John Register, 1996 & 2000 Paralympian, is our guest on Keep the Flame Alive Podcast. John competed in swimming in 1996 and athletics in 2000, where he won a silver medal in the long jump. Photo by Joe Kusumoto, courtesy of John Register.

Episode 157: Paralympian John Register on Running Blades

Release Date: October 8, 2020

In our efforts to learn more about how para sports work, we talk with 1996 and 2000 Paralympian John Register about the mechanics of running blades (aka running legs).

This is (hopefully) our first interview with John, who competed at the 1996 Paralympics in swimming and the 2000 Paralympics in silver long jump (got an American record of 5.41m), and 5th in 100m and 200m. He’s currently a keynote and motivational speaker does LinkedIn Live on Thursdays at 3:12 MT.

John is taking part in a panel called “Disability and Sports,” as part of the University of Rhode Island’s Honors Colloquium, “Disability in the 21st Century.” The panel discussion, “Disability and Sports,” will take place virtually Tuesday, Oct. 13  at 7 p.m. The link to the lecture can be found on the day of the event in the colloquium schedule, next to the name of the presentation.

Check out John’s website and follow him on:





Our TKFLASTAN Update includes news from:

We also have Games Updates from Tokyo 2020 and Paris 2024. Cost-cutting measures galore for both Games, and it looks like we may have another IOC member who goes rogue.

The International Olympic Committee’s Executive Board held a meeting this week, which meant a TBach press conference. Jill was completely shocked by one of his comments – you won’t believe what he admitted.

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

Photo: Joe Kusumoto


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 Please do not quote from the transcript; use the audio file as the record of note. If you would like to see transcripts that are more accurate, please support the show.

John Register: [00:00:00] So I find a facet. It does a person actually with two running legs, uh, you know, blades. Do they actually have an advantage over somebody that does not? And that’s so use the answer to that question by saying, well, why don’t you just cut your legs off? Let’s fight.

Jill: The greatest festival of our contemporary society, the Olympic games is about to begin. This is going to be close

Hello, and welcome to another episode of Keep the Flame Alive, the podcast for fans of the Olympics and Paralympics. I am your host, Jill Jaracz joined as always by my lovely co-host. Alison brown, Alison. Hello. How are you today?

Alison: I’m feeling very out of sorts. How come? Because it’s October. So I should be getting ready for the world.

Gymnastics. Wouldn’t be happening this year normally, but is, and ice skating should be starting and it kind of is everything is sort of happening and not the way it should be. And I’m just, my October is very not the way it’s supposed to be in terms of my sports watching.

Jill: I hear you. And anytime sport does happen, it’s just kind of like amazing.

I was watching TV with Ben. I forget. What day it was, but it was this weekend and we’re just flipping through something. And then all of a sudden, I was just like, football’s on Paul. He just looked at me like I was insane and had to turn on football for me.

Alison: I’m so torn because on the one hand, I want to see all these events.

And on the other hand, I’m so concerned about everyone involved. And the traveling and

Jill: because it’s been hit and miss, I think there’ve been some sporting events that have been successful. Like the national basketball association here had its bubble and the WMCA also had a bubble, but American football has been traveling.

Some stadiums have. No fan some, have some fans, some have more fans, and now we’re starting to see cases pop up among the athletes. So I don’t know.

Alison: So in Russia had it’s figure skating test event, but not everybody was there and other countries have canceled their nationals and their tests events. So it’ll be strange to kind of see how last year the figure skating world championships were canceled.

Those don’t usually happen until March. So it’ll be interesting to see how the skating progresses during the season. Cause grand Prix is happening, but not happening in its normal way, but we are getting to see programs and people complaining about, oh no, we have another card. Oh, no, we have another black Swan.

What movie did they pull that music from? What were they thinking? So that part of figure skating is happening. So that, that does feed my soul a little bit.

Jill: I know biathlon will be starting up relatively soon in the next couple of months, but they’re doing a shorter season and they took out one venue and.

Made that weekend’s races at the venue before. So it’ll be two weekends at the same venue and then they move on. So they’re tying, trying to tighten up their travel. So

Alison: in biathlon will the north America. Be going to Europe and then quarantining.

Jill: I don’t know if the quarantine I mentioned they’ll go because Claire just went because she had some meetings and she competed in that city biathlon.

Right. So she came back and she did come back. So I’m imagining that they’ll probably go over and figure it out, figure it out and just stay

Alison: there. Cause I know sometimes they’ll come back and forth, but not this year.

Jill: Things are weird. Let’s move on to today’s guest. Uh, we talked with John register, John competed at the 1996, Paralympics and swimming, and then the 2000 Paralympics in long jump where he got an American record of 5.41 meters and took the silver medal.

He also competed in the 100 and 200 meter. There and got fifth in each event, he’s currently a keynote and motivational speaker and he does, uh, LinkedIn live sessions on Thursdays at three 12 mountain time. So we were supposed to talk to John for a while and had some confusion with a new platform that we’re trying to record on and getting connected.

