Grab your popcorn and pull up your chair! Film Buff Fran is back for another edition of Keep the Flame Alive’s Movie Club. This time we’re watching the 2016 Jesse Owens biopic “Race.” Will it inspire us to become sprinters?
“Race” has all of the elements in your standard biopic, nicely laid out here in the trailer:
But does this rate as a better-than-average sports biopic, or do filmmakers need to flip the script on this genre? We talk it out.
In our Albertville 1992 history moment, Jill starts looking at the bobsled competition, which at this point in history is only for men (women’s bobsled doesn’t get added to the Olympic program until 2002). This competition has it all: Scandal! Spying! A color pukesplosion!
Jill opts to focus on the scandal part of the competition this week, which features Team USA and its no good, very bad Olympic quad. Hear about the troubles within the federation, the issues with the US Olympic Trials, the bobsled Dream Team, and who did/did not make the team – in the most heartbreaking way.
Bobsled Dream Team? Yep! Check out what could’ve been:
And maybe you remember Willie Gault’s other talent: Rapping. Check him out in the “Super Bowl Shuffle”:
Reminder – vote for next year’s history moment Games in our Facebook Group! Poll closes on October 8.
In our visit to TKFLASTAN, we have updates from:
- Nordic combined athlete Annika Malacinski
- Beach volleyball player Kelly Cheng
- Curler John Shuster
- Speed skater Erin Jackson
- The dulcet tones of Jason Bryant – to donate to his efforts to help Beat the Streets raise money to help kids get wrestling gear, visit here.
Paris 2024 has announced the marathon course — this one looks like it’s going to be an epic Olympic marathon!
A spectacular, demanding, and unprecedented race!
Discover the official route of the #Paris2024 Olympic marathon 🔥
Spectaculaire, exigeant, inspirant, voici le parcours du Marathon Olympique de #Paris2024 pic.twitter.com/kLshJ4fTFG
— Paris 2024 (@Paris2024) October 5, 2022
Also, LA 2028’s dynamic logo got a new look thanks to sponsor Delta Air Lines:
LA28 🤝 Delta Air Lines
Proud to introduce the first of its kind LA28 and Delta integrated emblem!
Delta is an inaugural Founding Partner and the official airline of LA28.
Full release: https://t.co/w50VbD4WlR@Delta | @TeamUSA pic.twitter.com/SVYzE5evN8
— LA28 (@LA28) September 29, 2022
What do you think of it? Let us know!
Thanks as always to our Patreon patrons and supporters. This show is by fans for fans – if you get value from it and would like to give back, please visit our Support page for options.
Until next time, keep the flame alive!
Note: This is an uncorrected machine-generated transcript. It contains errors. Please do not quote from the transcript; use the audio file as the record of note. If you would like to see transcripts that are more accurate, please support the show.
Jill: [00:00:00] Hello, fans of TKFLASTAN, and welcome to another episode of Keep the Flame Alive, the podcast four fans of the Olympics in Paralympics. I am your host, Jill Jaracz joined as always by my lovely co-host, Alison Brown. Alison, hello, How are you?
Alison: Well, let’s just say it’s a good thing that Olympic podcasters do not have to follow the same doping roles as Olympic athletes , because right now I would fail.
Jill: Oh. What’s going on?
Alison: So, had an unexpected, Well, the procedure wasn’t unexpected. The seriousness of the procedure on my foot was unexpected, so they’re doping me up and shot me full of things. And I have a nice big boot and it’s all sexy and gonna sell foot picks now cuz it’ll be so pretty . But good thing we can podcast sitting down.
Jill: Very true. Well, I hope your foot heals quickly and that you are feeling better soon.
Alison: Thank you. It’s more frustration than anything else. But I will say this, I totally get the frustration that we’ve talked to athletes when they get hurt. I mean, this is minor. Obviously, I don’t need my foot to do my job, and I’m two days in and I’m ready to climb the walls.
So those athletes, ugh, they have the mental fortitude that I clearly do not.
Jill: Well, I guess go back and listen to some of our mental, episodes and see how that goes and, and be, be on the lookout for the out of podcasting tester that comes around to your house to do a little doping test.
Alison: Yeah. I’ll just be like, Don’t even bother it. It’ll light up. . Oh, man. The stuff they gave me was I’m no, no.
Jill: Wow. I will say if listeners, if you hear some noise in the background, it is not the magical hour of vacuuming like we had in Beijing. It, it would be the magical hour of street construction, which has been going on here for a few weeks.
And they’re pretty much right up front side my, my door. So that’s fine.
Alison: Or maybe it’s just me and my boot clumping along.
Jill: That too. But. While you are stuck in a chair, you can be watching some movies, which is great because it’s movie week. This week, Film Buff Fran is back for our third movie club meeting of the year.
We are talking Race, the Jesse Owens biopic. Take a listen.
Fran. Welcome back. We are talking Race, which is the biopic of Jesse Owens, the star of Berlin, 1936. What do you have for us?
Fran: Well, we’re talking about Jesse Owens or actually what I learned from the movie it’s really JC Owens. I never knew that it was just a little kind of pet name take off of his real name, which was uh, a shortening of his real name.
And his initials spelled out JC and a teacher of his actually just thought he said, Jessie, and that’s what stuck. So this was a movie that was made in 2016, so fairly recent. Such a, storied historian and it starred Stefan James as Jesse and Jason Sudeikis as Larry Snyder, who was his coach.
