We love a good telenovela-esque Olympic situation, and this week’s episode is chock full of them. Bribery! Guilty verdicts! Stifling voices! Boring kits! Transgender guidelines! And someone makes Alison mad – who could it be this week?
We start off with a court sentence that we’re shocked hasn’t come sooner: Former head of Brazil’s Olympic Committee and leader of the Rio 2016 Summer Olympics Carlos Arthur Nuzman has been found guilty of bribery in relation to Rio winning the right to host the Games. He’s been sentenced to 30 years in prison, but appeals are forthcoming.
Moving on to our latest favorite novela, the modern pentathlonovela, the UIPM, modern pentatlon’s international federation, officially voted to remove riding from the event and replace it with a sport to be determined. Are athletes happy? Does that matter? And who’s saying that athletes don’t really know what’s good for the sport?
We also have some updates on the Where Is Peng Shuai? situation, including Dick Pound spouting off some wisdom that clearly misses the mark. Alison is not amused.
But, the IOC has released new guidelines with regards to trans athletes. It’s a big step forward, and we take a look at what this means for the short and long term.
Plus, our Atlanta 1996 history moment featuring the most famous shoes from these Olympics, news from TKFLASTAN, and how Paris 2024 might have flying taxis as a transportation option.
Thanks so much for listening, and until next time, keep the flame alive!
Please note: While we try to ensure the accuracy of this transcript, do know that it’s machine generated and may contain errors. Please refer to the audio file as the record of note.
Episode 216 – The Latest on the Olympic Novelas
Jill: [00:00:00] Hello fans of TKFLASTAN 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?
Alison: We got our first snow flurry yesterday.
Jill: Oh yeah. It’s coming.
Alison: I was ready. I was just saying, just put me in Beijing and flurry all over me.
Jill: It does get you more excited now that we see
Alison: It does. It makes me feel like we’re going to get there.
Jill: Excellent. Excellent. But we’ve got a show today where we’re doing a lot of news and notes because a lot of stuff has been going on in the Olympic world. And because we had Thanksgiving and took a little time away from that, we want to get back and make sure you are up to date on everything you need to know.
But first we would like to celebrate our Patreon patron of the week. This week it is gold medal patron Dan Meyer. Dan has been incredible to us this year by becoming a gold member and has been a lot of fun, especially during Tokyo 2020, to interact with. So thank you so much.
Alison: And his timing could not have been more perfect for being the Patreon patron of the week because you saw on Twitter and I saw it on Instagram. He called us his favorite podcast from 2021. So thank you, Dan!
Jill: That means so much to us. So we really appreciate you. If you would like to be a Patreon patron of the week, check out Patreon.com/flamealivepod. Patreon is for people who want to make an contribution to the show every month.
And we do appreciate that, but we know that’s not what everybody could do, but if you’d like to support the show in another way, check out flamealivepod.com/support. We’ve added a whole bunch of new ways to support us financially. We’ve got PayPal, we’ve got Venmo. You can buy us a coffee and there’s another coffee option as well. Uh, And those are geared towards very small donations. So if you’d like to throw us a one-time donation, we would greatly appreciate that.
All right. We’re going to start with some bad news today. Right?
Alison: And then we’re going to end with some good news, right?
Jill: I will not guarantee that. We will start with some bad news today.
Oh, who did not see this coming? Carlos Arthur Nuzman, the former longtime head of Brazil’s Olympic committee and head of the Rio 2016 Organizing [00:03:00] Committee and at one time, at least an IOC member, has been sentenced to more than 30 years in prison after a Brazilian judge ruled that Rio’s success at securing the 2016 Games was due to a bribery scheme.
Alison: Color me shocked.
Jill: Right? Who did not see this coming? I know it took years to get this nailed down, but Nuzman apparently engineered a deal with fellow former iOC member Lamine Diack of Senegal, who was the president of the International Track and Field Federation, which is now called World Athletics. And who has also been indicted for bribery as well. Just a disgrace.
Alison: Not just in relation to Rio.
Oh, yeah, on
Jill: multiple, multiple things
Alison: that he-Diack has been in. We’ve talked about him before and in relation to some scandals.
Jill: Yes. So, the arrangement was you make a $1.5 million payment to Diack. He guarantees you five or six votes. And there you go.
