Fireworks from the Closing Ceremonies of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics.

Episode 226: Listeners on the Beijing 2022 Olympics

Release Date: February 24, 2022

We have a little bit of time before the Paralympics kicks in, so we wanted to hear from you, our listeners, on what you thought of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics.

Along with our great listener calls:

  • The Lindsey Jacobellis story from these Olympics was great
  • How do organizers justify having such a big press tribune, when they could make some money on having more spectator seats (for non-Covid-times Games)
  • How do  you wean a toddler off of wanting to sing the national anthem ad nauseum?

We’ve also got another doping positive from Beijing. And news from Paris 2024 and Milan-Cortina 2026.

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


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


Jill: Hello fans of TKFLASTAN and welcome to another episode of Keep the Flame Alive, the podcast for fans of the Olympics and Paralympics. I am your host, Jill Jaracz, joined as always by my lovely cohost, Alison Brown. Alison, ni hao. I am in Beijing. You are in America. How are you?

Alison: I am very confused. I am still recovering. I am still trying to catch up on sleep and kind of front-loading my sleep before I get on the airplane.

Jill: I’m hoping it will be a little bit easier for Paralympics because the schedule is so much smaller.

Alison: Right. It’s 10 days. It’s no more than five sports in any given day. So I think we’ll be able to manage it. I mean, the question will be how easy or difficult is it to get around to any place, you know, are they going to cut down the, the transportation as they’ve  venues disappear?

Jill: Yeah, that’s a very good question. We’re dealing with probably a third of the athletes that we have for the Olympics. And I’m guessing at least if I don’t know how much fewer press will be here, there, obviously there will be much fewer press, but maybe that will be a third of the press as well. So stuff, the footprint will be a lot smaller. But I’m very curious, just to as to how small it will be. We’re not talking about as many venues. But I think we have all three cluster sites still.

Alison: We have a call.

Jill: Oh right. Excellent. Phone lines are open.

Alison: Hello. Keep the Flame Alive with Alison and Jill. Who’s this?

Listener Patrick: Patrick from Chicagoland.

Alison: Hi Patrick! How are you?

Listener Patrick: I’m doing well. I’m trying to stay a little warm.

Alison: Yeah. Well, you cannot be as cold as Jill is.

Listener Patrick: The first time I’ve talked to someone in China.

Jill: Oh, nice, Well, if you, I’m in China, but I am in the closed loop and I don’t really, it’s not the same as China. I will be quite honest. It’s really not the same.

Listener Patrick: Is it almost like being on airport layover?

Jill: Yeah, kind of, yeah. You know, you know, when you can’t get out of security. So we have a little walking area that we’re allowed to go in because, partway through the planning and maybe a couple of months ago, we had a media call for how things were going to run here in the closed loop.

And we had, it was basically like, you go to the venues, you go to the press center and you get on the bus and you go to your hotel and somebody asked, well, what do we do, like, if can’t we walk outside for anything? And if you saw the video I posted like, literally you cannot go across the street to go to a different venue.

And so, so they created a little walking area out in front of the press center. And I finally went there yesterday and people, I had read that it was depressing and it was very depressing to walk around there because you could see out into the public.

Listener Patrick: Is it almost like this is now, excuse this term. I was listening to another podcast about like how people on this game show on TV Survivor. Before the show starts, they do like a pregame, but they can’t, they can’t do anything, talk to people. They do something called, they call it like a prison walk. We can’t even run because they can’t show any athletic abilities. So they go, what’s called the prison block. It almost sounds like that.

Jill: Yeah. Yeah. That’s probably a pretty apt analogy. but I mean the, the bonus side is there’s really hardly any COVID here at all. So they’ve really contained it. And that part, I feel, I feel very safe. Like I was very stressed out before I came here. I’m very relaxed here in the closed loop. I just don’t feel like anything’s going to really hurt us here. So that’s, that’s the upside. So they’ve, they’ve managed to keep good on that promise.

Listener Patrick: Yeah. Are you still going to be tested before the Paralympics in terms of like at this time between the games?

Jill: Yes, I am tested every day. So this morning I had my throat swabbed and I will have one more tomorrow and then I change hotels and then I go and have them. I still have them every day and we have a thing. Yeah, exactly. And they have security before you leave the hotel and you have to scan your ID and that has been hooked up. Your ID is hooked up to the testing stuff. So if you scan your ID and you haven’t taken your test, they won’t let you leave basically.

Listener Patrick: Wow. Wow.

