Alpine Skiing is one of the top events at an Olympics, and we are excited to have Olympics communications professional and ski historian Tom Kelly on the show to take us down the mountain as we prepare for Beijing 2022. Tom walks us through each of the disciplines within Alpine Skiing:
- Giant Slalom
- Super G
- Team Event
Tom points out that one of the interesting elements of this Olympic competition is that almost no one’s been on the course, so one huge factor in determining the podium will be who can learn the course the best.
Tom’s a podcaster in his own right – check out his shows:
- Last Chair (Ski Utah)
- Heartbeat (Biathlon)
- Ticket to Fly (Ski Jumping)
- Inside the Mountain Collective (Skiing)
Big news for us! We’ve been shortlisted in the category of Best Olympics and Paralympics Podcast for the inaugural Sports Podcast Awards. There’s an element of listener voting to help determine the winner, so please cast a vote for us!
We’re also excited to release our Beijing 2022 Viewing Guide, which has information on all of the sports for the Olympics and Paralympics, when everything takes place, and a handy scheduling grid where you can see how the sports schedules overlap on any given day. Plus, sports are in alphabetical order! This is an eBook – get your copy on Amazon, and it will soon be on Apple Books as well.
In our history segment, Jill tells the story of how Albertville won its bid for the 1992 Winter Olympics. This was back in the day of big bids, so it’s a mind-blowing to learn how much was spent on an Olympic bid. Also mind-blowing? The average age of an IOC member at the time.
Tons of news from TKFLASTAN this week, including heroes we should emulate: Brittany Bowe, Erin Jackson and Jayson Terdiman. Erin had a crushing mistake at the US Speedskating Olympic Trials, which caused her to finish third and out of the running to compete at Beijing 2022….until Britanny Bowe ceded her spot in the 500m to Erin.
Jayson had a heartbreaking crash in the last-possible race to qualify for the Games, which ended his Olympic dreams. But, he’s loaning his sled to the US team who did qualify and is currently helping them prepare for Beijing, all while processing his own grief at not getting to go.
Plus, we have news from:
- Josh Williamson
- Nate Bartholomay
- Chloe Kim
- The dulcet tones of Jason Bryant – check him out on Wrestling Changed my Life podcast!
Unfortunately, we have some doping news related to Tokyo 2020, but we end on a happier note with news from Beijing about the food delivery system that we may be able to experience when we’re at the Games!
Beijing has also opened up the Olympic Agora – but it’s a digital version this time around. Check it out!
Thank you so much for listening, and until next time, keep the flame alive!
Note: This transcript is machine-generated and contains errors. We’ve tried to make corrections, but cannot guarantee the accuracy of the text. Please refer to the audio file as the record of note.
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?
[00:00:42] Alison: I am so confused
[00:00:45] Jill: About what?
[00:00:47] Alison: So I don’t even know what time zone I’m in anymore. I just, cause I’ve been watching European skating championships. We’ve been doing the China planning. I, I just sleep when I sleep. I’m just going to take a nap right here on the floor and hope for the best.
[00:01:08] Jill: I hear you. It is confusing. I don’t know what to do and it’s just nonstop, but I guess it’s good preparation for watching the games maybe?
[00:01:19] Alison: So the high temperature tomorrow where I am is going to be 18 degrees Fahrenheit. I think that is very good preparation for Beijing because all we keep hearing about is going, it’s going to be very dry and very cold. So I think I’ll do some outdoor training sessions tomorrow.
[00:01:36] Jill: That sounds good. We have some exciting news for you. We have made the short list for the Best Olympics and Paralympics Podcast for the inaugural Sports Podcast Awards. There is a voting element to this. So please go and vote for us.
We are at sports podcasts, awards.com and you scroll down until you find the Olympics and Paralympics one. We’ll have a link to that in the show notes, but if you would vote for us, there’s. Not sure how much the voting from regular listeners factors in, but it does factor in somewhat. So you have, I think all through February to do so.
[00:02:13] Alison: Vote for me!
[00:02:16] Jill: We’d like to also give a special thanks to all of our Patreon patrons for providing financial support to the show and keeping our flame alive. If you would like to be a Patreon patron of the week, you can check out our different levels of support and very cool bonus gifts at Patreon.com/flame alive pod.
If a one-time gift is more your thing, we have lots of options for one-time donations. Check out flame alive pod.com/support for all of them, including PayPal, Venmo, Buy Me a Coffee and All right today, we have a banner, I call it a banner conversation. This week. We are talking with Tom Kelly, who is an Olympic sports communications professional. He currently runs his own communications and photography outfit, but prior to that, he was VP of communications for US Ski and Snowboard for 32 years. Tom has a wealth of knowledge about skiing, and talked with us about what to look forward to at the Alpine skiing competition at Beijing.
Buckle up because we’re talking all the disciplines today! Take a listen.
Okay, Tom, thank you so much for, for joining us. We’re talking Alpine skiing. This is something that we’ve been really wanting to talk about on the show because we haven’t had a preview of it for Beijing. Let’s start first with each discipline in Alpine and start with slalom.
And all of these disciplines are basically go down the hill as fast as possible. Slalom gets a little tricky.
[00:03:49] Tom: You’re, you’re exactly right. Jill. It is get down the hill as fast as possible, but each different event kind of forces you to do it in a different way. So starting with slalom, slalom is probably one of the more complex, but at the same time, most basic of the Alpine events, and there are four basic Alpine events.
And then a few nuances that we’ll talk about. And in the slalom event, it’s the shortest event. It’s the least vertical drop. That is the distance from top to bottom. And the vertical drops in slalom for the men is around 200 meters for the women. Actually it’s about 200 meters for the women as well. But what makes a difference in that event is that the athletes go around gates in a kind of a rat tat tat really quick staccato fashion. So you have to be quick on your edges. You have to get around those, those gates and still carry your speed down the hill. So it is the most precise in terms of your turning ability. There are the most turns in slalom. It is the lowest speed, but still you’re clocking along at a pretty good clip.
People will know slalom from Mikaela Shiffrin as an example. That is, or was her specialty when she began. But I love watching slalom because for the most part you can see top to bottom on the course, very short course, compared to, as we’ll talk about in a minute, the downhill.
[00:05:12] Alison: So with slalom they’re pretty much going right at the gates rather than around.
[00:05:18] Tom: Yeah, pretty much. And when we get up to downhill and super G we’ll talk about how athletes find their track down the course, but with the slalom, it’s really precise. You have to stay in the fall line, the fall line being that line that goes straight down the mountain. So if you put a marble, where would that marble roll?
You want to stay in that fall line and you just have to carve your edges around those gates in a very, very quick fashion. And in the course of that event, there’s going to be different kind of staggered gates or delays as they’re called. So skiers might get in this total rhythm and then all of a sudden, bam, there’s a delay and they have to quick change their pace and get back on the edges and then continue just as they were before.
[00:06:00] Alison: So the delay is a larger space between the gate.
[00:06:04] Tom: Generally it’s a larger space, or it could actually be a little bit across the hill, but in general, it’s just something that breaks up the rhythm of the gates coming down the hill. So going back to my comment about the fall line in a slalom race, for the most part, you’re going to see the gates coming right down the fall line in a downhill.
You’re going to be weaving your way across sets. So slalom is really the most direct path down the hill. It’s just that you have to make all those turns on the way down
[00:06:32] Jill: With the turns being so tight are the skis short
[00:06:37] Tom: Very definitely. Skis are definitely shorter for slalom than for example, downhill to take the comparison a little bit outside of Alpine skiing, ski jumping skis are even a longer yet than downhill skis, but the shortest skis that you’ll see.
Are in the slalom. Lot of it is personal preference with the athletes also based on their, their physical stature, their height, their weight. But for sure, relatively speaking slalom skis are always shorter than giant slalom skis or super G skis or downhill skis.
[00:07:10] Alison: Now, most skiers are doing multiple events, but is there physical characteristics that make you better say at slalom than downhill?
[00:07:18] Tom: Well, that’s actually a really good question. There’s through time we’ve seen a number of different things that yes, there are skiers who are really good across all disciplines. Bode Miller is a great example of that. There are skiers who are more specific to the speed disciplines going, or I’m sorry to the, what we call a technical discipline, slalom and giant slalom.
I’ll go back to my origins. Alberto Tomba from Italy years ago, who won two gold medals in Calgary is an example of that. Mikaela Shiffrin started out really skiing, just slalom. When she won her first world championship in 2013 in Schladming Austria, she wanted in the slalom. Pretty much all she was competing in at the time she won the gold medal in Sochi, in the slalom.
But over time, she branched out to the giant slalom, which is the next transition. And then ultimately to the super G. She does a little bit of downhill, although not a lot, but slalom is a very typical starting place for many athletes, Lindsey Vonn, as an example, she became known as a speed skier at downhill specialist, but at the start of her career, she skied a lot of slalom.
So it’s a pretty typical place for young athletes to begin their pathway to the top.
[00:08:31] Jill: Okay. So I always wonder when I watch this event because they are getting, trying to make the turn around the gate as tight as possible, how much do those gates hurt you when they’re whacking you on the body.
[00:08:44] Tom: Oh, they hurt. Ted Ligety is making a living right now with his company Shred and others with protective gear.
And, and if you look at the slalom skiers, they’re wearing body armor. Look at the, coverings around their hands, on the pole grip, look at the coverings on their forearms. Look at the coverings on their shins. They’re wearing that armor, which is usually some sort of a composite material to absorb that impact into the gates. Our typical slalom injury is a gate and these gates, by the way, they pivot at the snow they’re anchored in the snow, but they pivot right at the snow level. So you’ll see the skiers punching those gates with their fists. And those gates will go down. If you look at it in slow motion on television, those gates will go all the way to the snow and then they’ll pop back.