So we didn’t have very long to talk, but we wanted to share this with you because we wanted to have part of our conversation. Talk about running. And how they work and what they’re made out of, because we need to know more about Paris sports and how they work. So John [00:05:00] was very gracious and talked with us about running blades.

We are hoping to connect with him soon and talk more about his story and his experiences at Atlanta and Sydney, because his whole story will blow your mind. Really. So, uh, but this little bit of a conversation is also pretty mind blowing as well. But let’s get some technology stuff out of the way. Okay.

What are running blades made out of

John Register: running blades are made primarily out of carbon fiber. The carbon fiber is flexible in that. And gives a little bit of buoyancy to energy storage and energy return. Doesn’t give that much return back, but there it does energy store. Uh, so if you think about an ankle muscle or an ankle firing, uh, when we naturally run, we can flex the ankle through the Achilles tendon and then power off of that foot.

Uh, whereas with the, the power, you cannot generate that. Uh, with no inertia being put on that blade. So when you, when the athlete pushed power into the ground, through the blade, it will then energy store it and then return that back. And sometimes you can get that to come back faster than an ankle would do.

But, but from the, from the start, you there’s, no, you can’t generate that until you actually start getting.

Alison: So when I’ve seen people run on blades, it almost looks like they bounce a little bit. Is that what you’re talking about with the return?

John Register: Right. So you’ll see, you’ll see it differently for different individuals as they kind of bounce a spring down the track.

And we do the same thing when we’re running, we’re just creating it through the foot ankle, the, and you know, all the biomechanics that we have to run, because we know that in running, we need three things to produce speed, and that is. We want to have a stride, length, stride, frequency, and power into the ground.

So that’s the, you know, we’re, we’re trying to mimic that through the, uh, the prosthetic

Alison: at times when people are on blades or even one blade, it seems to go out slightly in an arc to the side. What is, because I would think it would still go straight

Jill: laterally, like the mechanics of the step.

Alison: Yeah. The mechanics of the step.

Look a little.

John Register: Yeah, so what’s happening there. There’s, there’s two things. One is you have, the human body is designed to operate in linear expression. So going forward, right. We’re going forward down the track of we’re running, running hurdles, whatever the burden might be when you begin to, when you lose a limb, you’re compensating.

You know, kinda, just think of a peg leg. What would a peg leg do underneath your, your, your rear stump? If you were run down the track, it’s going to go where the leg naturally wants to go our muscles and tend to just hold everything in place. When we have two limbs or no, or one leg, whatever it might be.

So we were symmetrical. So we’re trying to get the leg to do just that. When you walk. It’s very different than when you run. Uh, and so when you, when you’re walking, your knees are not coming up that high, you know, you’re kind of more shuffling around, uh, and you’re doing pretty much a heel strike to toe off when you’re running.

You’re pretty much on the, on the, the, the knees are coming up higher, uh, and sprinting, they’re almost parallel to the ground and in longer distance running, they’re, they’re more kind of 45 degree angle to the ground. But when you, when that leg strikes the ground, it’s actually bouncing to, to push.

Forward in motion, you know, you kind of heel off and go forward with that prosthetic. You’re not getting, um, the, the lay coming in in natural motion because it’s, it’s a part of you that’s attached to, rather than working in symmetry with you. So if you don’t have a knee, that knee is only a very static.

Mechanical knee. It’s not going to work the way a normal knee actually works. So what you get is this whip effect that will happen with the lower portion of the limb, kind of flying out and then getting aligned again. If you think about how the hips will move and motion as we run, when that leg goes back, and then as you try to bring it forward, we can control the, that, that swing of our lower portion of the limb.

Whereas with the. Artificial leg, you can’t control that it’s going to whip or go out or in, depending upon where you have aligned it. So w what processes, prosthetist, uh, what I share with them to, to do that when they’re going from a running or a walking prosthesis to, uh, a running one is to make sure that that leg is aligned at the athletes top in performance, because it might not look well or walk [00:10:00] well, As you walk, but when you run, you want it to be in the most album because that’s the highest, the highest end is what you want.

Right? You want to be at the ultimate at your, at your highest rate of speed. And then you come kind of come down. It’s like the, have, you know, the Sr 71, it was a kind of the highest plane that flew. It kind of flew into the ether space area. I was, it was called the Blackbird and it leaked fuel on the ground.

And the reason for that was because once it got up into the stratosphere, the skin of the aircraft within seal, because of the pressure that was up there. So it didn’t act the way it could fly really on the ground, because it was leaking all over the place. But when it got up into the space, that’s what it could actually act at its optimum.

So what you want to act after to want to act to their optimum when they’re running an artificial. How

Jill: does the bend in the blade factor into all of this?

John Register: So we can use different with a leg is made. There is in the, in the, um, what’d you call it, uh, the curvature of it. You can set that in production to the category for the athlete.

I’m a heavier person, you know, um, about when I was running about 200 pounds, 196 pounds. So I’m putting a lot of force into that leg. So I want it to be a little more stiff. I don’t want it to be loosey goosey. Right. So when they make it, I might push the category to category seven, category eight. So I get a faster return.

