Beijing 2022 Olympic mascot Bing Dwen Dwen and Paralympic mascot Shuey Rhon Rhon soar high in the Main Media Center.

Episode 230: Now that We’re Home from Beijing….Pt. 2

Release Date: March 31, 2022

Category: Beijing 2022 | Podcast

It’s Part 2 of our contributor roundtable with Book Club Claire and Superfan Sarah, with more hot takes on the Beijing 2022 Olympics and Paralympics. Plus, Jill has a story she’s been waiting seven weeks to tell.

Heading to TKFLASTAN to check in on Team Keep the Flame Alive, we have news from:

  • Erin Jackson
  • Clare Egan
  • Felicity Passon
  • Kelly Claes
  • Alex Diebold

In our Games updates, there’s news from:

  • Paris 2024 – that venue plan isn’t looking so good now
  • Milan-Cortina 2026 – do we have a leader?

Special thanks to this week’s sponsor, Winter\Victor Studios.

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


Please note: While we make an effort to ensure the accuracy of this transcript, it is machine-generated and likely contains errors. Please use the audio file as the record of note.

[00:00:00] Jill: This episode is sponsored by Winter\Victor Studio.

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?

[00:00:44] Alison: I’m in the satellite studio tonight. So you may hear some different noise. Unfortunately it is not magical vacuumers. There may be some road traffic. There may be some other things. So I apologize in advance. I could not quite pad things enough.

[00:01:03] Jill: That is okay. But I think everyone is pretty much used to ambient noise for this podcast.

[00:01:09] Alison: Part of our charm.

[00:01:13] Jill: You know, what else is charming? We won an award.

[00:01:17] Alison: It’s not only charming, it is lucrative.

[00:01:21] Jill: This is great. If you’ve been on the Facebook group, you probably saw something about something called Podca$h. And this is an outfit that was giving grants to podcasters. And we asked you to write love letters.

And many of you did. Thank you because that paid off. We were awarded a grant. So we got $250 to use, whichever way we’d like, and that is something we will figure out in the very near future, because we have a long list of stuff we’d like to do with the show and this will definitely help. So thank you everyone who wrote us a love letter. We really appreciate it, and it did help the show very, very much so thank you.

And you know, we are still on a high from Beijing.

[00:02:05] Alison: I’m still screwed up with sleeping time.

[00:02:08] Jill: Are you really?

[00:02:09] Alison: I am. I just can’t or maybe I’m a vampire. I just cannot go to bed at a right time and get up in a normal time. Or maybe I just love China time, but I’m still struggling.

[00:02:21] Jill: Oh, wow. I think I did okay after this past weekend. I had to go to Indiana. So I was on Central time instead of Eastern time. And that kind of messed me up a little bit, sleep wise, but there were a few days where I got a lot of sleep and I think I’m pretty much it when I’m really hurting. This is the bao. The bao situation is not good.

I am dying. A friend of mine this weekend got Korean dumplings, which were frozen, but they were lovely and a nice substitute, but I have to get some bao pretty quickly.

[00:02:58] Alison: I would like omelet man to come back to my house. And just, those were so good and that drinkable yogurt man, and it was so cute. One of our lovely volunteers, when I mentioned how much I love the drinkable yogurts said, “Maybe on Amazon?” I might start searching for it.

Cause I, I I’m missing my drinkable yogurt and, and my freshly made omelets.

[00:03:21] Jill: Last week we talked with Book Club Claire and Super-fan Sarah about Beijing. And we talked for a long time. So we had to split it up into two parts. This is part two. Buckle up folks because you’re in for probably a long ride tonight.

So take a listen to the rest of our conversation.

So, let’s move on to top moments. What were your favorite moments of the Olympics and the Paralympics? Let’s start with Sarah.

[00:03:52] Sarah: So I came with a whole list written down and a lot of my things, Claire is going to speak of, so I’m not going to include those. But in advance, I echo everything Claire will say, which is probably not a surprise. Let’s start with the top moment for me was Elana Myers Taylor. And I feel like everyone she’s just easy to root for. That’s a no brainer that she’s easy to root for who she is as a person.

Also we’re recording this on March 21st, which is World Down Syndrome Day. So shout out to Niko, her sweet little boy. And I just love how she has taken her role as a mom and especially as a mom to a child with special needs, and she uses her platform to not only bring awareness to the down syndrome community, that she auctioned off one of her jackets that she could afford an opening ceremony to raise money for the down syndrome organization. And so I just, everything with Elana Myers Taylor love her. She’s wonderful. And then for her to get there, be elected flag bearer and then not be able to march because she got COVID, but then it’s still pull out a bronze and a silver medal. She’s the GOAT when it comes to female bobsledding.

And it was really great to see Kaillie Humphries be successful as well with getting a gold. It was cool to watch her compete as an American because I know I’m very biased towards Team USA. We’ve already established that. But with her journey and everything that she’s been through and especially with things that are coming out now about Bobsled Canada you know, I, I think she’s probably feeling very vindicated. So yeah, I just, our women’s bobsled team love them all. Claire. I know you like bobsled too, so it was great.

[00:05:35] Jill: I have a quick, quick interruption. How was the sliding coverage here for, because to me, even though we saw it on our feeds in the workroom, like all, none of the sliding sports really existed for me because I could not get out to Yanqing when they were competing.

[00:05:52] Claire: Okay. It was pretty good. They would show, I think in the, like the afternoon, the evening coverage, they would show like the top five sleds, they would show like the round three run and then the round four run.

Of course. The funny thing was they promoted the heck out of monobob during the Super Bowl, and it was everywhere. And so the word “monobob” trended on Twitter, because people had no idea what it meant. So they’re like, this is what I think monobob looks like, and then random meme of something. Even my brother got into it, so that’s how I realized it was something, ’cause he, he wouldn’t have a clue about Olympic stuff and I’m like, why aren’t you talking about mono-? Oh, that’s why.

So it was really interesting to see that kind of emerge from the Super Bowl coverage. But otherwise it was kind of the normal stuff, especially cause Team USA only had the women’s sleds be kind of, you know, top tier compared to the men sleds that were very mid tier compared to Germany and others and mostly Germany.

So that’s what I saw, and I will admit, I do love bobsled. I love bobsled still. But with this Olympics I suddenly realized that maybe bobsled isn’t my favorite winter Olympic sport. And it made me sad, but then I realized that I think after two winter Olympics, I think biathlon is my favorite winter Olympic sport.

Oh my goodness. That sport is amazing. It’s I just, I can’t get enough of it. I’ve been watching the stuff that happened over the weekend in Oslo, you know, the wrap up the season. It’s fun stuff because you know, someone’s in the lead and then they go into the shooting and they missed two, and all of a sudden there’s a new person in the lead. With bobsled, if you’re in first place after the first run, you’re probably going to be staying there. So it’s kind of anti-climactic okay. You have three more runs to go. But for bobsled, you’re changing it all the time and there’s yeah. Sorry for biathlon there’s fewer you know, one person’s in the lead the whole time kind of things. And I just really love that dynamic.

And I also love that biathlon has several events where first person across the finish line wins. And I realized that I really hate time trials, and Winter Olympics has a lot of time trials. So that, that also made biathlon even more cool in my eyes. So way to go, biathlon, you got a converter.

[00:08:30] Alison: And as I discovered, the biathletes are gorgeous.

