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Episode 215: Tokyo 2020 Olympic Memories with Hannah Brown and Jacqueline Simoneau

Release Date: November 25, 2021

We’re excited to welcome back TKFLASTANIS Hannah Brown and Jacqueline Simoneau to hear about their experiences at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

As you may remember, Hannah was the head archery official, and she was able to shed some light on what was happening with some of those wonky scores (rarely do you see a 2 scored in Olympic competition!).

Meanwhile, Jacqueline, our artistic swimmer, told us about the COVID-19 scare with the Greek artistic swimming team, as well as what it was like having Team Canada’s (and TKFLASTAN’s) chef de mission Marnie McBean in the stands.

It’s been a banner week for some of our Team Keep the Flame Alive athletes – we’ve got the news in our update from TKFLASTAN, which this week features:

Also, if you want to hear a fantastic interview with TKFLASTANI speed skater Erin Jackson, check out our friend Elizabeth Emery’s podcast Hear Her Sports — she gets into a bunch of technical stuff that will help you understand what’s happening on the track when you watch speed skating at the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics.

Speaking of Beijing, we have some news on that front, including our thoughts on the Peng Shuai situation. Peng Shuai is an Olympic tennis player who posted on social media earlier this month that she’d been sexually assaulted, but the post was taken down and she wasn’t heard from for a while. Since then, she has had a call with TBach, but there’s still a lot of skepticism out there about her situation, and the Women’s Tennis Association has thoughts.

Also, the US is thinking about a diplomatic boycott of Beijing 2022, which has Seb Coe riled up. Seb Coe has us riled up because something stupid came out of his mouth.

Note: We have some new merch in our store, so be sure to pick some up and support the show. We’ve also finished updating our Tokyo 2020 e-book with the podium finishes from the Paralympics – get your copy for posterity!

As it’s Thanksgiving in the US, we wanted to say thank you to all of our listeners and followers — we so appreciate celebrating the Olympics and Paralympics with you!

Until next week, keep the flame alive!


Note: While we strive to be accurate, this transcript is machine-generated and likely contains errors. Please cross-reference the audio file, which is the record of note.

Episode 215: Tokyo 2020 Memories with Hannah Brown and Jacqueline Simoneau

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

[00:00:41] Alison: Happy Thanksgiving.

[00:00:43] Jill: Happy Thanksgiving indeed. If you are listening to us on the day this episode drops, it is Thanksgiving day in the United States. So, I don’t know about you, but I’m busy eating.

[00:00:56] Alison: Full of Turkey, Well, I won’t say full of pie, I actually don’t like pie. That’s my controversial statement for the show. I don’t like pie.

[00:01:03] Jill: Okay. Wow. What don’t you like about pie?

[00:01:07] Alison: I don’t like squishy fruit.

[00:01:10] Jill: Oh, okay. Okay. I’m not a huge fruit pie person myself, but we’ll have some bourbon pecan pie in my house, and that’s delicious.

[00:01:17] Alison: Don’t like that either. but you know what I do like?

[00:01:20] Jill: What do you like?

[00:01:22] Alison: Our Patreon patrons!

[00:01:23] Jill: Oh yes. Oh, our Patreon patrons are great. And this week we are celebrating gold medal patron, Jennifer Schultz, who joined us during Tokyo 2020 in the Patreon family. That was so exciting. She is so much fun to chat with.

And we really loved hanging out with her virtually over chat, over email, over in the Facebook group during Tokyo. So we really appreciate your support, Jennifer. If you would like to be a Patreon patron of the week, check out Patreon.com/flamealivepod. We know that Patreon is for people who make ongoing contribute contributions to the show every month.

We really appreciate that. We understand that not everybody can do that. So we have added more options for one time donations on our website, check out flamealivepod.com/support for those options. And you know what comes after Thanksgiving Day, Alison?

[00:02:20] Alison: Black Friday, and people can buy our t-shirts?

[00:02:22] Jill: That’s right. We’ll have a link to our Teepublic merchant store. We have some swank new designs from Listner Don.

[00:02:29] Alison: We have a whole TKFLASTAN wardrobe you can wear for Beijing. Excellent.

[00:02:34] Jill: And after Black Friday is?

[00:02:37] Alison: I don’t know.

[00:02:39] Jill: Well, it’s technically, if you wanted to keep going through the days of the week, it’s Small Business Saturday,

[00:02:43] Alison: We’re a small business!

[00:02:44] Jill: We are a small business. So, what else we have is our Tokyo 2020 viewing guide has been updated to include the Paralympic results. So if you have that already, you can read through it and get the results of the Paralympics or brush up on trivia, or if you don’t have it, it’s just a couple of bucks. So download your copy today.

That would be helpful as well for our small business. Sunday, I think is day of rest, as well it should be. And then Monday- Cyber Cyber Monday. So get all of our stuff online again, and then it’s Giving Tuesday.

[00:03:17] Alison: Oh, that’s right.

[00:03:21] Jill: and you can give to us in the form of donations. So we have more options on a flamealivepod.com/support.

There’s PayPal, there’s Venmo. By the time it is Giving Tuesday, we will add Buy Me a Coffee, or there’s a couple of like, buy me a coffee links where you can just give a couple of bucks, which would be like, oh, Hey, Instead of having a coffee today or in my case, a diet Coke, I’m going to give that money to you instead.

So, we would really appreciate that support. The show is very expensive to produce. As we said before, during Tokyo and while we had our Kickstarter campaign, that trip is extremely expensive. The Kickstarter funds cover a portion of it. And buy a portion. I mean, we are taking unpaid leave of absences to make sure this happens.

