Book Club Claire leads the Keep the Flame Alive Book Club, which features selections about the Olympics and Paralympics.

Book Club Claire on “Snowball’s Chance”

Release Date: November 18, 2022

Category: Book Club | Podcast

Book Club Claire is back for our last Book Club meeting for 2022, and we’re discussing Snowball’s Chance: The Story of the 1960 Olympic Winter Games Squaw Valley & Lake Tahoe by David C. Antonucci. Know nothing about the 1960 Winter Olympics? Neither did we until we read this book, and it’s got all sorts of fun details that are surprisingly relevant to other parts of this episode. Plus, Walt Disney was involved with the ceremonial aspect of these Games, which definitely peaked our interests.

What did those opening ceremonies look like? This video will give you some idea:

The big news of the week is the unveiling of the Paris 2024 mascots — and they’re hats! Meet the Phyrges:

The Phryges, the mascots of Paris 2024 Olympics and Paralympics. Photo: Paris 2024.

They’ve proven to be a bit polarizing — compared to part of the female anatomy, some saying that they’re worse than Izzy. No matter what the reviews are, you know it means something when the Organizing Committee puts out a special press release to say that 75% of French people “appreciate” the mascots.

What would we appreciate? That they get names beyond “The Olympic Phryge” and “The Paralympic Phryge.”

That said, the animated versions have certainly grown on us since the announcement:

In our Albertville moment, Alison shares the story of the temporary stadium that housed the ceremonies – and what happened to it after the Games.

Checking in with our Team Keep the Flame Alive, we have competition results and news from:

Lots of other news this week, including the latest chapter of our modern pentathlonovela, in which the UIPM makes a decision on the fifth discipline (do you think this whole saga could be turned into a movie called “The Fifth Discipline”?). Former IOC Marketing Director Michael Payne has some frank words for the group, but even so, there’s a faction of athletes who don’t want change.

We have an official filing with the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) on the Kamila Valieva situation – this time, WADA is asking for a suspension and disqualification of results. Did RUSADA think WADA would just accept a “we can’t share our decision publicly” explanation?

We also have some news from Milan-Cortina 2026 on the speed skating venue — which includes another flashback to Winter 1960.

Thank you to all of our patrons who keep our flame alive. If you appreciate this show and would like to give back, please visit our support page for ways to do so.

Thanks so much for listening, and 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. 

Episode 262: Book Club Claire on “Snowball’s Chance”

Jill: [00:00:00] Hello fans of Stan, and welcome to another episode of Keep the Flame Alive, the podcast four fans of the Olympics and Paralympics. I am your host, Jill Jarris, joined as always by my lovely co-host, Allison Brown. Allison, hello, how are you?

Alison: Hello. I feel like a real athlete. How so? Because I have to have physical therapy

It’s your foot hurt. Yeah, the, the foot is healing, but you know, range of motion is not what it’s supposed to be. Doctor said, today we have to get you into physical therapy, and all I imagined was big, early men yanking my foot in the wrong direction. No, it will be much better than that. But what I also thought of is I’m gonna have my own training montage set to music

So maybe that’ll show up on our YouTube channel.

Jill: I for one, will subscribe to that. So I have the

Alison: Tiger and Allison

Book Club Meeting

Jill: All right. Today we are excited for our last book Club session of the year. So Book Club Claire is back with us to talk a snowballs chance, the story of the 1960 Olympic Winter Games Squaw Valley and Lake Tahoe by David c Antonucci. Take a listen.

Claire, welcome back. We are talking Snowball’s Chance: The Story of the 1960 Olympic Winter Game, Squaw Valley and Lake Tahoe by David C Antonucci. Before we really get into the book, let’s talk a little bit about the name of the place, which is now a little problematic these days. Alison, what have you found out?

Alison: Yes. So recently we reported on the name being changed to Palisades Tahoe and that the former name is both considered sexist and racist. So definitely problematic, but did some research, did some talking to people, spoke to Tom Kelly, Spoke to some other people in the ski community, some other people in IOC circles.

IOC has not come down with a definitive statement on if they will continue to refer to the 1960 Winter Games at Squaw Valley. Use a new name, use something different. Some documents have the old name, some documents. Just say, California 1960. Host city. So the consensus and is kind of a working consensus is for now, when you are referring to the historical event, it is okay to use the old city name.

You just don’t wanna overdo it.

Book Club Claire: Which is interesting because even in the book by Antonucci in page five, it mentions that the Board of geographical nations changed the name to Olympic Valley in the late 1950s. So it’s just that that name hasn’t been widely circulated, even though it, that’s been 70 years ago that that was instituted.

I would like to call it Olympic Valley, but it sounds like even now, That’s not official. So from now on, we’ll kind of leave it to Lake Tahoe or Palisades Lake Tahoe or whatever works best. But honestly, I’m totally okay with the, name change. It was very interesting to read this book and see it written down so much, but I appreciate your explanation about it.

Alison: And we’ve recognized the problematic ness of it, and now we’re gonna go on with that.

Book Club Claire: Well, thoughts on the book? First of all,

Alison: I miss Winter Olympics that feel like, let’s go in the barn and put on an Olympics . You know, when we read about a lot of these old timey Olympics, especially the winter games, because they were so much smaller, it really was just, let’s.

Cousin Ruth and Uncle Joe to put this together with a, with a

Jill: shoer.

Yeah. And for me, this was another case of nothing was in the area really. there was some skiing, but really, so much development happened to make 1960. The games happen and it’s, brought up the region as a ski center, but it, just really is.

let’s put on a games.

Book Club Claire: And I thought that was fabulous. I knew nothing about these Olympics. I’ll be completely honest, when I think of the US hosting of Winter Olympics, I automatically go to Lake Placid and Salt Lake City. I don’t think of any other time. So finally being able to see what the 1960 games in the Lake Tahoe was all about and how we all came together kind of in a shoestring way.

Like for example, they did not have bobsled because they just couldn’t put it [00:05:00] together. So this was like one of the only Olympics. We, we were just talking about a future book that we’re gonna be doing on Bob SL in 1932. And you go all the way to 1960. No Bob Sled. That must have been crushing for those athletes.