On that limb, somebody else that might be lighter as not going to give that much force may want to go down to a category three category four. And so as they’re making these very customized pours of these, these molds, you can choose what it is that you want based upon kind of how active you are and how much pressure you think that you’re going to put into that leg.

Uh, it’s really fascinating to see, you know, the science and we, we all, we often will go into what is called, what I call does. It does a person. I find a facet. It does a person actually with two running legs. Uh, Blades do they actually have an advantage over somebody that does not? And that’s so use, I answer that question by saying, well, why don’t you just cut your legs off and let’s find out.

So it kinda, you know, we can have all these arguments and stuff around it, but that’s why I think Paralympics and Olympics are too, even though they’re parallel to the parallel games to the Olympics. They fit in the categories of what people are capable of because we, we want to compare apples and apples, right.

Um, and that’s even, even inside the games themselves, we want to compare apples and apples. So when I ran the Paralympic games in 2000 and ran against the, you know, the, the world’s best, a hundred meters and 200 meters in long jump, I knew out of the gate, there was no way. I was going to be able to compete with these individuals, uh, that were above the knee amputee.

And the reason I knew that was because I am actually a true above the knee amputee, which means I don’t have a knee platform to weight bear on. Whereas the other people in the competition were through the knee amputees, which means they can actually weight bear on the bottom portion of that. And if we know anything, a boy, no things about running.

We start talking about the, the biomechanics of it and the physics of it. I have less power to put into the ground than the other athletes do because they can weight bear on the bottom portion of, of their stump. And I cannot, I actually generate mine from the. So that’s, uh, I’m losing about a foot lever on them, so there’s no way I can keep up with them.

It’s just, it’s just, unless they’re just not a great athlete, I can’t keep up. So the Earl Kotter’s or, you know, he was phenomenal. He won the a hundred meters, uh, Lucas, Kristen, who was second in that competition there all through the knee amputees. And then, so when we got to the long jump, though, I knew that the speed I could generate down the long jump runway on my artificial leg.

Understanding the biomechanics and physics of long jump, because it was a 27 foot long jumper in college. I knew I could probably catch them. I knew I had a better shot in the long jump that I did in the 102 hundred. And that was before I even put the running leg on to even begin the competition, just understanding the biomechanics of running and the physics.


Jill: link do you take off on for your, [00:15:00]

John Register: I take off on my sound side. So I say, if you, if you have it, use it, you know, and I really think my own personal opinion is jumping off the prosthetic limb. If you don’t have a sound leg to jump off of like this and long jump is a, what I call are we measuring? The athlete’s performance or are we measuring the technology’s performance?

And that’s, that’s a difference, uh, between it. And that’s an argument that we can have all over the place, because like I said, I can set that, that leg in the mold to respond faster than my ankle ever could. So if I put myself in the right position to jump, if I know how to jump and I could do the penultimate step and put my leg in that position and power off.

I could literally kind of pull vault spring myself to a longer job because I could keep the momentum going forward for a longer period of time for a shorter period of time. So to switch

Alison: takeoff legs from when

John Register: I had to switch my takeoff, like, so I was a left leg jumper. And so I always say if I would’ve had my, my right leg amputated, Lucas, crystal will never had a chance.

Cause a world record would have been gone. Got it.

Jill: When you’re jumping and because you are an above the knee amputee, is it harder to get the, the leg with the blade around because it’s coming from the. Beautiful

John Register: question. I absolutely. Yeah, my coach, his name is army Corps chimney. And, uh, so when we first started trying to figure it out, how to get the leg around.

So it, it wouldn’t stay back. I could get it to the place where I wanted it and, you know, jump off the other leg and all that stuff. I was always hitting my other leg. Right. My solid leg and damaging it, cutting my, uh, my ankle or cutting the skin because of the hit it. And he would always say, John, this is your punishment.


Jill: Okay.

Alison: Now to the feet, for lack of a better word of the blade, is it different length? Like, do you have different length of the extended part of it for different Heights?

John Register: So it really depends on how tall the athlete is. And now what now they have is the mast. So if you’re a double leg symmetrical amputee, they measure or are supposed to be measuring what your normal height would have been without.

If you would’ve had two limbs, uh, It’s really suspect to me because some of the people that I’ve seen run, they look disproportionate with when the mass hits them, there they go. Every, almost everybody goes short, unless it’s the country that’s measuring and they get their athletes a little taller. Right.

So it’s, uh, it’s just other ways that we can, uh,

Alison: And I think that would also be affected if you were for, for instance, an adult amputee and you know what that person’s height was prior to the education versus someone who either lost limbs as a young child or was born without,

John Register: or if we look at right, or if you look at like a double leg amputee to a single leg amputee, and you would say, okay, if I, if my other leg was gone, What would my mass be?