So it’s that kind of element of putting the show together that makes it really expensive. And we do appreciate all the support you give. Uh, We appreciate the support. Jennifer gives this week and all of our other patrons. And even if you say I have no gold to give, please tell your friends about the show. Talk about us online, write reviews for us that helps get the word out so that more people can find the show as well. And the more listeners we have the more fun. We’ll have too

[00:04:38] Alison: Beijing is coming.

[00:04:40] Jill: That’s right. So, today, It’s time to take a look back We are talking with some TKFLASTANIS who were in Tokyo, and we were talking about the experiences they had at the games.

First up is our archery official Hannah Brown, who was the head judge of the Olympic archery tournament. Take a listen.

Does it, feel like Tokyo ever happened?

[00:05:00] Hannah: No. Not really? It’s weird, it’s kind of like, yeah, back to reality and then cracking on with it. Yeah, it’s all kind of weird. Yeah, it’s back to normality quite quickly.

[00:05:12] Jill: What was getting there like and having to deal with the bubble?

[00:05:17] Hannah: So getting there for us.

Being from the UK was made somewhat more challenging because we were put on their kind of red or amber list, which meant we had to take even more tests than everybody else. So I had to get tested three consecutive days before I flew which meant three trips to the airport before the day I actually fly.

Then the face masks on the plane– that was interesting for a 12 hour flight. And then the arrival, I’ve got to say, I’d heard some real horror stories about the arrival procedure and how long it had taken people to get through the arrivals and being sorted out, got in for a test, getting all the information, waiting for your results.

And I’d heard some people were taking on four or five hours to do it, but because either our plane landed and there was nobody else in the airport, but it took me two and a half hours to get from landing to my hotel. They were really well organized, really, really well organized and the Japanese staff there were just so spot on and friendly, and they knew exactly what to say.

So actually getting there,was apart from the hassle of all the tests beforehand was relatively straightforward. Then we were bubbled. Uh, we were bubbled in our hotel as the group of officials. That was tough because you couldn’t go anywhere other than your hotel room or the venue. So that made life quite tricky, really.

But it just meant that when you were at the venue, it was sort of like a little bit of freedom when you learn you’re out chatting to as many people as you could. Yeah. It was certainly a different experience.

[00:06:46] Jill: That had to be hard, being in the same hotel with your officiating buddies, but not being able to like pop over to somebody’s room and say hello, right?

[00:06:55] Hannah: Yeah, that was really quite tricky because you wanted to because you’ve been on the field all day and your brain told you that actually what did it matter? Because I’ve been with this person all day. So why would it make any difference? But the rules were there, the rules were that you couldn’t. So everybody is divided by it. It was quite interesting because the only time you interacted with anybody in the evenings is when you were waiting in the lobby for your food, because we weren’t allowed into the hotel restaurant because that was open to the public.

So we were bubbled away from them and we therefore had to use Uber Eats to get our food. So you would order it from inside your room and then you would go down to the lobby to collect it. And there was sort of like this gamble as to whether or not you would catch somebody in the lobby and have a 10 minute conversation whilst you were waiting for your food or not. And that was the contact that you had with people in the evening. That was it.

[00:07:48] Alison: were you in Tokyo?

[00:07:51] Hannah: So I flew out on the 18th of July, and I flew back on the 2nd of August. So I landed back here on the second. Just under two weeks.

[00:08:02] Jill: How many officials were on the crew total?

[00:08:05] Hannah: So there was me and 13 others. So there’s 14 of us out there. And then you had all the, all the other staff that would run the event and also joining us was the national technical officials.

So that was a whole, whole bunch of Japanese judges with a couple of extras from some other, other locations thathad been flown in to assist. So there was about 12 of those as well. They assisted with front in the practice field, running the targets, doing the scoring to assist us with the main official roles.

So I guess in total there was about 20, 22 of us as a team of officials,

[00:08:40] Jill: So what was it like during competition versus the test event?

[00:08:46] Hannah: I’ve got to say the competition was kind of odd. And I think talking to people that were at other events, they were of a similar kind of feeling. It was, you knew me. It was the Olympics. branded as the Olympics, but everything was so quiet. Tokyo was quiet. There wasn’t any branding around the city.

It was all very, very much a quiet and Olympics But then when you talk to people and you talk to the athletes, it was the Olympics. So there was the buzz between the athletes, because it was their games. They were out there, they were at the Olympics. It’s just such a shame. You had all these wonderful facilities and the stadiums and they were just empty.

It was such a shame that it was– There was just no, no external buzz or nothing in the stadiums to give anything back to the athletes, really.

[00:09:34] Jill: We felt that on T watching it on TV. I mean, the competition was so incredible across so many sports and you just felt so bad that all of these athletes who were doing amazing things just got no energy or, you know, th the other athletes would try, but it was just so quiet and so empty and just sad.

[00:09:56] Hannah: It was, it was really, it’s really quite somber in places. And you felt, so much for the athletes because, you know, you’d have the commentary on site and the, the, like the showrunner, they were scoring the tens and the perfect scores. And normally you would get the cheers and claps and the hooting from the crowds.

And it was just well, nothing, you know, they, they shoot a perfect score and they get no feedback from anybody. And it’s I guess, to the athletes, they got used to that during the season because all of their qualification events and all the world cup events throughout the season had been really, really similar.

They would all, they’d all been behind closed doors if you like, because they hadn’t had the fans, So it kind of followed on– I don’t know what it was like with other sports, whether or not they have fans, but it was, it was probably like that the final event for them of their, their warmups and their season.

Yeah. And it was just the same as what they got used to for the rest of the year. But it was still, I wouldn’t say an anticlimax cause that would be wrong, but there just wasn’t any buzz about it. The whole place was a bit sort of just, yeah, it’s the Olympics. But there wasn’t that buzz that you come to expect with an Olympic games.