[00:05:00] Jill: Yeah. Go back up and get your test. So they want to make sure that we’re, we’re all following the protocols, so, oh boy. But what was your favorite part of the games?

Listener Patrick: Well, like it posted in the, in the Facebook right there. It was seeing Lindsey Jacobellis win. When I, you know, I see the schedule, I’m like, well, it might be a late night, 2:00 AM central for, for me to watch. And I’m like, I got to watch her. I’m like, I could be on, I didn’t even know she was still competing. I’m like, oh, she’s still competing. Okay. And that was my favorite part to see her win the gold.

And then a couple of days later, seeing the mixed, the mixed relay as well. And I think one of the reasons why I enjoyed it and stuff is because it wasn’t something, it wasn’t like one of those ones where going into the games, I heard her name at all. You know, it was a nice, it was definitely a nice surprise and went, oh, she’s competing.

And then to see her win the gold and for her and Nick Baumgartner to win the relay gold as well, that, that was just, that was my favorite. And going into the games I’ve been not expected at all.

Jill: Yeah. It really does make you wonder, like how much, how much pressure the athletes face with having extra scrutiny on them, because she did have a lot, like there was a lot of focus on her in those early games and then just, oh yeah. Same with you. I didn’t realize she was still competing like, oh, well this is kind of interesting. She’s been around a long time. This is like her fifth games. So I mean to, for her to pull out that, that win and, and do it twice. And then the mixed team, I just loved that one because that was just, it was so good to see two people who have been hanging in there a long time in their sport and they win.

Listener Patrick: You know, and it has to be inspiring for some of the, you know, some of the other competitors who are like maybe late twenties, early thirties, depending on the sport and be like, you know what, maybe I can still do this.

Jill: Yeah, definitely.

Listener Patrick: Yeah. And it’s, and for her and for her, it wasn’t like she was, she wasn’t like some of the people like coming to the games, like with a lot of attention, not like, not like a Nathan Chen, Erin Jackson, who else? Mikaela Shiffrin. And those are like the three big names going into the games, at least from the American side, you know?

Alison: Yeah. Agreed. Nobody was talking about Lindsey Jacobellis. And certainly nobody was talking about Nick Baumgartner, and then to turn around and see them win that gold medal together was so fun and just such a joy and such a joy for the other competitors as well because you got the impression when they were all waiting at the finish line, you know, they all know Nick and Lindsey because they’ve all competed against them for years.

Listener Patrick: Yeah. This just to come on and come on a lot in the sport in general. It’s just awesome to see.

Alison: Agreed.

Listener Patrick:So that was my favorite. That was my favorite. Maybe one A, one B.

Jill: Excellent. Well, Patrick, thank you so much. Thank you so much for calling in. I’m so glad we got to talk to you live for change.

Listener Patrick: Oh yeah. It’s certainly a blessing and a pleasure. I’m looking forward to the coverage the next couple of years leading into Paris. Oui, oui.

Jill: Do they speak French in Tahiti? That’s what I want to know.

Alison: Okay. So if you go to any former French colony, they do speak, still speak a significant amount of French. Okay.

Listener Patrick: I would think so and hope so. I was going to say, are you guys good? Are you guys going to have one of you going to be one of you in Tahiti, one of you in France?

Alison: We have not discussed that yet. And I’m not sure if Jill would let me travel on my own. I think she would fear an international incident.

Listener Patrick: You need a chaperone.

Alison: I, apparently I do. I think we’ve established that, that, that leaving me on my own causes, causes some significant problems. And then she gave me a board where I can press buttons. I mean, what was she thinking? I’m going to hit the doping button, just cause I can.

Listener Patrick: I’m hoping to not hear about that for the week or so during the Paralympics. I hope not.

Alison: I hate to tell you there was a new one today.

Jill: Oh boy.

Listener Patrick: For the Paralympics or?

Alison: No, no, there was another, there was a Spanish figure skater who tested positive.

Jill: What is up with figure skating?

[00:10:00] Listener Patrick: Did you do the sound? Yeah. So you do that live, that you do that live. You don’t there’s no like it sounds like that on post production.

Alison: No, that’s live. We’re not CGIed.

Listener Patrick:  For the longest time, I thought that was like done in post or something, but no.

Alison: No, it’s a soundboard with buttons that I get to press now.

Jill: I know, thanks to everyone support that we can do that live. And it does save a lot of time in post-production. So I’ve really appreciated that.

Listener Patrick: Do you have music for 2028?