[00:08:36] Jill: Sarah. I know you have like a long, long list, but how about one more Olympic and then a couple of Paralympic moments.

[00:08:45] Sarah: I’m going to say another huge Olympic moment and not so much a top moment by the classic definition of it. But I think something that was so important is watching the way that Mikaela Shiffrin handled herself in the way that, you know, of course there were people that were screaming on social media or the Interweb saying, oh, you suck, you failed, whatever.

But I feel like for the most part, it was very supportive of her and I, it was, I found it very fascinating to watch her process what was going on in live time. And that takes a lot of guts for her to be so open and so real and transparent about what was going on in her head and her feelings and our emotions.

And I just really appreciated that about her and her getting up and not giving up. And I also, I’m going to tie in that I loved the skiing mixed relay. That was incredible. We had so much fun watching that. And I will say all the mixed relays. I, I want them all. I want them all, just everything. Luge, give it to me, give me all of it.

Snowboarding. Yeah. And just everything. Okay. And I could go on and on with that. So I’d say that was another huge Olympic moment, obviously. And I don’t know if you want to talk about this now, but one of the more significant things is figure skating, but I feel like that’s a different topic.

Paralympic highlights, obviously love sled hockey. Shout out to Taylor Lipsett for amazing commentary.

Ukraine getting to the Paralympics at all. I had as a significant moment. And then being there and then of course their biathletes sweeping the podium on day one of competition. Oksana masters. There’s no words coming from her performance in Tokyo and showing up and go going seven for seven with medals.

My arms hurt just watching her. She is such an incredible athlete. And of course, knowing that she was born in Ukraine, spent several years of her life there knowing what must’ve been, just the weight of the world on her shoulders and competing there. My heart really went out to her.

And then I also in the Paralympics really loved the, Aigner siblings from Austria. What an incredible story. I get all of their names confused, so I wrote them down.

[00:11:08] Alison: Veronika.


Johannes. And what was the last sister? Barbara?

[00:11:14] Sarah: Yes. Veronica, Barbara Elizabeth and Johannes. And Johannes is the brother.

[00:11:19] Jill: Babsi and Hansi.

[00:11:21] Sarah: Yes. I just love their family and I want to be their biggest fan. So I’d say that’s my quick overview over Olympic and Paralympic highlights. And I also, because I’m petty, anyone who’s in the group knows this, that I predicted that John Schuster would be elected as flagbearer for the United States. And he was, against my husband’s doubts

Sorry. Shuster, we believe in you. I don’t know what’s wrong with Nick, but I was right. My husband was wrong. I win in my predictions. I just want to get that out there. And then finally, I’m going to say one more thing. I know you told me like one thing I’m so sorry, but I did have viewership of the Paralympics written down as a highlight.

And I’m going to give a shout out. Now, I’m just, I’m taking over the podcast. I’m giving a shout out to Riley Smith who listens to the podcast. She’s not active in the Facebook group, but I’m working on that with her. And she actually published an article today that came out where she got to write about viewership.

And this is part of a fellowship in journalism that she’s doing, but that there was an average viewership increase of 62% and that your viewership of the Paralympics reached nearly 12 million viewers total across all the platforms including NBC, Peacock, USA network. So I think that’s great. And I’m giving credit to her article.

[00:12:38] Alison: In the United States, right?

[00:12:39] Sarah: Yes. Yes. In the United States, of course again, I know I’ve got my Team USA blinder on here, but shout out to Riley for giving me that articles so that I could quote her– and be more active in the Facebook group because it’s a lot of fun and I’ll shut up now.

[00:12:55] Jill: Right, Claire.

[00:12:57] Claire: All right. I had a lot of fun with these Olympics. It was fun to be able to see old names get redemption on medals like Lindsey Jacobellis, who I will be honest. I totally laughed at her in 2006 when she fell and didn’t get the gold. But now, you know, it it’s been Olympics past. I was very proud of her for being able to stick with it for so long and to stay in with professional caliber enough to compete with the youngins.

And she won two gold medals at this games, along with Nick Baumgardner who she helped to win a gold medal for the first time. He’s also from Michigan. So that’s always, always awesome. I want to give major kudos to Nathan Chen because after the Pyeongchang Olympics, I told myself in 2018 that the only medal, the only gold medal that I wanted in 2022 was Nathan Chen to get a gold medal.

And I followed his trajectory from 2018, all the way to 2022. I even saw him compete life when he was in Detroit and it was mesmerizing. And I was just so excited that night when he won the gold medal, it made me all kinds of happy to see that. So I was very elated about that. It was a lot of fun.

I know that I started the Mike Schultz book for our book club.

The book is called “Driven to Ride” in case anybody hasn’t picked it up yet. And I started it the day after the Olympics ended and I didn’t finish it until I think the day before the Paralympics ended. So I’m reading Mike Schultz’s book and I’m also seeing him complete. That was so cool to be able to relate those things and see all these articles about Mike Schultz popping up on my feeds.

The couple of the things mentioned his company and I’m like, I just read about that. I just read about how his company got formed just like last night. It was so exciting to be able to see that. And then he ended up with the silver medal. It just made it a lot of fun too. It gave me kind of a three-dimensional kind of way to interact with a book.

I did adore Jesse Diggins, man, that girl has the biggest smile. And she was also part of one of our book club books, a couple of last year, a couple of years ago. And watching her slog it out during the 30 K was incredible ’cause she’s a sprint specialist. She’s not a distance person and she just kept going.

And I thought that when she collapsed at the finish line, she was dead because she had nothing left. And I just was, I was floored by the guts that she had to, to grind out their performance.

I really loved watching sled hockey, even though I am still a little sad that Team USA doesn’t have any women on their roster,

because it is an open field, so it could be a mix of men and women. And it, I kind of said it in my congratulatory tweet, which might be kind of a downer. So sorry about that, Team USA. Hey, be nice in four years, if you had a couple of women on your roster too, because I think they’d be just, you have all that dominance, you know, let’s open it up a little bit for the women to get involved as well. ‘Cause I know there’s a few.

And then the last one that I wanted to mention, somebody that might not be noticed by many people, but I did notice her and that was Sydney Peterson. She is a standing cross country skiing athletes. She has a disability in her arm so she’s only able to use one ski pole and just watching her get so red faced while skiing made me relate to her so much because I also, when I, exert, I get so red faced and it’s embarrassing, but it’s like, hi, I’m relating to you Sydney Peterson.

And the fact that she, I think she got the full gamut, I think she got a gold, a silver and a bronze. And I was so proud of her for that. So, you know, way to go, Sydney Peterson. I was rooting for you the whole time. And just to see that this made me very happy.

So it was a fun games to watch. It was exhausting, but I also had a job this time where I could watch it at work and that made life so much easier. And I feel sorry for anybody that struggles to watch just because they have life and a job. But it was cool to be able to also talk to the Facebook group about all of this as well. So if you communicated with me on Facebook with the group, that meant a lot to me to be able to talk about things with fellow people, because couldn’t really talk to anybody at work because they didn’t really care that much.

So thanks, Facebook group. You were awesome.

[00:17:22] Jill: Very true.

I will say one of the things that I liked about both the Olympics and Paralympics, and I think I think this might be something from the pandemic that has been a positive side, was everybody getting excited for everybody else’s medals.