[00:11:05] Jill: What was the weather like? Because your competition was kind of long and it seemed like the weather changed during it.

[00:11:12] Hannah: It was changeable. We had some very, very hot sticky, humid days. I mean, we’ll think more, you have one day where it was, it was about 38 degrees with a feels like 42 and some it like 90% humidity. So that was tough.

Those days were tough. And then we had another day where we actually had to change the schedule because of the typhoon warnings. And we were out in what was gale force winds and rain. The following day, even though it wasn’t typhoon, but it was windy and it was wet and it was rainy. So it was changeable.

Um, And I know the Paralympics had some really horrible weather, and they had some consistent rain throughout a lot of their events, but we were generally quite lucky. We were dry apart from the odd bit on one day. And it was warm and it was sticky and it was very different to what we used to in the UK.

[00:12:03] Jill: So did that have an effect? Because in the beginning of the tournament, when I was watching and be like, sometimes they score a random 2, and I just wondered where were these low scoring arrows coming from?

[00:12:17] Hannah: I honestly don’t know that. They were quite random. Yeah, there was the heat. The heat would have played a major part in a lot of the athletes, because it wasn’t their normal temperature. The humidity, I think it was probably the worst thing to try and deal with.

And the fact that it was, it might have affected the grip on the bow. It might have effected the grip on the string, so it could have affected sort of technique wise, but it also, I guess, adds to your fatigue. And if, if you’ve not eaten or drunk enough, but again, it could be, it could just be the pressure of the situation.

And the mental game is there’s so many factors that would affect that one particular shot. It could have been any number of them, but yeah, there were definitely some random arrows that you saw and there’s a sort of, not what you would expect.

[00:13:01] Jill: Yeah, it was just, it was really incredible. Also incredible was Mete Gazoz coming out of seemingly nowhere to take the gold in the men’s tournament. When you are watching the tournament, do you of know what’s happening results wise? Or do you block that out?

[00:13:17] Hannah: I think generally other events I haven’t, I haven’t known what’s been going on and people ask you at the end of the event who won. And I was like, I don’t have a clue. I just, I’ve just been there, done my job.

And I don’t know, but I think this, this was definitely, it was the Olympics and there, there was a lot more. Involvement, I guess, with where I was sitting, because I was, I was sitting right on the corner of the field of place. So I could actually see all of the matches and all of the athletes leave the field.

So I got more of a sense of who was winning the matches and who wasn’t as they left the field, which for other events you don’t get. So, yeah, I mean, he did, he clawed his way through the field. And he wasn’t, he wasn’t the rank outsider. He was, he was in there with a, with a good chance. And yeah, he did.

He did exceptional. That final match was amazing.

[00:14:04] Alison: Have you watched any of the matches back afterwards

[00:14:09] Hannah: No, I haven’t, to be honest. I came back and I watched all the all of the other games that was on the television at the time, but I haven’t gone back and looked at them. I was there. So you don’t need to. You were there and there was part of you, you, yeah, I’ve watched the rest of the Olympics cause it impacts my love for sports, but it’s, you’ve seen it. You’ve seen the archery. You’ve done it. It’s there. You know what the outcome is.

[00:14:31] Jill: How was your crew, how did they perform? Was it up to expectations? Did you lose anybody due to the weather?

[00:14:39] Hannah: My crew and my judging team, they were fantastic. They were, they were really good, solid bunch of judges. They knew what they were doing. They worked hard and I couldn’t have asked for any more from them. We were really, really lucky as an event as a whole, because we didn’t lose anybody to any positive COVID tests. Didn’t lose anyone to any close contacts or any isolation. So that made life so much easier because we didn’t have to rejuggle the plans.

Plan A went as Plan Awent and I didn’t have to reshuffle anyone. So we had no athletes get pinged. We had no officials get pinged. We had no athletes go positive or get sick. Cause that would have been really nasty if if you’d got pinged or if you’d got a positive test and have to pull out of your Olympics, that would have been quite horrific for them. But but no, we were really lucky that we didn’t have any of that.

[00:15:29] Alison: Are you ready for Paris now?

[00:15:31] Hannah: I’d love to go to Paris. Paris would be amazing. And hopefully by Paris, life will be back to a little bit more normal or whatever the new normal is going to be. And we’ll be able to go in and experience the Olympics as the Olympics, go see some of the other sports, go and interact with the athletes a bit more.

But yeah, I’d love to get to Paris.

[00:15:48] Jill: One last quick question, Did you know that they were showing the competitors’ heart rates on TV?

[00:15:54] Hannah: Yes.

[00:15:55] Jill: Okay. How did that work?

[00:15:57] Hannah: So that was done through a camera, a special camera. They weren’t ever fitted with any any devices or anything.

And it was done through a special camera that was on the field. I don’t know the technicalities of how it works, but I know it added an extra feed for information so that the public and the fans and the people that were watching could see how it fitted with the match and I think it adds an extra dynamic to what is actually going on in the athlete’s body and their head and how they’re reacting to the stress of that.

[00:16:26] Jill: Oh, it was, it was fantastic. When I saw that pop up, it was so exciting. And then, then, you know, when they hold the bow too long, that it might be difficult, but then you could see the heart rate go up or down. And it was just, that really added a cool dimension to watching it.

[00:16:42] Hannah: Yeah, that kind of technology is going to come in quite a lot, as it was a good, it was a good tool.

And I think, I think they trialed that kind of technology in London, I think with maybe a heart rate band or something, there was something on their leg, I think potentially to see what it would do with it, with the figure and how it fit in with the coverage. And I think they’ve obviously made it less intrusive with just the camera, but all of these kinds of different feeds and the different bits to, to show people what’s going on. I think are great. It just makes people have a better understanding of what the sport is.