Alison: Yes, we do. I do. Okay. Wait, wait, wait. I can, I can play you the music that’s for 28.  Yes, exactly.

Jill: It’s very short.

Listener Patrick: Is that a Hollywood sound?

Alison: Yes, exactly.

Listener Patrick: Okay. I was trying to figure out what that, what was that? Okay. Now look, it’s Hollywood. Got it. Hollywood. I can’t wait. I know it’s six years away, but least I know I have a place to stay at my parents’ place.

Jill: Right. It’ll be nice to have one on home soil, because it’s been a long time.

Listener Patrick: Yeah, I’m looking forward to that. I’m looking forward to the other games as well. I don’t know if I’m going to go to 24, 26, but definitely 28.

Jill: Excellent. Excellent. All right, Patrick. Well, thank you so much for calling in. We really appreciate it and we’ll see you more on the group.

Listener Patrick: You’re welcome. All right. Take care. God Bless.

Jill: Bye-bye, interesting. It’s Barquero Jimenez from Spain tested positive for a form of testosterone. I wonder if, I wonder, you know, you think about figure skaters, trying to just stay thin, but I wonder if some of them would go to testosterone because the jumps they have to do are so hard now they need extra strength.

Alison: You know, I feel like this one is going to be contamination.

Jill: You think so?

Alison: Of something else, it’s just such a strange, unless this drug does something else entirely, it just seems like the wrong kind of med for a figure skater to be taking, I mean, a female figure skater.

Jill: Well, yeah, but if they need more strength now to do all of the jumps that they need to do and all of the, I mean, pairs, every skating routine is much more difficult now.

Alison: Yeah but the testosterone would cause her to gain weight.

Jill: Hmm. Interesting.

Alison: Hi, it’s Alison and Jill, who is this?

Listener Nick:  Hi, this is Nick.

Alison: Hi Nick, how are you? So what do you got Nick? What’s going on? What’d you think?

Listener Nick: Well, what did I think of Beijing? Well, I thought, I mean, it’s the Olympics, so it’s, I think it’s as good as it’s going to be. I was disappointed with the cauldron and then was pleasantly happy with all of the games that occurred in between.And then at the closing ceremonies, it all came back again and I’m like, oh yeah, that thing.

But yeah, my question for you all and because I have attended as a spectator two different Olympics. And I know that Jill is part of the press. And so when she kept saying, press tribune, I assume that was all of those kind of fancy looking branded seats that I’ve had to have all the desks and aren’t spectators seating. Is that correct?

Jill: That is correct. I don’t know how fancy you would call it because it was basically folding tables with a wall in front of them and they, they, most of them have plugins and you get monitors scattered around too. So sometimes you get a seat with a monitor, sometimes you don’t.

Listener Nick: Okay. Well, I mean, I guess the fancy covering type no more than a, still more than a normal spectator. So my question is,  how does the game that rely on ticket revenue for most of their, you know, to make up most of their budget afford to spend half a size of an arena, just in press?

Because when I attended, I can remember London was this way with the beach volleyball venue and the basketball arena, like the long side of the rectangle with all of that kind of seating. And I’m like, how many thousands of seats could you have put in and sold possibly, but then, you know, did broadcasters pay for that area? And that’s why that’s there. So I didn’t know if you had any insight on that.

And, if this is your first time attending a games and you saw it from that regard, I just wonder what the, what, what do you think the feel was like if you got to be a fan versus a member of the press.

Jill: I get what you’re saying. And I wonder if some, some of the seats are paid for, because there are people who can reserve desks in certain areas. But I wonder if the trade-off is, if the press is there, they get more coverage globally and can reach the worldwide audience versus the audience in the stadium. And maybe that’s why ticket prices get to be a little higher because they’ve got to offset having half that, half the arena blocked off.

[00:15:00] Alison: That’s true of every sporting event. I mean, if you look at a, an NFL game, for example, there is a good chunk of boxes and things that they use for press. So the Olympics are not unique in losing seating for the press.

And like Jill was saying, you know, those press offices, the big guns by space. I mean, when you think about what NBC paid for rights, I mean that offsets a lot of seats. So having a good relationship between the organizing committee and the press which in many ways Beijing was not terribly worried about, but in general the IOC is, makes a lot of sense. So whatever revenue they’re losing, they’re making up for in other ways. And, and it’s kind of the thing when you donate something to somebody’s auction and you get the good press. Yeah. You know, keeping it on the front page around the world matters. I mean, it matters to TV revenue. It matters to sales of merchandise. It matters to attendance. So the Olympics couldn’t exist without a good, healthy relationship with the press.