And at the Copenhagen in 2009 IOC session — this was the session where the 2016 vote happened, Madrid led in the first round. And this is, of course when Juan Antonio Samaranch got up and said, I am an old man, please vote Madrid for, you know, honor me one last time, basically. So they were leading in the first round, but lo and behold, second round comes along and who’s in the lead Rio? And it took three rounds to get down to just Rio and Madrid and Rio won the final outcome.
We know how the Rio 2016 games played out. Lots of issues with construction.
Alison: Lots of issues with other bribery, you know, within the construction and within providing services. And yeah, it wasn’t the cleanest games. I mean, in terms of bribery, not in terms of drugs, but that’s, what’s another scandal we could talk about, but we’re not going to.
Jill: Right. And not even clean in terms of like the swimming pool.
Alison: It was a lovely shade of verde.
Jill: And then they had financial issues of course, and wound up so broke that they couldn’t even put together an annual report. It’s the only Games that doesn’t have a final report with all of the results and everything. So that’s just how bad a financial shape they were.
Alison: And as we saw in Rising Phoenix, they had no money for Para.
Alison: Paralympics had to come up with a totally separate budget because Rio was such a disaster.
Jill: Right. And so Nuzman has been found guilty of corruption, criminal organization, money laundering, and tax evasion.
He is appealing the decision. Of course, he doesn’t have to serve any time until the appeals are totally exhausted, but he is also 79 years old. So the question is, will he serve time?
Alison: Has there been any indication that Nuzman or Diack turned around and [00:06:00] then bribed those five or six votes that they guaranteed or was just, I’m going to wine and dine and wheedle.
Jill: I don’t know. I mean, I looked at a New York Times had huge article about this .The Sports Examiner, our friend, Rich Perlman also talked about it a lot. And he linked to an article in one of the Brazilian newspapers whom I couldn’t get to because it was behind a paywall
Alison: And probably in Portuguese.
Jill: Yes. And in Portuguese. So the attempt to figure that out were tough.
Alison: So this could come back. We could be hearing more of this scandal within the IOC itself, because how did he guarantee those five or six votes?
Jill: Definitely. Sad news for the IOC. Let’s keep riding this horse or not because it’s time for the modern pentathlonovela.
Alison: Novela has become our Watergate. Like, how every scandal in American politics is now such and such gate. We are now such and such novela, which I love.
Jill: I do too.
Okay. So, this past weekend was the UIPM Congress where they officially voted to remove riding from the sport of modern pentathlon. So this passed by a vote of 66 to 15. So it was, seemed like an overwhelming majority. Except for about 700 athletes, signed a letter to the president of the UIPM and to the executive board saying how they did not agree with this.
They called for them to resign, which of course they are not doing. They had elections as well. And the president was elected for an eighth term. So, nobody’s going anywhere. Uh, the board is going to continue what they call the fifth discipline consultation process. And that consultation process will last probably for a year. Well, I don’t know if it’ll last a full year, but they’re going to vote on the new sport at the UIPM Congress next year in 2022.
They do have to submit a proposal to LA 2028 because LA 2028 is working on its program right now. So they will submit a provisional proposal to them and have that considered by the IOC Program Commission this week, basically.
So we might get some more word on that. A group called Pentathlon United had been campaigning to keep riding in the Games, tweeted that at this Congress, the UIPM stifled debate, avoided questions being asked, discussion being had, or criticism being heard. They demonstrated extremely poor governments, not permitted, not befitting an Olympic sport. They also said it was a shameful day for sport, not just modern pentathlon, but all sport.
Alison: Well, to be fair,TBach’s gotta be really careful here because he has [00:09:00] basically come out and said riding needs to go, but he can’t tolerate a federation running rough shot. So he’s in a tough position because even though their end game is what he thinks is best or what he wants to see in the Olympics, he’s gone after boxing, he’s gone after weightlifting. You can’t then turn around and condone a federation, not following its own rules, just to get the outcome you want,.
Jill: You would think because he I mean, boxing and weightlifting, they’re kind of doing it to themselves in a way.
Jill: When, when you say like T Bach does not want them in, I mean,TBach seems to have been consolidating power in how things are being organized with, the program is sport programs now chosen by the executive board.