[00:17:15] Jill: Is there anything else about your Tokyo experience that you could, did you even get any souvenirs beyond like your uniform?

[00:17:22] Hannah: We were lucky we could order the Tokyo 2020 souvenirs to the hotel. So yeah, of course I’ve got some pins, I’ve got this cuddly toy and you know, all the standard stuff that you get is printed. So I’ve got quite a few of those to bring back with me. And they’re sitting on the shelf in the spare room at the moment.

And so in my Olympics collection.

[00:17:40] Jill: Excellent.

[00:17:41] Hannah: I think one thing I’d like to say is that the Japanese volunteers that we had, they made those games, the games. Yeah, we went out, we did our job, but we couldn’t have done it without the volunteers. And when you look at what was going on in the country at the time and there, and the press that was in the country about COVID and they, the general kind of anti Olympic movement that they had, these volunteers put themselves on the line.

They came in every day with a smile on their face. Clearly the country worried about foreigners coming in with COVID and spreading the disease, but they came in nonetheless and they came in and they made those games. So I think a massive shout out to the volunteers, because if it wasn’t for them, we wouldn’t have had a games.

No one would have had a games and it was a very different games, but the games was made by the volunteers.

[00:18:29] Jill: That’s really special. I mean, yeah. And you, I mean, I’ve, I’ve really, I feel bad for, we felt bad for the Japanese people, not being able to get to experience the games, either the Olympics or the Paralympics. And yeah, it’s so nice that we heard so many stories of the volunteers stepping up and doing just wonderful things and, and really making everyone feel as welcome as possible and making it as easy as possible for the-

[00:18:58] Hannah: And they did. They were magic- they were-

That they were just absolutely brilliant and nothing was too much hard work. Everything. you asked for got done. They did, it with a smile on their face. And they were coming in to be a volunteer when perhaps family members work, the public as a whole didn’t want them to, and they didn’t want anything to do with the games.

And yet they did it. They, they were there and they were just absolutely phenomenal. When they got a chance to sit in the stands and cheer because they had 10 minutes off, they did it and they were just brilliant. And you know, they made those games what they were

[00:19:35] Jill: Fantastic. Well, Hannah, thank you so much. It’s not the Olympics we were hoping for, but it was still a great competition and great host city. So, at least we have that to look back on.

[00:19:49] Hannah: Yeah, we do, and I don’t think we’re ever going to have an Olympics like that. Again, it’s going to be a real special Olympics and sort of, it’s kinda like that.

Everybody’s so through the adversity of what COVID was and coming out the other side to show that actually we can, as a world pulled together and it’s kind of that special kind of start can be ever again. Thank you so much. Hannah. Next up is artistic swimmer Jacqueline Simoneau, who since Tokyo, has started med school. So we were lucky to have a few minutes to talk with her while she was driving home from class. Take a listen.

[00:20:27] Jill: Does Tokyo feel like it happened or like it’s a million miles away?

[00:20:31] Jacqueline: Oh you know, it’s a strange feeling because I look back at pictures and it feels like it was just last week, but at the same time I look at where I am now and I’m like, oh wow. You know what a lot has happened between now and then. So it’s a weird sort of sentiment.

[00:20:46] Jill: Let’s talk a little bit about the journey. So wasn’t Team Canada, your team, bubbled in like Vancouver or somewhere along the way before you went to Tokyo.

[00:20:56] Jacqueline: Yeah. Great memory actually. So we were in Europe for about two months and then came back to Montreal was our home base, but we had some restrictions related to COVID.

So we went over to Victoria BC. It was just a little island -it’s Vancouver Island on the west side of Canada. And we trained there, the pre Olympic training camp. And unfortunately that camp was supposed to be in Japan, in Toduka, but they weren’t at that time due to COVID. So, we ended up staying in our own country and doing our pre-training camp there.

[00:21:28] Jill: Wow. What was it like when you got to Japan and getting into the village and everything?

[00:21:35] Jacqueline: Oh, I don’t know if you heard different stories. I know, I remember seeing on social media because our event was in the middle of the end of the first week, in the middle of the games. So we arrived a couple of days before, but we missed the opening ceremonies. And so I’m social media we saw all these athletes saying that it would take 10 to 12 hours to pass through the airport and pass all these protocols related to COVID and whatnot, but it was quite linear.

It’s quite straight forward. We got off for our long flight. You were ushered through the airport to get our COVID test done. And thankfully it was just a saliva test. So nothing really shoved up our nose or down our throats. As soon as we got our negative results. We were ushered to the village. And then when you get your accreditation and then you, you go see your apartments and really get to start to live the Olympic experience.

[00:22:26] Jill: What were the apartments like? And were those cardboard beds comfortable?

[00:22:33] Jacqueline: Great question. I’ll start with the bed first. I had the opportunity to use this biomechanics scanner that was in the athlete’s village. So what this scanner does is that you go to this part of the village and they take your height, your weight, and then they scan your body and kind of look to where your center of gravity would be and where your weight is distributed in your body. And where your weight is distributed in your body, they were able to tailor. your mattress to your weight. So I like to look at as Lego, you had three Lego blocks and they were these like cardboard, styrofoam type pads. If you flipped the styrofoam from the other end, you’d either go firmer or softer. But despite me, maybe tailoring it to my needs, I think it was just a pillow that threw me off in my sleep or maybe to think like competing in the games, I didn’t really get the best sleep, but I’m going to blame it on the excitement.

When it comes to the apartment. We’re very lucky in the Canada building. I had the amazing view of the Harbor and the Rainbow Bridge. So we had a view from our balcony on the water, the Olympic rings. It was fantastic, you know, compared to the Rio Olympic games. Yes, it was a little bit smaller, but I expected from Japan. There was smaller bed, smaller apartments, but nonetheless, it was still, I mean, the experience to live in an apartment building surrounded by Olympic champions.