Listener Nick: I get that. My question to Jill though is was that entire set of tribune full of people to capacity?

Jill: It depended on the sport. It depended and it depends, and the press tribune depended on the sport too. Like for biathlon, the press tribune was way off to the side and it was very hard to see a lot of stuff.  I had I thought there was, and the diagrams would say that there was press tribune seating in the main stadium area, but I could never find it, which really bothered me. But the press tribune that I got shoved, shifted into was very, very far away from the main action.

Figure skating was totally full for especially, for the women. The women’s free skate and the pair skating was just a zoo. Curling, the gold medal game for the women, I got a press tribune seat without a desk because they had seats blocked off for us because those were all taken.

And let’s see, big air. They didn’t even have desks. If you wanted a desk, you were inside the workroom. They just had seating for you. So it varied from venue to venue and fullness also varied as well. I mean, there weren’t as many press here as there usually are for a winter games. So that’s part of it too.

Listener Nick: Okay. So you wouldn’t, not a fair comparison to say that it was used all the time or not.

Jill: It depended on the sport. And I think the people, who was competing, what the story was and the level of the match, usually they would ticket. There was a whole thing about high level interest events get ticketed for the press and you need, you can’t just walk in. So, that would be opening and closing ceremonies and usually like gold medal hockey games and, figure skating, some high-profile figure skating, nothing but the ceremonies was ticketed this time because they just didn’t have the number of press here.

Listener Nick: Well, I think it’s amazing. I think it’s cool. On the bucket list for me to go to a ceremony and you got to go both on your first trip, so good on you.

Jill: Yeah, it was. I felt fortunate. I will say the other thing that pays off, I think in terms of like, not being able to sell tickets to a venue because half of it goes to the press, is that the city hopefully pays off in the long run with tourism because it’s an Olympics. So that’s, that’s the only thing I would say. But I dunno, it’s a good question, Nick. It’s a really good question.

Listener Nick: Well, and I think about it because, you know, we’ve got two COVID, two COVID Olympics that didn’t get to have any spectators, and yet they had all the seating there. And an indoor arena, I get it. It’s already fixed, but there was still all that temporary seating, I guess, in the hopes that you would maybe get to have fans in there. Sounds like there were some fans out there, but I also remember like in certain venues at certain Olympics, you know how it’s kind of like, they always love to talk about all these rotting venues, wherever the previous host city has, and they show some war torn thing, or they show Athens as the examples why the tickets happened to, if you have all these seats that aren’t available and, you know, some of those seats would, it would have been, you know, you know that some of those are reserved for Olympic family and they’re reserved for sponsors. And so that puts another limit. I guess I’m selfishly looking at it from a spectator standpoint. I know I want to go to that venue and I see half of it’s taken for press and probably another third is taken away from freebies, so that doesn’t leave much for the rest of us.

[00:20:00]Alison: Right. To be fair. Those seats are the ones that you get on camera. I find it’s very hard to estimate the size of a venue from seeing it on camera. Because Jill will say to me, oh, this venue, I mean, this is the first time we really had this experience where she was literally sitting someplace and I’m talking to her and I’m saying, oh my goodness, it looks like there’s so many people. And she said, no, that’s just the one section they’re showing on camera.  So that’s a weird optical illusion as well.

Listener Nick: Yeah.Well, it just from when I’ve, when I have attended in person now, granted one within the United States, well attended. The ones in London were well attended. So complete sellouts everywhere you went.

I just looked at it like, man, I mean, this was packed. It’s like if they just gave up a little more chunk away, you know, I get the whole rights thing again. That’s the selfishness of me as a spectator thinking, man, if more people could experience this live, you know, I that’s, what I’m thinking from that standpoint is the spectator standpoint.

Jill: Yeah, it’s tough. It’s tough to balance it all. Well, Nick, thank you so much for calling in. We really appreciate getting to chat with you and appreciate all that you’ve done on the Facebook group, because it’s been fun watching the games with you.

Listener Nick: It is fun too. It is fun to participate. And, I look forward to the, I will tell you, you two brought me into the Paralympics. I would never follow it that closely. And after Tokyo, I was like, yes. Now the Para can come and I am just as excited to have those starters as the Olympics as well.

Alison: Excellent.

Jill: Excellent. All right, Nick, thank you so much. Yeah, take care. Bye-bye.

Superfan Sarah: Oh, hi.

Alison: If a number comes from Texas, it must be Sarah.