The host city is not chosen by the S the whole membership anymore. There’s a lot of things that are slowly not being chosen by all of membership, whether or not that’s a good thing is debatable, cause it depends on how you mean. We just talked about a lot of bribery going on. If you consolidate power, are you doing it for the right reasons?
Maybe TBach might be doing everything for a, you know, altruistic reasons, but the next president might not. You don’t know.
Alison: Yeah. And you can’t have different rules for different federations, just because you like what that one federation is doing. If you’ve got a charter and you have rules, everybody’s got to play by the same rules quite literally.
Jill: Right. Right, right. intent of the Games reported that the national federations of Denmark, Finland and Sweden wrote a joint letter to the UIPM complaining about the Congress procedures and they have filed against them a case in the Court of Arbitration for Sport saying that the UIPM acted improperly.
That’s fun. I think Australia had been behind the U I P M decision originally and they flipped, because their athletes were not happy with that decision.
Alison: Right, I think it was the athletes got to their national governing body and said, no, thank you. Which says something about the Australian national governing body, that it had a public position, it heard from its athletes and changed its position.
Probably shouldn’t have come out with a statement before you talk to your athletes, but I will give them a little clearance because they, they did in fact then reverse course, which actually can be more difficult than coming out with the initial statement.
Jill: Exactly. And showing that you’re actually listening to your athletes, which does not happen a lot for these federations, the way they’re structured.
Another fun tidbit was that Inside the Games, it had a conversation with Ivar Sisniega, who is the secretary general of Panam Sports and chair of the UIPM Innovation Commission, who defended the decision, of course, because he’s on the commission [00:12:00] and questioned whether some of the sport’s athletes know what’s best for the sport and has said that, all throughout history athletes have really questioned and been against these major changes that have happened in the sport, like combining the shoot and the run disciplines or adding laser pistols.
And he’s like these have been major successes for the sport.
Debatable? I don’t know.
Alison: You don’t know what’s best for you. I’m this paternalistic overlord and see all the decisions that I’ve made have been the right ones. You just didn’t understand. You just go sit in your little corner and do your cute little sport, and I’ll tell you what to do. Oh, Ivar, you are messing with the wrong people. They have guns and epees.
Jill: Guns? They don’t have guns anymore. They have laser pistols.
Alison: Yeah. But seriously, if somebody laser pistols you, they could blind you.
Jill: There you go. So, Sisneiga says the sport needs to change.
And this is where I think he has a point. He says there’s right now, there’s only 15 to 20 countries that can hold an international event with horses. In Africa, the only country that can hold an event is Egypt. And they do have a lot of events there. In the America’s only four countries out of 41 can host a modern pentathlon event and a world cup type event.
So is this fair to more of the sport? Do athletes from 10 to 15 nations, should they be the ones making the decisions for the entire world? So in a sense, that’s why he’s, saying that look, we have to have a sport that’s accessible. It has to be simple infrastructure- wise and cost- wise and fair because he has said, he did say that the riding element is not fair.
It’s luck of the draw. And so you know, you’re looking for the most complete athlete of the game, according to de Coubertin is it something that’s a luck of the draw fair?
Alison: He may be a paternalistic. But he’s right.
Jill: Yeah. So, so, and apparently the family of Pierre de Coubertin supports the changes.
Alison: This was the best little fact that I found. So the family has an ad, not an association, but sort of the legacy committee. And they issued a statement saying if today, the horse-riding discipline is called to go. We believe de Coubertin would appreciate a change toward a discipline that embodies the spirit of pentathlon and modernizes the sport.
Jill: Very interesting. So we will you keep an eye on that!
Alison: I had a thought about the horses and I don’t know– what I know about horses is what we’ve learned on the show. So my knowledge of horses, so people who know more about horses, please tell me if this is possible. Could we have a pool of pentathlon horses on each continent so [00:15:00] that those are the horses you train on.
Those are the horses you compete on, but you don’t know exactly which horse you’re going to get, but it’s a, a bank. So those horses are trained specifically to be pentathlon horses.
Jill: That’s a good point. I wonder if that’s possible. It’d be interesting to know what horses they have now, in a sense, like where do they get the horses where, maybe we find an organizer of a modern pentathlon event, because I think Samantha said that uh, or Samantha Schultz our TKFLASTANI modern pentathlete said that like there are training centers in Europe.