[00:23:59] Jill: That is cool. Did you get much opportunity to talk with athletes from other countries outside of your sport?


[00:24:06] Jacqueline: time around there wasn’t as big of an opportunity as there was in Rio due to COVID a really good protocol. In the Canada building, we were fortunate that once you finished competing, the restrictions on us loosened up a little bit. So we’re able to talk with other sports. And I kind of have a closer distance between each other, obviously still with our masks on. You were able to connect, but it’s definitely different. It does hinder kind of the communication when you don’t really understand, you have a map in front of you. And even in the cafeteria, I remember in Rio meeting incredible USA athletes like, Michael Phelps, and Simone Biles. And even Usain Bolt, the Jamaican, and that mattered that all happened in the cafeteria.

But this time round, unfortunately, that I didn’t happen because we had these plexiglasses that were up and you couldn’t really, you don’t have proper conversations that [??], the protocols were in place to protect us, but it just took away from that meeting other people part

[00:25:02] Jill: What a bummer. We saw some Instagram videos from different athletes around showing us the cafeteria and the food. How was the food?

[00:25:11] Jacqueline: I’m a big foodie, so I tried a lot of different things. It was good. Honestly, you had an array of choices, I mean, you could wake up at 7:00 AM. You want pizza? You have pizza. You want, I don’t know, eggs, steak, chicken, salmon, fish, anything in any hour of the day, you name it, they have it. So it’s fantastic. You could actually cater your competition dietary needs with this cafeteria that was in place. So I thought it was great.

[00:25:39] Jill: How was the pool? I mean, this time around, you didn’t have the green water that they had in Rio, but what were the facilities like?

[00:25:49] Jacqueline: Yeah, the facility was, it was amazing. The pool was brand new. And, you know, one thing that not a lot of people know about artistic servers is that our pool temperature is actually different than the swimmers.

So one of our biggest concerns going into Japan,was actually the pool water temperature, because swimmers, who have their event, right before us in the exact same pool, like to have their water I, I could be wrong, but maybe around like 25, 26 degrees Celsius. And we like to have our training pool around 29. And this has been Celsius not Fahrenheit, but it is a big difference, especially when it comes to, you know, that little 1% more that you’re looking to even be able to gain, but they managed to heat up the pool at the perfect temperature right for when it was our warmup time. So the temperature was great. The facility was fantastic. The only thing that was really missing was the audience in the crowd. I’m not gonna lie. It was a little underwhelming. Walking out into silence and just hearing the flashes of cameras. And it was great, particularly for my team who had a lot of young members on the team and perhaps the crowd may have affected their concentration.

So in this case, it really helped us to hone down and focus on the performance. But at the same time, it wasn’t –, I know I’m comparing it to Rio, but for me it wasn’t as magical per se.

[00:27:07] Jill: That totally makes sense. Do you remember if Marnie McBean showed up at artistic swimming with the, with the drum?

[00:27:13] Jacqueline: Oh, she did! Yeah. It was a drum. I had locked eye contact with her after whatever I do at performances, and I saw her there and that drum, and it just meant so much to have her there in the stands and support us.

[00:27:25] Jill: Performance wise, personal best scores. I mean, a, it was so much fun watching. Team Canada throughout the whole competition, but you and Claudia did so well in the duet and it was so great to see the teams get personal bests and everything.

How was that? Did you, feel it as you competed that you all were doing really well and really in sync with each other?

[00:27:47] Jacqueline: Not that we struggled with it in preparation, but the thing with our sport is that. At least, you know, that you had event two athletes peak at the exact same time. Not only the exact same day, .but the exact same time to the minute to bring your mental focus is on point. Your physical game is there. And both of us just clicked at the exact same time. And I think that’s a big thanks to our coach getting into the right mindset because when we dove into that water, we could just feel like we were on the same energy, the same wavelength and giving out that much strength and power that we’re known for. And so coming out and moving up two ranks is it’s huge in our sport. I mean, getting also a personal best, but our sport is quite subjective. It’s rare that you see big leaps like that in the ranking for us to go from seventh to fifth and you know, pushing for a fourth, we were really pleased with that.

[00:28:42] Jill: Excellent. It was just, it was fun to watch. How was it because your sport did have a COVID situation with the Greek team having to pull out. How was that and affected the rest of the teams?

[00:28:55] Jacqueline: It did instill some doubt into my teammates’ mind because the Greek team did actually come and train prior to the big competition pool opening. So we shared a warm up places with them. I always have to be concerned with that. And our coach was fantastic. I mean, he was like, if the Greek team is using the changing room, none of you are going, I’m sorry. You’re holding in your pee. Or, you know, we, we are managing the situation. We are keeping our two meters distance from everybody until we are done competing.

So our staff managed us really really well. But at the same time, when you’re in the water, it’s hard to maintain that distance, even though you are in an Olympic-sized pool, you have, you know, 50, 60 swimmers in there, and you’re all trying to get your best that you can, to, to warm up and prepare yourself. So there is some cross topping and that, that was a little while ago, that whole process.

And it was, it was really sad to see that, you know, the Greek duo got the chance to compete one event. And then after that more people kept on testing to know that these people who worked just to get there and they’ve arrived, unfortunately, they’re, they’re not able to compete and achieve one of their lifelong dream because of it.

[00:30:08] Jill: You got to go to closing ceremonies. How was that?