And I’m a big Jason Sudeikis fan because Ted Lasso. So I was pretty stoked to see him. In a little different role. And I know Alison’s favorite is Jeremy Irons as Avery Brundage, IOC president. who was the us Olympic committee’s chair at the time where the movie was set, who later became the. Head of the IOC. Also in the movie was William Hurt in a small role and actually shout out to Carice van Howton, who was Leni Riefenstahl, who was the woman who documented the Olympics in her movie Olympia who I loved from Game of Thrones.
So basically. It’s your classic biopic? It shows Jesse from right before we see him go off to college at Ohio State through his training and preparation for the Olympics all the way up to the storied Berlin games. and you know what, I thought it had all the right elements. It was a [00:05:00] very exciting story because it showed this man overcoming so many obstacles to really, be the best of the best, and to have to do it, within the confines of the United States, Pre the civil rights movement. and in the Jim Crow south and, moving through, having to deal with all of the pre World War II rise of Nazi-ism it, it had a lot of elements.
It almost had too many elements for one movie, because there were so many big themes and they, I think they tried to touch on a lot of them and it kind of got watered down. I felt like, because they were just trying to hit on all the such, all the major movements going on at this time. But I thought that Stefan, James, as Jesse, he was good.
I mean, he, I thought he was very believable as the athlete. I don’t know how much athletic preparation he had, or was he a former track person. But I thought he was very natural in the role. I liked his onscreen charisma with Jason Sudeikis. And I thought he was a very believable character.
Alison: There were lots of things I liked about this movie. There were lots of troops
Fran: mm-hmm oh, completely. And there was
Alison: a lot of things they did very, very well. I too loved the appearance of the red lady.
Fran: very, for, she was great.
Alison: She was very good. I thought Stefan James was, as you said, very believable. I think that’s kind of the perfect word for him.
What I’m curious is you don’t have the same knowledge of Avery Brundage. God bless you, Fran. that I am burdened with. So I’m curious as to, with the way he was portrayed in this film, what did you take away as Avery Brundage’s character?
Fran: I mean, it seemed like the way Jeremy Irons played him. He was a very imposing person. He wanted to get his way, there was no way he, he was going to allow the us to boycott the Olympics. And you know, they also showed him, journeying to Berlin prior to the games, just to kind give the Germans a heads up of how the Americans wanted. Olympics to be run.
They didn’t want a lot, they didn’t want any propaganda. They didn’t want anything that could taint the Olympic spirit, but it also kind of showed brandage as kinda like a devious guy. He was very, he was, he seemed very street smart. He seemed very slick. I don’t know more about his character, but he seemed like a person.
you didn’t wanna, I don’t know if he could be trusted.
Alison: I was curious to hear what you thought, because I thought he came off too. Well,
I mean, this is a man who was a. Card carrying member of America first, which was basically the American Nazi party. Hmm. This was a misogynist, a racist. And I thought he kind of came off in this movie as I’m putting the athletes first.
I don’t want this boycott to happen because of the athletes. I want Jesse Owens to be introduced to Hitler because he deserves the honor.
Fran: Yeah. That’s how it, that’s how it felt. Yeah. That’s how, exactly how it felt.
Alison: Somehow this movie made Avery Brundage and Leni Riefenstahl look like the heroes of racial justice, and that to me, ruined the movie. Hmm. No matter how good Stephan James was, no matter who good Jeremy Irons was as Avery Brundage mm. It felt too apologist for two people who did a lot of damage.
Fran: I was just reading right before we went on about uh, Leni just to get some, basic info on her. And according to her, book, she did a autobiography.
She really painted herself as anti-Nazi, which I thought was interesting, cuz I was like, well, how, how come you were so closely intertwined with Adolf Hitler and the whole Nazi regime. and then you say in your autobiography, oh, well, I didn’t support that. I didn’t believe in it. How could you do, what, how could you make the most?
They say it’s like the number one propaganda movie of all time.
Alison: oh, I can tell you how you, you, make that it’s called Nuremberg and rife install was trying to save her own tushy
Fran: skin. Right.
Alison: So. [00:10:00] And Jason Eckes was the classic. I mean, didn’t we see it in chars, a fire didn’t we see it. He was the same failed athlete. turned coach. Who’s gonna save the day a little white saviory as well.
Fran: Yep. Yep. Kind of rubbed me the wrong way.
Alison: So there was a lot of not good racial justice.
Fran: Right. And I think I read earlier as well that cause I wanted to look up Larry Snyder and they said there’s not much on this guy. So I don’t know how much Jason really had to base his characterization on because there probably wasn’t much.
And he probably said, well, Hey, there’s, The coach from miracle. And there’s the coach from this and the coach from the Eagle. And you know, why don’t, I just kind of, consume those characters and spit out my own take and that’s gonna be good.
Jill: I wonder, cause I did a little bit of research while I was watching and the family of Jesse Owens had pretty much control over the entire movie.
Mm-hmm and approved all the shots. I wonder if some elements were glossed over to make sure it was a feel good movie and to not, I mean, we’re showing some of the treatment that Jesse went through when he was alive and going through that time. But it almost seems like it’s very glossed over and, and Avery Brundage has given a very, very good treatment.
Maybe we just didn’t want anybody to have some bad feelings from this film.
Fran: Yeah. It was very dignified. definitely, but they did have all the big kind of Jesse Owens moments. They had the famous meet in Michigan where he won. Did he win four events in the matter of 45 minutes?
