US Nordic Combined athlete Annika Malacinski gives a high five. Photo courtesy of USA Nordic.

Episode 241: Women’s Nordic Combined with Annika Malacinski

Release Date: June 17, 2022

Nordic Combined is the only sport on the current Olympic program that is only open to men. Many athletes are working to change that, including Team USA’s Annika Malacinski. We talk with Annika about how the sport works, which surprisingly involves a lot of body measurements (see: ski jumping suit scandal at Beijing), and we learn about one of the best winner’s prizes ever.

Annika gets pretty frank with us about how tough it is to not have her discipline in the Olympics. It tried to get into 2022, but was denied. Its attempt to get into 2026 needs your help!

Next week, the International Olympic Committee Executive Board will meet, and finalizing the Milan-Cortina 2026 sports program is on the agenda. You can show your support for inclusion of women’s Nordic combined by:

  1. Contacting an IOC member.
  2. Signing the Change.org petition.
  3. Posting support on social media – be sure to tag USA Nordic, FIS Nordic Combined, US Ski and Snowboard, Team USA, the Olympic Games and local/national news outlets with your support or opinion.

Here’s USA Nordic’s call to action.

Follow Annika on Instagram and TikTok!

In our Albertville 1992 history moment, Alison’s back on the ice with details about the top four ice dance teams:

Klimova & Ponomarenko:

The Duchesnays:

Here’s the routine the Duchesnays were going to do, but were advised not to — it’s way out there for 1992:

Usova & Zhulin:

Grishok & Platov:


And this is just the tip of the ice(dancing)berg!

In our Team Keep the Flame Alive Update (TKFLA), we have news from TKFLASTANIs:

  • Wheelchair curler Steve Emt
  • Race walker Evan Dunfee
  • Commentator Rob Snoek
  • Beach volleyball player Kelly Claes Cheng
  • Former bobsledder Nick Cunningham
  • Paralympian John Register – check out his article in U.S. Veterans Magazine.
  • Speedskater Erin Jackson

In Paris 2024 news, the disagreements over the proposed basketball venue are quickly turning into a novela. Who will end up in Lille, basketball or handball?

In Winter 2030 bid news, a First Nations/Canadian bid team has announced its engagement phase for a Games coming back to Vancouver and Whistler….and Sun Peaks (Kamloops). We’ve got details on the initial plan and run down what’s going on with the other bid city hopefuls. Targeted dialogue should start in December, with a host city possibly announced at the IOC Session in Mumbai next May/June.

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

Photo courtesy of USA Nordic.


TRANSCRIPT

Note: This transcript is machine-generated, and although we try to correct it, it does contain errors. Please use the audio file as the record of note.

Jill: [00:00:00] This episode is sponsored by Winter\Victor Studio.

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?

Alison: I’m feeling very unaccomplished.

Jill: How so?

Alison: Well, it, it feeds into our interview today. When we, we spoke to our, guest today, she had, gone on a run before we spoke to her very early in the morning. And now you’ve gone on a bike ride as we’re recording very early in the morning and I kind of rolled outta bed and, did my best to not sound like.

Ethel, a friend who comes out every once in a while. so I’m feeling very behind everyone this week.

Jill: That’s okay. I’m I only did an early bike ride today because it’s going to be in the nineties and yesterday it got to be 102 degrees on our home based weather system. And it was 107 with the heat index.

Today will be cooler. But it’s gonna be another brutal heat wave.

Alison: It’s like running the marathon in Japan.

Jill: Very true. Except for, I have no Sapporo to take the podcast recording business up to .

Alison: We need people to just like throw water cups at you. as you go by

Jill: I will take that. We would like to thank our sponsor today, Winter\Victor Studio, Winter\Victor believes sport and beautiful design go hand in hand.

And that a designer’s versatility is just as important as an athlete’s dexterity. Winter\Victor provides distinctive graphic design to clients in sport from logos to digital communications. Winter\Victor brings the same passion to design that our, clients bring to the field of play. Add a responsive and versatile designer to your team at wintervictor.com.

Hopefully today talking about a winter sport will make me feel chilly, but we are talking Nordic combined. Nordic combined is the only sport on the current Olympic program that is only open to men. Many athletes are working to change that including Team USA’s Annika Malacinski.

Annika tried ski jump for the first time at age 16 and only a year later was named to the national team in women’s Nordic combined. She competed in the first ever when women’s Nordic combined world cup and world championships during the 2020-21 season and hopes to see the event added to the schedule for the 2026 Olympics. While we’re away from the start of the Nordic combined season.