So it’s not unusual if you’re a slalom skier to get a whack in the teeth and get a bloody lip. So you’ll also see a lot of sellout, slalom, skiers wearing some sort of a face shield or some sort of protection, much like you’d see a football player wear.
You’re just picking on it. You’re just thinking, wow, what’s that gonna feel like in the, in the teeth
[00:10:00] Jill: also think that man skiers today, have it good because they can have this body armor and just back in the day, That just must’ve been so painful.
[00:10:11] Tom: Well, it was, but, but I want to tell you a little story about a transition.
So there’s, there’s really has been three phases to slalom gates. If you go back into the sixties and seventies, the really early days of the sport, really more the sixties. The poles were bamboo. That was the original start. They were bamboo and they had the flexibility of bamboo, but bamboo is going to bend.
It’s not going to go down to the snow and spring back. And then they went from bamboo to plastic poles and the plastic poles had a little bit more rigidity. They didn’t break as much. But they were still anchored in the snow, so they didn’t have a lot of give. And then eventually they went to these, what are called rapid gates, which are spring loaded and have an actual pivot at the snow level.
And if you get a chance to watch them prepare a slalom course, the coaches who set the course are up there with drills and they would drill a hole into the snow, probably eight to 10 inches deep, and then they will screw these gates into the snow. And remember, there’s a pivot at snow level and Ingamar Stenmark is a great example of a skier.
He was from Sweden who won and dominated. At every level of that, he made the transition through all three of those phases and he continued to win at every level. But if you took some of today’s slalom skiers who are used to the rapid gates and just smashing them down and keeping a straight line, put them onto bamboo, and it’s going to be a whole different story.
But watch that during the Olympics, watch those slalom skiers make a more direct line because they can put their body out over the gate, literally over the top of where the gate goes into the snow, because they can smash it down with their fists.
[00:11:49] Alison: I remember we were, when I was a kid watching slalom, they would go much further around the gate, rather than that straight line, that what you were talking about.
[00:11:58] Tom: Yeah, it’s totally changed the tactics in the event. If you go back and look at a video footage of the slalom from the sixties in the seventies, and even into the eighties, you’ll see completely different tactics on the course. And today it really is. It’s pretty much straightest line possible. Get that gate out of the way.
Now your feet still have to clear that gate and the way the gates work, it doesn’t look like this when you’re just watching the race, but there’s always two gates. One is the gate that has the most direct line. The other is off somewhere else. So in the slalom, you don’t often see that second gate like you would in a giant slalom, but the objective is to go between the gates.
So it means you need to stay on a particular side of that gate, that’s going into the snow. And I’ll give you an example of that. In 2006, at the Olympics in the Alpine combined, the Ted Ligety ultimately won in the first run of slalom. Bode Miller was the leader, but the video showed that one of his skis didn’t stay on the proper side of the gate and he was disqualified from that run.
So it’s something that the naked eye can almost not see. There’s so much speed there.
[00:13:12] Jill: How often do they use video review?
[00:13:14] Tom: They don’t probably use it very much. It’s if you, you know, just watching American football, which I love to do, I just hate that video review. it just takes so much out of the, out of the game, but in skiing, it’s not used that much.
I was there for, for that event. They did use it between runs there. The gate judge was pretty sure that he had what’s called straddled. The gate had gone on the other side. But it wasn’t apparent oftentimes you see it where the skiers ski goes on the other side and then the gate comes up and hits them between the legs.
That was not the case in this one. This was just Bode was so fast over that gate that no one really saw it. We didn’t see it in the finish line. It was tore in near the finish too, but the gate judge thought that he had straddled the gate and the video confirmed it.
[00:14:02] Jill: Okay, you’ve said the magic words gate judge. How many gate judges are on a course?.
[00:14:08] Tom: Each so, and I’m gonna really be rough on the numbers here, but let’s say there’s around 50 gates in a slalom course. There’s probably going to be 15, 20, 30 judges, maybe at an event of that level. They will cover multiple gates. So I can be a little bit off on that, but, but each individual gate judge is going to look at several different gates, but they’ll all be right in his or her sector. They won’t be like up the hill, a hundred meters.
[00:14:34] Jill: Putting that on my list.
[00:14:36] Alison: I thought you were going to say the magic words of Ted Ligety.
[00:14:40] Tom: Well, those are magic words too,
because every time we say hot Alison
[00:14:45] Alison: hot diggity.
[00:14:49] Tom: or lickety split,
[00:14:52] Jill: Slalom has how many runs?
[00:14:55] Tom: There are two runs to slalom and the way it works is you just add the two times together. So in a slalom race, as you can, well, imagine. The hammering on these gates that the athletes do the course tends to get very beat up and rutted it.
Particularly if conditions are, are warm. Warm courses are not something we anticipate in Beijing, but in, in a slalom race in the first run, it is seeded and there is a top seed of the top 15. And within the top 15, they break it down to the top seven and then the next eight. And within the top seven, they select. So Mikaela Shiffrin is one of the top seeds in slalom.
Petra Vlhová is another one. They will randomly select a start position. So those positions one to seven, select a start position, then positions eight to 15 select. Different rules and mathematics that gauge that establishes the start order for the rest of them, but it is essentially points rated.
So the better people go first in the first run. In the second run, it’s different. They do, what’s called a flip 30. So the top 30 from the first run, their order is reversed. So you get essentially the winner potential winner is generally going to come last. So they do the flip 30 and then they do 31 to whenever.
And it is possible someone could come out of that 31 to forever group and win, but the mathematics are such that it’s really not a factor. So that flip 30 also means that those skiers who were really good in the first run, they’re going to get the worst course conditions in the second run. And so if you’re Mikaela Shiffrin and you were the leader in the first run, you had a great clean course when you came down second or third in the first run, but in the second run, if you’re going to come down 29th or 30th, you’re going to have to deal with ruts and, and oftentimes a really beat up race course.
[00:17:05] Jill: What do skiers do to deal with those ruts? Does it take more leg strength to bounce out of them? Or how do, how do they deal with.
[00:17:14] Tom: I would say that experience is the most important thing, for sure. It’s going to take more fortitude, more strength, more stamina to get through the course, but those athletes are really experienced when you get to that top seed, those top seven athletes, they really are the best in the world, so they’re accustomed to it.
And they will get through it. But it’s not unusual to see second run times be a little bit different. So if you were the first run leader, you might win the race by the addition of the two run times, but you probably aren’t going to be the fastest time in the second run. Uh, It does happen for sure, but it’s not unusual to see someone else get the fastest, second run time.
But at the end of the day, the gold medal goes to the person who had the fastest time with the two runs added together.
[00:18:08] Alison: So besides Mikaela Shiffrin, who should we be paying attention to for?
[00:18:12] Tom: Well, slalom is the women’s slalom to me is going to be one of the most incredible events in Beijing. And by the way, just looking at the overall schedule, it’s going to be pretty similar to what we saw in Pyeongchang.
So on the women’s side, the women will race the giant slalom first, then they’ll go to the slalom and then they’ll go to their speed events, downhill and super G the men. It’s a little bit different. They’re going to start with the downhill, which is pretty traditional at big events. Then go to the super G and then go to giant slalom, and, and slalom.
So it will be a little, it will be a little bit different, but the top two to watch in the slalom for the women will be Mikaela Shiffrin, who won the gold medal in 2014, she was fourth in 2018. So she was out of the medals in, in that event. And then her rival right now in the current world cup leader in slalom is Petra Vlhová.
And Petra’s an amazing skier in, it. took her a few years to kind of catch up to Mikaela, but she’s definitely caught up to her now. And the two of them are going to go head to head. So I looked for the two of them to be battling for the gold medal. The other ones to watch, Katharina Liensberger from Austria. She won the gold medal at Cortina at the world championships this past winter. So she will be somebody to watch. She’s having a pretty good season right now. Uh, So I would look for her not to be my number one, but she’s someone who could challenge.
Another one that I kind of like as a dark horse is a veteran skier, who’s having the best season of her life. She’s from Germany, Lena Duerr. She’s to me, a real wild card. She probably is not going to be on anybody’s favorites list, but I I’ve I’ve liked what I’ve seen the season. She’s had some career best results, but really it’s going to be a Petra and Mikaela battle.
And the beauty of having the technical events first for Mikaela is Mikaela has to think whether or not, she wants to race in the downhill, the downhills that is later on. So she’s going to go into these games much like PyeongChang, and she’s going to have a different mental view. She’s going to have giant slalom first and then slalom.
So I looked for her to come roaring out of the gate and in that slalom event Mikaela and Petra are going to be the two to watch.
[00:20:32] Jill: Uh, What about on the men side?
[00:20:35] Tom: On the men’s side? It’s it’s a little bit different to me. There’s no real clear favorite. The defendant gold medalist in the Olympics, Andre Myhrer from Sweden is retired now.
So he obviously won’t be a factor. The world cup leader right now is a little bit of a surprise. It’s a Norwegian by the name of Sebastian Foss-Solevaag, and he won actually in Madonna D’ Campelio just about in mid December, that was a big victory for him. He is actually tied right now with Kristoffer Jakobsen from Sweden.
So I looked for the two of them. Neither. One of them would have been on every anybody’s real favorite list going into the season, but they’ve been the two best so far. The others that I would look to to really contend here would be the French skier, Clement Noel. And I looked for him to be a real factor in this thing.
He brings in a lot more big event experience. He knows how to win. So he would be kind of the spoiler to me. But right now it’s Jakobsen from Sweden and Foss-Solevaag from Norway as what I think will be the two favorites in the men’s slalom.