Alison: Yes. And he broke three records, correct?
Considered the greatest 45 minutes of sport in right. All of history. And you felt.
Fran: Right. And I don’t know how true it was that he was injured at the time. but that was really fascinating to see. And of course the Olympics and then after he returns home and they do the ticker tape parade and the incident at the Waldorf Astoria, where he was not gained entry by the formal doors of the Waldorf, he had to use the back entrance.
And I was really kind of stunned by that, cuz I’m thinking, okay, it’s New York City in 1936 and there was that much segregation in New York City.
Alison: Oh yeah. Oh, absolutely. I mean, that’s kind of the myth that those of us who grew up in the Northern states are taught that segregation was something in the South, right.
Alison: everywhere. And I think they kind of missed an opportunity. And again, I, think what you were saying, the designification the not wanting to upset the Jesse Owen’s family and, and especially his daughters. There could have been much more discussion of the racism and antisemitism of the us Olympic committee of the time.
It was touched. But not highlighted. It’s kind of like, well, we’re showing Hitler as the bad guy. So you get the.
Fran: Well, it was interesting in the beginning of the film, I thought, because, they were at Ohio State and Ohio state had a very losing track team and well, oh my gosh, what can we do?
Well, I guess we have to take, this African American who, you know, was highly recommended because all of our white boys are not performing for. You know, Like we hoped. So as a last ditch effort, you know, let’s just, scrape the bottom of the barrel and, you know, have this guy come. So they kind of alluded to it.
And then on, when he was on campus, they alluded to the type of interactions he would get from the typical students at Ohio State. I mean, they didn’t do a lot of his training. so it would’ve been interesting to know more about, was he just a naturally God given athlete versus, how much preparation really was there for the Olympics?
Cuz it all seemed like it happened very quickly.
Alison: I mean, we did get the training montage set to music. .
But they did give the, impression that Larry Snyder at the beginning of film says to him, you’re brilliant. Your start is terrible. Your stance is wrong. Mm-hmm your posture is sloppy. And did it not remind you of that same conversation from chair?
It’s a fire. between the coach and the runner it’s you are so naturally gifted, but here’s what I’m gonna fix and make you a gold medalist. and that’s what made me so frustrated with this film was, as you were saying, at the beginning, it hit all the stops mm-hmm it hit all these points that we are expecting, and I think they could have made [00:15:00] a much better and a more interesting film, and they almost did it with the little bit.
of Jesse Owen’s relationship with the German athlete
Fran: bong and both long. Yep. The
Alison: two Jewish American mm-hmm
Fran: mm-hmm I
Alison: wish that had been the focus of the movie. Cause I think that’s, would’ve actually been a much more interesting movie.
Fran: And I think it’s very striking that the German competitor, his biggest foil actually embraced.
On the track in Germany, at Hitler’s games. And it was funny cuz I was watching the movie and I’m like, oh my gosh, did this really? It must have really happened in real life because they wouldn’t have done it in the movie. And then I saw some real footage just before we went on to tape and sure enough, it was exactly like that.
Like they embraced on the field and I was like, wow, that’s really. interesting to me like that would’ve been more interesting. And also, I, I also thought it was very fascinating, the whole movie within a movie with Laney and Gobles. Like I thought that that facet was very fascinating to me too. Well, it’s
Jill: kind of interesting.
I mean, you have a, obviously the hero of the movie is Jesse Owens, but you always have to have a bad guy. And the bad guy was just hit. And Hitler and Jesse and his whole program against the Jews. And, oh, to some extent, white people in America against black people, but that’s not a really good enemy for your movie.
So it it’s almost like if they had heightened a. Relationship between or some kind of rivalry between Jesse and Lou, that would’ve been a much more powerful movie. And like you say, take the American Jewish athletes from the team and have them be that. The Jewish story, which is important to put in there because that was a huge element of the games and not have this very long scene of Jason.
Sudeikis trying to find a doser to get Jesse new shoes for the day of the most important race of his life.
Fran: But his shoes didn’t come Jill His shoes didn’t make it. He had to have the Adidas he had. Well, he didn’t care he had to have Adidas just. What’s his name in Oregon? How to have his Nikes.
pre Fontain pre Fontain preta, how to have his Nikes, but is everybody is branded.
Alison: that keep, whenever we’re watching these movies, we keep coming to the same scenes and the same point over and over and over again,
Fran: you can really see it
Alison: make a sports movie that
does not have. a shoe scene.
the training montage set
to music, usually with some guys without their shirts on and the grumpy coach, a grumpy coach who
Fran: has been athlete athlete.
Alison: But then comes through in the end
and sort of this kakamami romance that sort of fits But we’re gonna really make sure you get it and they get together at the end and everybody has a happy life. Can we just take those elements out and you will have such a much better movie? My two favorite moments in this entire movie had absolutely nothing to do with Jesse Owens.
The first one was a meeting between bels and. Frontage where they showed the plans. of a Nazi Germany, embassy with all the swastikas in view of the American capital And so struck by that image that had absolutely nothing to do. with the movie. Second point being when the two Jewish athletes came in and they hold up their star of David necklace to the Nazi shoulders.
And they’re like shalom , which I hope they did that. I have no idea if any of that is based. In fact, I’m saying, please let them have you know, said Mazz top to Hitler. I hope they
Fran: did. Yeah, it was interesting with the two Jewish athletes in the United States, because I wanted to research that a little bit too.