So obviously they must have horses to use. And maybe those are the horses that they pull from for European competitions. But like, what do they do when you have something like world champs in Mexico, which they had a couple of years ago.
Alison: Right? Could you have the pool of North American horses and then the pool of South American horses so that more countries could actually train the sport and then those horses aren’t freaked out when they have 20 different riders in a day, because that’s what they do. Well, from what I understand of training horses, it’s all what the horse knows. So if that’s normal to the horse, then it would be more safe and fair to the horse. You know,
your animal issues would be taken care of and certainly safer and fairer to the athletes because these are specifically pentathlon trained horses.
And I think when we talked to Sam, one of the things she said was we got to drop the heights of the jumps.
Alison: They want to make it exciting, but you can’t do that on an unknown horse safely. So there are ways to keep horses in. I don’t know if it’s the best option, but certainly the way modern pentathlon has handled this is pretty poor. To be nice. I’m being nice today because I saw snow.
Jill: Ah, there you go. There you go. Well, to be continued,
Alison: Oooh, it’s time for Atlanta!
Jill: It’s time for one of our Atlanta history moments. This year, we are celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Atlanta 1996 Olympics. And we’ve been telling each other stories all year long. Today is my turn for a story. So I was looking at like what we’ve talked about, and like what haven’t we talked about: the most iconic shoes of the games, which are Michael Johnson’s gold spikes.
So Michael Johnson, just face of the Games. He won gold in the 200 meter and the 400 meters sprint. That is a double that’s never been done before. Never done since. Can’t repeat it. The schedule doesn’t work, and he actually kinda talked to the IOC to have the schedule adjusted so that he could try this.
And they’re like, huh. And then he put on a good show at world champs in 95 and [00:18:00] then like, oh yeah, this’ll be good for the Games. But Michael Johnson at the time, he was a Nike athlete. He wanted a better shoe for the Olympics. So he was paired with Nike shoe designer, Tobie Hatfield.
Tobie has got an Interesting story too. Tobie was a high school state champion in pole vault. He lived in Taiwan for a year while his dad coached the Taiwanese athletics team in their preparations for the Moscow 1980 Olympics. And he himself was a college track and field coach at Wichita State University for a few years before Nike recruited him.
His older brother, Tinker is also a famous Nike designer who worked on the Air Jordans numbers three through 30, among other big projects, but he’s a huge designer. Tobie got into the field started in plastics and foams, moved on to product development then to engineering, and then finally to design. Who is his first assignment? Michael johnson.
Alison: Wow. Wow. That had to be an intimidating board meeting.
Jill: I can imagine.
Alison: Michael Johnson just walks into your boardroom. Hey Tobie. Nice to meet you. You need to make my Olympic shoe.
Jill: Right? So they started working on this in 1995. He wanted a lightweight shoe that would allow him to feel the track beneath his feet, still have some stiffness and stability, and it had to look cool.
So the team developed a lot of prototypes and eventually hit on the design, which was developed specifically for Michael J.– Johnson. They watched him ran, they filmed him running they analyzed his running style, and what they put together was just a feat of engineering.
This was the first spike shoe with exposed foam on the bottom. They also made the spikes permanent instead of having replaceable ones The spike plates were designed with the curvature of the track in mind. So after using a high-speed camera to watch how he ran the curve, they realized his feet acted differently from one another and they made special spike plates just for him.
The shoes themselves were just two side panels connected by a strip of material, a top of the toe and a single row of stitching on the heel. They weighed about three ounces. And at the time, most spikes weighed at least six ounces. So they basically cut the weight of the shoe in half. And then on top of that, Michael’s feet were different sizes. So the right shoe’s a size 11 and the left is a 10 and a half.
But you know, the color was the last element of the whole shoe. Originally, Michael wanted a shoe that was like a mirror. So it was very like self-reflective kind of thing, but when they tried it on his coach looked at it and goes, it looks like silver from the stands.
And if you want to win a gold medal, you know, basically they all were like, oh, we want to win a gold medal. Don’t want to have silver shoes on.
Alison: Right. You got to manifest them.