[00:30:11] Jacqueline: It was fun. Similar to that kind of feeling that I felt walked me up for the first time in Tokyo for performing and that feeling of it’s a little underwhelming. You know, you walk out and you’re told to smile and wave, but you don’t know who you’re waving to -the stands are empty and the cameras are so… I truly enjoyed it and I’ll always remember about the Tokyo closing ceremony is. the fact that it was actually quieter. So it’s now with a chance and that closing ceremony with, for you to connect with other athletes, I got to catch up with other Canadian athletes to meet athletes from around the world. We had that luxury of having a little bit more silence in the stadium, probably more silence in the stadium than there was on TV.

So it gave us a chance to really connect in and have these great discussions with other athletes. And that’s the part that I’ll always remember.

[00:30:58] Jill: Very cool. Were you able to get any kind of cool souvenirs or swap pins with anybody else?

[00:31:05] Jacqueline: Oh yes. So my goal was to get wore pins than I did in Rio, and I think I succeeded.

I got a lot of pins. And in terms of souvenirs, I was really hoping to get these copper cups that had the Tokyo kind of symbol on it. But unfortunately they’re all sold out even before I got into the village, so missed out on that souvenir, but the memories will last forever

[00:31:26] Jill: Excellent. So now you’re in med school. How is life now?

[00:31:32] Jacqueline: It’s different.

I got to say it was quite the adjustment at first. But I’m loving every second of it. Yeah. After Tokyo, I felt ready to take on new challenges. And this time it’s not necessarily physical challenge. It’s more of a mental challenge going to school in my second language. And I just learning this lump sum of information and being able to just spit it out on demand.

It’s fun. I love it. It’s challenging. I’m able to apply it into the everyday life. I am looking forward to where

it’s going

[00:31:58] Jacqueline: to take me in the next couple years.

[00:32:00] Jill: How packed are your days?.

[00:32:04] Jacqueline: It depends. They really vary from day to day. I have clinical rotation starting up next week. So I finished a big chunk of the main theory portion that I need to know before heading into some basic clinical rotation. So my days go anything from 8:00 AM to 6:30 PM. Sometimes I have classes that finish at 10:00 PM because clinicians are only available after they’re done working.

So it’s – you know what? Some people, sorry. I know I’m jumping from point to point, but a lot of skills that we learn as an athlete transfer on into anything in everyday life. So I know a lot of people they program or are struggling down the time, but with my training hours and the task, so they trained 40, 60, 60 hours a week.

I was physically and mentally exhausted. And now, yes, I have long hours, but you know, I’m not physically exhausted. I’m still finding time because the to exercise. And so I had one of the key points I really got, I was able to take that away and transfer on to you now I study.

[00:33:04] Jill: Very cool. So we did notice at the very end of the Olympics, a hint of thinking about training for 2024, is that thought, now that you’re deep in school, is that thought still there?

[00:33:17] Jacqueline: Oh, that’s something that honestly, I’ve been thinking about every single day. And it’s hard because now that this Olympic quad – it’s not a quad anymore, it’s three years, it’s so close, I can almost taste it, but at the same time, I’ve achieved what I wanted to achieve in the sport. And I feel ready to move on to different challenges. But at the same time, the Olympics is something that’s so magical and knowing that it’s a possibility that I could probably go again, if I wanted to. Always stays in the back of my mind. So this year, I think I’m going to take it off for the season, focus on my studies. My federation does really want me to continue, but we’ll see, we’ll see where that takes me. I’ll revisit the idea in a year, maybe two and see if it’ll maybe fit in with my school schedule.

[00:34:01] Jill: Excellent. Well, Jackie, we don’t want to keep you any longer. Thank you so much for your time. It was so much fun to watch you compete at Tokyo and, we’re so happy that you did achieve these goals of personal bests and did so well and had a great time.

Aw, thank you so much. I always love chatting with you guys.

Thank you so much, Jacqueline. Oh man, it was so nice to hear what Tokyo was like.

[00:34:29] Alison: I know. I was very jealous because I was not able to be on the call with Jacqueline because she had this very tiny window that I could not match because now she’s decided she has to be a doctor on top of, two time Olympian and all around awesome person.

And it was really fun to listen to it again. And to talk to Hannah again, just to be back in that moment. And, the archery tournament was so bizarre in so many ways. And to hear about the backend of that.

[00:34:55] Jill: Yes. That was really interesting. We heard about the beds.

[00:35:01] Alison: We’ve heard a lot about the beds. I did go back and watch some of the routines again.

[00:35:07] Jill: Oh, did you?

[00:35:10] Alison: The sharks, the baseball team, the story of evolution, just fantastic. What a great tournament, the artistic swimming program was.

Welcome to TKFLASTAN.

[00:35:30] Jill: Speaking of TKFLASTANIS it’s time to check in with our Team Keep the Flame Alive. These are past guests of the show.

[00:35:36] Alison: It has been a week!

[00:35:37] Jill: Oh my goodness! We thought we were going to do kind of like the short show because of Thanksgiving, but our TKFLASTANIS have been killing it and honestly, it’s been just an amazing week for TKFLASTAN starting with John Schuster. Team Schuster won the U S Curling Olympic Trials and will be representing US at Beijing 2022 in the men’s curling tournament.

This is John’s fifth Olympics.

[00:36:08] Alison: Nice.

[00:36:09] Jill: Oh, I think I watched all three of the final games because it was a best of three series and they lost the first one, won the second. And so of course, Sunday night was the third match and it was intense. It was a low scoring. Somebody had to make a mistake.

Still, the final score was like five, four at the very end. And it just a couple of really beautiful shots by Team Schuster.

[00:36:38] Alison: And this is not entirely the same team from PyeongChang.

[00:36:43] Jill: That is correct. The third. Tyler George, he retired after PyeongChang. He’s now like a US Curling ambassador. So he goes around the country to different curling clubs, but then the person who took his spot was Chris Plys. And Chris used to be on Team Dropkin who was the team that Team Schuster beat.