I was a little hazy on what exactly happened because to anyone who did not know the four by 100 relay was supposed to have two Jewish American athletes, as well as two other competitors, it was not supposed to have Jesse Owens in that race. And then at the last minute they actually bumped the two Jewish Americans from the team.
And then Jesse Owens and another. Athlete replaced them and they did gold gold medal in that event. And it was [00:20:00] questionable because I was like, well, was it because go’s said to brandage, you can’t have Jewish people beating us in Berlin or was it other kind of factors in play? It just seemed kind of like that, that was probably one of the biggest moments probably.
and it just kind of was very quick to be settled.
Alison: We keep saying the two Jewish runners. They’re real people and it was Marty Cookman and Sam Stoler, and they were brought to Germany to be on the relay team and they were not run. So that element of the movie is absolutely based. In fact,
Fran: how it came about.
Who knows? Yeah. We also
Alison: know that the us Olympic team or the us Olympic committee led by. Antisemite in SHEF, Avery Brundage was very antisemitic and Brundage was very sympathetic to the Nazis. So did somebody say, you’re really insulting us since you have this African American athlete, who’s winning everything.
Do you really need to rub it in her faces with the two Jews?
we don’t know, but would that be in line to who Avery bred was? Absolutely. Mm-hmm and I like that they had Jesse Owen say I’m not running unless Marty and Sam say it’s okay. And that one scene in his dorm room where they come in and say, just go and win mm-hmm and make really bad. and again, we don’t know if that happened.
I hope it did. I hope Jesse Owens did say I’m not running without them saying it’s okay. But that to me again, was the best part of the movie
Fran: and another actually interesting little tidbit too, was when the NAACP representative went to see Jesse Owens prior to the games to discourage him. To go to Germany.
And I thought that was really interesting because having, you know, your own, representative from a well respected group of your peers tell, you don’t do this, you know, I know this is your dream, and this is the biggest world stage. Is better for you not to do it. I mean, that seemed like a really big conflict, for Jesse.
And I wonder how conflicted he really was in terms of choosing to go to the games versus not.
Alison: And I feel like this year we’ve talked so much about boycots. We did boycott the book, obviously with Beijing, there was a lot of discussion about boy, When we were there for the Paralympics and, and there was so much threat of boycott because of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Throughout Olympic history we see governments putting pressure on athletes, citizens, putting pressure on athletes, athletes, putting pressure on other athletes and then civil leaders putting pressure on athletes.
I thought the way they portrayed it in this movie was very interesting because Jesse Owen’s father says it doesn’t matter. He could go and win in everything. He could not go. And one thing that I always say is let’s not put a country’s foreign policy on the backs of athletes, cuz that’s not where it belongs.
And I felt like that’s what they were trying to say in this movie, but because they didn’t focus on it, like you were saying at the very. we had a whole long list of issues we wanna discuss in this movie and they sort of touched them all, but that could have been a movie in and of itself.
The whole conflict there. Sure. But it was, it was very interesting. It was, interesting that Jesse Owens was treated more, fairly in Germany, same hotel as the white. Same cafeteria as the white athletes, he was treated more like an equal human being there than on his own American soil.
I mean, Hitler actually acknowledged him for winning. Whereas, Roosevelt didn’t even invite him to the White House. I mean, that’s, very interesting, When you are lucky enough to have a movie just kind of stoke these kind of discussions and say, wow, that really happened.
You know, You kind of gloss over things until they’re presented to you.
Alison: And I wonder if Jesse Owens or other black athletes would have said that, that they felt like they were being treated more fairly, because I wonder. You know, They made it seem like, oh, we’re all athletes together.
Fran: I doubt I doubt it.
Alison: I don’t doubt that there weren’t European athletes and other American athletes that were racist and treated them differently. Yet, they kind of presented it in the movie. Like once we’re all on the Olympic team.
Yo ho ho. We’re all,
Fran: we’re all family fine.
Alison: again with the designification of racism and antisemitism I wanted to grit your movie that I got.
Fran: What I also really thought was kind of powerful was when they presented the [00:25:00] Berlin stadium. I thought that was a really cool moment. Cuz you could almost feel the impressiveness of that stadium.
And that is a 75,000 person stadium and by one account they said that there could have been more than a hundred thousand people. To watch the games and that’s kind of staggering. I mean, when you think about it and they have a point in the movie where Jesse goes onto the field and the crowd is just, so loud, And he himself is just I think kind of blown away by the sheer awesomeness of the stadium.
And that was what they intended obviously. But that was just kind of interesting to see. And the stadium is still in Berlin. I don’t know it’s used for, for soccer,
Jill: Yeah. They still use it for a lot of stuff. I’ve been there. and it is big and it’s very impressive.
Fran: And it was interesting that they said they wanted to compare it to the Los Angeles Coliseum. I thought that was very interesting that they put that little tidbit into the movie.
Alison: Well, 1932. So, that’s who they were competing
Fran: against. But it was really interesting. I, I kind of did a little research on the, the 36 games.
It was held the first two weeks, roughly of August that year. Just under 4,000 athletes competed. There were 49 teams and 129 events. And Germany, no surprise. The homes team came home with the most medals. They won 89 and then the USA was actually second, not even close though at 56 and Italy was third with 22 and it was also the first games broadcast on televis.