Jill: Yes. So, [00:21:00] uh, Nike developed a gold fabric for them and that sealed the deal. And you got the shoes that you saw today, or you got the shoes that you saw in 1996, help him win set world records that didn’t get like his one world record in the 200 didn’t get broken until Usain. Bolt did it in 2008.
So, um, shoes were basically designed for one-time use. They were auctioned at a charity event for St. Phillips School and Community Center in South Dallas, and then later auctioned again at Sotheby’s where they sold for $31,500.
Nike got a lot of marketing mileage from those shoes because they were plastered–
Jill: Nike. Was not an Olympic sponsor at the time.
Jill: Reebok was the Olympic sponsor, but Nike did a massive amount of ambush marketing at Atlanta. They had billboards everywhere. They opened a Nike center next to the athletes village. They gave fans flags with swooshes on them, so they’d take them into the stadiums and wave them around. And then of course, Michael and the shoes were plastered everywhere after he won.
The IOC was none too happy with what Nike pulled. And that is why we have stringent rules on ambush marketing today in part due to Michael shoes.
Alison: I remember the most about the shoes is the coverage was all about the color.
Like all those other things you’re telling me, were never like these were special shoes. These were specially designed for him. They were different sizes. We have a whole innovation regarding the spikes. Everybody was just like, they’re gold. Look at him wearing those gold shoes.
Jill: Oh. And you’d never had gold shoes before either.
Alison: Well, you haven’t been to an Italian American wedding then.
Jill: Well, gold spikes come on. Well, okay. So. The story has Nike eventually became a sponsor for Sydney 2000, which was good because Michael was there to repeat his gold in the 400 meter. This time he had a different pair of gold shoes on made with special new fabric made by 3M that had actual 24 karat gold woven into the shoes.
Alison: I would think that it would increase the weight, or maybe gold was lighter. The actual gold was lighter than what they were making it gold with before.
Jill: But you can tell the difference. The 2000 shoes are sparklier
Alison: and you know how much we love a good sparkle. That’s right.
Welcome to TKFLASTAN
Jill: It is time to check in with our Team Keep the Flame Alive. These are guests who have been on the show. At the opening weekend of the biathlon world cup season in Oestersund, Sweden Clare Egan finished 66th in the individual race, but she rallied to take 12th in the sprint. [00:24:00] The world cup circuit continues this weekend with another round of races inOestersund.
Alison: And ice dancers Charlie White and his wife Tannith White and Greg Zuerlein have announced that they are opening an ice dance school called Michigan Ice Dance Academy, should be opening in 2022. They’re partnering with the University of Michigan dance department.
Can you imagine being taught by Charlie and Tanith?
Jill: Oh my goodness.
Alison: I will twizzle as many times as they tell me to.
Jill: You might get me to twizzle.
Alison: I think we might need to go visit.
Jill: I think so, too. Samantha Schultz is now teaching Pilates classes, and she’s got some online options too. So we will have a link to those in the show notes, she’s doing one of those Airbnb experiences that they that’s the partnership between Airbnb and the IOC, but we will have a link to all of the options in the show notes. And maybe you could take a class with Samantha.
Alison: And Connor Fields lined up at the BMX grand nationals in Tulsa this week. He did not race. He’s still in a sling from the shoulder injury and obviously his brain injury is still recovering. He just had to bump the gate, which allowed him to keep a spot on the world cup standings. And he finished fourth overall for 2021.
Jill: That’s pretty good, all things considered.
Alison: He had posted on Instagram. Apparently his reception at lining up at the gate was pretty overwhelming.
Jill: Oh, I can imagine. I bet everybody is thrilled to see him even attempt to get on a bike,
All right. We have some news from Beijing 2022. There is a new, a variant of coronavirus called Omicron. And that is just been discovered in the last week or so. And now it’s been deemed to be more contagious than other variants. And so authorities around the world are very worried about this, but not necessarily the Beijing organizing committee. They don’t think it’s going to be a threat to Beijing, just because of the policies they’ve enacted and how they plan to carry out the game. So I don’t know. We’ll see, we don’t know a whole lot about Omicron so far.
We don’t even know how what the effects are of this version of the illness. If you get this variant of coronavirus. We don’t know how it affects you.
Alison: So many calls already to postpone, to cancel, to relocate so much speculation. So we’re just going to wait until we’ve got some hard facts.