[00:21:43] Jill: All right. Giant slalom.
[00:21:45] Alison: So what’s the giant slot difference between slalom.
[00:21:50] Tom: Giant slalom is pretty much the core event in the sport of Alpine ski racing, everything else really emanates from there. It is also the event that has the most participant interest. So if you’re from one of those, you’ve never heard of this country before athletes who wants to get in the Olympics, you’re going to see them in the giant slalom.
And for this reason, there’s actually a qualifying race for those athletes who are, let’s say a little bit down the list. They have to go through a qualifying race procedure in order to get into the big show. It’s pretty fun. If, and, and TV doesn’t always show all of this, but if you’re watching the live stream after Mikaela’s done and everything else keep watching, because there are some fantastic stories that are playing out in the latter.
Part of the race with skiers from countries that you have never heard of before, but with the giant slam. It’s a pretty broad open race, remarkably different than slalom. It’s kind of put together as one of the two technical events, but it’s a world apart from what we just talked about, talked about with slalom.
So in giant slalom, you have a much longer course more vertical. You probably have somewhat similar number of gates to slalom because they’re a little bit further apart. And when you go through the gates, you’re starting to go across the mountain a little bit. So the course setter takes the course in and out of the fall line.
There’s a lot of skiing across the fall line. There are delays just like there are in. In slalom. So as a racer, like Ted Ligety, this was his specialty. You have to know how to maximize your speed and also decide where you want to arc that turn around the gates. It isn’t like you’re going straight at them.
You generally don’t want to hit the giant slalom gates. You want to find a pathway around them that gets you through there. The quickest allows you to build energy when you hit the fall line and then to set yourself up for the next gate. So you may hear the commentators say he got a little bit behind, and if you get a little bit behind, it means that the way you did that red gate, didn’t set you up very well for that next blue gate.
And by the way, they do alternate colors. You’ll see red gates and blue gates that just gives the athletes a sense of, okay, I did a red now there’s a blue, then there’s a red. Uh, So it’s strategically much more of a tactical game in terms of figuring out your line much higher speeds than you see in the slalom events.
So it’s really one of the most fun to watch
[00:24:35] Jill: And who we looking for
[00:24:38] Alison: No, my darling Ted has retired. I know we got now.
[00:24:43] Tom: So it’s going to be interesting. First of all, let’s start with the men this time. On the men’s side, Marcel Hirscher from Austria was– he and Ted battled their entire careers.
They are both retired now. So it is new guard coming through. We will not have a defending medalist. The current world cup leader is Marco Odermatt from Switzerland. So he’s going to be a factor in this thing. He’s a, at least to me, a little bit of a surprise and its second right now is Henrik Kristofferson from, from Norway.
He’s known. Much as a slalom skier, but he’s been having a great year. He also was a silver medalist back in 2018. The other one that I would keep an eye on is last year’s overall world cup champion, Alexis Pinturault from France. He’s now fifth in the world cup standings in giant slalom. But again, he’s just an experienced big event athlete.
And I think that he’s going to probably factor into this thing, but honestly, I think the men’s giant slalom has totally wide open, whereas we’ve gone into the last couple of them looking at Ted Ligety and Marcel Hirscher. There is no superstar right now at that same stature level. So the men’s giant slalom, which is a really prestige gold medal.
I think it’s really up for grabs.
[00:25:56] Jill: And what about on the women’s side?
[00:25:58] Tom: On the women’s side, this should be the Mikaela Shiffrin show. She went in and won that in Pyeongchang four years ago. She is the current world cup leader has just a slim lead over Sara Hector from Sweden. But I, I think Mikaela is going to be a super solid favorite in this. There’s no real one big contender.
Sara Hector from Sweden will be one. Petra Vlhová. I also look at Tessa Worley. Tessa Worley from France is approaching the latter part of her career right now, but she is still punching in there. She is a great big event skier. She has won medals before. So if there’s somebody who is maybe going to surprise us in Beijing, I think it could be Tessa Worley, but my money is squarely on Mikaela Shiffrin.
[00:26:46] Jill: One other question on giant solemn skis. These I assume are a little bit longer. Then regular solemn skis. So what, where do they fit in the Pantheon of downhill skis?
[00:26:58] Tom: They are a little bit longer. there’s more turning there’s more arking and this is getting a little bit micro, but there was a big controversy going back about eight or nine years ago where the International Ski Federation for safety reasons was changing what’s called the turning radius of giant slalom skis, and they were doing it to try to minimize injuries. At the end of the day, they ended up going back but there is a specific radius. So if a ski is a 35 meter radius, it means if you put that ski on edge, the way the ski has a side cut in it, a little bit of an hourglass shape that that ski will do a circle in a 35 meter radius.
And, and the skiers like the Ted Ligetys and the Bode Millers and the Alexis Pintauraults , they are really precise. They can tell all of those little nuances. As recreational skiers you probably can’t. But if you look at those pictures of Ted Ligety at Ted is really known for this, of really laying out on the ski and using centrifical force to keep that edge anchored in the snow, almost having his hip touching a lot of kids like to emulate that, but it’s not necessarily the best technique, but you can see how that ski is just arking a slalom. Ski would not do that, but a giant slalom ski. You want to be able to put that in edge and have that ski carve a turn.
You want it to carve. You want it to cut into the ice. You don’t want snow flying up. You want that edge to be able to carve an architect in the snow.
[00:28:33] Jill: We have the same issues here with how the course acts over time as competitors go down it?
[00:28:39] Tom: Yeah, you for sure. Do you don’t have it so much in downhill and super G, but you have it in slalom and in giant slalom and you’ll see skiers use different techniques in different areas to maybe get by ruts.
[00:28:52] Alison: Is that always the question when it comes to strategy, is it speed versus safety?
[00:29:00] Tom: Well, I will say this carefully, but safety probably isn’t so much of a factor for the racers on their mind. I mean, there’s, there’s safety in the course and how it’s set up, but I think what it was probably more of a point here is, where do you gauge the risks that you take?
Because every time you take a risk, you risk crashing and crashing, okay. It could lead to entry, but it for sure leads to you’re out of the race. So I think about this when I watch the summer Olympics and I watched swimming and track and field, and let’s take swimming as an example, it’s pretty unusual that someone crashes out of a swimming event, and it doesn’t happen that often in track and field, although it does. And we did see that in Tokyo. But in ski racing, you crash out all the time. So when you take a risk coming into a particular section, you could lose and you could be done. So, yeah, it’s all a gamble and you need to know where do you take the risk and where do you not take the risk? I’ll give you another Ted Ligety examples.
Since we, we like to talk about Ted a lot here, but going back to 2010 and the Olympics, Ted came in as a gold medal favorite and he did not medal. When you asked Ted about that 2010 race, he says, I left too much on the hill. I didn’t take the risks. I was too cautious. You cannot be cautious at the Olympics.
Those medals are hard earned. No one lucks into a medal at the Olympics. No one wins the medal based on their, what they’ve been doing the rest of the season. You only win it on taking risks that day and having the skills to persevere through those risks and get the fastest time. That’s the only way you win.
Ted. Didn’t do that in 2010, but he did it in 2014.
[00:30:43] Jill: This question kind of goes across all disciplines, but when skiers try to assess those risks that they want to take, and they’ve read the course ahead of time. How much are they actually able to do in the spur of the moment? Because they’re going so fast and some of these disciplines, like how much can you adjust your course or correct, or is a lot of it based on feel?
[00:31:05] Tom: it’s all of those things and they are able to do it. But what has always amazed me is how do they remember that entire course? And I’ve been up on inspection. I’ve watched them, I’ve been with coaches and those skiers know precisely within an inch or so where they want their ski to be at any point in the course, they know their line.
They’ve talked about it with a coach and they can remember that. Now it doesn’t always go that way. So yeah, they do have to adapt occasionally. And they’re brilliant in doing that. That’s the mark of a real champion.
[00:31:41] Jill: All right. Super G
[00:31:43] Tom: super G. Now we’re turning up the speed. Super G was an event that w that came in in the 1980s.
I think the first Olympic super G was in 1988 in Calgary. And super G is a pretty fascinating event because it takes giants. Ramps it up a little bit. So the gates are further apart. There’s more speed, but not as much speed as downhill, but the big difference was super G is with downhill. You actually take training runs on the course official time.
Training runs just like a race in the three or four days before the event. So everybody’s been on that course at speed. They know exactly how the snow is going to work at high speed. That is not the case in super G. You get one, look at it, you cannot ski it. You can only slip it with your coach before the race on that race morning, and look at the course and plan your strategy.
And you have to do that and then go and ski that course at 70 miles an hour. Plus having never put your skis. On that course before. And, and that’s something that people don’t think about a lot with super G, but there is a lot of risk in super G and I love watching it. It’s fun to watch, but it’s essentially, it’s a higher end, giant slalom, but not quite as much speed as the downhill, but pretty close.
[00:33:07] Jill: It’s like somebody’s idea of a sick joke.
[00:33:11] Tom: Someone say that actually some with some would definitely say that. So CERN hurdle themselves down the hill at those, at those high speeds. It’s pretty amazing.
[00:33:21] Jill: But I could imagine if you were an athlete, like what a challenge that is and how much fun I like, how good am I that I can figure?
[00:33:29] Tom: he was taking a lot of pride in what they do in a super cheap downhill. There’s a lot of lead up to the downhills. It’s a lot of hype, super G man. You just got to go out there and see.
[00:33:41] Jill: Ski length here.
[00:33:43] Tom: Longer, we’re, we’re getting longer now. And we’re getting up over if you are recreational skiers, we’re now getting up over 200 centimeters on the skis. So they’re definitely a lot longer, they’re longer than what I would ski on.