So I thought that was kind of interesting. and actually a 13 year old named Marjorie guesting won gold in springboard diving. And she is, and still is the youngest female gold medalist in the summer games. So I thought that was other interesting tidbits. but I mean, and also too, Alison, you were saying about having to fit everything in, we also kind of overlooked all the subtle, Warsaw, ghetto.
Nazis, removing the undesirables undercurrent from the film. And once again, that could have been, a whole other movie and they just kind of snuck it in there that even though Germany was trying to put on this front of, we don’t hurt anybody. We’re just a wonderful nation, behind closed doors, they were, removing.
Families and neighborhoods and this was really the start of, Hitler’s plan.
Alison: I love Jeremy Irons. we talked for just a second about his American accent.
Fran: What kind of accent was it?
Alison: it was supposed to be Chicago. He sounded like he had a speech impediment and he sounded like the script was printed with every R in a capital letter.
Alison: he, and yes, Avery Brundage and his famous scalp, but he, Jeremy,
Fran: I wanted William hurt to go head to head with them, but he didn’t really come. He didn’t, they didn’t really bring it. William Hurt was just kind of in the background.
Jill: any time didn’t give him much more William hurt
Fran: that would’ve helped.
more William Hurt’s always good.
Alison: And why, and ever Lenny reinstall appears in a movie as a character, does she always have fantastic hair?
Fran: Yes. She looked very stylish ever. I mean, cuz
Alison: she’s a character in, in. Many, many movies, she makes appearances and she’s always gorgeous. And she always has the most amazing hair.
Did she? I mean, I know she really was quite striking and quite beautiful. Now I need to investigate Lenny riff install’s hair.
Fran: But, all in all, like we said before, it had everything that you really wanted to see in an Olympics movie. It had the hero, it had the sympathetic, but down and out, possibly recovering alcoholic or alcoholic coach, it had, the, bad guy, other.
Track and field people that were gonna take the gold away from him potentially, it had Hitler and GOs , it had so much in it, that it just, we had racist and Hitler and yeah. These, I mean, where was Mel Brooks? He could have really went to town on this movie. we had
Alison: hairdressers and babies and cheer
We didn’t even talk about his family. I mean, it was such a shock to see that, he had an illegitimate child at the start of the movie. and he cheated on the love of his life with this flashy, rich woman, out west and then came to his senses and ran back to [00:30:00] his, girlfriend begging for her, to take him back.
And of course, you know, within like three seconds, she did .
Alison: So game of throne, since we’ve got a game of throne reference in this movie, I can throw this in. In the first season of game of Thrones critics often talked about sex position that they would have a sex scene where two characters were talking about all this history that you needed to understand.
and we kind of had that scene where the girl comes in and she’s dancing on Jessie and she’s like James Cleveland, I went bored such and I’m like, what is happening? Why is she doing this? And why is she reading his Wikipedia entry as she does like a laugh dance
Fran: yeah. How did she know so much about him?
Jill: I guess he was more famous than it felt or that, I mean, track and field was much bigger back in the day. And he was probably renowned or something from getting all those world records and the big 10 meet. But yeah, I, I. I could have done without that I could have done. Yeah. It’s everything you, we, and I’m not sure it’s everything I want in a biopic anymore.
an Olympic biopic. Not anymore. I’m I, I just think that there, there are. Smarter ways to tell somebody’s story now, and maybe not focusing on his entire life and, and everything. Although maybe it was important to the family to have the family element to it and show mm-hmm Jesse’s human side that he wasn’t a Saint all the way through mm-hmm okay.
But may, maybe we just. And show, make the movie just one element of all of this, but
Fran: they could have just taken the scraps of you Jackman from the Eddie, the Eagle movie, and just thrown him as Larry because it is really the same character without an Australian accent.
Jill: It is, and it’s getting old.
Alison: Miracle Eddie, the Eagle even Gold.
We can interchange. Every single one of, of
Jill: dunno, but you know, it’s an enjoyable movie and it’s decent and it’s well acted and everybody’s likable for the most, you know, except for GOs mm-hmm and brandage you, can’t, that’s very hard to like also, you know what I’m really in. It’s also a very forgettable.
Fran: Yeah, I think, I mean, what I thought was really kind of a nice little extra, like special part of it was when he was getting ready to race and he had the small travel to make his little indent into the field.
Like I thought those little parts. are what make movies kind of special, like those little extra bits that just make it more realistic because I mean, they didn’t have starting blocks, this is how they raced back then. I thought that was really interesting. But like you said, Jill, I mean, unfortunately, there’s not enough moments that really made it a truly unforgettable
picture. We didn’t have the classic theme song, like Chariots of Fire. We didn’t have the Bollywood in gold, but I mean, they, they tried to make it kind of almost like a buddy movie. With the coach and Jesse, or was the coach trying to be a better father than his curmudgeon dad who eventually came around and, cheered for his son or, it was, it was trying to hit all those emotional highs and lows.
Like we said before, Disney ation, instead of getting a more gritty, realistic portrayal, I.
Alison: Chis a fire, did a trial scene and did it better.
Alison: I feel like every scene in this movie was done better in another movie.
Jill: All right, Fran. Thank you so much as always. And we will see you next time.
Fran: Sounds great.
Jill: Thank you so much, Fran. For our last movie of the year, we were going to watch the Bollywood biopic Bog Milk O Bog, which is about Milka Sing, also known as the Flying Seek. He was the first Indian male to reach an Olympic final in athletics at Rome 1960. We were really excited about this except for the fact that we can’t find it anywhere online unless it’s chopped up into like 10 minute segments.