Superfan Sarah: How’d, you know?

Alison: Along with the amazing cookies that I can’t wait to bring to Beijing with me, what do you got for us?

Superfan Sarah: Buc-ee’s Nuggets.

Jill: Those are coming, I’m excited. I’m very excited

Superfan Sarah: Buc-ee’s Beaver Nuggets. And I’m just saying, if you really, really want to get on the good side of a bunch of Texans, like just take a picture of the bag somewhere and just post it. Like people will lose their minds.

Alison: My goal in life is to have Texas love me.

Superfan Sarah: I don’t know. A lot of people are like Texas, get over yourself. Right. Seriously, or find the Paralympic athletes from Texas and you’re going to be their favorite. I bribe with sugar, what can I do?

Alison: I’m doing my research now to find everybody and just start learning how to pronounce names properly.

Superfan Sarah: There you go.

Jill: What did you think of the games?

Superfan Sarah: My thoughts on the games range from moments that were incredible and wonderful and amazing as with any Olympics and then lots of moments where I’m like, where’s the freaking cauldron? What are we doing here? Hot mess express. So my emotions were all over the place. I am so proud of all the athletes that showed up, competed cleanly, that worked really hard, but abided by these impossible rules. Jill, bless you. The closed loop situation, just a lot of stuff I wrote. I know it’s a challenge. Certainly has to be challenging. So, I’m just proud of all the athletes that persevered, we’re able to compete under such circumstances. But I think that there is a big sigh of relief because they’re over, and I’m anxiously anticipating the Paralympic games with everything that’s going on with Russia right now and what that might look like even 10 days from now. So it’ll be interesting.

Alison: Yeah. So there’s, you know, this is definitely one of those times where politics and the Paralympics are colliding and it’s terrifying and scary and upsetting on a human level. And then, you know, there are athletes who are going to be caught up in the middle of this.

Superfan Sarah: Right.

Alison: And that’s really scary.

Superfan Sarah: That’s sad. It is. It really is. So, yeah, it’s just, it’s a very weird time in our world to have the Olympics and Paralympics going on and in a place like China. And you know, they’re, they’re good buddies with their friends over there in Russia. So it’s just, it’s really interesting. And I’m hoping that the Paralympics, I am hoping that they are amazing and incredible, and that everyone is safe. And even there that everyone competes cleanly, but you know, you never know, as we all have learned over and over and over again.

[00:25:00] Alison: Okay. So please tell the story that you shared in the Facebook group about how addicted your son is to medal ceremonies.

Superfan Sarah: Oh, yeah. I was actually going to ask if you’ll have any advice on how to help my two-year-old with his hangover.

You know, here in the United States, we just had President’s Day yesterday and a lot of people in our neighborhood, they celebrated by putting American flags along the sidewalk, and that was a horrible decision to take him on a walk because we had to stop and sing the national anthem at every single flag. I love the United States, but I also really was disliking the United States yesterday because I could not be singing the anthem one more time and I can’t take shortcuts. He knows if I skip words. So we keep having to reenact medal ceremonies and he also, I need to get it on video. He does like faces where he’s looks like he’s trying to be emotional, just like the athletes and pretend to cry and be happy and elated. I need to get the kid in theater or something, but yeah, we’re, we’re having a big letdown so to speak over here, but it’s okay. The Paralympics are coming.

Jill: A, that’s thankful, but then like Tokyo and Beijing being back to back was very helpful for this, but now you’re going to have two and a half years until Paris. So I, —

Superfan Sarah: Yeah.

Jill: What are you going to do?

Superfan Sarah: I don’t know what we are going to do. We always pay attention to international competitions, especially world championships and everything. So we will have things to watch, but obviously it’s not going to be the same. And, I mean, even today he was looking at the TV saying, flag TV, flag TV, and waving because he thinks every time that he has seen a snippet from opening or closing ceremony and people having a flag, he thinks that they’re waving at him and he just feels like he’s so special..

Alison: Well, if by some amazing coincidence, we do appear, either of us appear on the screen at any time in the Paralympics, we are waving at him.

Superfan Sarah: I will let him know that.

Alison: That is for him and for him alone.

Superfan Sarah: Oh, this kid.

Alison: Well, the advice I gave you on the Facebook page, I do want to share with the group, if they have this issue, I think you need to start learning the anthems of other English language countries. So at least you could vary your song choices. You know, you throw in an O Canada, you throw in a God, Save the Queen. I apologize for not knowing the names of the Australian and the New Zealand anthems, but.