And there actually is a difference in size even between super G and downhill. I’ll give you another story from the past in, at the 1998 Olympics in Nagano Japan, the downhill for the women was supposed to be the first event, but it was moved because of weather issues. So the super G was the first event.
Picabo street from the U S was coming back from an injury. She had only been back on skis for about seven months. Honestly she had no business being a top contender in that event. She had never won a super junior life, never won one after that, but the morning of the course inspection, she and her coach Harvick Dempster were up on the course in.
I have to hop out on a ski area. And they noticed that the core set that day was very straight. It was set almost like a downhill. So they got back down, they looked at each other and they said, you know what? We’re going to use. Downhill skis, little bit longer, less turning ability, but we’re going to use our downhill skis in the super G today.
And they secretly prepared the skis. Secretly got them to the top. They didn’t want anybody else to see it. Unfortunately, the Austrians did see it and they quickly prepared some downhill skis for some of their athletes, but Picabo street won that gold medal because she made that decision to go on a little bit longer, less tourney, downhill ski, the same pair of skis that she’d won the silver medal in downhill at Lillehammer four years earlier.
And she won the gold medal by a hundredth of a second because she made that critical decision on skis with her coach before the race. and that’s where super G is so interesting because you can get these little strategies that play out pretty rare to have a course that set that straight, that you would do that.
But on that day at work.
[00:35:47] Jill: What do the core centers work for? Like what are some of the elements that at least in super G that a core set or tries to put in? Do they want them to go across the hill or their Ridge or bumps in the hill that they’re looking to go? Do they want them to take a jumper? Whatever.
[00:36:03] Tom: Yeah, let’s combine giant slalom and super G into this cause it’s very similar. You want to maximize the terrain on the hill. So the courses, and we’ll talk about them in a little bit, but the courses in Beijing were designed by Bernard Russi from Switzerland and he’s designed pretty much every speed course from, for the last 20 or 30 years.
He was the gold medalist and downhill for Switzerland in 1972 in Sapporo. as a course designer, he’s just essentially crafting the hill. He’s not putting the gates up, but he’s going to design a course where he knows that the course centers can really maximize the variety of the terrain. So they’re going to look for rolling terrain.
They’re going to look for steep pitches. They’re going to look for some flats, and they’re going to try to build all of this diversity. And then the core center who actually puts the flags in he or she does have some parameters by the rules. They need to follow in terms of number of gates, number of direction changes and things like that.
But they have great latitudes so they can send skiers down over jumps. They can send skiers across the fall line. They can put them into rolling undulating terrain and just trying to maximize the. Testing of their skills by providing as much diversity as possible on the race course. So, and it’s very similar in giant slalom and super G. Downhill it’s a little bit different.
[00:37:37] Jill: I know. We’re going to get it a little bit ahead of ourselves here. but for someone like Bernard, having a brand new course to deal with both in Beijing and Pyeong Chang, where you’re building these. Areas from scratch. It has to be like a dream.
[00:37:51] Tom: Well, he, it is a dream and he’s the best, he’s like, a Jack Nicholas of golf course designers of ski course deciders.
But, but he’s, he’s amazing at figuring that out. Now let’s keep in mind that a mountain is a mountain. He can’t move the mountain, but, but what he’ll do and building the course itself is they probably, and I don’t know this course in particular, but they may move earth. They move may kind of sculpt trees.
They may take some trees out in some not, but when he’s building the run, he’s thinking about how can I build in this diversity? How, how can I give the core center? Who’s the one responsible for anchoring the gates in the snow? How can I give this core center, the maximum opportunity to diversify this course?
And, and, and he’s brilliant at it. We’ll talk about this more later, but no one has seen these courses highly unusual. So no one knows what the speeds are going to be. And I think as you get into the super G in particular and remember that the men are going to be doing it first, the men will have downhill and super G, but there’ll be the first ones to test these courses at speed.
They’ll be the first ones to figure out what happens when I ski over that Knoll at 60 miles an hour. No one knows right now that’s an unknown.
[00:39:07] Alison: Right? And these aren’t like Val that they’ve seen over the years. No one’s ever been here.
[00:39:13] Tom: Exactly, exactly. I mean, here, here’s the stat, they actually did test events a year ago in February of 2021.
And there were, I think around 15 Chinese some men and some women who ran the course. Course lengths were abbreviated. They were the only ones and none of those skiers who ran those courses were at a world cup level. So no one really knows. Yeah, you’re right. Alison, if you go to Cortina or, or Vangen, or any of the courses you run all the time, everybody has a feel for what the snow and the terrain is like, and they, they kind of have a sense of how far am I going to go off that jump?
No one has any idea in Beijing.
[00:39:57] Alison: Do we expect a lot more accidents because of
[00:40:01] Tom: I think you’ll find this to be a big storyline at the start of the games for Alpine on the men’s side. It won’t be on the women’s side because they’re starting with the technical events, but with the men running downhill and super G at the start, I think this will be a very big storyline that first men’s downhill training run, which is actually scheduled before the opening ceremony.
That’s going to be an interesting day to be out at a Yanqing,
[00:40:25] Jill: making a note
[00:40:27] Tom: to be there.
[00:40:30] Jill: Okay. So before we finished with super G who do we got there?
[00:40:33] Tom: Okay. I like Matthias Mayer from Austria. And I like him for a number of reasons. First of all, he’s 31 years old near the, well, I shouldn’t say it’s near the end of his career, but he’s been around.
He knows how to win. He won the downhill in Sochi won the super G in Pyeong Chang, after getting hurt, his father Helmut won the silver medal in Calgary in the first Olympic super G. So I like Matthias Mayer in this. He’s the defendant gold medalist in the men’s super G. He has had a a pretty good world cup season.
He’s second in the world. Cup standings behind Alexander Aamodt Kilde. Now Kilde from Norway is also going to be a factor. He leads the world cup right now. He’s got a victory in super G this year. He is also a Mikaela. Boyfriend. So that will be a factor somewhere. Somehow it’ll be a story. He’s a great guy.
He’s he really is. He’s 29. So between he and Mayer, they’ve got a lot of experience between him and I see the two of them really battling it out for the gold medal. You know, I was looking at who had dark horse horses, and I’m going to go as a dark horse with a Swiss skier Beat Feuz.
He also is a veteran he’s been around. He’s kind of lurking back, I think in fifth now in the world cup super G standings, but I really think this is a Matthias Mayer and a Alexander Kilde race for the, for the super G title. And this is going to be a spectacular race. These are two great skiers, great veterans.
They’re both at the top of their game. Kilde is coming off a knee injury. And it’s been fascinating to watch him this this fall he’s. Pretty strong. The Norwegians were heavily heavily hit by injuries. Last winter, they had three or four of their very best athletes, including Kilde, injured in January and unable to make the world championships in Cortina and February, but he’s come back really strong.
but I, I look for this to be a huge battle between Kilde and Mayer in the Super G.
[00:42:32] Alison: Women..
[00:42:33] Tom: On the women’s side, let’s go back to Pyeong Chang. And remember, this is the event that Ester Ledecka had. won from the, from Czech Republic.
[00:42:42] Alison: Love.
[00:42:42] Tom: This was the most amazing thing I have ever, ever, ever seen. She won both the women’s saw parallel, giant slalom, and she won the women’s super G. Thanks. She’ll be as big a factor she’s having a pretty good season, but this is going to be the Sofia Goggia show.
Sofia Goggia go from Italy is just absolutely killing it this year. She leads the downhill and the super G standings. She’s just winning. Everything. And I think Mikaela Shiffrin we’ll give her a run for money. My dark horse here is Swiss skier, Laura Gut-Behrami She is actually outright now with COVID, a little bit of a mystery as to when she’s going to come back.
But she should be good to go for for Beijing, but I tell you, this is going to be Goggia and Shiffrin. And remember that this comes a little bit later in the game, so this won’t happen until the final week.
[00:43:34] Alison: In some of my reading, they have been talking a lot about the Italian women. And I don’t know if it’s because we’re looking ahead to, Cortina in four years, but it feels like all of a sudden, and you haven’t mentioned other than this race, other Italian women, is this a team that’s kind of up and coming.
[00:43:51] Tom: Yeah, for sure. And I’m going to add another one in, and that’s Federica Brignone, and between Goggia and Brignone, neither one of whom will probably be around in four years for Milan Cortina, but they are really dominant right now.
Brignone had the suspicious accomplishment of winning the overall world cup title in the pandemic shortened 2020, and sadly got her crystal globe by the mail. And it’s something that really impacted her to have that high, a level of accomplishment and not be celebrated for it. Something that she’s talked a lot about and is really bothered her.
She’s having a pretty good season though. Right now, Goggia is definitely ahead of her, but Brignone will be a factor in this one as well. And we’ll be in the giant slalom, Brignone’s mother is an Olympic medalist. She’s also an Italian journalist. So yeah, Italy is pretty strong. There is another group coming up right now within Italy.
Uh, Looked for Italy actually to be a factor in the in the team event as well, perhaps. But there’s some interesting things happening there. And I think we’re going to continue to see that leading up to the Olympics in Italy in 4 years
[00:45:02] Jill: All right, downhill,
[00:45:05] Tom: The big mama. We’re up to the downhill now.Maximum speed. Uh, The vertical drop in the downhill for the men anyways in Beijing will be, or at the Yangqing venue will be 890 meters. So you can do the math on that. That’s almost 3000 feet and they come out of the start on this event. And this is going to be interesting to see. No one’s seen this yet.