This next week is really important for this event. As the IOC is set to decide. On women’s inclusion at Milan Cortina 2026. We will have more on how you can help after the interview. Take a listen to our talk with Annika Malacinski.

All right Annika. Thank you so much for joining us it’s been a while since we’ve talked Nordic combined. So let’s talk a little bit about the sport. It’s ski jumping and then cross country racing.

What drew you to it?

Annika Malacinski: Yeah, so basically I actually have a very unique story on how I kind of came into women’s Nordic combined. I was a gymnast for 14 years and I was doing it at a very elite level. So I was in the gym about 24 hours a week. And it got to a point where my body just could not handle the tumbling, the vaulting, just, it became so much on my body.

And I went through a very like kind of depressive episode of not having gymnastics. And I was one of those kids that did every single sport, like you name a sport and I did it. So my whole life, I felt like my purpose was being an athlete in sports and whatnot. So, when kind of gymnastics was taken away from me, I had no idea what I wanted to do.

And. I was 16 at the time. So I didn’t even think that I could like start up a new sport, but my brother, Nicholas Malacinski, he he’s actually been doing Nordic combined since he was seven. And I went to go watch like the annual 4th of July competition here in Steamboat. And. I don’t know what clicked in my brain, but I saw him jump that and I was like, okay, I wanna try that.

So less than two weeks later, I was geared up, put into these extremely uncomfortable boots, literally cutting my circulation off. I had no idea why my [00:05:00] skis were so long and they sent me off the 40 meter. Because in the summer in Steamboat, that is the smallest ski jump . So, I would say that was probably one of the most exhilarating, but also so scary being at the top of that 40 meter jump, having no experience with ski jumping and being just like, yeah.

Okay. Let’s, let’s let go of this bar and get into this track and jump . So, um, it was crazy, but like, I am a complete adrenaline junkie. And when I got up in the air and flew like the two meters I did, I was just so hooked on this flying feeling. And it’s been four years since that jump actually coming up in August.

And I am just like looking back at it, like I’ve gone through a crazy adventure and journey with Nordic combined, but I’m so glad that I decided to try it at 16 years old.

Alison: Why Nordic combined versus just staying with ski jumping?

Annika Malacinski: So I grew up with a very athletic mother. So she was actually trying to go to the Olympics for swimming when she was about 18, but unfortunately got very sick and that was not a possibility for her anymore, but um, she put me, or she kind of knew like why endurance sports were so important.

. So yeah, my mom was like super wanted to put me and my brother into endurance sports. So as her being a swimmer at our age she forced swimming and forced cross country skiing. So at the time I wasn’t a fan of endurance sports. I really loved my gymnastics. Um, I liked doing soccer, you know, horseback riding, but she pushed it like very aggressively . So, I mean, thanks to her, you know, I am able to do, Nordic combined because I have a skiing background. But yeah, it was, I didn’t even think about going into ski jumping, just cuz I wanted to follow in my little brother’s footsteps, which is kind of hard saying, but yeah, he had always done Nordic combined and I had a skiing background, so, Yeah, I feel like it, it was never even an option to go into just ski jumping.

Jill: How is the impact of a ski jump landing compared to the impact of landing gymnastics tricks? I.

Annika Malacinski: That’s actually a good question. I’ve actually never gotten that question before, but I say ski jumping landings, you look at the ski jump and you think that you’re coming in hard and fast, but honestly like when you’re gliding in the air, you’re a lot of people think that you’re way up in the air, but you’re actually pretty close to the ski jump.

So coming in really should be pretty graceful. And it’s really not much impact at all. But as a gymnast, I feel like it was a lot of impact, especially tumbling and then vault. And it was just so hard on your joints, like flipping through the air and then coming in on a blind spot and trying to land it and, you know, not take a step or jump out of bounds.

So. I think, yeah, ski jumping is just, it’s more graceful coming into the landing and then once you’ve done it for so long, you kind of know what you like expect and want to feel, I guess,

Alison: Is the flexibility from gymnastics help or hindrance?

Annika Malacinski: Oh my God, I can’t, I can’t thank gymnastics enough because I can truthfully say that if I did not do.

Gymnastics for 14 years of my life. And then just sporadically try to do ski jumping. It would not have worked. Gymnastics gave me my flexibility, which is extremely important in the ski jumping world. It gave me body awareness. Coordination balance. It gave me so much. The only thing that I would have to complain about these two sports, like going from gymnastics to ski jumping is it took me a full year to realize that I like pointing my toes versus flexing them in the air.

So yeah, it was, a long process to try to figure this out. And I mean, I remember I had a Hungarian Olympic coach. In gymnastics and the amount of times he would yell at us to point our toes, straighten our knees, like the form had to be there. And then for all of a sudden, going to ski jumping where it’s like, no, you wanna do the opposite.

