s slide this in before we get the final price tag for Paris 2024. And then we’re on the hook for winter 2030 and we only have six years in between.
[00:39:37] Alison: But on the other hand, I think the six years in between, they are counting on that honeymoon phase after the success of Paris, they’re assuming Paris is going to be successful and everyone is going to feel like we can now, because the six years before it used to be all you had, right?
And we’re just going to power on through. And can they take a lot of [00:40:00] the organizing structure from Paris, 2024 from Paris, 2024, all that institutional knowledge. In French professional circles and just suck it up and take it. That is an
[00:40:12] Jill: interesting point. yeah, it’ll be interesting to see where the honeymoon phase ends, the backlash to the final price tag begins, and then are we still excited for 2030, but.
If you can just uproot a lot of people who, you know, job security pairs 2024 employees lift them up and put them right into the next games that could save a lot of time and money in hiring people and getting up to speed and, you’d really eliminate some of the learning curve because you’d have some organization in there.
[00:40:45] Alison: And they’re doing the same thing with LA and Salt Lake City, the six year difference between the two. I think the plan is take a lot of the LA organizing committee, shift them over. And if you think about it, they’re even doing it thinking of Switzerland 2038.
In taking a lot of the French professionals from 2030, shifting them then over to Switzerland. I mean, because you’ve got a language commonality and a regional commonality that I think they’re thinking in terms of organizing committees are extremely expensive, extremely hard to put together. Let’s keep this institutional knowledge going.
It’ll be interesting. You know, I think we’re going to see a lot of people work on Paris, then the French Winter Olympics, and then possibly Switzerland. And certainly. LA to Salt Lake
[00:41:35] Jill: City. Something to keep an eye on. But Salt Lake City has been ready for a long time. They’re excited to host again.
But they’ve also been very clear about 2034 would really be better for us because it’s too close to 2028 otherwise. So that is not a surprise. And. I think they’ll do a fine games and they don’t have to do much building either. They’ve got a lot of [00:42:00] competition venues already in place.
A lot of athletes train there. They compete there. It’s part of a lot of circuits as well.
[00:42:05] Alison: And in celebration, Salt Lake City relit the cauldron outside of Rice Eccles. And I’m going to make the bid now. Reuse the cauldron.
[00:42:16] Jill: Oh yeah. I wonder if they will because it’s a beautiful
[00:42:19] Alison: cauldron. It’s beautiful and the connection and heck you save some cash, but I think people are really feeding into the nostalgia.
There is a point about the Olympics that we talk about a lot where it’s this tradition and this long history. And we hated that Beijing didn’t reuse the cauldron because they had, they had it there and how fantastic that would have been. So please Salt Lake City, reuse it and everybody will go nuts.
[00:42:48] Jill: Yeah. Yeah. I’m curious about what LA will do in 2028 because they also have a cauldron that gets lit occasionally on special occasions and why not reuse that? We’ll see. I love that
[00:43:01] Alison: But Sweden, my darling Stockholm, I am heartbroken for you. I don’t understand, and I said this on Facebook, what did they do in 1956 with the horses when they hosted the equestrian because the horses couldn’t get into Melbourne, that the IOC is still mad?
[00:43:21] Jill: I don’t know. It’s curious. I do want to dig into this a little more and see if there’s anything else to glean from that. But yeah, poor
[00:43:29] Alison: Stockholm.
It seems to be the same problem as when they were bidding against Milano. I think it’s almost the Swedish practicality is getting in their way. In the sense of, well, we’re giving you this fantastic bid. Of course, we haven’t done certain of these financial commitments because we don’t have the games yet.
We’ll do it when we need it. You know, we’re not getting these government promises yet because we don’t need them yet. Right. And the IOC wants the bells and whistles. They want you to [00:44:00] want them. They want to be wooed and brought steaks and watches and chocolates and flowers. They want to be love bombed.
Right. And Sweden is not going
[00:44:09] Jill: to love bomb you. But it is interesting that, okay, we’ll likely go back to France. Likely go back to Salt Lake City, likely go back to Switzerland, and yet Stockholm and Sweden, one of the winningest countries in the Winter Olympics, never gets to host them. Oh, and we’re going back to Milan.