Alison: And what’s so strange to me is that that was okay. I mean, if you think about the controversies that we’ve had regarding bobsled over the past couple bids where the Stockholm bid was having it in Lavia and now the Milan Cortina organizers are really struggling to figure out where bobsled is going to be.

There’s no just eliminating an entire category of events by a host. And that it was, Oh, sorry. We can’t build a sliding center. It’s okay. Just it, it reminds you how much different it is now and how much smaller and less bureaucratic it was at the time.

Jill: Right. And how probably fewer people were involved with the sport and how much it was really relying on amateurs.

I would say for the most part still, because now you have athletes who, this is their livelihood and it has to be a full-time job in order to be competitive. So if you took that all away, now you’ve just erased that for so many people

Alison: and that there was no lose or skeleton happening. Right. That it was just, there was no women’s bobsled.

There was just, you know, four man, two man. That was it. It wasn. 10 other events that now got eliminated because you didn’t build a sliding.

Book Club Claire: And it’s, it’s interesting to hear how, how little there was, because you go through each chapter and it does cover like each discipline, and then all of a sudden you’re done , you go, Wait, there’s like 10 more events than we should be covering.

But in 1960, that wasn’t the case. You know, No women’s bilon of course no women’s. Nor to combine no curling. So a lot of the winter sports that we know as mainstays didn’t even exist or weren’t even a thought in any way’s mind at that point. Yet at the same time, while we have this kind of rough.

Winter Olympics, it’s still also very progressive when it comes to Winter Olympics. They had a giant data processing center many hours of coverage. I think over 30 hours of coverage were broadcast live via cbs. did you read, they had the first, what was it? Instant replay. because of a finish.

And they’re like, Oh, this guy actually filmed it, and the the Soviets are complaining about it, so let’s just look at the footage. That was the first time it ever been done! This Olympics brought in so many things, and yet we barely remember it. And I just find it amazing that they kept mentioning new things and I’m going, Oh, that was where it started.

It was, it was incredible to hear about these kinds of things with this book.

Alison: It felt very much like the Winter Paralympics is now. They had, I think in 1960, if I remember correctly, it was 30 something countries competing and number of athletes and the number of sports. It felt like that small limited community that we experienced with the Winter Paralympics.

Jill: What interest me was also hearing about the differences in the events where speaking of by athlon. They had four different target areas, and four different distances to shoot from, which was just kind of, it was really interesting how it was laid out and today it’s just, there is one shooting range and it is one distance that you shoot from versus a whole different type of sport where it really was.

Go out in the woods and you might have to shoot something from this distance and you go a little farther. Oh, the enemy is much farther away. It was just really kind of cool to see that sort of event.

Book Club Claire: And then there was also speed skating, which was taking place outdoors. And you have to deal with the elements in that case.

But this also was the first time that artificial ice was used. It wasn’t natural. And they use Zambonis for the first time. So there having these old ideas of things where, you know, having ice outside is the only way to do it. But at the same time, they’re starting to implement these, Modern conveniences to help make these sports even better. I thought what was crazy is Blythe Arena. Which was the one that, that actually burned down recently, which is very unfortunate, was an indoor outdoor stadium. So you’re also dealing with like the cold coming in one side. And the poor figure skaters are trying to do their routines with this.

I can’t imagine how that would’ve been pulled off. And even like the afternoon sun or the morning sun coming in, hearing the ways that these events were put on after so many winter Olympics of having it very consistent. It, it really blew my mind how, how it all worked. It’s, admirable.

I do have to say.

Alison: And with figure skating, when you think about, when we watch old figure skating recordings, how simplistic the figure skating looks. You have single jumps, you have a lot of spins that are very slow. But when you think about a lot of this was done outside with, like you [00:10:00] were saying, natural ice and inconsistent.

Temperatures. It’s a miracle that we didn’t have blown out knees left and right. Of course, they couldn’t do a triple jump because you didn’t know if you were gonna be jumping off a puddle. So how the sports have changed so much because we control the conditions. Both speed skating, figure skating, even the ski runs.

So much of it is artificial snow that’s very controlled. And here when we, you were saying, it’s this kind of rough and tumble scenario out west. It changes the sports so dramatically and lots of woo caps. I love the pictures with all the wooly caps and you would never see a wooly cap out on a ski run now during a competition.

Book Club Claire: I do wish, I mean, all the pictures came from the same guy, Bill Breiner, and I do wish there had been a few more. Up close shots. I, these must have been, you know, amateur. These are the kind of pictures that I would’ve taken back then, because, you know, you’re far away, you’re just taking a general shot of things, but there’s no up close photos, which I thought was unfortunate.

But it was nice that we actually had pictures to look at straight from the day, from the events.

Alison: Oh, oh. There was an up quotes photo of the German figure skater, the very lovely blonde. Hair skater. We got a really close up shot of her

Book Club Claire: . I wonder why

I do have to mention with the um, you’re mentioning a, a German figure skater. I, I was reading up on skiing and the ski items go back to back. And so I’m reading and every chapter gives an epilogue and kind of, Okay, these are the people that we just talked about in the chapter. Here’s what happened after the Olympics were done. So I’m reading about women skiing and I’m reading about the bronze medalist Barbara Henneberger Henneberger, my Mistake.

And it mentions, Oh, she died in a ski accident as she was filming. A movie and I go, Oh man, that’s so sad. I’m so, that’s just such a bummer. Then I go to the next chapter and it’s about Buddy Worder and it also says he died in a ski accident. And I went, Wait a minute. And, and that’s all it says in the book.

It doesn’t mention anything else. So I had to do, I had to do some digging and I had to look Willie Bog. Was also a part of this. And he wanted to film a ski movie, and he was trying to do like a choreographed ski routine, like almost like a musical, but on skis. And apparently as they were working on this bogner ignored some avalanche warnings and.