Jill: Advance Australia Fair.

Alison: It’s very beautiful. I mean, I’ve heard it enough times, but I never knew the name and I’m sure there are others that I can’t think of off the top of my head.

Superfan Sarah: Yeah, no, I think that’s actually a great idea. And in our house, you know, as prideful as we are for being Texans and even Americans, we also, my husband and I like to travel. We love other cultures. And so we are trying to show him that part of the Olympics and why we think that’s exciting is there’s all these other cultures out there.

So I think it’s a great idea for us to implement other songs and maybe, maybe that will help us out a little bit.

Alison: It will at least give you a little variety to your, your song selection. I have been told that I am not allowed to sing while I’m in Beijing. So, you know, Sarah’s baby. Thank you so much. You’ll be doing my singing for me and I appreciate that.

Jill: And, you know, little kids learn languages better. So just start learning them on all the anthems, just go Italy, France, Japan, just get all the big guns and start working on them. He’s got two and a half years for Paris. And then, and then when he’s like 16, 17, be like, well, I can’t speak any other language, but I know the national anthems in about 12.

Superfan Sarah: Oh my gosh, this is like the kid that gets on TV for like being a whiz kid or something because of like their one specific thing that they know. This is a great idea. We actually have Spanish speakers in our family. So maybe we’ll work on that, on Spain and Mexico,

Alison: You have, you know, dozens of Spanish speaking countries with anthems here. I mean, this could go on for years.

Superfan Sarah: That is true. Okay. So we’ll stick to Spanish and English and you know, we’re hoping, we’re hoping that we’ll have a family trip to Paris in 2024, and then he can just show off what he’s learned. But also if we’re, if we’re there watching the athlete along the Seine, he’s going to lose his mind. Oh my gosh.

[00:30:00] Alison: I’m sitting there. I want the seat with Super Fan Sarah.

Superfan Sarah:  Like Super Fan Sarah and then Super Fan Sarah junior. My God. I know, I know that this is partially my fault. But there’s so much of this but I don’t know. Maybe my family has a weird genetic thing when it comes to sports and whatnot. Right? Yeah. I, I mean, I haven’t stopped the kid, so here we are.

Alison: Perfect.

Jill: And he’s happy and that’s important.

Superfan Sarah: Yeah. I mean, there are weird things like the other day he got a haircut and they asked me, they said, what kid’s show can we put on that will make him happy while we cut his hair? And I said, do you have any sports? I know they were thinking animation, but put on football or basketball or hockey or any, any sport and he’s into it. I mean, I’ve never seen a kid sit and watch an entire marathon and be excited about.

Jill: Wow. Excellent.

Superfan Sarah: Yeah. So proud mom, also a little bit over singing the national anthem is what it all comes down to, but it’s okay. There’s worse things. There’s so many worse things.

Jill: Excellent. All right, Sarah, thank you so much for calling in and thank you for being a big part of this whole shindig that we have here, Keep the Flame Alive. We really appreciate it.

Superfan Sarah: Y’all are doing great. I’m so proud of y’all and we’ll talk soon.

Jill: Ok, sounds good. Take care.

Superfan Sarah: Bye.

Alison: So I do have a funny anthem story. Okay. So obviously this time around the Russian anthem was not played and they played the Tchaikovsky piece. So the opening strains of that Tchaikovsky piece also were the opening strains of a commercial from when I was a kid of one of those compilation albums.

Jill: Oh, wow.

Alison: Like the biggest hits of, classical musics, musics, classical music, you know, sort of like, classical moods or one of those kinds of things. So every time they played it, I would get this visual in my head of these rolling mountains with a sunset behind it, because that was the commercial.

Jill: Oh my goodness.

Alison: It was the most un-Olympic looking mountains. These are not, you know, grand, these are rolling hills and peaceful thoughts and you know, the orange sky and it is so unheroic that it made me feel like in my heart that the Russian Olympic Committee was being punished again and they didn’t even know it, by their music selection.

If they continue to win at, if RPC now we’re going to be referring to them as RPC during the Paralympics. I will have to get a better game face for when that, that music plays.

Jill: Oh man, one of the reasons I made sure I got to the men’s gold medal hockey game is because I thought they would win. And I remembered how it was in 2018 when the whole crowd just sang the Russian anthem, regardless of what was being played. And I thought, oh, that’ll be interesting.

And then I looked at the crowd and went, Hmm, I don’t think they’ve got the crowd behind them. Maybe, maybe. The local people know some of the Russian Anthem, I don’t know, but I’m not sure we have a lot of Russian nationals here in the audience and then they lost.