Alison: Not cool when you can’t watch the movie for movie club.
Jill: No. So, we will put that one on hold and hopefully it will become available again soon. But because we’re doing Albertville 1992, we’re going to watch a fictional movie set in the 1992 Olympic Quad. Alison, what are we watching?
Alison: We’re watching “The Cutting Edge.”
I cannot believe I have agreed to this. This has been a movie that film, Buff Fran has been pushing since we started film club and we always said, No, we don’t do fictional movies, but since we have to do a replacement, [00:35:00] we are gonna make Fran so happy with this choice.
Jill: And it’ll be nice cuz this’ll be a movie for the end of the year.
And if you have time off during the holidays and want to watch a movie about figure skating,
Alison: Yes, DB Sweeney and Maura Kelly cut it up on the ice.
Jill: Excellent. So be on the lookout for our conversation in December, and if you’ve seen it, let us know what you think of the movie.
All right. It is the time of the show where we talk history. All year long we’ve been looking at Albertville in 1992 as it is the 30th anniversary of those Olympics. Today is my turn for our story. So let me tell you, we’re going to the bobsled track.
Alison: Love the bobsled track.
Jill: And for 1992, it’s got scandals, it’s got espionage, it’s got color puke explosions everywhere.
Jill: This is also another Multipart story because there was so much going on in bobsled. This competition had it all, including the most sleds ever. At an Olympics. Remember in Calgary it was really something because Jamaica Field did a bobsled team, and that was really kind of the beginning of countries that had no winter sports culture participating in the games.
So when people saw that Jamaica could do it, they’re like, We can do it too. And there were 77 sleds from 25 different nations. In this competition at Albertville, and that’s the record of participation, unlikely to be broken because now there’s a quota system. Two man included Sleds, Ireland, one and two.
Yugoslavia one and two Chinese, Typee, Netherlands and Tillies, Puerto Rico, one and two, Puerto Rico, one and two, Mexico, one and two US version islands one and two.
Alison: So then just any country that could, you know, count, just put a sled in.
Jill: Yeah, Basically, and you know, of course Prince Albert of Monaco was in these games competing.
He finished 43rd in the two man, 27th and the four man and the, the four man bobsled included us Virgin Islands one and two. They’ve got eight people together for bobsled. And Mexico and Chinese, Taipei and Yugoslavia were all in these competitions. And that’s really cool about the participation and so interesting and, and maybe needs its own segment.
But today I wanted to talk about the scandal and it’s not really. Scandal in Albertville, it’s who didn’t get to go to Albertville because of some scandals. So leading up to the Albertville Olympics, the US bobsled Federation did not have a great quad. So in the summer of 1990, huge controversy around accounting procedures and funds, and the entire board of directors and officers of the federation had to.
Jill: Yeah. Then on January 14th, 1992, which is mere weeks away from Albertville, which started on February 8th, the US Bobsled Federation Board of Directors suspended, the chairman Neil Richardson. and they did that because there was a dispute between the federations and four athletes who said they’d been denied a fair chance to make Albertville as a four man team.
So who were these for? They were Brian Shimer who did qualify for the Two man and bobsled. So he was going Greg Harrell, who played a lot of co football. He played college football, arena football, European football. He was on some development teams in the nfl. Also Willie Gault, who was a member of the Chicago Bears Super Bowl, winning Super Bowl shuffle, winning.
If you’re old enough to remember the Superbowl shuffle. Also a member of the Moscow 1980 US Olympic team. For relays a
Alison: relay. I was gonna say it was Adler. I knew he was a runner.
Jill: No, but, But nice segue into the fourth man on the team was Edwin Moses.
Alison: Speaking of hurdling. I did not even know that.
Right. He tried to be a Bobs letter.
Jill: Yes. He was a brakeman from 1990 to 1992 and even won a bronze medal in a two man in a World Cup event. This group of men was going to be like a bobsled dream team, and people were getting excited about it because of the potential of the dream team sponsorships, money started flowing in to us bobsled, and that was really nice, except for the trials, the Olympic trials, which were in July, [00:40:00] 1991, they didn’t make it.
Their performance was not good enough to make the format team. Could all have tried to be on the two man squad. Edwin Moses skipped individual push trials. Didn’t say why. And then GA and Harre skipped because they had to go to training camp for football for the nfl. So no bump let. Dream team means that sponsors are starting to pull out and McDonald’s draft out of a $250,000 sponsor.
Alison: That’s a lot of nuggets.
Jill: It’s a lot of nuggets. And Adidas pressed pause on a gear donation, which was going to be about $35,000 worth of apparel and the spiked shoes that they need to run on the Ice Dream Team though was not going to go down quietly. Ga ga. Herra and Moses all claimed they weren’t properly informed of the schedule and regulations for the original trials.
So they filed the grievance. And on January 11th, 1992, an arbitrator ordered new push trials.
Jill: Yes. So everybody had to try. Again. Everybody who was on the team except for drivers really. They all had to, compete again for their spot. So Edwin Moses said three days later he’s not gonna participate in push trials, cuz now he’s focused on on training for the summer games in 1992. So he’s out. But now the eight pushers who were already on the team, plus the two alternates, had to compete for their slots along with Willie Gold and along with Greg Carll.