What would it, would it be? And so if it’s shorter than the leg that you’re, that I currently have on to make myself symmetrical, then there’s something wrong with the system. So there’s a lot that goes into all this, right. It’s, you know, it’s, it’s, it’s really kind of crazy and we don’t have a lot.

Classifiers and not at states, you know, very few. So we are cut at the short end of the stick, no pun intended to, uh, to, uh, when we’re, when they’re developing or measuring us athletes. It’s, uh, it’s kind of a challenge.

Alison: How many different legs do you have for a competition? I

John Register: just have the one, right? Um, it’s so I usually just.

Take one off and put the, I have a walking leg and I have a running leg. That’s what I generally do. There are athletes that will have just the lower componentry to it because that, for me being an above knee amputee, I have to have two things. One I have to have the foot, the blade is we’re calling it today and I have to have a knee because the knee is mechanical.

I can’t, I have to roll with a knee or not. You know, I don’t, you can’t generate the most power or. If you don’t have the knee, but there are those that don’t run with a knee, like a marathon and stuff, because of just because it takes them more effort and power. So you’ll see people [00:20:00] running with straight legs that don’t have.

Jill: Wow. Okay. To be continued because we both have to hop off. Now we have a million more questions. Absolutely. Excellent. Fascinating. It is incredible. And so, yeah, we’re really excited to be able to learn more about it.

John Register: And so my leg, the leg now is in the. Yeah. Did

Jill: you know this Ellison, his leg is in the new Paralympic Olympic

John Register: or permanent museum.

It’s kind of crazy. I walked us off for the first time. Like, oh my God, that looks familiar. Oh, that’s my leg. You know, I want a back.

Jill: No, one last question. How much did they sings? Cost? Oh, they’re

John Register: all over the map. So it’s all markup prices. If you’re looking at the, kind of the baseline without the market price, a mechanical knee that I was wearing on that time, probably about 35.

You took the whole, the whole setup, right? The materials, uh, from the socket to the componentry was about 35. What I wear today as a, as a, just get around leg, uh, is probably closer to 70, 75 K holy cow. So you think about too, if you have to have two of those, you know, 150,000. Wow. Yeah. You can get, get quite pricey.

Jill: Thank you so much, John check out John’s You can follow him on Instagram at John F register on Twitter. He’s J F register on Facebook he’s John F register, and he also has a YouTube channel. John register on October 13th. John is taking part in a panel called disability in sports as part of the university of Rhode Island, honors colloquium disability in the 21st century.

Panel will be a virtual discussion on Tuesday the 13th at 7:00 PM. And we will have a link to the lecture in the show notes, if you want to check it out. So I got to say, even though we got to talk to John for only about 20 minutes or so it, this was fascinating and, and we could go another title. Hour, just on blade technology.

Alison: Whenever we get into technology of any, when we’ve talked about bobsleds, when we’ve talked about, when we talked to Shiva about how is luge what’s created anytime we get into the technology of sports, because it’s so foreign to me, I’m always surprised. And I’m surprised at how fascinated I am, because I’m not a science person.

I’m a story person. And yet I kind of want to go to a factory.

Jill: I know I do. I want to get a, uh, a prosthetics maker on to talk about

Alison: these. How do you make these things and fitted? And, you know, just like any equipment, obviously, some people are going to be really fussy and some people are going to be easier.

And, and how do they like it tighter or looser or all those

Jill: dynamics to it. Right. And how long do they last? Oh, I

Alison: hadn’t even thought of that. I was more thinking, cause I asked him, how many do you have? You know, what, if it gets lost in transit of somebody? I mean, I assume you where you’re walking leg, but you still have to bring your running leg.

Can you bring that on the plate? Can that be a carry on?

Jill: I don’t know. And does it depend on how long that is? Well, it’s, it’s not that tall, so it could fit in the overhead bin maybe, but it’s like Kevin, any kind of instrument. You don’t want to check that. Right. But sound like you can’t, you can’t bring your surfboard or canoe online.

And we talked with, when we talked with Luca, she can’t bring her kayak on the plane with her. She has to have that checked. So I

Alison: worry about what happens. You have to lean out the window to make sure your leg gets on the plane.

Jill: Could you imagine a plane full of Paralympians and just legs falling all out of the baggage cart thing.

But yes, this was a great end. We are looking forward to talking with John in the near future. If you have any questions for John about pair running and prosthetics, let us know, and we’ll put them on our question list. What set flame alive pod at Gmail though. Speaking of traveling. Yeah. Let’s check in with our team.

Alison: Welcome to .

Jill: One of our newer citizens of shook flow ston AIJ Edelman has set up a go-fund me to enable the Israeli bobsled team to train this year. The team’s goal is, you know, we talk about how much, how expensive this stuff is. The team’s goal is 2.75 million. And AIG has said that if they can raise 150,000, they will have a raffle of.

Olympic items, including his uniform from young Chang and his team Israel Olympic ring, which is pretty swanky. So you can learn more at Bobsled. We’ll have a link to that in the show notes. After four [00:25:00] seasons, Jackie Wong is stepping away from hosting the ice talk podcast.