That’s when a giant avalanche took place, and both Barbara Heer and Buddy Werner died in that. And that was one thing where I kind of wish they had given more in the book, but it did, provide the opportunity to look at it. A little more closely and also realize that I believe Bunny Worder is the same guy that was featured in The Other Side of the Mountain, the movie that you guys watched where he was in love with her and then he went away, and then he died.

It’s like, Oh, I’m learning so much now about a skiing that I never knew before. I found that to be fascinating.

Alison: Right. In the movie, Buddy is the first boyfriend who breaks up with after she’s paralyzed. So that I did note that as well. I said, Oh, Buddy’s back, and now he’s dead. . Not to make light of it, but just sort of in that story we talked about that he did die in a skiing accident, but not realizing that there was connection to an additional movie.

Jill: Speaking of skiers, the one who really caught my eye and I did not realize he was connected to 1960 was Jean Vuarnet. Did you Alison have the Varna brand in high? I remember this from high school, that guys would have V Varna sunglasses, brand T-shirts. And I never knew what that was until I read this book and went, Oh my goodness.

And I did a little look up and sure enough like, Oh, that put two and two together in my

Book Club Claire: That’s quite interest. I, I don’t know this brand, I’m showing my age here, but ,

Jill: well, I hope we’re showing our age, that’s for sure. But, but it was, it was something like he was skiing and so it was a sporty brand in the, the late eighties that was, it was popular. So it was interesting that I had no idea it was tied to a 1960 omp.

The other one, the, I liked the epilogues a lot that helped a lot with putting a lot of two and two together. But what he didn’t get into was Carol, hes going back to figure skating.

Carol, hes won the gold medal and

She is the sister-in-law of the men’s gold medal winner, David Jenkins. She now lives in the Cleveland area. She was a coach here for a very long time, but that did not show up in the epilogue, and I was very, very surprised.

Alison: in my brain, she’s always Carol Heis Jenkins, because that’s how she was always interviewed later and for a long time.

because it was hayes Jenkins is her husband and [00:15:00] he was a figure skater as well. And I would always get so confused as to who was married to who. And then Dick Bunton was in that same time, and I got all confused.


Book Club Claire: I, I noticed a couple of names but not enough to be like, Oh my gosh, I remember this. But it’s more like, Oh, I think I’ve heard that person before.

Jill: but it is interesting. I wonder if, we went up to like 1972 or something like that, where. Pull out the, or 76 maybe in Innsbrook, where it would pull out these, I’ve heard of these people, or I saw something randomly related and that would click in your brain the way this one is clicking for us.

and I was very shocked that it did that for me. how the, the future lies of Olympians really connect with people for decades.

Book Club Claire: Yeah. Even with these athletes, you know, eventually becoming coaches and personalities in the business themselves. That’s how I would know them. I wouldn’t know them from being just, regular athletes.

Like this. I really did enjoy just finding out all about these Olympics and putting everything together, including one Walt Disney. And there were some names mentioned in the opening ceremony bit, and even that, the torch was designed by John Hench and to me, I know who John Hench is. He was one of the imagineers for Disneyland under Walt Disney.

And just hearing about how all that got put together, that’s where I wish. There was some, I don’t know if there’s a video somewhere, but I would love to see how a Disney production in the, in 1960 would be different from a Disney production today. But just, just to have the Walt Disney putting your stuff together, what a coup.

I think that’s marvelous. And how, how they were able to get that done.

Alison: You know, other than the mention of the length of time and the fireworks, there wasn’t a lot. Nitty gritty detail of the ceremonies. And I would’ve liked, I agree with you, I would’ve liked almost like a second by second rundown from the Disney archives as to what was performed, who was performing it, what were the costumes, exactly how those ceremonies would’ve played out and looked like it in 1968.

I mean, we know they were very small. We know it was very simple. But what did that actually mean? Cuz you had Walt Disney who knew how to put on a show.

Jill: Yeah, I, I would agree. And I actually went to the official report and what’s in this book is pretty much what’s in the official report. So it was kind of like we all knew Walt Disney brought some kind of pageantry to the games that probably affected them going forward in terms of how organizing committees viewed the opening ceremonies and even the closing ceremonies, but we never really got a sense of what that pageantry actually was. It just felt like, Oh, there’s, there’s special music. There’s a parade of nations, There’s our oath, and we got fireworks. And Disney came up with these really cool looking statues that created a big atmosphere, and unfortunately, they have not survive.

Book Club Claire: Such a bummer cuz that would’ve been really cool to see. And the opening ceremony lasted one hour. Can you imagine it lasting one hour nowadays?

Alison: Well, there were 32 teams and like four athletes competing, so

Book Club Claire: it was, and zero commercials. Oh, look, NBC’s taking another commercial break. I mean, I, that doesn’t really affect the live airing of the ceremony.

The ceremony would’ve been four hours regardless, but at the same time, let’s just say there’s too many commercials in the Olympics anyway. It is also cool that they brought in, I mean, I, I guess I didn’t realize really that, there’s, there is a connection between Hollywood and Northern California.

So they did bring up, like they brought up Danny Kay. They brought up Art Link letter who was a, a TV personality. And one of the coaches complained that, how are these athletes gonna get a good night of sleep when, you’ve got Frank Sinatra playing across the street.

I love that. And I think. Those kinds of stories we would never have heard if not for a book like this, which is unfortunate because that kind of stuff in, in the 1950s, 1960s time period. It would’ve been really cool to see it and stuff that’s if nowadays, especially is getting missed because those people are now passing away. And so a lot of those stories are lost, which makes me very thankful for a book like this.

Were there any sports that stuck out besides the ones that we had already talked about?

Alison: Can we talk about men’s hockey? Please do. Speaking of, Yes. So this was the first Miracle on ICE where the US men won unexpectedly.

And I remember the stories being, they won in 1960 and then. In obviously the Miracle on Ice in 1980. And I remember at in the two thousands, them talking about, oh, the US men are due, and how much pressure the US men were under. As that sort of 20 year mark came around, came and went.

But fun to see that. It was another [00:20:00] team of kind of scrappy young kids put together, beating these much more experienced teams and also how tiny the tournament was.