And I just remember, especially when I went out to snowboard at the Paralympics and they were just jumping all over each other, and I know that happened in several of the freestyle skiing events, that everybody was just so happy for each other. They were in awe of each other. And were just like, this is amazing.

And these other people are amazing. I can’t believe I’m here with them kind of thing. That was really great to see. And I think that seems to be more of a, Hey, we’ve all survived this together and I don’t need to be cutthroat competitive. It’s about having a good time kind of thing.

And along with that is the Mikaela Shiffrin slash Simone Biles, dealing with mental health issues or blocks or mental blocks.

And, I mean, that mountain got so many people and just Mikaela was one of the highest profile people it got and to see her– and I didn’t even get to see her live, but the fact that she was willing to just lay it all out and go and be very honest and frank with the media, I think that helped people see what was going on and just how difficult of a time it is when you’re an elite athlete who’s used to not having this challenge.

And, and how you work through it is, is pretty incredible.

I will say that Nathan Chen was also one of my favorite moments just because he made me cry on that, that long program. I did not expect that. So that was beautiful. I mean, Ben did tape all this stuff for me. I have like 146 episodes of Olympic coverage to watch. So that is what I want to go back and see, because I want to see if that translates on TV.

[00:19:20] Claire: Okay. Let’s be real here. He, when he did his jumps, the timing with the music was perfect and that as soon as he did his, he did two jumps right. In a row and the music goes, bump, bump, and he did both of them. And I’m just like, this is that. And I just, like, I like stood up and I’m just like, and then there’s another another moment when it transitions to rocket man.

And it’s like, the music is swell and it, sorry, this is music nerd Claire. Music is swelling. And then all of a sudden, it’s it, the beat drops, that’s dumb. Boom. And he comes right down at that moment. And I jumped in the air and my cats flew off,

[00:20:04] Jill: Don’t hurt our mascots!

[00:20:07] Claire: The mascots are fine. It was just to be able to, to work the music. in so well, and there were no, there were lots of discussions about music, but that is probably why you cried because he was able to take that and show it in his dance and yes, it can be tear inducing. I’ve had that experience many times. So it just, sorry, this, this was just joyful.

[00:20:30] Jill: Yeah. Yeah. He was just wonderful to watch. The, the men’s competition was fun to watch the top people. Not so fun to watch people who obviously did not like their program that way or their music. That was just a real tell. I’m like, wow, it’s really interesting that you are at this elite level and you obviously don’t like what you’re forced to be doing. So that was really frustrating. Alison, do you have top moments from Olympics and Paralympics?

[00:20:55] Alison: Yes. So I would say the figure skating competition was a lot of sighs of relief. You know, obviously I’ve talked a lot about Papadakis and Cicerone and ice dance and how they had to win the gold medal for me to feel. Okay. So that was a relief. Sui and Hon also felt like relief when, when they won, because there was so much pressure on them. Nathan Chen. Even Kamila Valyeva not making the podium felt like a sigh of relief that those girls would get their medals.

Erin Jackson, I think was probably my favorite moment of the Olympics.

We’ve watched her pretty much her entire speed skating career and to see her triumph, like that was the jump off the couch and, and scream moment for me.

[00:21:42] Jill: Which was, I would also say that was a sigh of relief because of the pressure. I don’t know what she felt cause she’s pretty, she was pretty cool cucumber, but you knew she had to perform, would she be able to do it?

And you knew we, cause we talked about this, you knew on that first turn that she was going to get it because it was just so amazing to watch. And just when, when she got that gold, it was relief, excitement, joy felt at all.

[00:22:15] Alison: And then the last from the Olympics would be our Josh Williamson jumping in that sled that first time when he pushed off and he did that run. And even if he hadn’t finished the run, I’m like he can put that O L Y after his name, after he started that run, that felt very, again, I just, oh, I can, I can breathe again.

And then from power for all the fun we had and all the experiences, I think what will stick with me was that second news conference with Andrew Parson. I had been in Beijing less than 24 hours, went to two press conferences with Andrew Parsons, both unscheduled. And the emotion in that room was so intense.

And usually, I mean, we’ve watched a lot of press conferences with IOC people with IPC people. And most of the time they are emotionless affairs or it’s artificial emotion is, oh yes, thank you to the hosts. And they, this emotion was so palpable and not just from Andrew Parsons and Craig Spence, the IPC spokesperson, but from the other reporters in the room, which, you know, as I came to learn is extremely unusual.

That will stick with me. And it’ll stick with me in that what we see on television of these press conferences is such a small part of what’s really going on, you know, and we saw them walk in beforehand. Andrew Parsons just looked so much more exhausted than he had 18 hours. Previously, the mood in the room was completely different.

Everything had changed and everything changed for the competition itself. And that just, and then of course, right after that, the Ukrainian Paralympic president spoke. So the, again, that emotion continued and. Became difficult. I think for all of us to process in the way that it should. I mean, we’re dealing with war.

It should be difficult to process. It should be emotional. It should be hard. And that made what was happening in Ukraine, actually more real than anything else, which seems so counter-intuitive, you know, you see the children’s suffering and yet sitting in that press conference with first Andrew Parsons and then the president of the Ukrainian Paralympic Committee made it so personal.

And in a way I didn’t expect.

[00:24:54] Jill: Right. And between the, in that 24 hours, because we talked about it and we talked about this on the show, just the feeling of a potential boycott or that things were going very south very quickly and we need to right the ship and make sure we have a games that was just such a revelation, I think in the second press conference.

And then just the despair you could see on the Ukrainians faces in that second press conference and the president of their Paralympic committee probably has a lot more practice in being polished and being in front of people. The gentleman whose name I can’t remember right now, who was next to him who was helping translate, you could just see the tiredness, the despair, the grief all over his face. And it was just heartbreaking to watch.

[00:25:59] Alison: It makes me look at 1980 very differently and not in a good way.

[00:26:07] Claire: I am waiting to hear what life was like in that day, where they were still going to be allowed to compete. And they were still in the athletes village because I was kind of wondering, okay, when are we going to start hearing all these stories coming out of Beijing nothing’s happened yet?

It’s been a week. I’m, I’m still curious if anything is going to come out because just to be able to hear the honest truth would be fascinating to hear. Even, even now we are hearing that with Alyssa Liu heard her father dealing with this scandal with Chinese nationals kind of spying on them.

It that’s starting to come out now and, you know, just how much more are we going to be hearing after the fact.

[00:26:55] Alison: And the closed loop kept us from hearing a lot of things, because we only could talk to the athletes in the mix zone. We were not allowed in the village. We couldn’t see or hear anything directly.

And we kept asking and other journalists kept asking what was happening in the village, because they said that the mood in the village had deteriorated rapidly. We may never really know because it’s all going to be after the fact and filtered. And later on, we will never get those in the moment stories.

[00:27:29] Jill: Right. And which village, because there were three athlete’s villages. Ukraine was only in Zhangjiakou because they only had a cross-country and biathletes. What else was happening, especially because RPC had a sled hockey team, they had a curling team, so they had more team presence in Beijing. And of course they have strong Nordic skiers and biathletes as well.

So where was this all happening and, how, how did the IPC kind of work with three different locations in trying to understand the tone and tenor of the situation? I mean, it’s just kind of incredible. You want one of those articles, that’s the oral history of this day.