Best time of these push trials. Herschel Walker.
Alison: Oh no, not Herschel Walker. Again. .
We just, I get rid of this man.
Jill: Yes, exactly. Willie Gold. Finished eighth. He missed the cut. Who else missed the cut? A man named Todd Snavely. Who had made the team back in July by 100th of a second over the dream team, He finished ninth, so now he’s off the team.
Does he sue? Well, USA bobsled does end up paying him out of pocket expenses, which were probably over $10,000. Wow. His family had booked their trip to the Olympics already. Of course, they had hotels with non-refundable deposits. They had airline tickets, they had all this stuff. Also angry. Independent sled designer, Jerry Meki.
He had designed a sled for the team with Todd Staley in mind. So, you know, sleds have a maximum weight, and for these games that Max Weight was 1,389 pounds, and Staley weighed 180. His replacement was a man named Robert Vison Fells, who was 2 0 5. So you put Robert in the sled. He’s too heavy for the sled.
The US bobsled coach at the time said, No big deal. This sled was not their first choice, and we bought one in Italy for $21,000, which was less than the quote, hundreds of thousands of dollars that the sled designer had spent on developing it. So, turns out Todd Snavely never, ever went to an Olympics.
He was done. This was his shot. He had it, He, it got taken away. He didn’t go. Willie Gat has never been to an Olympics. Dream team member, Greg Harrell made the two man. He was paired with Brian Richardson. They finished 24th. The other dream team member, Brian Schimmer, who was the driver, he placed seventh in the two man with Herschel Walker.
And Herschel Walker was able to go to the games because he was playing football for the Minnesota Vikings at the time, and the Vikings did not make the playoffs. That’s the only reason he could go to the Olympics. Walker had slow start times at Albertville and he was supposed to be on the four man team and got pulled because he wasn’t fast enough at the two man.
But his two man finish was the best US finish at Albertville. And the best finish in the four man was ninth, which was five places below their finish at Calgary, 1988. So this was just a dismal Olympics for Team usa.
Alison: Okay, so this gives me another reason to really dislike Willie Gault.
Alison: Well just, you know, his, it feels like his hubris kind of messed things up for a lot of people.
The other reason I dislike Willie ga, I’m married to someone from Boston.
Jill: Oh, well there you [00:45:00] go. And, and I would go, well, you know, 46, 10 bears top bears. Because I was living in Chicago at the time, Willie Gat was fantastic.
So, just to put a little bow on this, Brian Scheer was in a total of five Olympics. His first was 1988, His last one was 2002. He did win bronze in the Forman in 2002 and carried the US flag at the closing ceremonies that year. After retirement, he joined us bobsled and skeleton’s coaching staff.
He’s had various positions and most recently he stepped out to be the team’s interim bobsled head coach.
Alison: And we’ve got more bobsled coming next time.
Jill: That’s right. We’ll get into. The Spy Games.
Don’t forget that it is time to vote for the historical games that We will cover next year.
Our choices are Beijing 2008, Soul 1988, and London 1948. You can vote in our Facebook group. Keep The Flame Alive Podcast by October 8th. So get on it and we will then announce. What Gain will do next year?
Alison: Ooh, welcome. Do Shook luan.
Jill: It is time of the show. It is the time of the show when we check in with our team, Keep the Flame Alive. These are past guests of the show who make up our country of Shook List on first up. Nordic Combined Athlete Annika Malacinski competed at the USA Nordic National Championships for the normal Hill ski jumping event.
She placed fourth on the large hill. She placed fifth, and for the normal Hill Nordic combined event, she placed first.
Alison: Kelly Cheng and Betsi Flint placed fourth at the volleyball World Beach Pro Tour in Paris, France this past weekend. They are currently ranked 21st in the F I B world ranking, and that’s with only five tournaments played and the lowest number in the top 50.
Jill: Which I thought was very impressive.
Alison: They’re doing quite nicely.
Jill: Curler. John Schuster and his team played in the Prestige Hotels and Resorts Curling Classic. They finished second in their pool in the round robin and had to play a tiebreaker to get into the championship bracket, but they ended up losing that by one point.
Alison: Erin Jackson is prepping to get back on the ice The speeds. Skating World Cup trials are October 20th to the 23rd at the Utah Olympic U.
Jill: And the D tones of Jason Bryant and Mat Talk Online are raising money for Beat The Streets Youth Wrestling Gear Drive. This helps 2000 economically disadvantaged children to be able to participate in the sport by providing gear that they otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford.
We will have a link to Mat Talk Onlines fundraising page in these show notes.
Ah, we have a little bit of news from Paris 2024. They’ve announced the marathon route
Alison: and it is so cool.
Jill: Oh my gosh. So this route is inspired by the women’s March on Versailles, which took place on October 5th, 1789, when crowds of women marched from Paris to Versailles to get King Louis the 16th and force him back to Paris, which was kind of like the death nail to France’s absolute monarchy system.
Very historic moment, Very big moment in France’s history. So the course was designed around this route. It goes out to Versailles and comes back. It’s designed to be challenging, not fast. So we’re not looking for records, but we’re looking for strategy, which I think is pretty cool.
Alison: Well, it also makes sense given that it’s gonna be hot again,
So we need a more strategic course than just a flat speed course.
Jill: And like you said, it’s going to be beautiful. It starts at the hotel, the Vida Perry, and goes by The Opera Garnet, the Palace Fome, the Louv, the Plus De la Concord. It goes along the sun on both directions going there. It’s on one side, goes past all these bridges.