Book Club Claire: Oh yeah. There were what, eight teams? I, I don’t know, but it’s like, boom, now you’re in the middle around. Congratulations everybody and who, who got left off the roster?

Jill: Oh, wasn’t that the Coach of the Miracle on Ice Team? Yep. Her Brooks

Alison: Yeah. He was one of the last Men. Cut. And how. We joke a lot about when we do movie club of the player who missed out and then comes back as the coach and there he was. He had been cut from the 1960 team and then coached the 1980.

So he was a human trope for a movie. It was just made to happen.

Book Club Claire: I also really enjoyed, there were a couple of, of instances where they, they mentioned like the mighty country that always dominates. I think that was like cross country skiing and how the Soviets were really coming into the fore. This was kind of like the precursor to them completely dominating everything.

And hearing countries like Austria or Sweden were struggling in, in certain sports. Like their, darlings were ending up, not living up to expectations. I loved hearing about that because we hear about that nowadays with the mighty countries that, you expect every single.

Person from that country to medal in something. And it ended up that hope they, they blew it. Norway is one, especially in like ski jumping where you expect them. To take it and maybe, they have more struggles than you realize, or maybe they dominate. I actually thought that the ski jumping portion was quite interesting, maybe more interesting than actually watching it.

Maybe that’s how I like to watch my ski jumping. I did enjoy the picture of the superman pose cuz apparently that’s how they jumped back. Then arms outstretched in front of. Okay, then

Jill: I, I agree. I, I enjoyed that picture a lot cuz what a difference in form today.

Book Club Claire: Another one is the speed skating. How the artificial ice, which I had mentioned earlier, made such a difference. The men’s 10,000 race ends up having five skaters beat the world record that day. Can you imagine being breaking the world record and not even getting a medal?

Jill: Wait that happened in Tokyo with the 400 meter hurdles for the men.

That’s great. Remember, like everybody got a massive record ?

Book Club Claire: No, I think that, the bronze medalist broke the world record, but he got it bronze. I don’t think anybody else did.

Alison: Well, there were down the line, they broke national records. Yes. The country record regional records.

Yes, yes. So it was, Oh, we broke the Asian record. Oh, we broke the country record. But yeah, for it was the same thing where it was just so wild. But you have this major jump. Technology. It reminded me in Sydney with the skin suits. Oh yeah. And then they all, were breaking records left and right, and then took away the suits.

It was almost the same thing where all of a sudden you have this brand new technology that completely changes the game and they almost had to skate differently on the artificial ice than they did on natural ice. And everyone was shocked. Like, Oh, there’s once again, there’s not a giant puddle we have to account for.

We can just focus on form and scada,

Book Club Claire: Gosh, I can’t even imagine that. But that’s how it was. It, it blows my mind that things weren’t as consistent everywhere that you went. I mean, how nowadays, Would in a half open arena fly , . But you know, with, with the largeness of like hockey teams, it’s like, okay, this hockey team is gonna play the indoor outdoor arena and this one’s gonna be outdoors and this one’s gonna be indoors.

You’d have, people would be having fits. Left and right.

Alison: Well, the NHL does that annual outdoor hockey game now.

Book Club Claire: Isn’t that at Christmas time? Well, it’s kind of a series now. They have like four different games in the wintertime.

Alison: And the players are like, We don’t know what we’re doing. This is great. This is like being a kid. Mm-hmm. , in the, in the pond at the park and just how different the atmosphere and the, the physics of the sport change being outdoors.

Book Club Claire: However, for, for those NHL games, it’s one game in a season, a 70 game season or whatever it is, and this is the Olympics.

So nowadays, It that wouldn’t fly at all because yes, you’re kinda leveling the playing field. Everybody’s struggling the same way, but you need to give them pristine conditions or else they’re gonna just riot and refuse to compete. Any other things about the book that you wanted to cover?

Jill: Okay, so we’ve been nice.

I will say I have some thoughts. This was an interesting read. I will say that I learned a lot about a games I did not know. There are a lot of details that I found were fascinating. I liked, for the most part, the epilogues of people that were referenced or even not referenced in the main part of the chapters.

But this one is self-published and it’s written by somebody who has a career as an engineer. and I think that [00:25:00] way of thinking came through in the writing because it was a bit dry and it, it took, I had to put it down and pick it up a lot and it did take me a while to get through it. I also gained a huge appreciation for footnotes and, and notes because while this book has an index and we all know that I love an index, it does not have any footnotes and I’ve real, I’ve really gained a, a.

Appreciation for historians who go in and find the story and revolve, even if it’s about a games, and then they go, Well, I’m sorry. I have a bigger appreciation for David Marinus thinking of Rome 1960, where he found the story in every sport and told the story. And here we have more of a reporting of what happened with a little bit of story in there.

But there were it. It was that approach made it for me as a reader. Harder to glom onto and really get drawn in by the

Book Club Claire: games. I’ll, I’ll go the opposite direction with this because I actually enjoyed this book probably it sounds like more than you guys, or at least more than Jill. More than Jill . I appreciated.

Okay. Rome 1960 was a tome. It was gigantic and it did take me a long time to read, cuz I tend to read at night before I go to bed, take out, read the chapter. Those chapters were long. I’m sitting there going, I need to actually like go to sleep and I’m still like 10 pages away from the end. This was, I open it up, I read a chapter.

Awesome. I just learned more about Bilon. Shut it go to bed. And I like that. I liked how it was simple reporting, and as I mentioned before, not a lot of the, the stories that, that they wrote in here were ones that I knew. So yes, if I wanted a little more to it, I could look into it like I did with, with the skiers that died in the, in the skiing accident.

It allowed me to open up and do some research myself. But for something that was giving me an overview of the entire. Winter Olympics. I liked it for that and I I did, It’s gonna sound weird. I did kinda like that dryness where it’s just, okay, this is what happened, here’s how it went, let’s move on. I thought that was nice.

It was a good change of pace to what we, what we have been reading. So I’m not gonna argue that. I’m not gonna say it was a magnificent book. Everyone should read it, but it’s a great book to get the information. Fair, point.

Jill: Alison, what do you think?