[00:28:19] Claire: Yeah. Yeah. We’ll open a bottle of wine, get some cookie dough.


[00:28:28] Sarah: Yeah, that would be so fascinating. You know, this is taking it a little bit down a rabbit trail, but Claire, you just brought up Alyssa Liu and the story that’s come out with her family and listeners. If you’ve not read about that. Oh my goodness. It’s mind blowing. I was on an airplane the other day with a friend who just not care about the Olympics and Paralympics.

And I showed her the article I was reading and both of our jaws just dropped. I mean, people calling Alyssa’s dad trying to get personal information, which side note, this is why you don’t ever give personal information out over the phone without knowing exactly who you’re talking to. I mean, just wild, wild stuff that I got to say, props to the State Department for keeping her safe.

And it, it sounds like Team USA was on top of it to keep her safe, but it did also bring up the question. We know that there’s COVID, we know that there’s these issues that have gone on and that these are, you know, to knock it down horse down unprecedented times. But it, my first thought was once again, we had a minor who was traveling without a parent and she, like, they, her family had to depend on the State department and Team USA to keep her safe. And that’s really scary. And so I’m just really thankful that she was fine and it sounds like they’re on top of their stuff, so good for them. But yeah, it’s a really interesting situation. I look forward to hearing more about that story and then that infamous day.

[00:30:04] Alison: And once again, we circle back to the question of was Beijing ever inappropriate host city.

[00:30:09] Jill: Very true. And it’s really tough because they’re there. It, wasn’t a great choice. The two choices that were left, neither of them. Great. And the one bonus that I hope exists, we’re not going to know for years. Oh, at least, especially until 2026. If China maintains this winter sports legacy that they’re trying to build, is dominance in sports important enough to that country, that they keep up this massive investment, especially on the Paralympic side to become more dominant in the winter games as well.

[00:30:52] Claire: I can definitely see that happening for the. Very curious if it keeps going with the Paralympics, because it was completely out of left field, how much they had, or how many medals they ended up getting for the Paralympics and is that going to keep going?

[00:31:12] Jill: Right. And the size of their delegation was enormous compared to everyone else.

And I mean, it was fantastic, but to see the excitement over the Paralympics and the Paralympians from China that you could get from the spectators there, I not sure how well it’s going to translate in everyday life because you know, that disabled people’s lives are not that great in China. And maybe this lucky few will be able to transcend them.

But I don’t know. I worry about that this being a one and done situation and crushing the hopes and dreams of the athletes who are competing now and the athletes who are the future athletes who see these people on TV. And think maybe that maybe I can do this too. So I dunno. I mean, TBach kept out touting and like, especially in his closing speech and he kept talking about, well, 300 million people have found winter sports in China. ‘ cause that was a statistic they kept talking about. And I think that there, there is more interest in winter sports. I hope that the incessant playing of the Olympics and some of the Paralympics, we saw more Olympics during the Paralympics sometimes on the sports channels there. I hope that helps give interest.

I hope that China doing well during the Olympics has sparked more interest because like Eileen Gu was kind of plastered everywhere. She had a ton of commercials, some of the speed skaters were plastered everywhere. Sui and Han had commercials, that kind of thing. So hopefully that helps bolster winter sports. Zhangjiakou I liked it as a town.

I thought it was really cool place. It looked like it would have been a massive party if there wasn’t a closed loop in COVID. And they had ski resorts there. I don’t know how good I, not a skier. So I don’t really know how good the quality would have been, but I mean, there was just ample opportunity.

You could totally do a day trip because of that bullet train. You go out an hour, you ski all day, you come back at night. A fantastic, I mean, so hopefully that builds something. So, but this is a nice segue into not so great moments from these games besides questionable hosts.

[00:33:36] Claire: Okay. My Twitter handle is Light the Cauldron, and that’s

[00:33:42] Sarah: What cauldron?

[00:33:44] Claire: All you really need to know. Oh, you should have seen me at the opening ceremony. I’m sitting there watching. I’m so excited because I don’t know what they’re going to do. Actually in my head, I thought is the entire Bird’s Nest is going to be the cauldron. Are they going to light the, the whole thing on fire?

Because I thought you could only do that to top what they did in 2008, which was marvelous. And then all they did was stick a, stick, a torch in a hole. And I was in utter disbelief and I had to go on the treadmill and do an entire hour to, you know, to get my absolute anger and disgust and frustration out because there was no cauldron.

It was whatever you called it. It.

[00:34:32] Jill: Snowflame.,

[00:34:32] Claire: I appreciated snowflame. I could see that for what it was. But even then I’m seeing pictures during the Olympics of up, it looks like it’s not even lit because the going back to your green Olympics, you know, they did this kind of low, low flame that sometimes can be seen.

Sometimes it looked like it was out and you’re supposed to keep the flame alive and you can’t even see the flame. I was. So irritated the whole time and it just, it, I, I understood where they were trying to come from. They were trying to get a snowflake theme in there, but the, the way that they could have done it could have been so much better.

And I, it was incredibly disappointing. I’m still disappointed to this day. That’s like the one thing that you need for the Olympics to be good is a good cauldron!,

[00:35:24] Sarah: Yeah. I, we kept waiting whenever they put the torch into the snowflakes, we were like, alright, where’s it going to go? Oh, that’s okay. And, you know, I loved the snowflakes.

I love how they put all the different countries together. Thought that was so cool because you know, everyone marched out with their countries and thought that was great. But yeah, that, I mean, it’s been sad, you know, y’all know I have this other little podcast and Jonathan on that podcast and I were talking and he referred to it as the small drin and I, and now that I’m thinking about it as a small drain so yeah, I I’m still saying what cauldron and there was no cauldron.

So I think we’re all a little salty on that one.

[00:36:20] Jill: Yeah, it was, it was frustrating. The whole lead up to it, except for like when athletes came out in that last run up to it, which was also like, Hey, we’re going to walk about, or we’re going to walk, we’re going to run maybe 10 meters and then you pass it off to the next person.

It was just one little line in front of the, our viewing platform. That was a let down, especially when you had, who are these people that are lighting it now, when we saw that it was like decades the, from the decades and like who is from now. Okay. And then the unknowns, basically that they chose, especially one of Uighyr descent to make a point.

And then that person is, she competed once, but then like was not on different races that she was supposed to be on. So that was kind of interesting. And in the Paralympics uh very famous in China and beloved Paralympian, visually impaired had such a difficult time screwing the torch into the snowflake.

It just, it was tough to watch. So it, yeah, I agree. I loved the snowflake idea. I hated the fact that there were, I mean, how hard would it have been to put a little cauldron in? You can make it. But something where you could actually see the flame and they had two of the snow flames in Beijing. I mean, the snowflake was not in the closed loop cause I could not go to it.

It was kind of in the closed loop. They had the section between the venues and the Birds Nest was kind of a walkway for spectators and that’s where the Olympic rings were and they had Some other displays and they had the Calder and set up. But like you saw it from the bus window and then you couldn’t hardly see the flame.

It was, it was just what a let down. And I know the director had said, oh, this will be kind of controversial. And it’s going to be different than anything you’ve ever, ever seen, but let’s go with it. I don’t think anybody wants to go with it. It’s like when the company that Alison and I used to work for, they would have big fancy holiday parties.