And in the test events, they didn’t run the start. So we don’t know how this will work, but it’s a, something like a 68 degree pitch coming out of the start. Th this is done in some places, Kitzbuhel has a pretty steep start. The world championships in 2017, which unfortunately this event was shortened.
So they didn’t get to use it had a steep elevator chute type start. So they have one of these on the Yangqing venue so the, the men at least will come out of. Really steep start drop. There’s another really steep drop in the course, and there’s a lot of flat, particularly coming into the finish.
So both the men and the women will have this dead flat finish shush. So you have to have to have to be carrying speed into that finish. That’s going to be the, the real key. And it’ll be interesting to see the strategy, but you know, when you see skiers make a mistake, on course, the mistake is one thing, but the inability to recreate the speed is another.
So they’re going to have to carry their speed into this, finishing flat. And the women will have a shorter course. They don’t have the, the steep chute at the top. But that men’s race is going to be something to watch.
[00:46:35] Alison: And that’s the first one.
[00:46:37] Tom: It’s the first one up. Yep.
[00:46:39] Jill: One of the things I want to talk about is you see a lot of flying in the air, but you don’t want to fly because. Slows you down, correct?
[00:46:46] Tom: Yeah. You want to keep your skis on the snow, but that said there are going to be jumps and you want to figure out how do you hit that jump? How do you stay aerodynamic and how do you get those skis back on the snow as quickly as possible? So when you see someone off a jump going really far, that only works in ski jumping.
It doesn’t work in Alpine skiing. So you want to avoid that. Windmilling you want to also keep a good tuck off the jumps, so you don’t catch a pocket of air underneath you that would push you up. And, and, and that air is a factor. If you’re hitting that jump at 60, 70 miles an hour, puts your hand out the window of a car on the interstate, and you get a sense of what that air does.
But when that air hits you as a ski racer, it just brings you to almost a dead stop.
[00:47:27] Jill: I keep forgetting how fast they go.
[00:47:29] Tom: They go really fast 70, and what’s going to be interesting with the steep shoes to see the speeds that they get on this course. No one has any idea yet also the consistency of the snow.
It’s going to be cold there. Very, very cold. It’s going to be clear. So one of the things that we don’t really anticipate are the foggy issues that you often get in humid environments. So here’s an interesting statistic for you. The average snowfall at the location of the Alpine venues is five centimeters.
There’s not much snow there. And if you see pictures of the venue, it’s very stark. It’s just very arid, high plateau mountains. And they get a lot of winds coming down from Mongolia that bring with it. Things like sand. So the composition of the snow, and remember it’s all man-made snow and there’s nothing wrong with manmade snow.
In fact, It’s required that race courses are constructed of manmade snow. It’s just more durable than what mother nature provides, but the composition of the water is a little bit of an unknown. So the waxing companies are really wondering. How abrasive is the snow going to be? How will it react at different temperatures?
No one really knows. And this is one of the things that people really grapple about. In your podcast with Clare Egan, she talked a little bit about this as it relates to cross country skiing and biathlon that technicians have now been over there to test skis on the snow, evaluate the snow and try to determine what waxes are going to work best.
On the Alpine side, no, one’s really been able to do that. There’s been a few wax companies who have tried to get some Intel, but I think you’ll find now in the weeks leading up to the games as teams and technicians get over there, there’s going to be some really frantic work to try to figure out what’s gonna work best.
And there’s also a move away from flora carbon. So some of it, some of the. Chemistry that was used in the past, won’t be able to be used. So there are so many unknowns with, with Alpine and it’s going to play itself out more on the speed events than it will on the tech events.
[00:49:45] Jill: You read my mind on the floor of carbons.
Cause I was going to ask about that if that works, working in downhill, as well as what they’re doing with cross country, but, it’s going to be interesting. Not end being a wax techs job. For those two weeks, I mean, or two and a half, whatever, whenever they can get over there, it’s going to be nonstop for them.
[00:50:03] Tom: Yeah, it really will be. But, you know, I love those guys. One of the favorite things for me when I was at an event was to go and hang out in the wax from those guys are a special breed and they’re so smart and there’s so much fun to hang around with. So if you ever had a ski race and you have a chance to go into a wax room, just go in and chill out with those guys and bring them a case of beer and, just chat it up with them.
They’re, they’re fun people and smart people and they make skis go fast.
[00:50:31] Alison: You don’t bring an open flame with you though.
[00:50:33] Tom: Don’t bring an open flame, and bring a respirator.
We should talk about who to watch. So on the men’s side, the defendant gold medalist is Aksel Lunc Svindal who is retired now has been retired for three years. Dominik Paris from Italy is the current world cup leader.
He won the Bormio race, sine Italy in late December. But, and I’m going to go with him as the favorite, but again, Matthias Mayer, Matthias wire won this event in 2014. He won the super G in 2018. He’s having a great season right now. He has not won a downhill yet this season, but he was a second at Lake Louise.
He was second at Beaver Creek. He was second at Val Gardena. So I like him. I like him as a contender in this with Dominik and Kilde probably can’t be counted out as well. He’s fourth in the world cup right now. And he also won the downhill at Beaver Creek in early December. And he, I was there that day.
Just nailed it. An amazing run by him. The wild card I’m going to throw in is a Swiss skiers, 26 years old. Niels Hintermann, he’s just kind of come out of nowhere this year. He’s not had any wins, but he’s been strong. He’s third, in the world cup standings. He was third in Bormio, third and valgus Dana. He just strikes me as somebody. Who’s going to kind of be that one lurking out there. But I think this is a, a race for uh, Matthias, Mayer or Dominik Paris.
And then on the women’s side, Sofia Goggia, she’s the defending gold medalist. She’s the world cup leader. She’s won all three downhills this year and the one person who’s challenging her right now is American Breezy Johnson, who wins the best name award right now, and actually folks she she’s from Jackson hole and the folks at Jackson hole have just announced a, a helmet design contest. Lindsey Vonn was always big on those. So there is now a design, Breezy Johnson’s Olympic helmet. So get in on that action.
Go check it out somewhere with Jackson Hole, but she’s an awesome young skier, never been to the Olympics before. And she’s second in the world cup standings right now. And she is making a point. She’s going to be the one person I think could really challenge us. Sofia Goggia. The other one, a little bit of a wild card out there is Austrian I have a hard time putting her up there as a favorite because she just doesn’t have that big event experience. But she too has been kind of lurking in the background right now. So to me, it’s Sofia Goggia taking super G and downhill Mikaela Shiffrin, challenging her in super G and Breezy Johnson challenging her in the downhill.
[00:53:16] Jill: Okay. Combined, what are we combining?
[00:53:18] Tom: Well, the combined is one of these kind of poor stepchild events. Nobody really likes it anymore, which is really sad. I kind, kinda like it. So it’s very hard to pick a favorite, but to be good and combined, you need to be good in slalom and need to be good in downhill because the times are added together.
So there’s a, downhill and there’s a run of slalom. And they add the times together. So you kind of look for people like Alexis, Pinturault great giant slalom skier can do speed, can do slalom. He’s a consistent winners, won the silver medal in this event in 2018. When the silver at the world championships and Cortina last year, Marco Schwartz from Switzerland was the gold medalist at world championships last year.
So he’s certainly is going to be a favorite here. He was fourth in 2018 in this event. And then I would throw Kilde in again, Mikaela’s boyfriend, he’s going to be a factor here. And he did not go to world championships last year. So we don’t have a gauge there. He was hurt, but I looked for him to be a factor in this too.
And it’s a, it’s a tough event. They run it downhill. That’s not the same length as the regular downhill, but they run a downhill and that kind of separates out a few people, but then it’s so slalom skiers. If you’re a slalom skier, you can kind of hang in there in the downhill. You’re going to be good to go to when the combine, so that’s what I see on the men’s side.
On the women’s side, Michelle Giesen from Switzerland was the gold medalist. Four years ago. She will be a factor again. She won the bronze medal at the world championships last year, but Mikaela has done well in this. She won the gold medal at world championships last year and Petra Vlhová, her rival on the slalom side was the silver medalist at world championships.
So I think this women’s combined could also be really interesting this year and it comes kind of during the middle part of the game.
[00:55:09] Jill: Because it’s really two different kinds of skillsets. So we’re looking for the total package here,
[00:55:13] Tom: total package, she got out of the total package and you, somebody who was really good in that was Bode Miller.
Bode was just really good, Ted Ligety interestingly enough, I don’t think anybody would have necessarily picked that, but he was really good at it too. So you’re going to get somebody it, I think really, it almost needs to be the way it works right now with the scoring, just adding the times and what the times are for each of the events.
To me, it favors a little bit the technical person, if you’re a phenomenal downhiller and you have just a totally outrageous downhill run to take the lead, you’re going to struggle still in the slalom. But if you’re a really strong slalom skier and you can just survive the downhill and stay close enough, you’re going to be a factor.
So you’ll get some of the greats of all time. Like Ivica Kostelic of Croatia, that was him. He was more a technical skier, but he could hang in there on the speed side. And that’s kind of where Ted was. And it’s kind of where Mikaela is too. She can hang in there on the speed side and she can do a combined downhill.
It’s not as technically challenging as a full length downhill, but that combined downhill Mikaela can handle just fine. And she can totally knock it out of the park in the slalom. So that’s why I kind of tend to lean a little bit to the skiers. We have a little bit more technical expertise.
[00:56:37] Jill: So in the combined event, the downhill course is shorter is the slalom course also.
[00:56:44] Tom: Slalom course may be a little bit shorter, but not really so much. And I don’t know the exact time parameters, but you know, they try to keep them somewhat close, but the downhills going to probably be a little bit longer in time than they, the slalom is
[00:56:57] Jill: Team event.