Alison: I can go both ways on this, you know that, that I’ve listened to both of you because there’s a part of me that did miss that deep archival reading every letter, finding every diary, doing interviews, the way David Marinus, the way Andrew Marinus, the way some of the other historical writers that we’ve.

Go into and having a character and a through line for the entire thing. But on the other hand, it was snippets and it was vignettes of each sport that set you in what that sport looked like at the time. But am I gonna remember any of the people, because I read this book.

Book Club Claire: That’s true. That’s true.

I, I was like, I’m trying to figure out, oh, where was it? Where did I get that story from? And I’m trying to leaf through it. I’m going, I can’t find it. I don’t even remember. So yes, that there is, that.

Alison: I definitely wanted more, I definitely wanted more stories of people who went, people who were there. He gave a few little snippets.

Talking about, a little bit about the traffic and a little bit about the parking, and a little bit about some of those concerns, but I wanted to hear more of somebody who went and got stuck on the highway and had to just, haul up to the mountain on foot and carrying their lunch in their bag cuz there was no food service or whatever those, those pieces were.

I didn’t get enough of what would, what it was. To attend these

Book Club Claire: Olympics. I agree. That would’ve been nice. Yes. Good, good point. So it could be a book for everybody. Well, It’s small enough that you can get to everybody’s level. And if you wanted to build on it, you could build on it.

If you thought that this was enough for you to. Then you could stop. I, I did wanna mention one thing before we, before we move on that. Okay. When Lake Tahoe was giving their bid for the Olympics, who objected? Our good of pal Avery Brandage. He comes up a couple times in this, He’s like, Oh, you know, when it sounded like the, the bid was gonna fall through, He’s like, Oh, good people.

They’ve finally come to their senses and he was so against the bid almost the entire time until it actually got the vote and ca and became a thing. And then he. Oh, I guess I’m gonna have to get behind this. Like, nope, I didn’t bring him up. I just wanna point that out. I will gladly bring him up just to get Alison’s reaction.

That’s why I brought him up.

Alison: You know what? I did not even absorb much about him in because he was so minor. He shows up on a couple of [00:30:00] page. There’s no talk about what a horrible person he is and him doing something really awful like he has done in so many other stories that we’ve told that I just kind of missed him here.

I was like, Oh yeah, Avery showing up being dumb. That’s fine. Wanting his way. Smoking a cigarette. Great.

Book Club Claire: it does bring to mind that if we ever have like a bet on something like the losing bet needs to be that one of our book club books needs to be like a biography of Avery Brundage. So we’re forced to, to read into him.

I would, I would probably gouge my eyes out, but I don’t even know if there is. There probably is, but

Alison: okay. So, but just to finish that thought, and this is a good, probably a good place to finish up whenever we talk to our writers. Talk to frequently who’ve done a lot of historical books. We will say, have you ever thought about writing about Avery Brundage?

Oh really? Because they’re Yeah. I always ask, I always ask cuz it’s I’m me cuz there really isn’t a good in depth, up to date critical biography of him. And the general consensus is nobody wants to live with him long enough to write the. , that’s the bottom

Book Club Claire: line. Final thoughts on this book?

Jill: I’m glad you chose it. I will say, even though I, I had trouble with the style. I learned a lot about these games and I always appreciate filling in some of the black holes of my Olympic knowledge, so I appreciated this book for that reason. . I also appreciated getting some fun facts about not just 1960, but some of the athletes and learning a little bit more.

Alison: This book actually got me very excited about the potential for the growth of the Paralympics because I said it reminded me so much of where the, the Winter Power Olympics is now. And we’ve certainly seen how far the Winter Olympics has come since 19. And how much is developed and how sport has grown and how so many more countries participate and around the world.

It’s not just Europe and North America. And it got me thinking, okay, this is a template that the Winter Paralympics can look at and say, we can keep growing and not just be this little scrappy, tiny games, but this huge worldwide. And not just, 32 countries in this little town and North California.

Book Club Claire: And I appreciated the book because it was only 171 pages. That too. it had lots of pictures. I don’t, people could, I mean, when they see the, image online, all they see is the cover. And they might not actually comprehend that is is only 171 pages. So if you’re looking for something short and you wanna read more about some Winter Olympic.

This is your book, so enjoy it while you’ve,

Jill: excellent. Thank you so much, Claire. That brings us to a close for our book list for 2022. What’s coming up for 2023?

Book Club Claire: Oh, we’ve got some great books. We’re covering a, wide variety of things, which I always love and we’re gonna be covering a very interesting topic at the end of the year, but at the beginning of the year, you actually arranged.

Author Andrew Marinus to talk to him a little more about his new book called Inaugural Ballers which is about the first women’s basketball tournament in the Olympics In Montreal in 1976, so that’s gonna be our first book in March of this coming year. Then we are going to be taking a look at Sana Masters memoir, If you know Sana Masters, she is a summer and winter Paralympian, and she wrote a book.

Called the Hard Parts, a story of Courage and triumph. That’s actually coming out in February, so there’s no advanced copies out yet. But once we finish the Marinus book, we are going to be taking a look at that, so that will be widely available by that time. I’m very much looking forward to, to hearing about her story because you may have seen or heard her story on nbc.

They talk about it ad nauseum, but I’m gonna enjoy hearing it straight from her. Then later in the year around, The end of summer, we are going to be talking about The Dirtiest Race in History by Richard Moore, which talks about the doping controversy that took place in the athletics world for the 1988 Olympics in Seoul.

If you are familiar with that, we’re gonna dig into that, our first real book about doping to the extreme. So I’m very. Curious about it because I, I’ll be honest, I don’t know a lot about Seoul 1988, and so this is gonna help me learn a little more about. And Fi you will . Hey, A, anything, just like the book that we just did for 1960, anything that gets me more knowledge of the Olympics, I’ll gladly accept.

And then finally, to wrap up the year in December, we are gonna be covering Speed Kings by Andy Bull, [00:35:00] which is a book about the 1932 bobsled competition that took place. So I don’t believe we’ve done a bobsled book yet. So that’s even more exciting that we’re gonna be covering a new sport for our book club.