[00:37:03] Alison: Oh, I didn’t even know that part.

[00:37:04] Jill: Right. For the second time, because they also beat Team Dropkin to get to PyeongChang.

[00:37:10] Alison: Wow.

[00:37:11] Jill: Yes. So when Chris left to go to Team Schuster, Team Dropkin got Joe Polo. Joe Polo was the alternate for Team Schuster at PyeongChang.

[00:37:22] Alison: This is like a bad soap opera of relationships, but I think it’s all very amicable.

[00:37:30] Jill: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Everybody’s very friendly. It’s a very sportsman like sport to be quite honest. And they all know they’ve known each other for years. A lot of people have played together on and off. . Chris Plys is also in the running to make it to the Olympics in the mixed doubles.

So he and his partner whose name escapes me right now, they won the U S tournament, but they have to go to an Olympic qualifier now. And so they’ll be going to the Netherlands to compete in that.

[00:38:01] Alison: Okay. More good news. Tom Scott won bronze at the world karate championship.

[00:38:06] Jill: This was fantastic. Wasn’t this like one of his first medals at worlds?

[00:38:09] Alison: Yes.

[00:38:11] Jill: So happy for him. So excited.

Erin Jackson won gold and silver in the two, 500 meter world cup races at Stavangar, Norway this week, which was amazing. Four races. It’s interesting. Well, a), it’s interesting because a 500 meters gets competed twice in a world cup event.

So, she has gotten medals at all four races so far. Three gold, one silver and just is doing an amazing job.

[00:38:41] Alison: Her times have been blistering.

[00:38:42] Jill: Yeah, it’s so amazing. We’re hoping to catch up with Erin again and have her on the show. But our friend Elizabeth, over at Hear Her Sports did a fantastic interview with Erin that got into some technical stuff too. So, uh, we’ll put a link to that in the show notes. If you’ve got time, definitely give that a listen. Erin will be back in the U S competing in Salt Lake City, December 3rd through the fifth, which that’s a fast track.

[00:39:06] Alison: That’s exciting. Can you imagine her competing in Salt Lake next week?

Oh, my goodness. Yeah.

If she blows the track record again?.

[00:39:14] Jill: Right, right. But Patrick from Chicagoland has tickets to US Olympic Trials in Milwaukee. He’s going to give us all the details.

[00:39:22] Alison: Yes, he had, he doesn’t know it yet, but he will know.

[00:39:24] Jill: He knows. I’ve already said details. He put it on Twitter. So Patrick. Details.

[00:39:33] Alison: And finally, Stephanie Roble and Maggie Shay finished eighth at the sailing world championships this week in Oman.

[00:39:39] Jill: Good for them.

[00:39:40] Alison: They were very pleased with their performance.

[00:39:42] Jill: So we have a couple of things about Beijing 2022 that we wanted to talk about really quickly, but we couldn’t let these sit. The first is the, Where Is Peng Shuai saga. Do you know about this? Have you seen this?

[00:40:05] Alison: I have.

[00:40:07] Jill: It is disturbing to say the least. So, Peng Shuai is a a tennis player in China. She has been to several Olympics for playing tennis and on November 2nd, she posted on social media that she had been sexually assaulted by a former vice premier in the country, in the communist party, very high up person.

And that post got deleted very very quickly. And she basically disappeared and nobody from the, Women’s Tennis Association could figure out where she was and they couldn’t get a hold of her. And so that has prompted a whole campaign on social media. And there’ve been a lot of articles, especially in the New York Times has been very good about writing some really in-depth articles about the situation.

And that has kind of led the Chinese propaganda machine turning. And so they’ve produced photos of her. They produced videos of her or her with some people out at dinner.

And there was pretty much a call for the Olympics to do something because she is an Olympian. And if she has disappeared or is being held somewhere.

[00:41:16] Alison: Right. And of course we’ve had all kinds of calls for boycotts of Beijing 2022 for other human rights issues. So this folds into that same concern.

[00:41:27] Jill: Exactly. So, she did have a video call with T Bach to say that she is okay. And basically it’s like, I’m okay. And I’d like people to leave me alone, which again, nobody knows that’s the truth because the Women’s Tennis Association still cannot get a hold of her.

[00:41:47] Alison: So no one is saying that video call was falsified or that the IOC is lying. That’s not the issue. The question is. Was she able to speak freely in her conversation with Thomas Bach, which I think we can all pretty much agree there’s no way she could be speaking freely, given the circumstances whether she’s not okay or okay. It is not what I’m saying, but we all know that she was being watched in that call.

[00:42:17] Jill: So the WTA is threatening to pull tournaments out of China, even though it’s a huge market for them, but they are supposed to have a world championships there next year and several other tournaments, and they have said, we need to have access to her, or we need to understand that she’s okay. And is speaking freely, otherwise we will pull tournaments out

[00:42:38] Alison: Good on the WTA for taking a stand.

[00:42:41] Jill: I totally agree that they are putting the athletes before money and before. I don’t even know if you want to call it diplomacy, but they have said we don’t care, China. We don’t care if you have millions of dollars or billions of dollars and all of these fans, if it’s a huge market for us, we need to know our athletes are safe.

[00:43:05] Alison: I can think of another organization who could take some notes on that. Oh, I don’t know that they might have the initials IOC.

[00:43:12] Jill: You know, I gotta say it was interesting where all this, Hey, IOC, are you going to do something?

Because they did say we prefer quiet diplomacy.

[00:43:21] Alison: I was shocked about this phone call with T Bach. One, that had happened and two that, then they released the information from it.