Jill: Speaking of COVID, Hungarian athletes will need three shots to go to the games. Their National Olympic Committee has said that athletes will not only need to be vaccinated, but they will need to have the booster as well. See if other countries follow suit for that.
We have more kit. So US and Canada have released their hockey jerseys, and they [00:27:00] look like hockey jerseys
Alison: The USA ones at least yet again. I want to say, USOPC get some new designers. It’s getting tired.
Jill: It’s gotta be hard though, because how much variation can you have on a jersey?
Alison: Talk to the Poles. Okay. And talk to the Finns. They came out with the whole thing with a lion and a tongue. Managed it well.
Jill: The Canadian curling team has new uniforms out as well, and they have some indigenous elements on them.
Alison: Those were pretty funky. They got a little interesting.
Jill: Exactly they did. They have a fleece jacket that’s black and red. They have a long sleeve jersey that’s red with white and then a short sleeve jersey that’s white with red and all on the sides is an Indigenous pattern.
Alison: I read something really interesting this week and I’m sorry, I don’t have the reference to it, but it was saying the difference between Americans and a lot of people in European countries is our devotion to the red, white, and blue. You know how we’ve commented a lot of times about European countries and they get creative.
Like we, when we were talking about German kit, it was not the tones in their flag. It was like they took the green, the red and went a little different. Took the yellow, went a little different, but apparently Americans will not accept anything, but the red, white, and blue, as it appears in the flag. So I’m agreeing with you that they’re hamstrung, I’m still going to complain.
Jill: Maybe they’ll get different one of these years.
So, in Where Is Pung Shuai news, Dick Pound told CNN that the unanimous conclusion of those on the call with her, with she had a call with T Bach and some members of the IOC, they all concluded that she is doing fine.
Alison: Seriously, we’re going to have a bunch of really– okay. I’m going to say a whole bunch of really old white men from Western democracies deciding is this young woman from China is being manipulated by her government. Really? Come on, do better.
Jill: But I love what he said. He said I would rely on the combined judgment of colleagues adding that it was a conversation between four Olympians and the, his colleagues would have noticed that the conversation wasn’t quote, unquote relaxed. Does being an Olympian, give you a special power to know, to be able to discern whether someone I’m —
Alison: someone you don’t know personally.
Jill: But it’s like an Olympian x-ray vision or something like that.
Alison: It’s what those Olympic glasses are. The rings glasses. It gives you special vision to know what a poor woman is being held prisoner. Come on. No, this is not okay. Not okay.
Jill: The EU wants more proof, and they would like a thorough and transparent investigation of Pung Shuai’s allegations.
I don’t see that coming anytime soon, but at least they’re speaking out. The one interesting [00:30:00] fact which happened today is that the WTA has suspended all WTA tournaments in China and Hong Kong effective immediately. That is according to its head, Steve Simon, he says in good conscious, I don’t see how I can ask for our athletes to compete there when Pung Shuai is not allowed to communicate freely and has seemingly been pressured to contradict her allegation of sexual assault. So they, he, and he was also concerned about the players and staff, if they were to hold events in China in 2022 and concerned about their safety as well.
So, that is
Jill: interesting move. I mean, It has a lot of financial ramifications, but the organization is stepping up and making a stand for the greater good. And it’s refreshing to see that money is not dictating what their actions are.
Alison: Can I go back for a minute about how mad I am about what Dick Pound said?
Jill: Yeah, sure. You know, I love that.
Alison: Because let’s think about this for a second. Dick Pound is what he’s in his seventies, right?
Jill: Hopefully. I wouldn’t be surprised with 80
Alison: 79. Okay. So Dick Pound is 79 years old. He’s a lawyer. He’s been in. In this world for a very long time. How the heck does he know how a young woman acts when she doesn’t feel scared for her safety?
Cause let me tell you something. When you are a 20 something, 30 something woman in corporate America, but I’m sure this is true elsewhere. Your guard is up. He has never seen a woman of this age, not worried that she was going to be sexually harassed in the office. This goes in the Dick Pound saying not all men, and that’s not okay because you’re talking about a woman’s and Olympian’s safety.