And and they would be the type of holiday parties that would be in a museum or a SU a four-star hotel. Then nine 11 happened and we moved to a field house and like the wives of the partners said never again. And we went right back to fancy holiday party. They made that happen because it was such a let down.

So I have a feeling that there are people in the. Membership of the IOC who probably went, yeah, no, we’re not doing this again. You, you tell the next people don’t do this.

[00:39:07] Sarah: Well, I just wonder if people in Paris had a similar idea and now they’re thinking, oh, outrage. Yeah. Okay. So come on Paris, the city, the city of light do not let us down

[00:39:22] Jill: Other, not so top moments,

[00:39:24] Sarah: I mean, figure skating and there’s so much to unpack there. And I know that we could probably talk about it for an hour by, you know, so much there, Russia doping shouldn’t be there to begin with. Camila should not have been competing when she had that positive test, abusive coaches on display, very cringy, uncomfortable.

But I will say as hard as that whole situation was to watch, I also think it was very important for it to be on display. So, someone asked me if they should watch it. And, you know, I told him it’s really tough and it’s unfortunate, but it’s also really, really important. And then you know, not just because it involves Team USA athletes.

So I’m going to say, I would say this about everyone affected in Japan was also affected here by and for any athlete to compete and know that they picked up the medal and then not be able to go home with a medal. I am still really livid about that. And yes, Team USA, they were silver medalist, which was a great, that was a great accomplishment for them.

So this, you know, there were different conspiracies floating around from Russia, propaganda. What a shock that, oh, this is a Team USA ploy to try to get gold. No USA knew that silver would be a great accomplishment for them. Anyone who’s followed figure skating was aware that that would be a great placement for them to be in second.

But obviously we knew anything could happen. I don’t think anyone could have anticipated this. And then the solution is instead of giving you your silver medal that you know, you at least have that are giving Japan their bronze medal, the solution is, oh, well, here’s a torch that you can have while we wait to figure out what color of medal you get.

And then knowing that they’re not even having this resolved during the Olympic Games, oh my God, will they miss out on the moment of walking through the airport, showing their friends and family that could for them, watch them compete, showing them they earned, and then what sponsorships are they maybe missing?

And I would hope that they’re not missing sponsorships, but that’s still just seems to be a part of it. They have a chance to maximize this opportunity and they don’t have a medal in their hands to show for it. Like I, yeah, I’m still really livid over that. So, you know, hopefully in the future there’s some plan going into this, but it’s ridiculous. And my heart just breaks for all the athletes that were involved. You know, I periodically gone through, and this is very much the social media side of me, I like to see athletes during the games like Nathan Chen. I saw his Instagram grow hundreds of thousands of followers during the games, and that’s just so fun to watch, but then I also watch what they put as their bio’s and how quickly they make flex with, you know, I’m an Olympic champion.

And I noticed that everyone who was on Team USA in the team event during the games, nothing was really posted in their bios. And I’ve noticed that some of them have put Olympic silver medalist and some of them have just put Olympic medalist or two time Olympic medalist. And I just hate it for them.

I hate that they don’t really know where it lands. They don’t, you know, they, I think they can safely call themselves a silver medalist, but I just hate that it, and again, I would be saying this, even if it was not Teen USA, no athlete who deserved to be on the podium, she’d be going home without a medal.

Like, I don’t know that that was a huge thing to me. And again, the abuse that we saw on display, all of that was just atrocious. It was terrible. And everybody lost everyone’s affected when you decide to cheat and not compete clean.

[00:42:55] Claire: That is so true.

[00:42:58] Jill: I wonder if the IOC thought that Russia would not give back the gold if the doping was upheld,

[00:43:05] Sarah: it was saw that I think I saw that that was the main reason that they weren’t going to do it. It, and I don’t know if they have a direct quote on that or if that was speculation. It’s, it’s been several weeks, of course. But I remember seeing that idea floated around which again, okay, don’t give them the golds, but still let the other athletes go home with the medal.

You know, I think that there’ll be happily or I think that they would happily exchange it if they got upgraded, but they know that they’re not going to get any worse than what they already have.

[00:43:35] Claire: For the second Olympics in a row, I did not watch the women’s competition at all. And I feel just fine with that decision again, even though the chaos of the end of the free skate did draw me in just a little bit, cause I wanted to see how it played out with, you know, one rushed and crying, one Russian having a temper tantrum and one Russian who won the gold, not really knowing what to do because her support staff is busy with other people who are crying and having temper tantrums.

I, I did say before the Olympics that I had no interest in learning any of the names of the Russian female figure skaters, I didn’t realize how I would be learning the names of the Russian female skaters because I know them now, unfortunately, and. It’s just the amazing how badly that turned out and how I hope that the cries, for some changes in how they permit the ages of the women to compete or even who they allowed to compete.

I hope that some changes actually take place. I know that with Russia invading Ukraine, they are not allowed to compete in the world championships. And I did just find out today that they’re going to hold their own figure skating competition in Russia coinciding at the same time. Lovely that that’s happening.

It’s just frustrating to, to have to hear about that. Especially when the men’s competition was so much fun to watch, I will watch men’s figure skating over anything else. I just, I love the athleticism and the, the artistry that they put in ice dancing was also a lot of fun to watch pairs. I, I forced myself to watch it and I found myself enjoying it a lot more than, than usual.

So that was good. But still, that women’s competition and the team competition just tarnished everything about figure skating. And it makes me very sad that NBC wants to put, figure skating out every single night. And they noticed that when there is no figure skating happening, their numbers trend downward, there has to be another way to bring the numbers in without having to put figure skating at before, especially when figure skating is having so much problems.

[00:45:54] Jill: That’s really interesting to hear about NBC and maybe it’s just not a focus on other, developing other sports or developing coverage of other sports.

We’ve been on forever, but I want to get to listener Don’s. Listener Don sent in a couple of points of bins. One was the venue, clusters being so distant from each other and how that’s going to affect the Olympic experience going forward, especially if you have regional bids.

I, I think that if I remember correctly, Albertville was also a very clustered all Olympics, which that’s our historical Olympics for this year. So I think we’ll probably talk about that. I believe some people said yes that they didn’t feel like they were really at an Olympic. And it may have been athletes because of the fact that it was so clustered and difficult to get to other venues and other other events.

[00:46:57] Claire: And the fact that everything was closed off. I think that made a big difference because yes, you can have clusters. And actually, I kind of liked the clusters because as a fan, I don’t feel like I need to go into this epicenter where millions of people have congregated. You know, you’ve dealt with it when you went to Salt Lake City, how, you know, it’s just chaos everywhere.

If you split everybody up, it kind of eases the tension of the city. And I don’t mind that at all, but you also have to have the free rein to go from place to place you, do you want to, you know, take the bullet train into Beijing and watch hockey. They didn’t have that luxury. They were forced to stay there.

I think that had a lot to do with it.

[00:47:39] Jill: And Don also wondered about the scheduling of the Paralympics because of the dramatically different conditions. And that was one thing about Beijing as a host city is that winter was so, so cold. And then for the Paralympics, everything warmed up and we thought, well, this might be better for athletes who have problems regulating their body temperature, but it also resulted in horribly slushy snow because everything melts and then competition’s just getting moved right. And left because everything melted. Yeah, there’s going to be a gap because you’ve got to do a transition from Olympic. You’ve got to get people out of the Olympic Village. You have to transition all of the signage and everything to Paralympics.