Jill: Excellent. I am really excited about this next slate. I’m so excited to have not just another Paralympian book, not just another book related to the Paralympics, but also getting into Oxana masters, especially after getting to watch her compete and seeing how hard it was in China and how much, Oh my gosh.

Just how much of her body. She has, and all those athletes have in Nordic skiing there. she’s amazing and I can’t wait to read her story. And Very excited to have a book that connects with our historical Olympics of the year as well, so it’s gonna be a fun year.

Claire, thanks as always for heading this up and we will talk to you in the new year.

Book Club Claire: Thank you very much. Happy New Year everyone.

Jill: You can follow Claire on Twitter at caldron light. We will have next year’s selections on our storefront in our book club list there, you know, even if we, you don’t buy a book we recommend, purchasing through our storefront helps us earn money that goes towards our coverage of Paris 2024.

So if you are buying books, please look through our storefront first. That is a

History Moment – Albertville 1992

That sound means that it is time for our history moment and all year long we’ve been talking about Albertville 1992 as it is the 30th anniversary of those winter games. Alison, it is your turn for a story. So what do you got for us?

Alison: I have a short little note today, but I think you’re gonna get excited about it.

So the tiara dish ceremonies, and I know I’m totally butchering that name was the stadium that they used for the opening and closing ceremonies. , it was temporary. Obviously being that up in the Albertville does not have a giant stadium for anything

Jill: or, or probably need for one.

Alison: Exactly. So at the time it was the largest temporary structure ever to have been built.

Whoa. Seated. 35,000 people and it, the shape was modeled after a circus tent, which actually fills. A lot of the elements that they included in the opening ceremonies, there was a lot of cir sole happening, so they really used that even within the shape of the stadium. It was disassembled right after the closing ceremonies and the site is now an urban park with only the flag pole that was used at the time remaining, but that was not the last we saw of this temporary stadium.

As I said, it was disassembled very, very quickly and sent to Barcelona.

Jill: Did they use it for Barcelona 92?

Alison: They did. It was used as temporary portions of it were used as the temporary venues that were used in the archery field and on the marathon and race walking course. Huh.

Jill: That is interest.

Alison: So when we talk about legacy temporary stadium used twice, nice.


Welcome to sh. That sound

Jill: means it’s time to check in with our team. Keep the flame alive. These are past guests of the show who are our citizens of our very own country. Sh we’ve got some results

Alison: At the championship of the America’s, Tim Sherry won a silver medal in the 50 meter men’s prone shooting event and another silver as part of the mixed team.

50 meter.

Jill: Excellent. Kelly Chang and Sarah Hughes won the AVP event for beach volleyball in their hometown of Huntington Beach, California.

Alison: Millie Tapper finished fifth in class 10 at the World Para Table Tennis Championships.

Jill: Sarah Gascon and Team usa. Handball lost their PanAm qualifier against Canada, so unfortunately they will not be going to the PanAm games next

Alison: year.

Erin Jackson placed eighth in the 500 meter in her first speed skating World Cup event of the season. She felt it wasn’t too bad given that she still has some inline technique, which she was competing in last week. seriously, how does this girl do it?

Jill: Yeah. And, and in line is very different from speed skating on ice.

And if you remember our crossover episode with Hear Her Sports she talked a little bit about that. So go back and look at episode 2 38 for. And figure skater’s. Nate Beral and Katie McBeth. Finished sixth in the mk, John Wilson Trophy, isu Grand PR in Sheffield, crate Britain.

Alison: And in other news, the Indian Olympic [00:40:00] Association formed its first Athlete’s Commission.

Guess who’s on it? Sheva. Kevan.

Jill: Yeah. He’s our favorite Indian athlete. That’s right. This is important that India put together an athlete’s commission because they haven’t had one, and it’s kind of one of the conditions that the IOC wants to, to have in place before India gets back into their good graces.

So, Shiva. And then Terrence Burns, who we just had on the show recently, has been appointed to the board of a Rumble town, a Queensland based strategic creative agency, and he will help them with the buildup to Brisbane 2032.

Alison: I love how Terrence, when we spoke to him, was like, I don’t know if I’m gonna get involved.

And Terence, you can’t stay away. ,

Jill: right?

Modern Pentathlonovela – The Next Chapter

We still need a sound for novels cuz we have novella news. We just don’t have it. Well wait, hold on.

You know what? We’ll try this. Okay. In lieu of a novella sounder, which we’ll work on getting, we’ll use that too, signal that it’s time to talk about the modern Penta novella, ongoing saga in that sport as it hoped to stay on the program. Or hopes to even get on the program for LA 2028.

So the U I P M, which is its international federation, had its congress meeting and one of the measures they were voting on was whether or not to replace equestrian with obstacle course raising. Now the group was advised by Michael Payne, who was a former IOC marketing director, and he had a bunch of tough love to dish out.

And our friend Rich Pearlman over at the Sports Examiner pulled some good quotes, which I love because basically Michael told, He really was pretty frank and said, look, no sport safe on the program because you can look at what’s going on with boxing and weightlifting and it’s not certain that they’re gonna get on the, the program baseball and softball are struggling to get back on.

Maybe some messages are also being sent to equestrian because of the Hulu that’s come up with treatment of animals. But one of the better quotes is to be perfectly honest, I am amazed that you are still on the program. I have watched how over the last three decades, your sport has repeatedly threat has been, your sport has been repeatedly threatened with being dropped from the Olympics.

You have dodged death multiple times. Some of you either cannot or refuse to understand what is at stake here today. No amount of lobbing or tinkering with the writing format will save you and one of the best quotes was, let me be very clear. Once you have been dropped from the Olympic program, it’s game over.

There will be no way back, and your sport will struggle to even survive without the Olympics.

Alison: He’s right. I mean, if modern Pentathlon is not in the Olympics, the sport is going to end. It’s the only reason it exists,

Jill: right? Cuz I’m, I would imagine that it gets a fair amount of its funding from the ioc and even though it would be an internationally recognized federation still, even if it wasn’t on the program, I would think that the amount of money.