[00:56:58] Tom: Uh, The team event, the team event is really one that requires a nation to truly get behind it, organize it and train for it and all, and some nations just don’t don’t really do this. it has really gone back and forth a bit at the Olympics in 2018 in Pyeongchang Switzerland won the gold medal at the world championships.
Last year, Norway won the gold medal. I looked for the team event and in the team event, there’s two men and two women. That ski what I find to be a very complicated format that I find hard to follow, but it is super exciting to watch. And I would urge spectators. Don’t get too involved in trying to figure out the details of it.
Just watch it and watch the head-to-head parallel racing. It is exciting to watch, but I look for this to be a battle between Switzerland and Austria. And right now, as we’re kind of looking at the formation of teams, Switzerland is kind of interesting. Switzerland has qualified for more quota spots than any other nation right now, even more than Austria.
Now that’s still, we have still have a little bit of time before that’s decided, but I looked for Switzerland and Austria to be battling for the gold medal in the countries that I look to challenge are going to be Italy, Norway, and. It’s a mixed gender event, by the way, too.
[00:58:19] Jill: I know it’s one Alison loves some mixed genders.
[00:58:22] Alison: I do. I love those mixed gender events. I think it’s fun. And I think it’s different for the athletes because they don’t often get that kind of, of system.
[00:58:34] Tom: No, they don’t. And the Youth Olympic Games have been a great thing because they’ve been a proving ground for a lot of interesting new types of events and they do it to make it fun for the kids, but the mixed gender events, they’ve been pioneering at the Youth Olympic Games.
I hope have a real impact on the Olympics that we’re going to see more and more of those. We’re seeing when this year in ski jumping for the first time we have the team event that we’re talking about here for the second time at the Olympics. So I love these mixed gender events, Aerials freestyle aerials has it at Beijing as well this year.
[00:59:06] Jill: Do you think that China will succeed or be put on the right path to develop a winter sports contingent in this discipline and event?
[00:59:17] Tom: Well, I’m glad you brought this up. I am going to talk about this from two different perspectives.
Number one, we are going to see a strong Chinese performance in the ski events. Not, to the point of dominating like Austria, but we’re going to see some strong performances. We will not see it in Alpine, but we’ll see it in freestyle. We’ll see it in snowboard. And you know, it’s one of the things.
You know, To take a bit of a, maybe a positive spin on China, which we don’t hear too much of today. one of the benefits of the Olympics is it spreads sport around the world and it allows nations to develop. More effectively, and that will happen in China. There will be more Chinese competing in skiing and snowboarding than there were previously.
They’ve been in freestyle aerials for many, many years and been very competitive, but not so much in the other sports. We will see more of that now. And I think from just being a person involved in sport, that’s a really good thing. And the other thing that we’ll see, we will see a growth in recreational skiing in China.
China is basically has been a zero market in the ski industry for years and years. And now with the Olympics here with a dramatic amount of capital investment being put into some of the major resorts, we’re going to see a growth in that market. Now here’s some numbers. There are around 800 ski areas in China.
Now there’s about 300 or so in the U S. Now in fairness, there are only a few really good modern standard ski areas. A lot of them are really small, but the numbers of skiers is escalating dramatically. They had estimated if you go back five or six years after Beijing got the games, their target was to try to grow, to have a country of around 300 million skiers.
Now there are ways our winter sports participants they’re a long ways from that yet, but there are probably in the 10 million plus neighborhood, which is still pretty, pretty good place to be for a country that really had no presence at all in skiing prior to this. So, looking at, one of the positive aspects of having the Olympics there, it will for sure give a boost to the ski industry worldwide, and it will open up an entirely new market to the sport of skiing.
[01:01:36] Jill: And the competition side. Cause I see this problem. Some of the biathlon kind. I follow it where you, the majority of the season is in Europe. And maybe you get some North America stuff and downhill, you get some more North American stuff. Cause there’s a lot more of resorts, but building a competitive circuit in Asia, even though now you have several Olympic type facilities in multiple countries, how, what are the powers that be doing to kind of get them up or are they?
[01:02:11] Tom: Well, it’s the hard thing here is. COVID has really had an impact on this and between COVID and the human rights issues in China, it really has kind of stunted some of this growth. The, the industry growth is still going on. You just don’t hear about it so much, but it’s hard to open new territories for competition. I mean, theoretically, you know, what should happen as time goes on, as there should be more world cup competitions in China.
So we’ll, we’ll see where that goes. I know that in freestyle skiing the world cup has been going to China for many, many years. There’s been moguls and mostly aerials competitions in China. Interestingly enough, not at exactly the same venue but nearby, but those have been going on for, for some years, but there’s never been an Alpine footprint in China.
And I think we’re a ways away from that. It’s challenging to. Within the world cup circuit each year, even to go to a place like Japan or Korea, Japan, there’s a really big infrastructure for ski racing, less so in South Korea. But if you’re going to have a global competition, if you’re going to have a world cup, you really need to take that series around the world.
Formula one auto racing is a really good example. Formula one goes all over the world. Ski racing has been very Eurocentric, little Scandinavia. Very little North America, no South America, very little Asia. And this is a little bit of just getting up on the soapbox for bet, but if you’re going to have a true world cup, you need to go to those places.
You need to go to Japan, you need to go to Korea, you need to go to China. So I hope that in the future that one of the positive takeaways from China will be that it does expand the reach of competitive ski sport.
[01:03:59] Jill: Thank you so much, Tom. We are really excited about Alpine and we really appreciate your insight.
[01:04:05] Tom: Thank you guys for all you do to keep the flame alive. I’ve enjoyed talking to you and you guys have a great time in Beijing.
[01:04:11] Jill: Thank you so much, Tom. You can find Tom on email@example.com slash T Kelly on Insta. He is Tom Kelly Olympic, and you can tune into any of his ongoing podcasts Last Chair, which is Ski Utah, Heartbeat, which is biathlon, which I have listened to. And it’s good. Ticket to Fly, which is on ski jumping and Inside the Mountain Collective, which is about skiing.
[01:04:38] Alison: Any conversation or I get to say Ted Ligety hot diggity. Okay. It was a good conversation to me.
[01:04:47] Jill: We have to talk about that because he started saying Ted like me a lot and my brain just instantly goes hot diggity.
And I almost started saying it out loud just as the call and response that you’re supposed to do. You’ve ruined me.
[01:05:05] Alison: I haven’t ruined you. I have made you special.
And I loved when he said, oh, you should get Ted on the show. I’m thinking to myself, there’s no way. Cause if he ever listens to the show, he will never come within a thousand yards of us though. You may see him in Beijing because I think he’s doing commentary.
[01:05:28] Jill: Oh really?
[01:05:30] Alison: I think so.
[01:05:31] Jill: Hot diggity,
[01:05:32] Alison: Hot diggity.
[01:05:33] Jill: Speaking of Beijing, this is very exciting. We have our Beijing viewing guide live and available for purchase. Alison, you were the driving force behind this. Tell us all about it.
[01:05:46] Alison: Yeah. so it has day by day scheduling and descriptions of all the sports we let you know, what’s new for Beijing and you can plan out all your viewing and not miss a thing.
[01:05:57] Jill: It’s exciting. And I mean, you can get this information, some of it online, some of it is our personal knowledge and also a nice viewing grid every day by day, which helps you see what’s going on at the same time and how to plan your TV viewing. But. If you do like your sports listed in alphabetical order, this is the guide for you.
[01:06:18] Alison: Cause let me tell you something. The, online Beijing guides have a lot of trouble with S’s
[01:06:25] Jill: and F’s
[01:06:26] Alison: and deciding if skiing comes before snowboard comes,– we know how to alphabetize.
So it is available as an ebook on Amazon.
[01:06:38] Jill: Yes. And we will also be putting it on Apple Books hopefully this week. So get your copy today. We will have links in the show notes. We’ll be posting it on all of our social media as well.
It is only 4 99. And yeah, it’s a super handy guide to have. uh, One of our Kickstarter levels was included a PDF viewing guide. So this will be coming to you shortly
That sound means it is time for our history moment. And we are looking at Albertville a 1992 all year long. It is celebrating its 30th anniversary, uh, last week you talked about some basic facts about the games and some of the big things and events.
I thought we’d look a little bit at how Albertville got the right to host. So this vote for Albertville was held in 1986 at the 91st IOC session at Lausanne in October. And this was the last time that summer and winter games were elected at the same time. Because as you said last week, this is the last time that summer and winter games would be held in the same year.
When you put 1986 into perspective, we are after the financial crisis of 1976 Montreal and the boycotts and the very financially successful LA 1984 games. So boy, did cities want to bid for the games in 86? So you had 13 cities between summer and winter. Yes. You had seven cities. I know. Can you believe this?
Seven cities wanted to host the winter games and six wanted to host summer games. Candidates for the winter games or Albertville Sofia, Bulgaria; Falun Sweden; Lillehammer, Norway; Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy; Anchorage, Alaska in the U S; and Berchtesgaden in West Germany. Famously were Hitler had his bunker.
Yeah. They had a, they had an image problem to overcome, and they were really kind of hoping that the winter Olympics would help them overcome that image. Summer candidates on the list Amsterdam, Birmingham, England, I think Brisbane was voting for this also Barcelona, the winner, and Paris.
So Francis running for both winter and summer games. Here we are in the era of big bids, lots of money going down. The cities combined, all cities combined were estimated to have spent between 70 million and $100 million on the bids.
[01:09:13] Alison: And in 86, a lot of money
[01:09:16] Jill: Barcelona was most extravagant. It’s believed that they spent $10 million to get the summer games and we don’t really know how much Albert bill spent, but Paris spent about 8.5 million for a failed bid. And, you wonder why we’ve gone to this host commission feature, right?