And a lot of times, like for China, there were different systems in play. So Olympics had one system and Paralympics had a different system in the background. So you’ve got to kind of transition to those things. We had this my info system that had stories and results and, and all of the information we needed. They needed time to transition to the Paralympics.

So you need that time, but how do you deal with making sure you don’t get such a sloppy conditions that it really affects performance,

[00:49:01] Alison: Choose an appropriate host city?

[00:49:03] Jill: No, I think this would happen almost anywhere. I mean, D Beijing was really different, but we’re also talking about global warming. What happens when you have a snow melt or no snow in cities and 40 degrees like this past weekend in Oslo, it was 40 degrees for biathlon and people were skiing in short sleeves.

So. How do you deal with that? If you can’t, I don’t know how well you can regulate the temperature of the snow, but if it’s melting, especially for athletes who are using their arms and shoulders to propel themselves, how and what can we do?

[00:49:48] Claire: I think bumping everything back where you, where you maybe start the Olympics in January and then have the Paralympics in February, it see, you know, with, with where the Paralympics ended it was a week shy of spring for us, you know, the, Equinox. So maybe, or even having this came into my mind as I was thinking, maybe having an Olympics over Christmas. Wouldn’t that be just insane? You know, I know that you’re suddenly getting into like 2022, 2024. How are you hitting that? But just having like a holiday season where you are nothing but the Olympics and that would never happen, but maybe, maybe just pushing stuff to January.

I know world cup seasons revolve around that and they need to work around that. It’s just a thought

[00:50:36] Sarah: Yeah. I mean, I don’t think it’s a ridiculous idea to move it earlier. It would just take significant planning from all the different organizations that put on those world cups. But I mean, wouldn’t really hurt anything, then move it back even two weeks.

I don’t think so. I mean, my family would hate it if it was over Christmas because, sorry guys, you’re not seeing your grandkid, unless you come over and watch the Olympics with me.

[00:51:01] Jill: Bring your flags. Yeah.

[00:51:06] Sarah: Oh my gosh. And shout out to listener Meredith for sending Wilson, every flag in the world, every flag.

Thank you. He loves them.

[00:51:16] Alison: Start learning those other anthems. Andrew Parson. No, it was Greg Spence who said he’s decided that the Italian anthem is his favorite now.

[00:51:27] Claire: How much fun was listening to that at the closing ceremonies, both sides. I’m just rocking to this

[00:51:35] Alison: So much fun. And the singer who did it, you could just feel every note in your body as she sang.

[00:51:45] Sarah: Yeah. I had nothing against Italy, but now I’m all for Italy. I’m a huge Italy fan now.

[00:51:53] Alison: But going back to your clusters question, I mean, we talked about Italy. Very distinctly has two cities and it is going to have to by definition work very separately. And are they going to have a split opening ceremonies?

Are you going to have two cauldrons? Are you going to. Do something sort of different and that’ll be interesting to say, and then Paris, heck we’re going, Tahiti for Paris. So I don’t know what’s going on there.

[00:52:24] Claire: And you’re opening ceremony on the Seine. I’m going to be there. I’m going to make it. I’m going to sit there for two days if I have to be at the opening ceremony.

[00:52:34] Alison: We’ll see Claire floating in the middle of the sand on the lifeboat.

[00:52:39] Claire: There’s just so much to look forward to. Now. I think Beijing was that one thing that we kind of all were like, all right, let’s slog through this because after, and there was even a promo on NBC, I retweeted it.

I know during the closing ceremony of the winter Olympics and it showed, is it Paris Milan Cortina Los Angeles. And it was just, yeah, it was like, okay, this is, you know, it’s time for the Western hemisphere to take over and have some fun. And it did get me really geeked out and excited because I would love to watch some events, not at 4:00 AM.

And I am very, very excited about that.

[00:53:22] Jill: I know Craig Spence kept calling it the Asia tour because that was the third games in a row that was an Asia. I think in some aspect it was really good to have a group of games in Asia to get those athletes and those fans a chance to see something on their own time schedule on the other hand.

Yeah, for us it’s like, okay, can we have, can we have a situation where we can see the games from different times on? So it it’s been interesting to have this Asian tour. It’ll be interesting to see the differences in the next two games, not just in Europe, but hopefully post COVID and also not dealing with governments who have a specific opinion about how things should run.

So I don’t know, it’ll be interesting, final thoughts?

[00:54:22] Claire: I had fun and my attention has already turned to track and field. Indoor championships where this weekend. And so I watched all of it and it was marvelous. And now I just can’t wait for July when I go to, to Oregon for the world athletics championships. And I know there’s a couple of big things happening in the United States for global athletic competitions that people might be attending.

So definitely get out and support those people. And when the winter Olympics come back around or when the winter sports come back around in November, December, try and find ways to watch them, especially if they’re close by. Curling, you know, there’s always a curling clubs all over the place. I know that a lot of that stuff takes place in Europe, but it does take place around here too.

So try and find it and go in and support it.

[00:55:11] Sarah: Yep. Claire, we’re still, even though we’re so last minute with this, we’re still playing with the idea of going up to Oregon in July, but we’ll see what flights look like and may have to find some tickets. But anyway, yeah. I said this after Tokyo and I’ll say it again now that, you know, for me, I’m always reminded that I get worked up about wanting more and more support for the Paralympic movement.

And whenever I know that there’s sled hockey clubs that, you know, sometimes there are tournaments that spectators can go to. When I know that they’re spilled here basketball, which goes back to a summer sport, of course. But whenever I know that there’s a wheelchair basketball team that I can go watch just an hour away from me that I don’t really have an excuse.

So, like Claire said, if you know, events that are going on global events, national events and get out and support, and don’t forget to keep an eye on those college athletes. So anyway but that being said, yeah, we made it Jill, Alison y’all were amazing. You also coverage, social media, everything was incredible.

I’m not just trying to suck up, but but no, I mean, that was, there were conversations that I had with people privately talking about how you guys were doing amazing from other listeners. I think everyone was so grateful that I noticed that if someone asked a question in the Facebook group, you all would try to find out the answer and they were thorough answers. And it really felt like all of us were there in some way with y’all.

And I know I’ve benefited from that. I see Claire nodding, her head I just want to say thank you because it wasn’t just exciting for us to see y’all go. It was so much more thrilling to know that y’all were there and to feel like we had that special access and to know what was going on behind the scenes.

So thank y’all. I’m happy that y’all are home and sorry that you’re not over jet lag yet. And hopefully we’ll all be together in the plane, the lighthouse in Paris, 2024. And I’ll just make lots of cookies for people.

[00:57:18] Jill: Excellent.

[00:57:20] Alison: I’m glad we’re home too.

[00:57:22] Jill: I am too.

[00:57:23] Claire: It was so great to be able to tell people I know someone who’s in Beijing for the Olympics.


And they would look at me like,

yeah, they’re journalists.

[00:57:35] Sarah: Thanks for giving us clout.

[00:57:38] Jill: We did well, thank you so much. really appreciate you always coming on. And yeah, it’s been, it’s been a winter Olympics and Paralympics that’s for sure. It’s been super exciting and we’re glad we were able to share it with y’all.


Thank you, Claire and Sarah. You can follow Claire on Twitter @CauldronLight. And Sarah on Twitter is @sarahpattontx. And Sarah’s got a new podcast out called The Games Odyssey podcast, which delves into the historical side of the Olympics. And maybe the Paralympics too, I believe so.