Alison: I did. I

Jill: told them you have a microphone and you’re good to go.

I am ready.

Alison: Talk black Swan and Carmen all day. And how feathers do not belong on ice skating costumes because they fall on the ice and then, well, yeah. Then those poor little girls need to go out, you know, along with collecting the flowers and the stuffed animals, they can fall over the feathers.

Jill: Right?

Our archivist Terry Hedgpeth has her own Etsy shop of thoughtfully curated antiques. We’ll have a link to that in the show notes, it’s called vintage merchant company, and we will have a link to that in the show notes, October six, with Dawn Harper Nelson. According to Don. She has a challenge to everyone to hurdle something throughout the day and make a video of it.


Alison: I do want to say she did end Dawn Harper Nelson day by picking up some ice cream. Oh, well,

Jill: that’s good too. That’s a nice way to celebrate.

Alison: So I said, if, if we could have Oreos on Tessa gobo day, you got to jump over something to get to your ice cream on Dawn Harper, Nelson day. I can make that happen.

We can combine them and have Oreo ice cream

Jill: and you could jump over something into your bed to take a nap. You could

Alison: jump over an or there and go. I could jump over an or laying on the floor. I mean, our hurdle is like up to my shoulders.

Jill: Our modern pentathlete, uh, Samantha Schultz was profiled on team USA, Tokyo Tuesday featured this past week. So it’s all about things she’s learned while she’s, uh, been in the sport. And as part of the. And then finally Tony Acevedo or water polo player has his own podcast. Now the Tony Acevedo podcast, which is all about the ins and outs of the water polo world.

And he co-hosts it with comedian Dave Williamson. So if you are into learning more about the water polo community, check it out, we’ll have a link in the show. Very appropriate name, right? No, keep it simple. Tony, just go straightforward. Okay. Let’s talk some USO PC news. Uh, this is kind of interesting. It has potential to do harm.

The us house of representatives passed a bill called the empowering Olympic Paralympic and amateur athletes act of 2020. The Senate has passed this bill as well. So it’s sitting on the president’s desk for signature or veto by the 13th of October. So it. It’s an, a reform bill that’s supposed to provide more oversight of coaches and executives following a lot of abuse scandals that we’ve had here in the United States.

The problem is that it could be seen by the IOC as government having too much control over the national Olympic committee, which then could compel the IOC to ban the U S from participating in the Olympics. So we’ll see. And that’s a whole. Slippery slope of what could happen. Um, I don’t think they would actually say team USA.

You can’t come. I think if the bill gets signed and the IOC decides to ban the unit United States, that would likely be a situation where the team USA would compete under the Olympic flag. Not fun, but it’s not like they wouldn’t be there.

Alison: Right. The problem here is not that the United States government wants there to be better protection.

For athletes, that is all of our goals. You know, w we have spoken out more than once about abuses of coaches and kids not being protected. And all of that, the problem is. We as Americans tend to be very narrowly focused and we forget that if we can pass a law that says the U S government can oversee the USO PC, then every dictatorship and every banana Republic and every questionable government can do the same.

And then if those dictatorships or various other forms of government could force. Olympic committees to do some nefarious doping, bings, and then the IOC has no say over that because it’s the government activities within its own country. Right? So as much as we as Americans absolutely need to protect our athletes more, having the government control the U S OPC is not the way to.

Jill: Yes. So we’ll see what happens. I imagine that this bill will actually be enacted and we’ll have to see what the fallout is.

Alison: Right. I wonder if this is all like so many things in politics, especially right now in the United States is all just theater and grand standing could be, and then everything can get thrown out the window in November after the [00:30:00] elections.

Jill: I don’t know, because at this bill becomes a law, then what do you do?

Alison: Right. And is it going to be. Uh, law that then leads to a discussion that then the IOC makes reforms, that this law then is no longer valid.

Jill: Could be, or I, I can’t see the IOC making reforms as much as, as the us government saying, well, oops, we better amend this.

Right? Because

Alison: again, I think that the reason that they’re pushing so hard on this is they’re having to us centric view on what this means for national Olympic committee.

Jill: Yeah. I don’t think that is understood as much as the concern to make sure there are safeguards in place. So that abuse stop. So we’ll see.

I mean, it’ll be interesting to see what happens with that. So

Alison: at least, so at least the IOC can be mad at us, along with the Italians, along with, you know, some other countries we’ll, you know, we’ll just spread the anger around.

Jill: Let’s see what’s going on with Tokyo 2020.

This week, the IOC executive board met, and they got a report from the Tokyo commission talking in more details about the cost savings that the organizing committee has identified. So they figured that it’s going to be about 280 million in cost savings. And some examples, they said we’re, uh, reviewing the temporary overlay specifications and other venue equipment, uh, reduce service levels.

The look of the games and venues and in the villages, they’re going to optimize the Tokyo 20, 20 Olympic torch relay operations, but not cut short, the relay because really calendar got released as well. And then they will encourage stakeholders to optimize their delegation, working in Tokyo and probably cut back on staffing plans for the organizing committee as well.