If we’re going to take out the whole gender thing and we need to put her first, not his frigging ego. I’m mad,
Jill: Right. And not to mention the Chinese element. Of so many, along with this story, a lot of the articles that we’re reading about this, they have comments from other people who have been held by China or been arrested by China and been forced to make statements. And they’ve had to rehearse these statements over and over again until they’re natural sounding. They say I’m fine, or I’m very sorry for the actions that I took. And whenever they’ve gotten released later, they say in the west, yeah, it was, I was forced to do that against my will.
So it is very much A clash of cultures and leadership styles. So be interested to see what happens.
Alison: And most importantly, I hope she’s okay.
Jill: I do as well.
Um, uh, we’ll end our Beijing news on a more interesting note. The bank [00:33:00] of Hong Kong is releasing a special Hong Kong, $20 bill to mark the games. So these are kind of cool because they have a vertical design instead of being most bills are horizontal. So the front has the Beijing logo on it, but the reverse is vertical and it’s got a speed skater going around a track.
It’s very cool. This is according to the South China Morning Post, and they said that the notes are themed on a Tang dynasty, Chinese poem called Far From Away You Share this Moment with Me, it is to reflect Hong Kongers’ affection for our motherland. And it also signifies our blessings and support for Beijing’s Winter Olympics.
If you want the special $20 note, you have to submit an application for purchase online or in any of the banks branches during the subscription period, which is December 1st through the 10th,
Alison: The title of that Chinese poem is kind of like what we do.
Jill: Oh, yeah.
Alison: Isn’t it? Far from far away, you share this moment with me, especially like during the games.
Now I gotta find the poem because we are all far from away. Right. And yet I’ll share the moment.
Jill: So a little bit of news from Paris 2024. The organizing committee has announced that after the games, some of the apartments in the athlete’s village will be reserved for women who have been victims of domestic abuse, and they will be offered housing for them and their children in order to help them rebuild, which I think is interesting.
I don’t know how much of the village will be devoted for this, but at least they are sectioning off at least a portion. And it’s an interesting initiative to, to go for.
And Paris is going to test flying taxis for potential use at the Olympics. I do love this. They’re like little small helicopters.
Alison: This cannot end well. Who else sees they’re going in the Eiffel tower or dropping in the Seine. This is not going to be a good idea. I mean, did we learn nothing from Tokyo and the automated car?
Jill: don’t think theirs are automated, but they’re going to have a route that carries people from the airports. And then I guess the second route it’s going to travel between the two suburbs Southwest of the French Capitol.
What I would love is if somebody hails one of these taxis and go, oh, I need to get to the surfing venue. Can you take me?
Alison: Would be like the Jetsons and there’ll be Rosie on there. Serving drinks.
Jill: Yeah, I, I don’t know, but apparently a number of companies are working on an electric, vertical takeoff and landing aircraft, and then that’s what they’re hoping that they can use to ease some of the traffic congestion. So we’ll see.
Alison: And if you’re late, you can grab a pole vaulter’s pole and just like spring into it. [00:36:00] I’m going to catch that cab.
Jill: And we have an update on the volunteer from Tokyo 2020, who helped the Jamaican athlete get to his competition by paying for the taxi cab. So this is kind of fun. She is going to be the face of Decathlon, which is a sporting goods retailer from France.
So that she’ll be its face for Paris, 2024. So she got flown to the French capital to model a limited edition clothing line, which is due to be sold on Saturday, October 30th, 2022. The only day. And that will be the 1000 days till Paris 2024 mark. Decathlon is one of the official sponsors of Paris, 2024, and they are doing the volunteer outfits. So it’s only fitting that she got chosen to be. The face of their efforts.
Alison: We had that flying cabs in Tokyo. The story might not have happened.
Jill: A little bit of news from LA 2028. An ad hoc committee of the LA City Council has approved the games’ agreement, which outlines the responsibilities held by the city, the Los Angeles 2028 organizing committee and the USOPC.
So we are going forward on that point. And that is interesting to see who gets what I believe that the organizing committee will reserve some of the profits to be given to the, or some of the revenues, get to go to the USOPC as well to help fund them in future endeavors. So we will take, keep an eye out on what that entails for not just the organizing committee, but also the city, because as we know there are a lot of people who don’t like cities hosting Olympics because it’s cost a lot of money for the city
And we’ll end on some more IOC news. The. IOC has released a more guidelines on understanding trans athletes. So w what is going on with this?