[00:58:13] Alison: They’re starting at the beginning. They started in Greece, in ancient Greece. So we got a while to get to the Paralympics.

[00:58:20] Jill: But we are looking forward to it when they get there. Winter\Victor Studio believes that sport and beautiful design go hand in hand and that a designer’s versatility is just as important as an athlete’s dexterity.

Winter\Victor provides distinctive graphic design to clients in sport from logos to digital communications. Winter\Victor brings the same passion to design that our clients bring to the field of play. Add a responsive and versatile designer to your team at Winter\Victor responsible for the design of our lovely, lovely pins, which were very popular.

[00:58:53] Alison: Yes. People were bringing me their cell phones with photographs of that TKFLASTAN pin, hoping I had more to offer. So Winter\Victor did , I mean, they really nailed it on those pins.

[00:59:09] Jill: Exactly. So thank you and check them out.

All right. So there were stories I forgot to tell.

[00:59:17] Alison: Forgot to tell me?

[00:59:18] Jill: Yes, or well tell you and tell the listeners. There’s a story that I have been holding onto for seven weeks. And I did not even tell Ben until this past weekend when I said, oh, did I tell you this story? Because no, I could not tell anybody. And I, it was one of those, like, you cannot say anything to anyone until you were home, because I did not get out of the airport without getting in trouble.

[00:59:44] Alison: No!

[00:59:45] Jill: When I landed in Beijing, I immediately got into trouble.

[00:59:52] Alison: Well, I knew you weren’t great at following directions as to where you’re supposed to go. And there were some, you know, going down the wrong corridor.

[01:00:01] Jill: No, this was more of a a little misstep. So, you know, when you got off the flight and the hallway you got off on was just decorated with Beijing and there’s Beijing stuff along the way, and you’re there and you’re excited.

You, you almost made it into the closed loop and. You’ve had a very long set of flights and you’re tired and it’s exciting to see Bing Dwen Dwen and Shuey Rhon Rhon everywhere. So you go and you get your COVID test, and then you had to go down to passport control and on the way there was a big, like cardboard cutout display with Bing Dwen Dwen and Shuey Rhon Rhon. That was the first big one I saw. So excited. I took a picture. And then from my left, I heard a haz matted voice say, No!

I was in the no picture taking zone and he came right over and said, you have to delete that.

[01:00:55] Alison: Oh!

[01:00:55] Jill: So he watched me put that photo in the trash of my phone.

[01:01:01] Alison: Did he watch you empty the trash as well?

[01:01:05] Jill: No.

So, he watched that action. I went on my merry way because he was satisfied. Got through the rest of passport control and customs and getting my credential activated and getting the luggage, getting on the bus. And then I found the photo again. I don’t know if you saw it.

Cause it went, it might’ve gone to the drive, but I did take it off the drive.

[01:01:32] Alison: Oh yeah.

So all this time I was housed with a criminal?

[01:01:37] Jill: I guess so.

[01:01:38] Alison: The Chinese police could have burst into our room at any moment?

[01:01:43] Jill: Lady, you have pictures on your phone. Take them off!

[01:01:47] Alison: You put me in such danger. I could have been kept from my drinkable yogurt for, from your illegal action. No, but they were very serious during passport control about the no pictures and the no phones. And it was, it was intimidating.

[01:02:06] Jill: Yes. And I mean, it’s in every passport or control around the world. Cause it was in the U S too. But I think people still use their phones here and there. But yes, they were very serious about no photos, but if they were the serious about no photos, do not have a very cute display of Bing Dwen Dwen and Shuey Rhon Rhon there to greet me. Have a display of hazmatted people with like a janky welcome sign.

[01:02:34] Alison: Yeah. And they didn’t have, like, when I was greeted with you are so beautiful! Welcome to China!

You don’t need to take a picture. I just felt the love.

[01:02:47] Jill: That’s right. I think after like four weeks of people coming in like that, and they were like, oh, thank goodness. Somebody that’s really good looking.

[01:02:56] Alison: You could really see it through my glasses and my mask how gorgeous. I looked after 26 hours of flying.

[01:03:04] Jill: So, yeah, that was a story that I could not tell anyone until I got home, was safe.

We also did not tell about the scariest night I had, and this was really freaky. I will say this. We’re both in bed, sound asleep. And I don’t know if we talked about the beds at all, but you loved them.

[01:03:24] Alison: I thought that they were lovely.

[01:03:25] Jill: The beds are different.

[01:03:27] Alison: Very hard.

[01:03:28] Jill: I kept saying like, well, they’re flat and they’re just, they’re flat. They’re hard.

[01:03:33] Alison: If you have a foam mattress, this is very similar. It does not have the ebbs and flows of a coil mattress. It has that very linear top.

[01:03:47] Jill: Yes. But it also does not let you sink in. It is just a hard surface. So it’s a little different. I think if I remember correctly, it’s a little different than a Japanese mattress, which is also very hard, but you kind of felt a little give from a futon type of perspective. This was just like a flat surface that had no give. And it wasn’t like you were quite sleeping on a board.

[01:04:13] Alison: It was a soft board.

[01:04:14] Jill: Yeah, it was, it was getting close to that. So we’re both asleep and it’s like two or three in the morning and your phone goes off and I, for some reason heard it cause usually I can sleep through a lot of stuff, but I heard this and I was turned away from the nightstand, so I flip over to figure out what’s going on, ’cause I thought it was my phone, and I flipped over to get the phone, and the hard surface of the bed is also a little slippery. And I flip over, I get all tangled up in my duvet, and I slide off the bed as I grabbed the phone. And as I do that, my head smacks on the nightstand, like the side of my head, just smacks really hard on this very hardwood nightstand.

And I slide down onto the floor. I don’t know what’s going on. I put the phone on your bed. I don’t know if I threw it at you or not. I might have thrown it. And then my head is hurting and I get back in the bed and I started to freak out.

[01:05:22] Alison: And I’m in the other bed sleeping through all of this, which is quite surprising because I do have mom sleep patterns where often if I hear crashing and slamming, I will wake up, but I did not.

I think the hours we were keeping outweighed, and I knew I wasn’t with my child or my puppy, so I just slept through it.

[01:05:51] Jill: Yeah. So I start texting Ben eventually underneath the covers. And I am very freaked out that I’m going to have a Natasha Richardson moment or and Bob Saget has just passed away from hitting his head.

I am freaked out about this, so I’m texting Ben and I eventually moved to the bathroom and I call–’cause he’s like, let me talk to you. So I call him and of course I’m crying at this point because I don’t know, do I I’m T I’m exhausted. I can’t go to sleep because what if I Natasha Richardson it and the head hurt was just gonna kill me?

And he’s talking to me, it’s like, you can always go to the hospital. You have health insurance, you have supplemental health insurance, and the idea of getting into an ambulance and going to a Chinese hospital, even though we have. I have driven by many of them at this point on the bus and they look perfectly fine.

I did not want to do this. So he’s trying to call me down and he finally goes, you know, what are your eyes dilated? No, they’re fine. And he finally goes, what’s the square root of 16. And I said four. And he goes, you’re fine. But wake up Alison and ask her about it. So I wake you up.

[01:07:06] Alison: And I immediately go into mom mode.