Your city hosts, the city’s commission process.
[01:09:40] Alison: I mean, cause what would $10 million in 86 money be today? So I can only imagine we had at least another zero or two, right?
[01:09:49] Jill: So the session is going on for several days. Of course, the cities had presentation stands in this palace in Lausanne and they had to lobby the members.
They had to do all of this stuff. They’d have special events but the final presentations were no more than 60 minutes and there was a timer this year.
[01:10:09] Alison: Oh, that’s a job for you.
[01:10:10] Jill: Yeah. Right. So in the process they did the winter election first, and then they did the summer election Albertville, their bid process started and kind of, I bet, I bet a lot of Olympic bids start as a joke among friends and then it turned serious.
And that’s what happened here with Albertville. And then Jean-Claude Killy got involved and he was the Alpine skiing hero of Grenoble, 1968. He won all three downhill medals. Games. And he was on the bid committee. He had a key phrase that was A race is won in advance. If you have done everything necessary to prepare for that.
So that’s what the committee did. Everything was super detailed. They had little detailed models of facilities. Their budgets were fully planned out. They flew members to the competition sites and helicopters, so they could see everything in person. And they also said, stadiums look a lot alike, but no two mountains in the world are alike.
So you need to see the mountains of Albertville and we will show them off to the best of our ability. The bid committee also worked to involve young people in the bid. And during the two months before the IOC session, 3000 children in 89 primary school classes created 89 presentation books in which they illustrated their vision of the countries of all of the IOC members, so that they could create this personal link between the Savoy region of France and the rest of the world.
[01:11:42] Alison: That is a lot of crayon.
[01:11:46] Jill: That is, and so these books were presented on the evening of the opening of the session. Get this at an artistic skating demonstration ordered at organized at the skating rink in Mallay, in Lausanne, a high class event featuring some of skating’s greatest names, including Scott Hamilton, Elaine Paige, Denise Spielman, Norbert shrimp.
Can you imagine being like, Hey Olympian, can you come and skate for our bid presentation party ahead of time?
[01:12:16] Alison: As we hand out, books filled with glue stick.
[01:12:21] Jill: so they had a, a, so IOC members got to have an encounter with a wonderful, fabulous. Olympic sport very popular, but they could also learn about the partnership they had with the young people.
And then during the official session, before the IOC members, a little boy from Savoy in the presentation film stole the show from French prime minister Zuck, Jacques Chirac who had come to Lausanne to give the bid a final show of support. And the young skier asked for the games to be in Albertville to give him a chance to become a champion.
And that underscore the point that having the games in France would help winter sports develop in the country more quickly. And then Jean Claude Killy said that the Olympic champion of 1992, we have yet to discover and bring to the forefront today there between 10 and 12 years old. And that’s the same age I was when I first saw the Olympics and Grenoble was picked as the host city. And I was able to become Olympic champion in that same amount of time. Tugging at your heartstrings.
Another argument for France to get the games. And this apparently wasn’t argument for several different cities was that they would honor Pierre de Coubertin who championed the revival of the ancient games in 1892.
I mean, they took a few years to come to fruition. But this would be like the moment he did. So like Birmingham said, Hey, he came up here to see those games that we had up here and he really liked them. We should, we should be the city.
[01:13:59] Alison: Everybody wants to claim Pierre as their own.
[01:14:01] Jill: Right. So I want to say a little bit about the vote because the IOC has changed during this time too, at the time IOC membership, average age, 64
[01:14:13] Alison: or 126,
[01:14:16] Jill: the oldest member was a Bulgarian Vladimir Stoytchev, who apparently just was at the meeting to vote and like, he’d go to the pharmacy and that’s about all that he can manage to do because he was 94.
They had 31 members over 70 years old, six members over 80 years old, the IOC wanted to implement electronic voting for the first time during this,
[01:14:40] Alison: Oh, that’s not gonna fly. They don’t know how to press the button.
[01:14:45] Jill: I found this great quote. I think this one might be from the New York Times, but some unnamed IOC member said, you have to prop up some of these guys to vote.
[01:14:59] Alison: Well, you just sit or roll them up, lift their arm, drop it on the lever.
[01:15:03] Jill: Well, they did use paper ballots because the youngest member I guess, helped distributed them. Youngest member, Prince Albert of Monaco.
[01:15:18] Alison: Or did he get his servant to do it for us?
[01:15:20] Jill: I don’t know. So, Albertville and the Savoy region did win in the fourth round of voting. It took four rounds to get through this. They beat Sofia, which was said to have the best facilities in the bid and some saw, can you imagine having a winter Olympics in Bulgaria in 92?
[01:15:40] Alison: Yeah. Right. As the Soviet Union is crumbling and, and the Eastern Bloc is, is falling apart.
[01:15:46] Jill: Some people saw Albertville selection as a consolation prize for France, because obviously when Albertville won, you knew that Paris was not going to win the summer games because they just did not put games in the same city in the same country anymore.
And yes, Paris did lose out to Barcelona.
[01:16:04] Alison: Welcome to TKFLASTAN.
[01:16:17] Jill: It has been a week for TKFLASTAN, the highs, the lows, the ups, the downs, the tugging at my heart strings. It’s been unreal. So, first off our most recent TKFLASTANI prior to Tom Jayson Terdiman and luge doubles partner. Chris Mazdzer crashed at their final qualifying race and Segulda, Latvia. They will not be competing in Beijing.
Chris has qualified for the singles competition, so he will still go, but this is pretty much the end of the road for Jayson.
USA luge did have a call with the doubles team who is going Zack Gregorio and Sean Hollander. And with the head coach, Robert Fang, and also Jayson was on the call as well. So I wanted to play you a couple of questions, one from me once from another journalist that talks about how he felt and what’s what’s happening now.
[01:17:12] Jayson: I try to keep it together while I answered this question best I can. It’s definitely been a lot of waves of emotions. A lot of overwhelming waves, but you know, in the moment in the, in the run ins to Golda, which, looking back at it now, knowing that was more than, more than likely my last competitive rum it’s heartbreaking to be completely honest, it’s, we’ve had this vision, this dream for entire quad since Chris and I jumped back on the sled together and it it’s obviously, what was it meant to be?
And we, we fought through a lot of adversity this season. We bounced back the best way we knew how it just didn’t end up being enough. But we, we crashed in 13, 14 and said Goulda and
every emotion possible, right? Like first was let’s flip this thing back over, like we all, we got to finish this run and we can hopefully get into the world cup tomorrow and get our chance at that top 10. Tries as hard as we could. It didn’t flip back over for us. So, Chris and I had a moment after we got off the ice, great embraced and
it’s tough, but a couple hours later I was just sitting a bunch of my teammates came in after I got back to the apartments and, we went through it together. But a couple hours later know the person in my mind is all right, what, what can I do to continue to help this team? Because it just because my journey is over, it doesn’t mean this show’s going to stop.
And I want to give our team the best possibility to be successful as I can. And I know that the blood that I own is the fastest equipment United States it’s proven itself over and over. And it happened to be that in the beginning of the season, I had had Sean lay on my side. Anyway, I just wanted to see what the fit would be like.
I was thinking that if we had qualified two teams and Chris and I were one of those two teams, if the new side that I had bought this season had worked out and proven to be the better one, I was going to give the sled to the second team. But we don’t have to worry about that now. Now it’s all about just getting these guys as comfortable as possible on this equipment.
I have a really good feeling where we’re going to be they’re gonna be hitting the ice here in about an hour and a half. And now I have butterflies. I’m excited. This is going to be awesome. And no matter what I think the experience these boys will gain from just sliding on the sled so that we know runs and we know drives the way we’d like it to either way these guys are going to come out of this experience, better drivers, better athletes and be ready to continue on the path.
And I know, I hope cause I heard somebody asked a few minutes ago if they were thinking about going into the quad, I hope they go another two or three because the potential is through the roof.
[01:19:39] Jill: I think Sandy, a question for Jayson, we had talked about you transitioning into coaching. How is this an opportunity or, I mean, how do you see this as a pivot into your next career?
[01:19:52] Jayson: Well, thank you, Jill. It’s it’s something I’ve actually been working on for a couple of years. Our coaching staff and my teammates have been gracious enough to allow me since Chris and Chris has been doing both disciplines, we were always separated from the team in the session, Christmas lights, singles with the team, and we would slide doubles either earlier or later in the day.
So I would be able to go out and coach in my teammates sessions which, number one is more helpful for me. When you think about luge, the athletes only get to slide for two to three runs a day. You try and less than a minute. But I’m out there watching sleds for two and a half hours.
So I’m seeing what’s going on on the ice, the pressures and seeing what the curves are doing. Seeing how other athletes, some teams are handling different situations which is incredibly helpful. But you know, getting the opportunity to kinda start my next hopeful career early was hopefully extremely beneficial, not just for me, but for my teammates.
It’s, it’s, I don’t want to say it’s making this easier cause this is not easy for me, but it’s definitely giving me the confidence in the fact that I’ve, I’ve set myself up to know, kind of what to do, how to interact with, athletes that are, that are training. And hopefully it’ll, pay off dividends done.
[01:21:04] Jill: So, yeah. Jayson has given his slide to Zach and Sean to use. They’ve been in, he’s been with them in Salt Lake City. They’ve put themselves in a bubble with the coach and they’ve been making modifications to the sled. They’re testing it now. And unknown. If Jayson will go to Beijing, they’ve been, there’s kind of been requests for him to be able to go, but with the testing protocols and the complications of getting into the country, they don’t know if that will happen.