Alison: So the important thing to know, it’s guidelines for federations. It’s not rules. The IOC is not dictating to any sport or country what they have to do, of course, cause that how can actually, put any skin in the game.
They’re going to give you some thoughts on that. So they’ve got 10 principles, most are pretty obvious: non-discrimination, fairness, bodily autonomy, but what really gets interesting is they’ve stepped away from the 2015 guidelines that talked about testosterone levels. So the result of those guidelines had to do with what World Athletics did most specifically with Caster Semenya.
We’ve talked about that a lot. Where if a person competing in the women’s events have a certain [00:39:00] testosterone level naturally occurring, obviously not doped, they have to lower it.
Jill: Right. And it was only a couple of events .
Alison: Specifically, World Athletics said. I think it was 800 meters and one of the other middle distances, but in the IOC guidelines, they said that testosterone testing was appropriate.
The IOC has now said testosterone testing is not appropriate nor any kind of gender or chromosome testing. They have rejected that, which is huge. You know, when we talked to Jackie Silva about this, lots and lots. And lots of female athletes have gone through some rather invasive testing to prove that they’re real women.
And the IOC has said that’s not okay. They want to focus on research and say exclusions of athletes should be based on research, but research specifically on transgender athletes, not just saying what effect does testosterone have on the body would affect you? Does gender affirmation surgery have- they want to talk specifically about how trans athletes are affected, which makes a lot of sense, which is something we’ve talked about when it said what’s a trans athlete. There’s a lot of places to fall on that scope. And different sports are going to come up with different answers based on your sport. So they’ve left themselves a lot of room.
They may have left themselves a little too much room because there’s basically no research on trans athletes. There’s a lot of research on effects of testosterone effects of different surgeries, but not specifically on trans athletes, which leads the problem where World Athletics comes out and says, that’s nice IOC, we’re sticking to our testosterone based rules.
Jill: I wonder if it will spark more research in this area.
Alison: You would think.
Jill: Because I bet. I mean, I’m wonder if a lot of the testosterone based research was sparked because of those issues people brought up or allegations that people said, oh, you hit must have more testosterone in your body or something like that. But, it would be interesting to see if we get more research in this area and see what happens.
Alison: And it will be interesting to see if we start seeing a lot of changes in competitions. We saw the first couple of transgender athletes at Tokyo and what that actually means. And do we start defining what you mean by transgender? Is it you’re taking hormones? Is that you had surgery? Is it just you identify as one or the other? What does transgender really mean in the context of sport at this level? Certainly. And how does that then trickle down? I mean, there’s a huge issue in the United States of [00:42:00] high school athletes and transgender, which all comes down to college scholarships. You know, It’s all about money, and other countries don’t have that issue. So would they have different issues in lower level sports?
Jill: Interesting. So this kind of clears some things up and sets the IOC has set a specific path to go down, but again, we’re just at the beginning of the path and there’s a lot of things that the federations need to figure out for themselves.
Alison: And it does not specifically say that a national governing body or a National Olympic Committee cannot discriminate because again, it’s guidelines. So depending on what your national laws are, it’s a non-starter. You know, A federation could say, yes, we allow transgender athletes, but you know, we, there are many countries where being transgender is illegal.
So then what do you do? So I think this is like you were saying the very infancy of this conversation, but I have to give the IOC credit for. Taking the gender testing off the table, even just on paper. Come on. That is a huge one. That’s a huge win for cisgender women. And the whole idea of whether you are a real woman or not, they’re saying you don’t get to make that decision.
Let’s talk about, can this person compete fairly in this division, which I think is a big step forward for women’s sports. And women athletes being told they’re not women enough.
Jill: Yes. So, very interesting.
Alison: This didn’t make me mad.
Jill: Well, and that’s why we ended with it.
Alison: Thank you.
Jill: All right. That will do it for this week. Let us know what you think of what’s going on in the world of the Olympics.
Alison: We love hearing from you. Email firstname.lastname@example.org. Call or text us at (208) 352-6348. That’s 2 0 8. Flame it. Get at us on social at flame alive pod, and be sure to join. Keep the Flame Alive Podcast Group on Facebook.
Jill: Next week, we will have more stories from the Olympics and Paralympics. Thank you so much for listening and until next time, keep the flame alive.