I mean, you tell me something happened and I just bounce up and I’m able to have this conversation with you, like two seconds after you wake me up. And I’m like, okay, let me look at you. Talk to me. Are things blurry? And I started asking you all this, then finally decide you’re fine. Just rub some dirt in it.

[01:07:34] Jill: It was just like, you’re fine. And then like you went back to bed and almost instantly are just sleep again.

[01:07:41] Alison: But to me, the best part of the story is we get up the next morning. I look at you and I say, are you dead?

And you thankfully answered. No. And we just went on with the rest of the Paralympics

[01:07:57] Jill: Because we determined it. I hit the side of my head, which you S you had said, and Ben said, well, that’s the big, the, if you’re going to hit your head, that’s a good place to hit it because that’s where the most skull is.

So scary times. Oh, man, that was scary. It was a hard day the next day, I’ll tell you because I did not sleep very much. And that’s saying a lot when we weren’t sleeping very much to begin with.

[01:08:19] Alison: Well, we’re glad you’re not dead.

[01:08:22] Jill: I’m glad I’m not dead either.

[01:08:25] Alison: Welcome to TKFLASTAN.

[01:08:29] Jill: Oh man. Erin Jackson is living large, and I’m so excited for her. She got her parade with Joey Mantia and Brittany Bowe, and they also got the key to the city, which is very exciting, which I know it’s just an odd thing, but a key to the city, very important. And got to attend the Vanity Fair Oscar party.

[01:08:52] Alison: She looked gorgeous.

[01:08:54] Jill: She did the gorgeous, oh my gosh. Got to hang with some celebs. That was awesome. Wearin’ her medal. That’s awesome.

[01:09:01] Alison: She doesn’t need to borrow any jewels. She brings her own.

[01:09:05] Jill: That’s right. It’s a good conversation starter. I bet.

[01:09:08] Alison: You got an Oscar. I got a gold medal. Mm Hmm.

Clare Egan was reelected to serve another four year term on the International Biathlon Union’s Athletes Committee.

[01:09:21] Jill: Yeah, Clare!

Our Seychellois swimmer Felicity Passon got some funding from the Olympic Solidarity. committee, section of the IOC. So she’s going to have a scholarship that will help fund more training for 2024. So hooray!

[01:09:38] Alison: Kelly Claes and new partner Betsy Flint finished fourth at their first tournament together. And it was the first tournament of the beach volleyball season.

[01:09:47] Jill: Sweet, which means it’s going to get warmer.

[01:09:51] Alison: And sandier,

[01:09:54] Jill: And we have a new TKFLASTANI. Alex Debold and his wife, Ashley welcomed a daughter named Penelope last week.

[01:10:02] Alison: And I don’t think we’ve talked about it on the show. We did talk about how Alex Diebold was not able to go to the Olympics because of an injury, but he did not disclose at the time how serious that injury was. He was in a medically induced coma for four or five days. It was a pretty significant concussion. So once I heard the news about beautiful Penelope, who’s got a full head of hair and I just already think she’s adorable. I’m thinking, so there’s Ashley heavily pregnant in Italy and her husband is in the hospital.

So to see the pictures of the three of them posted on Instagram were just so joyful and I’m sure a really, a really joyful time. And Penelope is just a little button. We love TKFLASTANI babies.

[01:10:52] Jill: So there is some controversy around the venue that’s going to be used for the basketball tournament. This is the Arena Paris Sud, and it’s an existing venue that’s going to host the preliminary rounds, but players and national organizations have complained that it is too small. The ceilings are too low and there’s poor ventilation.

[01:11:21] Alison: Yes, so after much discussion, FIBA, the basketball association, and Paris 2024 agreed not to use this venue. Have not announced what the venue replacing it will be, but remember, Paris was touting that 95% of its venues would be either temporary or repurposed. They don’t have another basketball venue.

[01:11:45] Jill: Wow. That’s kind of interesting.

[01:11:49] Alison: Because they’re trying to keep it within a certain distance.

[01:11:52] Jill: Oh, gee, man.

[01:11:54] Alison: They don’t have a second basketball venue within that original circle other than the Arena Paris Sud, but you need more than one because there’s so many games for both men and women happening simultaneously.

[01:12:07] Jill: Wow. That’s going to be a fun challenge to figure out, or you say maybe it just put up with it? I don’t know.

[01:12:16] Alison: Maybe they just set up a court

[01:12:20] Jill: say, yeah, I’m sure that fine. That there’s no chance to build a new venue. There’s no way you could build something at this point. No time, no time and probably no money. So what do you do? I don’t know. What if they don’t find anything?

[01:12:35] Alison: Maybe they have preliminary matches in Tahiti.

[01:12:40] Jill: Bet they would love that.

I feel like this is going to be a trend. If we get one more week in a row of news from Milan Cortina that is a little off, should we say it was not going to bode well, and we’ve got four years go. There are reports that that Vincenzo Novari will step down as the CEO of the Milan Cortina organizing committee.

And those have been denied by an unnamed spokesman to Around the Rings, but we’ve seen this in some other publications. Also denied any conflict between Novari and CONI, which is the Italian Olympic Committee and their president Giovanni Mulago. The organizing committee has a board meeting on April six.

So there’ve been reports that he’d stepped down because he has no winter sports connection, sparring as businessman. And he wasn’t necessarily making a winter sports connection from what I understand.

[01:13:41] Alison: Right, but they were touting that Novari was making a lot of connections with sponsors and building that side of it.

But how is that for the operation side of it, which is kind of the crux.

[01:13:57] Jill: Good times. We will find out in another week or so whether or not he will be around.

[01:14:02] Alison: I just like to imagine Giovanni and Vincenzi sitting at the table with their cups of espresso and one of them puts a spoon of sugar in and the other one just drinks it black.

Like there’s, there’s all the one upmanship going on and who’s going to run this show. We’ll see, we’ll find it. Yeah, like you said, we’ll find out April 6th,

Sei d’aprile.

[01:14:28] Jill: Hey, good job.

[01:14:30] Alison: I’ve been practicing.

[01:14:33] Jill: We want to give a quick, thank you to all of our Patreon patrons, especially those who came on board. Hey, if you’re not a patron and you like brackets because we are in the season of bracketed sports here in America, we are playing Mascot Madness on our special bonus episode this month.

So this year we are pitting the Winter Olympic mascots against each other to see who will reign victorious. If you’d like to hear it, check out the patron options. This goes to our silver members and above. And so you can all look out for that at the beginning of April. You can find out more of

And that is going to do it for this week. Let us know if you have any other burning Beijing questions.

[01:15:24] Alison: Or other stories of sleeping issues from Beijing.

[01:15:28] Jill: Hey, yeah, I do want to know how are you? People were up pretty late and they got up pretty early. So how’d y’all do with your sleep cycles?

[01:15:36] Alison: Get in touch with us. You can email Call or text us at (208) 352-6348. That’s 2 0 8. Flame it, our social handle is @flamealivepod, and be sure to join the Keep the Flame Alive Podcast group on Facebook.

[01:15:57] Jill: All right, next week, we are going back to Albertville.

We’re going to get back into that Albertville historical groove with our friend Tom Kelly, who’s going to tell us a little bit about the skiing that went on there. So in the meantime, thank you so much for listening and until next time, keep the flame alive.