Comes back on the other side. So it’ll go by. People will go by the Eiffel Tower twice essentially. And then it finishes at the Esplanade Inva days.
Alison: This is gonna have such great TV appeal.
Jill: Yes, definitely.
Alison: It’ll be interesting to see, and this will, you know, like we have the trouble in Tokyo with the starting so early in the, the running, so late.
I wonder if they’ll do the Rome thing and have. And in the evening and you’ve got all of Paris lit up.
Jill: Oh, that would be interesting. That would be gorgeous. So [00:50:00] we shall see, I think. And if you watch it in person, I think if you’re along the sin, my guess is that you would be able to be on one side of the sin and then cross over for the other side when they come back and see athletes twice instead of watching them in a loop, The marathons will be on the last two days of the games. Men’s will be August 10th, Women’s on August 11th.
Alison: But the men are going first. The women are nice.
Jill: Yeah. Isn’t that interesting?
Alison: Well, it also makes sense since it’s honoring the women’s March.
Mm-hmm. that we end with the women.
Jill: So yes, and then it is exciting. And then the public marathon will be on the same route because that was another new element that Paris 2024 is implementing in this, that there’s going to be a, a public version of the marathon and they’re gonna have a 10 k as well on part of this course too.
The date for those races has not been set. How you can become a runner in these races is kind of a complicated situation where you have to do challenges in the club and on a couple of other platforms. So we’ll get more information on that and share it with you.
But they won’t have that for a a while yet,
Alison: which is good cuz I can’t start my training.
Jill: There you go. Goals,
and this is related to Paris in a way, but not exactly with Paris 2024, but there’s a group called the Eric Liddell 100 Group, which is a bunch of individuals and organizations who work with the Eric Liddell community charity, and they’re going to have events in 2024 to celebrate the centennial of Eric Liddell.
Victory in the 400 meters at Paris, 1924.
Alison: So we’re just gonna live Chariots of Fire.
Jill: Yes. Yes, exactly. And the Princess Royal is one of the people behind this as per the Edinburg News, so you know it’s gonna be good.
Alison: Well, if Anne is involved, everything’s going to be done just correctly.
Jill: Little bit of news from LA 2028, so LA’s got this dynamic logo. Where the A in the LA can be changed many different ways. And so they announced a new way to have the, the logo, and that is with their sponsor Delta integrated into the A. So there’s Kind of a triangle in one side and then like an airplane wing on another version of it as well.
And this is like the first time a sponsor has been integrated into an Olympic logo,
Alison: right? Cuz when they first released it all the A’s can change. Mm-hmm. . And they were having multiples, so now they’re using the sponsors, which to be honest, sponsors are gonna be thrilled on this.
Jill: Oh, you know, I, I can totally imagine from the sponsor view, it’s very cool.
I’m surprised at the Olympic, you know, the IOC is, they’re prosp sponsors, but not pro sponsor visual sponsorship around the Olympics. So I don’t, I don’t know.
Alison: And we’ll have to see how those logos actually get used.
Jill: Right. So we’ll see. But it is interesting, and it’s a definitely, like you say, a different way of doing.
Doing a logo. If you have thoughts on this logo, I would like to hear what you all think. We’ve talked a little bit about it in the Facebook group, but I’m very curious what listeners think of a logo or if it matters, do you think it even matters?
And LA, just because that logo is so dynamic that. Having a sponsor be part of the logo is no big deal.
Alison: I think my name should be integrated into the logo. LAlison
It’s the LAlison Olympics
Jill: I think somebody should make that happen.
Alison: And then for France it could be like The Jill Olympics .
Jill: Well, they do common, the Jeux Olympic. They, So it could be the jill Olympique
Alison: The Jill Olympique!
Jill: All right.
How are those painkillers treating you?
Alison: Oh man, this is good stuff. Those around me made disagree, but wow, .
Jill: All right, well, we would like to take a moment to thank our Patreon patrons and other donors. As a reminder, Keep the Flame Alive relies mainly on listener support to keep our flame alive and ensure that we have a community that games fans wanna be a part of.
If you appreciate what this show has done for you and would like to give back, please visit flamealivepod.com/support to find a number of ways to do so. So that is going to do it for this week. Let us know your thoughts about the movie Race.
Alison: And you can get in touch with us by email, Flame Alive pod gmail.com.
Call or text us at [00:55:00] (208) 352-6348. That’s 2 0 8. Flame it. Our social handle is at Flame Alive Pod. And be sure to join the Keep the Flame Alive Pod group on Facebook
Jill: Oh, buckle up, folks. Next week we are going to start delving into the history of Olympic marketing, sponsorship and bidding with Terrence Burns. I started. Editing his interview. Oh my gosh. It is epic. I will tell you this , we have been looking forward to sharing Stories with you. So on our next episode, we will get into the 2002 Salt Lake City scandal. We’re getting into top sponsorship and the Paralympic Pitch two sponsors for Atlanta 1996.
So if you enjoyed our conversation with George Hirthler on Pierre de Coubertin and the Olympic movement, you’re gonna love Terrence. So if you missed George, go back and listen to it. It’s episode 2 47. Be on the lookout for Terrence Burns and these are gonna be some great shows. You won’t wanna miss ’em. So thank you so much for listening, and until next time, keep the flame alive.