Is greater if you actually show up in the Olympic sport on the Olympic program and are at an Olympics and can share in the revenue from particular games.

Alison: Do you think Michael Payne is now gonna fill the Dick Pound? Hole in my heart now that that dick Pound has retired and can no longer go rogue?

Jill: Well, he can probably, I mean, he’ll still go rogue on the side.

Michael Payne does not work for the IOC anymore, so he’s just able to go rogue. But it, it was interesting because there’s still a faction of modern Catholics who want the writing. Want, still want to try to figure out how to have the writing in the sport. But the final vote was 83% in favor of obstacle course racing.

So if the sport does make it to LA 2028, it will be vastly different from what we saw at Tokyo. It will be vastly different from what we will see at Paris. The right or die are gonna have to either learn how to deal with that decision or you know, like I say, start your own federation and see, See what happens when you try to build a sport that not that many people wanna do and is very expensive to get involved with.

Doping Update

Ah, let’s keep it going with more fun news. Wa, the World Anti-Doping Association has filed an appeal with the court of arbitration for sport, also called Cass against the Russian Anti-Doping Association, known as Rada and Figure skater Camila Vava, following the absence of a decision in Rada versus Vava, which of course, RADA said, we are keeping silent or we’re keeping it quiet because uh, did they even give a good reason?

Okay. They just said, we’re not [00:45:00] gonna tell you what the decision was. And, you know, you can’t do it when a medal is at stake because somebody’s gotta know. And we gotta make a, a real decision about this medal because it hasn’t been awarded yet.

Alison: So we first talked about this. Last week, but now this is the official announcement.

It was. It was the rumor when we were first talking about it.

Jill: Correct. So WAA is asking Cas to implement a four year period of Elig Ineligibility starting on the date, which the Cas award enters into force as well of as a disqualification of all of her competitive results, starting with December 25th, 2020.

Onward, which would include forfeiting, metals, points and prizes. Which would then mean that the Russian figure skating team from Beijing 2022 would not be able to get the gold medal because, or any metal. Right, because Val Ava would, would, was on that team and contributed to that victory Cass’s decision would be final in binding.

But there’s still a right to appeal to the Swiss Federal tribunal. So, that appeal would have to happen within 30 days and have very limited procedural grounds. So it’s basically, you have a very sliver of a chance to appeal this decision, but I’m. Russia will find a way. That would be my guess. I’m like, well, they can appeal.

I’m sure this is gonna happen. Go to another court.

Alison: Oh boy. I feel so, and I said this last week, I feel so bad for the American skaters, the Japanese skaters, the Canadian skaters, all the other skaters who don’t have medals, who should,

Jill: right.

Alison: They’re just sitting there waiting. Are they medalists or are they not medalists?

Especially if those skaters did not win individual medals,

Jill: right? This is their moment. they missed their moment on that stage. They missed all of the hub of that comes after it. And a lot of that hub of helps them earn money for being able to train and compete in future seasons. So, and, and of course cannot be referred to as Olympic champion or medalist.


Alison: that’s the thing that kills me. Mm-hmm. that they don’t even get that very simple moment of being introduced as an Olympic medalist.

Jill: It’s wrong.

We would like to take a moment to thank our patrons and other supporters who keep our flame alive financially. So speaking

Alison: of people who are never wrong, ,

Jill: if you get value from the show and keep the and the Keep the Flame Alive community, please consider giving back.

Visit Flame Alive for more information and we are gonna have some new opportunities coming that we’ll talk to you about soon. We’re very excited.

Paris 2024 Update

Big news this week we have our mascots. They’re hats . Sound excited.

Alison: And you pointed this out, what is this sudden wave of clothing as mascots?

Jill: Right? Because we talked about it and then listener Nick posted it on Facebook in our group that hey, note that the FIFA World Cup mascot, which is coming up, it’s just around the corner, that is a headscarf hat type mascot.

So we’re now two big events with. Head coverings for mascots and somebody else had a scarf.

Alison: Oh, really? Oh my goodness. As a mascot. Yeah. So clothing is, is the new animal conglomeration.

Jill: Don’t know if I can go for that, but I’m given the freezes a day in. They are based on the A concept really. And these are these small red frisian camps, which have been a strong symbol of liberty throughout history.

They were first worn by freed slaves in Rome, for example, or, well, I won’t say first worn. They were worn by freed slave in Rome, for example. And it’s one of the symbols. French Republic, there’s a painting with the Maryanne who’s wearing the, the cap. And so that today is a common reference and metaphor for free freedom in Paris.

So what Paris 2024 wants to do is promote a new revolution of sport and inclusion, and that is because the paralympic freeze. Frisia has a visible disability, has a running blade on its leg, so they have a belief that sport can change everything. I’m not sure how much these mascots will change everything either they’re hats.

With legs.

Alison: Hats with legs, that changes everything.

Jill: Okay, so they have distinct personalities. I was reading through the press kit. The Olympic [00:50:00] Frisia is a fine tactician. It’s the smart one of the bunch, a true mathematician. It never launches into anything without thinking it all through, with its methodical mind and alluring charm. It will no doubt inspire everybody to do more sports every day.

And then the Paralympic frisia is a real party animal, spontaneous and a bit hotheaded. It’s not afraid of anything. It wants to have it all always up for new experiences. It will rally everyone around it with infectious energy and enthusiasm. The Paralympic freeze will bring out the best supporter in you, spread the values of sport, and encourage you to create a buzz and celebrate athletes in all the stadiums and other venues.

the hot headedness I don’t think is a great trait to imbue on a mascot, to be quite honest.


Alison: And even the party animal, I mean, maybe it’s a translation thing that like maybe the, the party animal and hotheaded should be more that he’s, he’s fun and. Up

Jill: for passionate. Yeah, maybe. Yeah. So basically they’re hats with eyes. And the, the eyes have a ribbon. One of the eyes has a ribbon, which is the French the French flag colors, and that’s supposed to make it recognizable and identifiable with France.