And the first time I heard the anthem was at the closing ceremonies because the men’s 50k cross country winner was from ROC. So it was, it was just very jolting to hear that song. I knew it was coming, but it was like, oh, that’s an interesting choice to replace an anthem

Alison: Because it’s very un-anthem like.

Jill: Correct.

Alison: Did you discover any new anthems that you really liked?

Jill: I will say that the Chinese anthem is very fitting. It is very short, but it is, I think it embodies this country very well. And I heard it a fair amount. I didn’t go to a ton of medal ceremonies, so I can’t say too much about that, but, and some of them I went to were US won. So I saw that. France. I knew I liked the French national anthem, but there, there weren’t a ton of ones that I hadn’t heard before.

[00:35:00] Alison: I apparently have never heard the Dutch anthem before. I guess I’ve never watched a speedskating. I’ve never, and of course this time, because I did my speedskate, my medal ceremony research happened to be a big speedskating night. And I was like, how have I never heard this before? This is lovely.

Jill: Right. And I would have heard the Dutch anthem as well. I don’t remember it to be quite honest because that was,

Alison: It sounds very Dutch, very anthemy, but, but still pleasant as a piece of music.

Jill: Interesting. Interesting.

Alison: It may me want to skate very fast and wear some orange. Oh, the king and queen of the Netherlands welcomed the back the Dutch athletes with a huge luncheon.

Jill: Yay

Alison: And the women wore these high-waisted orange palazzo pants.

Jill: Oh, wow.

Alison: Very stylish. Oh yeah.

Jill: Wow. Not fooling around.

Alison: No. Yeah. A lot of welcome home ceremonies. Erin Jackson has been doing the New York City tour.

Jill: I saw a picture that she was on Good Morning, America.

Alison: She’s been everywhere. She was at Rockefeller Center. She was at Good Morning, America. She, I think she’s on some late shows or was on.  I think she may have been on Fallon. I don’t stay up that late no more, but that’s been fun to see everybody coming home and, and getting their welcome home ceremonies because Tokyo was kind of a hit or miss with welcome homes because of COVID right, but this they’ve really rolled out the carpet for all these athletes and that’s been fun to watch.

Jill: Very nice. Very nice.

Oh, I see. Paris 2024 has announced that the competition schedule will be, by session, will be ready this year. Ticket sales will launch in the first half of 2023. Mascots will launch this autumn and the torch relay route will be unveiled in July, 2023. So we are getting close. I’m very curious to see what they do for mascots.

Alison: And to no one’s surprise, Milan Cortina announced they’re behind schedule, but they’ll catch up. You know where we could have been?

Jill: In Stockholm.

Alison: We could have had flat pack Olympic stadium that we could have put together with an Allen wrench and picture directions. And it would have held up over three moves with six roommates. We could’ve had sliding in Sigulda.

Jill: Well, I’m still wondering if we will have sliding in Cortina. I would not be surprised if in two to three years, we find out that sliding will be in St. Moritz Would not be surprised.

Alison: Which will be interesting.

Jill: Not saying they can’t do it because maybe it takes just two years to renovate that thing. But if you’re going to renovate it and you should be having test events, because hopefully we will be having test events again like we usually do. I don’t know. I do not have faith.

Alison: Though it will be easier to have test events in Cortina simply because the world cup is in Europe. So you can just stick that into the schedule. It’s not like trying to have the test events in Pyeongchang or in Beijing where they really had to carve out a whole month of the schedule to have an Asian swing.

This is just, oh, we’ll be ready next month. Let’s put it in the schedule, not quite next month, but you know what I mean.

Jill: Yeah. But these schedules. Well, I mean, the season schedules get released a year or two or more in advance. So there is some planning that has to happen. I mean, a lot of the venues like Alpine skiing is going to be the same as what’s on the world cup right now. Biathlon’s the same as what’s on the world cup right now. So that’s not a big deal, and they’ve already really tested these events. It’s going to be the sliding ones that really are questionable because of the fact that there is no track there that is fit for use.

Alison: And skating. I mean, they’re building new skating venues as well. So those will need some test events, but those, I don’t think are going to be the issue because there, it’s pretty easy to find the money for that because, that’s a venue that will get used. I mean, it’s an indoor stadium, basically with ice underneath it, you can use that for a lot of things. A sliding track is a sliding track, right?