I forget about Italy in this mix. We’re going back to Italy. I, yeah, I just, that, that says it all. My hopes for 2026 be an, an exciting, memorable games.
[00:44:43] Alison: It’s
[00:44:43] Jill: to be wonderful. Hope so. I hope so. I hope it’s better than Torino. How about that?
[00:44:50] Alison: That’s hitting the bar low.
[00:44:51] Jill: Oh, well, you know.
[00:44:54] Alison: I can say it.
They’re my people.
Beijing 2022 News/Doping Update
[00:45:13] Jill: Oh, we have another update on the never, never ending saga of the Camilla Valieva doping situation. Oh my goodness.
It’s not ending. It’s getting delayed. It’s not ending. So, so the Court of Arbitration for Sport had its hearing
This was to be the final hearing and it was in October then they said, no more delaying that until November.
They had it in November. And now the Court of Arbitration for Sport expects to publish its decision by February 12th. So we were hoping to have a decision by January. Now it’s February. No reason for the change. According to the Associated Press. But we’re getting really close to the two year anniversary.
[00:45:58] Alison: they’re not publishing it until [00:46:00] February, that is. the second anniversary. They want to keep this relationship
[00:46:03] Jill: alive. I don’t get it. It’s really frustrating. It’s gotta be so supremely frustrating to everybody involved.
[00:46:11] Alison: Well, I think the Court of Arbitration is using the fact that Russian athletes, particularly Russian skaters, are not competing on the international stage because Kamila Valieva would be a questionable athlete this whole time because she would have been, if she had, been found guilty, then there would have been a, a period of ban so she couldn’t have competed.
So I think what they’re going to end up doing, at least for her ban, she’s not going to get a ban because basically she’s been banned for two years, right? So they’ve kind of taken away that issue, but what happens with the medals? It’s like, they’re almost waiting for the next winter Olympics so that.
People will have forgotten about this.
[00:46:50] Jill: Oh, I can tell you who hasn’t forgotten about it. The American
[00:46:54] Alison: skating team.
[00:46:57] Jill: Oh boy. Oh boy. So yes, the saga continues, but hopefully the saga has a finish line in sight.
Paris 2024 News
[00:47:10] Jill: Ooh la la. Yes, ooh la la, Canada has announced the location for Canada Olympic House. So another hospitality house to add to your list if you are going. The house will be located in La Cité des Sciences et de l’Industrie. In Park de la Villette, along with a whole host of other Olympic houses in this big, huge park.
So you can go from place to place.
It will have the typical house things, watch parties, events, appearances watch party events, appearances, athlete appearances, food, live performances. It will also be a French and English broadcast location for CBC and Radio Canada, and for the first time it will host portions of Canada’s Olympic network live.
Olympic games [00:48:00] coverage. It’s a ticketed. , that information has not been released yet, but it will come in early 2024 and you can find more info at house. olympic. ca. We will have a link to that in the show notes.
[00:48:13] Alison: Lumos on the fat.
[00:48:15] Jill: Yeah. Way. decision about. Russian and Belarusian participation will come in March.
There was an Olympic summit this week in Lausanne with leading representatives of the Olympic movement. This topic was discussed, but the IOC has announced that the executive board will make a final decision about participation in early 2024 or, you know, first quarter. Very curious as to what will happen if we will go with the They’re allowed to come if the sport allows for them to come and participate under completely neutral colors Or how that will or they’ll not be allowed to come at all.
[00:48:55] Alison: Maybe they’ll make a decision before the court of arbitration Makes the decision about Camilla Valieva.
[00:49:03] Jill: I don’t think they want to and Oh the surfing novella continues so
[00:49:09] Alison: Environmentalists were worried about damage to the coral reef. Guess what happened when they started to do construction?
[00:49:17] Jill: Damage to the coral reef.