[00:43:30] Jill: I’m not shocked that it seemed to be very hunky-dory. And everyone is just like, wow, look at this. It’s amazing. You know, every everything is fine, you know, Peng Shuai would you like to have dinner when when I’m there and in Beijing for the Olympics come and have dinner with us.

Hm. So I think, and of course I think the IOC would take it at face value. Oh, look, we had this call. Everything is fine. We still prefer quiet diplomacy.

[00:43:57] Alison: Speaking of quiet diplomacy.

[00:43:59] Jill: Oh my gosh. Oh, and that’s a Lord Coe sized sigh.

[00:44:05] Alison: Oh, Seb Coe steps into it again .

Oh my

[00:44:09] Jill: goodness. Okay. So, in the U S President Biden has said. There may be a diplomatic boycott of Beijing that the U S may not send diplomats over to the opening ceremonies. For everybody who’s been crying boycott, this is a nice solution. It doesn’t hurt the athletes and still sends some kind of message except for.

World Athletics president and Olympian and member of the IOC sebastian COE said in inside the Games that a diplomatic boycott would only serve as a quote, meaningless gesture claiming non-engagement between government officials, rarely bears fruit.

[00:44:52] Alison: I will give Seb Coe a pass on talking about this because he was a 1980 athlete. He did get to go. Obviously he was representing the UK. The UK did not boycott Moscow, but boycotts of any stripe probably hit a very personal note with him because of his experience in 1980 And he felt the need to speak out.

Of course, it’s a winter Olympics, Seb Coe, you’re track and field. Stick to your lane, but he does have a voice in a sense of he’s one of those 1980 athletes.

[00:45:36] Jill: I can see that argument. And he is, he also said in this article that, cause he apparently talked about this on BBC Radio Four and said, nobody’s going to miss a diplomat.

You know who misses the diplomats? China will miss the diplomats because that’s the other level here that we’re talking about. It’s very much come to our party. We make nice. They have the big world leaders soiree that we know heard mention of before, but you know, they do get together. They do have conversations and if you’re not there, you’re making a statement in a diplomatic way. Where Seb Coe put his foot in his mouth is that he pointed to the Berlin 1936 Olympics claimed that.

That those games demonstrated that sport can be. And I’m going to quote this “a very powerful driver of integration and change” end quote, following the success of African American track and field star, Jesse Owens.

[00:46:42] Alison: Okay. I have a rule for public officials. Never mentioned Nazis. I say that, I don’t know if I’ve ever said this before on the show, but I have said this, anyone who knows me and it wouldn’t be just never mentioned Nazis because whether you mentioned it in a positive or in a negative, the minute Nazis come into the conversation, you have lost.

So everything Lord COE said before and after the mention of the 1936 Nazi games is lost because that’s the only thing anyone is ever going to focus on.

[00:47:18] Jill: Right. And, the power of sport, driving integration and change. I don’t think it did it. It obviously did nothing because the Nazis still exterminated millions of Jewish people and other people as well, but they exterminated millions of people.

And Jesse Owens came home to a horribly racist country and had. Difficult problems, which actually we’ll, I think we might get to see in Race when we watch it in Movie Club. So we will see the problems that he had coming back to America. And even though he was a celebrated track star and the hero of this Olympics, just did not have a very good life at home because of society.

[00:47:59] Alison: The other thing I don’t think Sebastian Coe is catching and maybe some of our listeners outside the U S United States are not catching. Is there are a lot of right wing pundits and politicians who are still pushing very hard for a full-scale boycott for Beijing 2022. So this diplomatic boycott is President Biden’s way of doing something without hurting the athletes. So that may be lost in translation as well. But yeah, the minute you mentioned Nazis.

[00:48:33] Jill: Oh, that was real– and I just looked at that and said, really, Seb Coe? And it, to me, it was just like, did we not learn from Avery Brundage? Or is it just, have you gotten to an age where you just turn into that guy?

[00:48:46] Alison: Does everybody become Avery Brundage at a certain age?

[00:48:49] Jill: I hope not. I really do. Or I hope not every IOC member for crying out loud, but that just w it was just horrifying to hear him say that and say that well, you need to maintain diplomatic relationships and ask the tough questions. Are they really going to get to ask tough questions at the Olympics? Come on.

[00:49:07] Alison: They’re going to want canapes and champagne,

[00:49:09] Jill: Right? You’re there to watch a show. You’re there to see China put on jts better best shoes and admire them for the show that they put on. And who knows how much it cost.

[00:49:21] Alison: I think we need more stuffing.

[00:49:22] Jill: I think so, too, because I’ve had a little too much of this garbage, so come on, IOC members,

[00:49:31] Alison: Do better.,

[00:49:31] Jill: Yeah, if there’s going to be diff diplomatic boycott, suck it up. You chose Beijing and I know you chose it over Kazakhstan, but let’s get some better choices.

[00:49:42] Alison: Erin Jackson has won four medals in four races.

[00:49:44] Jill: She has, she is fantastic.

[00:49:48] Alison: And John Shuster’s going to his fifth Olympics.

[00:49:50] Jill: I know. And you know what else? Biathlon season starts this weekend.

[00:49:55] Alison: Clare Egan is off and shooting.

[00:49:58] Jill: Yeah. Okay. Better mood. Thank you. All right. That will do it for this week. Let us know what you remember from Tokyo.

[00:50:09] Alison: We love hearing from you. Email us@flamealivepodatgmail.com. Call or text us at (208) 352-6348. That’s 2 0 8. Flame it. Get at us on social @flamealivepod. And be sure to join, Keep the Flame Alive Podcast group on Facebook.

[00:50:29] Jill: Next week, we will have hopefully an an update on the modern pentathlon novella, because it is fantastic what’s going on. So until then, thank you so much for listening and until next time, keep the flame alive.