They brought out a couple of mascots for the in-person press conference. And I did read later in inside the games that those were prototypes, which thank goodness, because they couldn’t move the arms. I, I gotta say, I think the 2D and the 3D ones are even the 3D ones, but the 2D ones are really cute.

And when you see them doing animated cartoons and they’re doing the sports, really cute. And I forget their hats. Seeing them walk around, just kind of leaning from side to. They can’t do anything cuz those hat corners don’t move right now, but they’re eventually supposed to have arms so they can hug people.

Alison: I’m a little be, I’m a little frightened of being hugged by a hat. funny. I wasn’t afraid to be hugged by a lantern or a giant glass enclosed panda, but yet a hat is slightly terrify. But it is, I have to say, I agree with you, the animated ones, they give them a lot of personality, a lot of movement, and yet the, they still not have learned this lesson about making those costumes moveable.

And one of the big things that people were complaining about online is that the running blade version is going to be very difficult for either. Two legged person or an actual disabled person to embody.

Jill: Huh? You have a point. Because it’s learning how to balance on a running blade. And does that give you the same support if you have a I don’t know how the, I don’t know how that looks.

if you have a shoe on underneath it and the blade is just kind of over your shoe and that doesn’t matter. Or is it a full. Piece that you have to learn how to balance on,

Alison: right? And to make it actually look like the person doesn’t have a second leg, or does it look like they’ve stuck a running blade

Jill: over a leg?

I dunno. One little detail about that running blade is that it’s got I believe pairs 2024 on in braille underneath on the soul of it. So that’s kind of cool. But it’s the first visibly disabled. Mascot and that’s a, a good feather in your love cap so to speak. Are they c in your cap?

Yes. Yeah. Reactions have been mixed. There’s been comparisons to female anatomy. There have been people who are just, yeah, I don’t like it. There have been other people who are on board. And some people, I mean, it is high concept and I will, go with them for having this high concept. We wanna revolutionize sport and kind of tying it to other symbols within the Paris 2024 family of symbology that we are talking about.

A lot of

Alison: people thought they were birds. Oh, okay. I see. I got that from a lot of different places that, that when people first looked at them, they thought they were. I

Jill: can see that. Yeah. Um, And really the animated ones do look like birds with the the C thing. Well, after

Alison: Izzy was introduced, there were significant changes to that 1996 mascot.

So let’s go with, this is possibly going to evolve into a little more friendlier and get names. They don’t have names. Lare, Olympic and Lare. Paralympic. Is no bing dwn, dwn cuddly name.

Jill: No. [00:55:00] No. And it, that doesn’t make you excited. You can’t identify with it. Why? Why? It really makes it a thing rather than a personality that’s going to be the embodiment of your games.

Alison: I mean, their logo has a name. Right. We know she’s Maryanne. How can you not give these characters actual names?

Jill: , well, hopefully they will continue to evolve it. They got a year and a half.

They’re sending the hats on the road. I don’t know what people will think of them. It’ll be interesting to see them in person. That’s for sure. I, I also think they look like some sort of dumpling, you know, it’s a red folded up dumpling to me . I don’t know why.

Alison: Because you like dumplings, so you’re projecting a bit.

Mm. I’m much more concerned about the fact that somebody thought this looked like female anatomy. Yeah. What woman’s body have you been looking at? I dunno that that remind you of female anatomy, Yik.

Jill: So we, Chelsea, they do plan on selling 2 million mascot items. uh, Christoff Besu, Francis, minister of Four, ecological transition as not thrilled that they will be mostly manufactured in China. This was according to inside the games. Tony es Stan, the head of Paris 2024, has said, some of them will be made in France.

So they’ve got the whole sustainability thing and we’re using recycled materials in the mascots. But then beut comes around and says, well, look, you’re making most of ’em in China, and China does not have the best of environmental record. What are we really talking about here for sustain.

He’s not wrong. No. So the first Paris 2024 shop opened this week informed Asals in Paris, and along with Liz FARs inside the games noted that it will sell apparel, Byock Sportif, and call back to our. Discussion of 1960 Vona will have, it’s which one of their licensed apparel providers.

Alison: Okay. So if we see a bunch of like 13 year old boys running around with Varney shirts and Ray bands and extra points, if they smell like they’ve bathed in polo cologne, I am gonna be right back in.

Jill: Swap out that Polo for Dr. Car Noir car, and I will be right there

Alison: too. Oh, drag car. Now you’re giving me flashbacks.

Milan-Cortina 2026 Update

Jill: We have a little bit of news about Milan Cortina 2026. According to the Associated Press, aga, which is the speed skating venue for the games, will get a roof, and it is currently an outdoor speed skating venue. But the isu, international Skating Union and the IOC prefer it be inside, as we talked about with 1960 being outside, inside.

And Albertville being the last outdoors speed skating venue, which did not go well. They prefer to have an enclosed space. here’s where it gets kind of fun, I think because this is a project that the Trentino region is undertaking, it’s got a 50 million budget that because of the region is undertaking the project that will not get attributed to the Milan Cort Now organizing committees budget, you know, we see

Alison: this so many times in the, in the recent Olympics.

They fudge the numbers,

Jill: right? So we got a little shell game going on

but we’ll see what happens.

Alison: And you know, if the budget is 50 million, It’s gonna cost at least 120. Oh, geez.

Jill: Don’t wanna think about that for sure. But hopefully that will work out. I know that it’s been bandied about that. Why don’t you just use the speed skating venue from Tono because you have a regional games already.

Just throw Torino into the mix. But I don’t know. Hopefully the, there will be some value in having a speed skating venue within the city of Milan. We. And that is going to do it for this week. Let us know what you think of the Winter Games in 1960.

Alison: You can get in touch with us by email, flame alive pod

Call or text us at (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 Podcast group on Facebook.

Jill: Yeah. And give us a call. We love hearing from you, and our voicemail line is a little lonely. So we certainly appreciate a call. Next week is Thanksgiving in the us so we are going to have a lightning round that will be specially themed.

And uh, we’ll also have a big announcement about something new we are going to [01:00:00] offer. So be sure to tune into that. Thank you so much for listening, and until next time, keep the flame alive.