[00:40:00] Jill: Yeah. And I know that there’s an element of the press that says, oh, you’ve changed this bidding selection to be something that’s behind closed doors. It used to be open and more transparent. And now it’s all behind closed doors and everything is going to be just, but, oh, and look, and John Coates happens to be head of all these things. And somehow he got, you know, Brisbane suddenly became a host city for 2032 very quickly. Doesn’t that look strange? And you can hear the IOC side going well, we, he recused himself from all of these different conversations, but, you know, relationships are relationships, that kind of thing.

Alison: But on the flip side of that, you know, we also have slammed the IOC for not choosing appropriate hosts. Yes, Russia, China and all sorts of issues. I mean, going to Australia,  kind of a safe bet because you know they can handle it, you know they’ll get the facilities and you know, they’re not going to start a war.

Jill: Right. Exactly. And we’ve seen the IOC membership time and time again, vote with their hearts and not their heads. And that’s what we’re getting for Milan Cortina. You voted with your heart, you followed the passion. Italy can do passion like nobody’s business, but can they get these significant infrastructure things running in time? How over budget will that be? I’m not even going to say how close to budget because you, we know this is just going to be way over budget and it’s going to be an issue and it’s frustrating.

But I do see that as being a big benefit to this new host city selection. Even if it’s behind closed doors, we know who’s bidding, you find out, but it’s just like, do you have the venues already. No know? Come back to us when you’ve got more venues kind of thing.

You know what I’m saying? I just think there’s just a little bit more, we don’t have to spend millions and millions of dollars to put together a bid that we will lose because that got kind of insane too.

Alison: Hey, Australia, New Zealand has always irritated you. Let’s do a little saber rattling. Yeah. Yeah.

God, I mean, the IOC is constantly and we say this all the time. They’re constantly, not to continue the war analogy, but they’re fighting the last war. And I think with the bid process, they’re trying to stop doing that. I mean, when the, when they were making the selection for Beijing and they’re choosing between Beijing and Almady because nobody else wanted it, but now that bill comes due and you’re dealing with all these issues right now.

And you know, when we get to Milan and Cortina, yes, you had two really strong bids from two, very easy to select hosts, you know, there wasn’t a big risk in terms of publicity or relations, but come on, you know what happened in Torino. Yeah. Did you honestly think it was going to be any different. I mean, how many times are you going to go back to the cheating spouse?

Jill: Right. Well, and maybe they also looked at public opinion, which Sweden probably wasn’t super high, but they had enough public support behind it to like, not drop their bid, but at the same time, it’s, it’s good to see a change happen. And this will be a change that I wouldn’t be surprised if host city selection evolved again into something different, but for now I think this is a good place until the Olympics can prove that they aren’t as expensive as they used to be and LA will be a good one because I think almost every venue is already built and they can at least hang their hat on the fact that nothing is being built specifically for the games. Yeah. You got to dress stuff up, to make it look Olympic, but we’re not going to build a new stadium for you.

Well, should we call it a day?

Alison: Yes. We’ll call it a day while we can. So we have a show this week, then I’m getting on a plane. We got a show next week, we hope together again in one place, fingers crossed everyone. Start cheering for my white blood cells that they’ve been doing their job.

Jill: You will make it here. You’ll be in the closed loop. I have to say good thing we didn’t get on Cathay Pacific considering what’s happening in Hong Kong right now.

Alison: I know. I got a lovely email from Singapore Airlines today. You will be traveling with us soon and I’m screaming at my phone, “I hope so.”

[00:45:00] Jill: You will get there. You will get your green code. All your  tests will be negative. You will get here. The flight will be fine. And you’ll test negative upon arrival and you will be welcomed into the closed loop.

Alison: The warm embrace of the closed loop.

Jill: That’s right.

Alison: Well, thanks to everyone who’s been on our Facebook group all this week and last week. It has been so much fun interacting with you. So many things that we didn’t catch and that we didn’t see, and lots of strong opinions, which I love. I love to be told that I’m wrong. I actually do. It may not sound like that, but I really do, and just a whole new ideas of looking at the games and the athletes in a different way. So thank you so much.

And if you haven’t joined the group, be sure to get on there before the Paralympics, because even though we will be there, we will be here on there. And that is Keep the Flame Alive podcast group on Facebook.

Jill: So thank you so much for listening. We’re excited to get the Paralympics coverage going. We will have daily shows again. So until then, keep on keeping on in the Facebook group and on Twitter and Insta, we’re @flamealivepod, and we will talk to you soon. So until then, keep the flame alive.