So there is an Instagram video from Save Teahupo that shows a barge that’s going to be used for the construction. And they were, they had a few people on it and they were out traveling, I think to go to the site. and the barge got snagged on the coral reef and damaged some coral. They waited until high tide to go and take this barge out and it didn’t even have the weight of construction equipment on it.
So this does not bode well for future construction of this judging stand that they want to rebuild. And I didn’t really realize this until I read it in the sports examiner this week. Thank you, Rich Pearlman, for this detail. It’s [00:50:00] 800 meters offshore. That’s a long way. Surfers
[00:50:04] Alison: are concerned. I read an article from BBC, with gold medalist Carissa Moore saying, I don’t know if we want to go surf this now.
There is a little bit of the first rumbling saying that surfers are going to boycott because of the damage that’s being done because we’ve heard surfers talk and they are so in touch with the ocean environment and they’re very outspoken as a community to make sure that their sport is not damaging this very precious environment and Chris Amore is Hawaiian and she’s been very vocal and very public.
With environmental causes and she’s a gold medalist. So that makes her a very, uh, important voice and to have planned this and then the surfers not go right, please, Paris 2024, just accept defeat, move it to the French Riviera. You’re going to have the winter Olympics on Nice. You know, get ready.
[00:51:01] Jill: And it’s not like that area can’t host a surfing competition because Rich Perelman also said that they hosted the World Surfing Championships, I believe in like 2017.
So there are waves possible there. It’s just that they had this idea that we have to have this one perfect wave and they can’t let it go.
[00:51:21] Alison: I realize that moving a competition. at this point in the calendar is not a small ask. This is so bad image wise and so bad money wise, you’re going to end up spending millions trying to undo the damage that you do environmentally.
You can’t fix a coral reef once the coral is broken, you can mitigate it, but the damage is done. So whatever costs you incur by trying to move it is worth it. It’s worth it. And how happy. would the surfers be to get to be a part of the opening ceremony and the closing [00:52:00] ceremony and even just not be, you know, the other side of the world.
[00:52:06] Jill: Right. Where it feels like just another , surfing competition. , one of the downsides I would see is that you’re taking A lot of economic impact out of Tahiti, because somebody is paying for the hotel rooms or cabins or, places that officials have to stay and whoever’s there has to stay.
Somebody’s paying for the cruise ship that the. Is going to serve as an athlete’s village. So there is that loss,
[00:52:34] Alison: but at the Tahitians don’t want it. No, and There’s been so much discussion about the Tahitians saying, We don’t want this, this is damaging. Ultimately damaging their economic, growth.
Because if the coral reef is damaged, then for years, Tourism is going to be reduced because people won’t come and do Diving, or other surfing, or other It’s not bringing people to Tahiti, I guess, as they had
[00:52:58] Jill: hoped. Mm hmm. We’ll see if they’ve got a plan B, because right now I, I understand they don’t, but we’ll see what happens with this.
It’s not great.
[00:53:07] Alison: Maybe they could be like the bobsled. And just like, go to Innsbruck.
Oh, we didn’t talk about that, but we’ll, we’ll save that because that’s still not done. The Italians are still not given up on keeping bobsled that, that novella, bobsled o novella.
[00:53:28] Jill: Still going further, not Nieto . Well, we’ll look into that for next week. That’s gonna do it for this time. Let us know what you thought of Speed Kings.
[00:53:38] Alison: connect with us on XN Instagram at Flame Alive Pod. Email us at Flame Alive email@example.com. Call or text us at 2 0 8 3 5 2 6 3 4 8 that’s 2 0 8 flame it. Be sure to join the keep the flame alive podcast group on Facebook. And don’t forget to get our weekly [00:54:00] newsletter filled with other fun stories about this week’s episode.
You can sign up for that and catch the final hours of our Kickstarter campaign at flamealivepod. com.
[00:54:11] Jill: Next week, we’re going to talk with road cyclist, Coryn Lebecki, who’s going to explain how the Peloton works she’s also going to, answer some burning questions we have that we know you have too about like food and, uh, other stuff.
So be sure to tune in for that next week. Thank you so much for listening. And until next time, keep the flame alive.