I think the big thing will be cutting down on the officials.

Alison: Oh, absolutely. And not just the officials, but just all your entourage that’s coming.

Jill: And the entourage is interesting because does that put you on a more level playing field? If you’re from a country with a smaller delegation or lack of budget, to be able to bring your physio, your massage person, and five other, you know, five other people to come with you and take care of your health while you’re there.

Does that make that, that more even, or are athletes just going to foot more the bill for those people? Well, it’s a com, right?

Alison: Because is it not that fewer people will actually come, it’s just fewer people will be paid for by the committees. Right? Or are you really, in fact creating a greater separation of the haves and the have-nots because you’ve got somebody like Simone Biles who had.

You know, a lot of money at her fingertips from sponsorships and she can afford to bring her whole team, you know, the, the ch the gymnast from the Netherlands can’t afford to bring her own team. Right. So are you in fact, making it harder for smaller teams, but the thing that really strikes me on this is this temporary overlay and the look of the venues.

So does this mean we’re not going to have rings everywhere?

Jill: I don’t know. I wonder what they had already finished, you know, did they have, were printers already starting to print up banners and, and things like that too. They have that stuff in a warehouse somewhere. No, I would not be surprised if they started in January.

Let’s start printing stuff. We got a lot of venues and a lot of stuff we want to do to them and we’ll just store it until, cause it’s a lot of work to put all that together, but I wonder, I know. I wouldn’t be surprised if they cut down on maybe flashy, electronic stuff that they were going to put in place closer to the games or maybe things

Alison: that were, I mean, cause so many of their venues are multipurpose and being used for things now, before and after the games.

So that all that branding for the Olympics was all temporary because you can’t use that for a different event. So if they’re just not going to put that brand. In, except, you know, on the basketball court there’ll be the rings, but it won’t be all around the arena. I’m just curious as to what that really means.

Cause I’m thinking about, you know, when you watch the events, all the sideboards, all the padding, all the, you know, the tennis courts, every court is branded for lack of a better word. Are they just going to skip that? But that’s

Jill: part of it. Yeah. It will be [00:35:00] interesting to see what is. Don and NATA, maybe they focus on the venues field of play versus like the concourses, right.

Or an entrance, something that isn’t necessarily going to be on TV.

Alison: Right? Well, definitely on all the pitches they’ll have the chalk rings cause that’s cheap and easy. Even I could do that. Go out there with the little spray. Can a chalk. I’ll put them all in there. I’ll do it for free, man. I’ll even buy my own chocks.

Jill: All right. Well, you got that covered. I’m here for you. Tokyo, you organizing committee says there’ll be able to rework their budgets by the end of the year and the budget’s going to include costs for COVID-19 countermeasures. So basically when, uh, we’ll, we’ll talk then a little bit about. T box said at, uh, happened at the Eby meeting, but basically there’s a lot of, we’re putting more tools into our Corona virus toolbox and they did not give any concrete answers on a lot of stuff.

But speaking of cuts to the games, another IOC. Went a little rogue. Oh, we have a new rogue member. Gunilla Lindbergh from Sweden, who is part of the Stockholm bid. So she’s still

Alison: mad now. I don’t know.

Jill: So she talked to Aftonbladet, which is a Swedish news outlet. And said that, and I had to do this through Google translate.

So it was so bear with me here. So they have the thing about the Tokyo organizing committee. Now they don’t just have a plan B, they have a plan B, C, D, E, and F. She did say that one of the cuts that could most likely be happening is that athlete field trips will be taken. What does that mean? Do you remember from when we were talking about the Montreal Olympic village and they had different field trips for the athletes during the games, like they could go, go to different sites in the city and the, the organizing committee would pay for that.

Alison: I didn’t realize they did that

Jill: anymore. I didn’t realize that. And, uh, but that’s probably not going to happen. So that’s a little bit of savings. And she did say that, uh, 6,000 more journalists have applied for accreditation for Tokyo compared to Rio. And she said there will not be 6,000 more journalists for sure.

Well, that would

Alison: be COVID safety. Nevermind.

Jill: Yeah, exactly. But I’m sure when you, well, when you accredit a journalist, you basically give them tickets to every.

Alison: Right. And you give them access to the, the facility, the journalism facilities, because I know they have internet access and in the old days it was fax machines and connections.

And so, yeah. So that was 6,000

Jill: more. Yes. This Olympics is insanely

Alison: popular. Well, people didn’t want to go to Rio. People want to go to Tokyo, right. Just as a city.

Jill: Well, and it’s interesting. Not only do they have a press center for the accredited journalists? This is something that was started in Sydney. I believe they have another press center for journalists who didn’t get accreditation, but that is set up so that they have a place to work at least and can get some information too.

But. For now, because I had signed up for that and was working on my accreditation before they shut it down for the time being. So it’ll be interesting to see what of that comes back. If anything, I wouldn’t be surprised if they said, Hey, this is a nice to have, not a, have to have an, and you couldn’t get accreditation.