That was another question that was brought up was what happens if you need to activate the alternate team at any point, would you be able to get Jayson in unknown? So, but, oh my gosh, tugging at my heart strings there. Yeah, of course he’s giving his sled to the other team and of course he’s coaching them.
[01:22:01] Alison: I mean, we talked to him for all of an hour and none of that is a surprise to me. So that beautiful story.
[01:22:09] Jill: I mean, it is heartbreaking to hear just the emotion that he’s of course, it’s going to take a long time to process all of that, but just so classy, I’m really, I’m really sorry for Jayson, but I mean, just coming out of it with such grace is so inspiration.
[01:22:28] Alison: We’ve got more drama at the U S Speed Skating Olympic trials. Erin Jackson stumbled in the 500 meter race and she finished third, which would mean that she is a world. Number one would not be competing at the Olympics, but the woman who finished first in that race, Brittany Bowe declined her spot for the 500, gave it to Erin.
So now Erin’s going,
[01:22:52] Jill: did you see this?
[01:22:54] Alison: I didn’t see it live. I knew it was okay. So I was prepared.
[01:22:59] Jill: I did not see it live, but I also did not turn on social media, so I didn’t know what was going to happen. And it was just jaw dropping and noise making inducing out of my body.
I was flabbergasted at the mistake and then they interviewed Erin and just her composure, her looking at the tape and going, oh yeah, I made a mistake. I clipped my skates. That’s on me. And also saying the, the rules here were a stumbled does not allow a Rescate. That was one of the things they were thinking would happen was that Erin, especially being the world, number one would be allowed to Rescate and go for a better time.
But she stumbled. She did not fall. If you fall, you might be allowed to Rescate. But she also said, look that flashed through my head and I don’t really like that, that encourages people to take a fall and. To me, that was also very classy and I stumbled. I’m not going to do what —
[01:24:01] Alison: I’m not going to take a dive.
[01:24:03] Jill: Yes. Yes. I’m not, going Hollywood as they might say in Australia. And then, so of course she’s processing the feelings of all of this hard work on the world. Number one, I messed up at one of the biggest races. We talked in our house. We talked about the poor officials who had to make the decision, who to not allow the Rescate and how hard of a decision that is.
Right. Decision, hard decision. And then Brittany Bowe, just stepping in and being the consummate teammate. Oh my God.
[01:24:40] Alison: And, Brittany Bowe qualified for the 1000 and the 1500. So she’s not giving up her spot on the Olympic team, but she had a shot. I mean, she’s good enough that she could have medalled in all three.
I mean the 500 is one of those races where if you’re in it, you can win it because anything can happen. Just like what happened with Erin? And she said, no Erin’s, the better skater, Erin has the better chance of winning the medal at the Olympics. She should be on the team for the 500, just everybody in this situation behaved with such grace and class.
We talk about that with Jayson, but, and there was, it wasn’t sappy. It wasn’t saccharin. It was very clean. Just Nope. She’s the better skater in this race. I’ve got my two good races. We’re all going to go together. And Team USA is going to be better for it.
[01:25:35] Jill: Yeah. It was a beautiful, and I just wanted to scream from the rooftops. Every little girl needs to see this. And these are your heroes right here. These are the women you need to emulate. Jayson’s another one, the way he’s acted. It’s tough for him, but the way he’s just coming out of it is something to emulate. And these athletes just should be lauded and set up as examples for future generations.
[01:26:07] Alison: And it makes us look really smart by the way, because in our call-in show, we talked about the Team USA Speedskating being superstars in Beijing and just how exciting they were. And we talked about Erin, we talked about Brittany Bowe. So when this all happened, I’m thinking right. God, we look smart and a totally selfish unclass list, totally unprofessional way, but I will give a plug by the way, to the Facebook group, we have Keep the Flame Alive Facebook group.
And if you wanted to talk this drama this week, we have been on there talking Jayson Terdiman talking Erin Jackson, and it’s been a lot of fun. So please join us in the run-up to Beijing.
[01:26:53] Jill: Josh Williamson or bobsledder pushing for a driver Hunter church won the bronze medal at the 4-man bobsled world cup event in Winterberg.
So that’s exciting that pushes them closer to an Olympic berth. I think their team’s going to be announced pretty soon
[01:27:09] Alison: This week.
Nate Bartholomay and partner, Katie McBeath finished fifth at the US Figure Skating Championships and have been selected to compete at the Four Continents championships in Estonia at the end of january.
[01:27:23] Jill: Good for them. I mean, putting together a new partnership and being able to finish that well at the national champs.
[01:27:32] Alison: Long program was very pretty.
[01:27:36] Jill: And snowboarder. Chloe Kim has been officially named to Team USA to defend her gold medal in Beijing.
And the dulcet tones of Jason Bryant appeared on episode 302 of Wrestling Changed my Life podcast. So if you, if you needed dulcet tone fix, which you know, we all do every once in a while tune into that, we’ll have a link to that in the show.
[01:28:00] Alison: No.
[01:28:03] Jill: Yes. So, Hey, guess what somebody has been charged under the Rodchenkov Anti-doping Act, which makes it unlawful to knowingly influence or attempt or conspire to influence a major international sports competition by use of a prohibited substance or prohibited method. That person is a naturopathic and kinesiologist.
Dr. Eric Lira of Texas. He has said to have distributed human growth hormone and a blood building hormone for the purpose of corrupting the Tokyo Olympics, as well as conspiring to violate drug misbranding and adulteration laws. Two athletes were named in this scheme. They were not identified, but one is believed to be Nigerian sprinter, Blessing, Okagbare.
[01:28:48] Alison: Let’s move on.
[01:28:50] Jill: it is 50 days to go until the Paralympics
[01:29:04] Alison: I’m ready for the food robot.
[01:29:09] Jill: When I saw it was 50 days to Paralympics, this seems like so far away to me.
[01:29:15] Alison: I know. So you’re leaving much sooner than I am, and I still feel like I have all this time and that you’re like I’m showing up next week and then leaving. Right. Supposedly there will be robot. Serving us food.
[01:29:30] Jill: I am excited about this.
I am too. I can’t wait to see this in action.
We’ll put this in the show notes and posted on social. CNN has a a video where in some of the dining halls, and I think this where they got it from was immediate dining hall, knock on wood. It’s immediate dining hall, where they have robots cooking some of the food, and then they either shove it out a window, or it gets delivered from the ceiling somehow on a plate.
And it’s kind of drops in front of you, like a big claw with holding the plate and then it opened up. You can take the plate out and you never have any contact with somebody.
[01:30:11] Alison: You know what robots don’t have.
[01:30:13] Jill: COVID
[01:30:14] Alison: COVID
[01:30:16] Jill: so I’m very curious to see how this plays out in person, but it’s very exciting. The new innovations.
[01:30:23] Alison: Oh my God. We’re going to get spaghetti dropped on our heads and I am going to love it.
[01:30:28] Jill: There is still no decision on fans. They keep saying they’re going to have fans there, but there’s nothing said about what’s going to happen with that. The closed loop is operational. Now there are about a thousand people in it,
Also announced that the Olympic Agora is open. If you remember, this was something that they had at Tokyo, which was kind of like an arts marketplace type thing based on ancient Greek agora marketplace.
This will be digital. It will feature artwork from seven Olympians, and then there will be two live educational events based on the Olympic values education program. Those will be on February 9th and 16th, and then there will be a grand finale with an online exhibition of rare vintage black and white photos that capture the origins of the winter games, starting from the figure skating competitions at the London 1908 Games.
I sound this on Inside the Games. And I just laugh because this is, I think this is par for the course for how things are going with China overall. Right? So you remember how we were talking about ski wax with Clare Egan and how the FIS and the IBU have banned some fluorinated waxes that contained C eight fluorocarbons and those were banned this year?
Well, that ban does not apply to China and no one knows what’s going to happen. So there’s the FIS doesn’t know how China intends to carry this out. So they don’t know what the policy will be. Can you use for floral cover carbons? Can you not use fluorinated waxes at the games? There’s, should you use fluorinated waxes at the Olympics when you can’t use them for the rest of the world cup season and wax techs everywhere going, what do we do?
[01:32:16] Alison: And they haven’t been to the courses. We talked about this with Clare and we talked about this with Tom. Just the whole idea that the wax techs have not seen these courses or seeing them very minimally. They haven’t been raised. So they are ready. Don’t know what waxes or combination of waxes they’re going to use.
And then there’s no way this is not going to be controversial because somebody’s going to use them. Someone’s going to use them and shouldn’t be using them. And is that an advantage? Is that a disadvantage? We don’t know. And it’ll be a surprise. So this I think is going to be the story that people don’t understand is controversial because what do we know about waxes really?
And yet it’s going to come up and w you’re going to hear a lot of it when you’re there. I have a feeling.
[01:33:05] Jill: I’m very curious to see how this plays out. If you get any answers, but. It is very hard to get answers out of Beijing for a lot of things. And I, I think that’s going to start to be to the detriment of the games until they start and reporters can start reporting on what’s happening.
[01:33:24] Alison: And I think what will be very interesting to watch, especially this story is what are you hearing versus what am I hearing in the state?
Oh, I’m excited about that. We should have that be a segment.
Have you heard about floral carpets?
[01:33:39] Jill: Oh, one to work on. All right. That’s going to do it for this week.
Let us know what you’re looking forward to at the Alpine competition.
[01:33:49] Alison: We love hearing from you. So get in touch with us. Email firstname.lastname@example.org. 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, as I mentioned earlier, to join the, Keep the Flame Alive Podcast Group on Facebook.
[01:34:11] Jill: Next week, we speaking of 50 days out from the Paralympics, we are talking wheelchair curling next week with Paralympian Steve Emt. Thank you so much for listening and until next time, keep the flame alive.