Sorry, but we can’t provide this service. So we’ll, we’ll see what happens. And


Alison: would think that that would then discourage some independent journalists from going at all. Which would then also cut the numbers down, which is something that Tokyo seems to want to do. You know, like the, the cancellation of the field trips and limiting, uh, press accreditation is a Corona virus countermeasure in addition to being a cost savings.

So, Hey, there you go. Two birds, one stone effectively using your,

Jill: your cuts. Exactly. It’s good. Nila said that the games are going to be different, but she said they’re not necessarily going to get with. They could get better, which I think is true. I think sometimes the pressure of being bigger and better, every games gets to be overwhelming and you start thinking of just the craziest stuff and it just goes way overboard to what you really do need to have a very special.

Experience for the athletes.

Alison: You know, a lot of people that we’ve spoken to who have been to many, many Olympics talk about Lillehammer. I realize that’s a winter games, but how fantastic Lou Hamer was because of how close and personal and small it felt. [00:40:00] And maybe we need to get back to that feeling of we’re all together.

Right. But not right now, because now we have to stay six feet apart.

Jill: Don’t be that close. Uh, Tokyo also released of virtual experience of their 55 sport videos. So those are more point of view videos of all the sports that they’ll go through the entire program. And they did announce that the torch relay will start on March 25th and Fukushima prefecture.

And it’s basically going to be the same route as before. A different day for everything. And then finally Finland has opened MedSup pavilion and that hopefully I’m pronouncing that right, mano, but that is going to be. Uh, it’s on the finish, uh, embassy. And it’s going to be like the Finland house in Tokyo for its athletes.

Yeah. So it’s a pavilion built with industrially manufactured, wooden elements, and it, they built it in like 10 days. It was Scandinavian efficiency. Yes, exactly. So it looks a very clean and fresh and modern, and it’ll be the base for finished national teams during the. Sounds like

Alison: Scandinavian architecture as well.

Jill: Exactly. So let’s move over to Paris. 20, 24.

Speaking of the cost cutting that’s going on in Tokyo. Paris has announced some cost control measures as well, which our friend rich Perlman in the sports examiner posted. I think we mentioned this before, but the temporary venues for swimming and water polo and volleyball is not going. They are not going to be built.

They’re going to use existing facilities for that. They are moving rugby sevens to the star to France. So they started, John Bowen will not be used cutting one of the football venues. So they will have seven venues instead of eight. And then they’re going to move the climbing facility and create a permanent site.

For that. And then they’re also going to use an existing facility in little. So they are really looking at their list of venues and cutting back where they can. It’s amazing

Alison: where. You can suddenly find all this money

Jill: when you need to. Right. And, oh, we don’t need to build these temporary venues. We have stuff that will work.

It’ll be interesting to see where else they will be cutting. And when we’ll start hearing about that, because we will start. In having a year added on to Tokyo, that’s a year less that you’re going to hear about Paris. Is that good? Is that bad? Are people not going to pay as much attention and be watchdogs were what?

All right. Let’s check in with what else happened at the IOC B meeting?

okay, so wait.

Alison: EBI executive board. Yes, don’t

Jill: be all fancy. Sorry. Sorry. So the executive board mint tea box said in his press conference that they focused mostly on Tokyo, 20, 20. He said some interesting things about the situations going on with the international weightlifting Federation and, uh, I E the boxing Federation.

So IWF has been in trouble because of their anti-doping issues and their governance problems. And. Uh, T box said that the IWF is making good progress on the anti-doping front. They’re addressing, uh, allegations from the McLaren report. They’ve contracted with the international testing agency to a further anti-doping tests.

So that’s going very well. So what happens is they may establish this link between the number of quota spots for the games and the anti-doping measures on the governance from. T back said they have strong concerns and yeah, like w and you know, when T boxes, like I perk up when T box says the IOC has strong concerns about something.

Cause they usually don’t. But, uh, they said there’s a lack of progress in reforms, a lack of acceptance of independent advice. The athlete represented presentation within the federations, not so great. So they are currently reviewing the event program and quota places for Paris, 2024. And they’ve reserved the right to take further measures, which means basically they have no problem pulling it from the program in Paris.

If the IWF doesn’t get its act two. Yikes. Yeah, I know I’m and I’m the one hand I’m, I’m glad that they’re seeing progress on the anti-doping front. On the other hand, I don’t, I don’t know. The, the governance of the international weightlifting Federation has been pretty autocratic. Pneumatic. Yeah.

Problematic autocratic.


Alison: Yeah. And I wonder how much progress can they truly make on the doping issue [00:45:00] if governance. It doesn’t have better visibility. I don’t know. Oh, well, you know, I, I’m glad on that. I agree. I’m glad on the doping because, you know, I have said we need to drop lifting from the Olympic program because it doesn’t seem like the sport can function without doping.

Jill: Right. And if he could, if you could get that culture back, then maybe bring it back. Cause it’s for a sport to watch.

Alison: Right. We talked to someone yesterday who convinced me how beautiful weightlifter. And how exciting it is. And I thought, and I thought to myself that I was listening to her, I was like, oh, I feel really bad about all the horrible things I’ve said about weightlifting.

And then on the other hand, I realized, I’m not saying horrible things about weightlifting. I’m saying horrible things about dopers. They just happened to be concentrated in this sport right now. Not that other sports don’t have domain problems, but when we’re wiping out podium after podium, after podium, because of domain violation, We got to get this cleaned

Jill: up, right?

It doesn’t bode well for the Olympics. It makes their image be very tarnished when you have to constantly reallocate metals because so many athletes have doped. They also talked about the AIBA, the boxing association. Uh, they are very worried about the lack of progress to the governance reforms that they’re supposed to implement.

So we’ll see about that one. Did they talk at all about

Alison: what’s happening with world sailing?

Jill: No, they did not talk about

Alison: what, because that governance is also having issues with their presidential election. So I’m surprised he didn’t bring them. Given this

Jill: context, I think maybe it’s a new development. It is a, the IOC is also working on a situation in Bella ruse where athletes are claiming discrimination from the national Olympic committee for some political views that is in.

Stages of communication. So there’s not a ton of action going there, but they did report that, that, yes, we are talking with Bella, Bruce about, uh, the situation when they’re trying to figure out what the truth is. It sounded like to me, well, you know,

Alison: that’s actually very, very timely to what we were just talking about with.

The U S government is trying to pass a law that the government can oversee the USO PC. Because now if you put that law in Bellaruse and they’re already having a problem where athletes are claiming discrimination because of political views, the more you have a government involved in the Olympic committee, the more things like that are going to come with.

So when you put it in Bellaruse or some of these other countries, all of a sudden you realize where the IOC is coming from saying to the United States, you can’t do that.

Jill: Right. Right. Right. So something to look out for. Okay. So then they had a Q and a session, and I have to say that I think that. I don’t want to say incendiary, but I think the, the thing that shocked me the most is what T box said at the very end of the conference.

And I am stunned. I, I don’t even know what to say, but this is, this is a quote. I had to listen to this for a few times. He was saying goodbye to everyone on them. And he said, I would like to wave at you, but our communications department has told me that this would be very old fashioned, so I would rather not do it.

So I just say bye-bye in this way without waving at you. I know we’re going to have,

Alison: do you think my IOC boyfriend was involved in telling T-bar not to wave? Cause I will break up with him.

Jill: I don’t know, but I wonder if it’s whole different generation who doesn’t have kids who haven’t been to his kids’ school programs and waved at their children, but you know, you’re, you’re at a school program and you see your child on stage and you just wait for.

So that they know you’re there. I

Alison: waved at Lauren when she was throwing the young Chang, I couldn’t help myself. I was like, Lauren Gibbs. I’ve seen you. It’s like I’m waving at my television. So I’m sorry. Whoever told teabag he should not wave, needs a talking

Jill: to, and it’s not old fashioned. I don’t care if we’re much older than the communications people who said this.

I don’t want to say flunkies, but I might say fluff. How dare

Alison: they, how dare they darn millennials ruining our fun T Bach. You can wave at us any time and we’ll even wave back dance. Right? We’re old fashioned. That way an old

Jill: fashioned is good sometime.

Alison: Old school.

Jill: Right. And if you can’t, if it’s fits too, old-fashioned just pick up your smartphone and wave your smartphone and that’ll be younger and hipper.

Alison: Hey, he can even do a duck lips, peace sign. If he wants to be, you know, vibing with us.

Jill: Is that what the kids do stay say, it’s what the kids [00:50:00] say. Oh,

Alison: geez. That’s a vibe that would be lit.

Jill: Can you see tobacco and Tik TOK?

Alison: He would be fantastic on Tik TOK doing the little tick tock dances. I can see. Doing the shoe challenge where it’s like, he throws a shoe up in the air and suddenly he’s in like the national costume of the various countries.

Jill: We got that one for you too. That’s free advice T back on tic-tac.

Alison: I mean, he’s even got the name of his channel, all set,

Jill: right. Teabag, IOC. And then he just would do videos of him waving. And then that would be young and hip because you know, who else would hit. Everybody cause T box that kind of trendsetter.

He is, it

Alison: is, oh my God. Waving his old fat.

Jill: I am sure that everybody younger than us just going, you know, they’re right. IOC come you can’t of right. Wait, no waving, not old fashioned old school, old school.

Alison: Yeah, well on

Jill: that note

Alison: and just so all the listeners know we’re

Jill: waving at you, right? Cause we’re going to wrap it up for this episode. Let us know what questions you have about prosthetics and Paris sports.

Alison: Email or call our voicemail hotline at two zero eight. Flame it where flame alive pod on Twitter and Insta and keep the flame alive podcast group on fate.

Jill: Next week we’ll be back with Armenia’s first female Olympic gymnast. And as we go out to music by arch Dale, thank you so much for listening.

And until next time

Alison: don’t be off.