Like you wanna bring your toes up and have as much flex as you as possible in the air. It was just like so hard for my brain to comprehend this. And um, it was not good because, I mean, when you point your toes in ski jumping, I mean, your skis are falling away from you. So, I think that was like the only thing that was really hard jumping from both boards.

Alison: Do you ever have to fight the urge to salute the judges before you go down the, the ski [00:10:00] ramp

Annika Malacinski: Definitely one of my signature moves, I feel like. So in ski, jumping, you come down in a Telemark and that’s where you get like points. So in no means, do you wanna just like come down, you’re supposed to be in a Telemark, make it look pretty?

I, my fingers were always like in this gymnastics and like, I would come down and I’m just like in my little gymnastics, dainty fingers. And I think my coach spotted out. He’s like, are you like. What are you doing with your fingers when you go in your Telemark? I’m like, oh my God. Because like, I mean, when you’re in gymnastics, that that’s all it is with these like dainty beautiful fingers.

And so I still, I still actually do that, like world cups and whatnot. If you rewatch the videos, like I come down and my fingers are out.

Jill: That’s gonna change ski jumping. I bet ,

Annika Malacinski: that’s I’m serious at home. I, I hope so. I mean, I’m hoping that I’m getting more points from the judges when they’re seeing my little fingers come out.

Alison: it’s very delicate.

Annika Malacinski: Yeah. Very

Jill: One question I have about the cross country aspect is there’s a lot of summer competition as well. How does roller skiing different from skiing on snow?

Annika Malacinski: The feel and stuff? Yeah. Yeah. So it definitely is different. Like the first ski on snow after summer training is really hard on your body. Like my shins get so sore. So the skis that you ski on in um, cross country, they’re like pretty long, I’d say they’re about one, like I ski on like 180 sevens ,versus roller skis are short and I mean, they’re definitely heavier because you have the two wheels and the brim is usually metal.

So I’d definitely say. It’s they’re shorter. They’re heavier and you just don’t get the same feeling when you’re like skiing on concrete versus snow. When you’re skiing on concrete, the conditions are always the same on snow. You have to have the right wax the right.

Grind. Like there’s so much going into skiing. But I mean, it is a very great w ay to practice skiing in the summertime. And I was fortunate enough, like we have ski jumping and cross country skiing in the summertime versus like Alpine skiers. I know it gets a little bit harder with that aspect.

Jill: So women in the sport. Sore spot with us. And obviously you, this is the one sport where there’s no women’s element in the Olympics yet. And a lot of that is participation stemming from the fact that women’s uterus are supposed to fly out when you ski jump and, and in dealing with the history, I can imagine that the pandemic has had a lousy effect on the movement for women.

How has the pandemic affected things?

Annika Malacinski: So, yeah, it definitely is a very sore spot for a lot of like us women that are, you know doing the same things that the guys are doing, but we just don’t have the Olympic games. And I mean, when you’re looking at like history in Nordic combined, it goes back a hundred years.

I mean, men were competing without helmets going off crazy jumps, and it never really came to women until pretty recently. And um It’s been really frustrating, I guess, cuz I mean women’s Nordic combined is a small field. We do have usually about a full field of 30 girls in world cups and whatnot.

And um it’s hard to be, at the same competitions as the guys. And of course, I mean we are making progress, last year we had a five world cup weekends. Now we’re gonna have eight world cup weekends. So we are on a slow rise. But it was so hard to be watching the Olympics this winter.

It’s so cool. And I wanna be rooting for my teammates and the men and just everyone that has worked their butts off to be at the Olympics. But it’s so hard knowing that, like, not even a lot of people know that women’s Nordic combined isn’t in the Olympics. I catch myself trying to educate people all the time and try to spread awareness about it in a way where, you know, we still in the 21st century live in a world of inequality with women and men and. it’s been really hard to, try to process that. And then now they’re making the decision if it’s gonna be in 26 in Milano, Italy, and and the IOC that’s their decision.

And I don’t think people have realized how quick our sport has come to this rise. I mean, these women are very very good. And I don’t think people realize that like over the course of four years has our sport [00:15:00] like gotten to this point where we’re at the world cup and these women are like kicking everyone’s And it’s also been very cool for me because when I started at 16, I’ve been going through like all the firsts for women’s Nordic combined. So I got to go to the first ever FIS woman, youth FIS cup, and then the first continental cup and the first world cup and the first world championships.

So I have been seeing a lot of progress, but it is also frustrating to see. Still our sport isn’t in the Olympics. So I’m hoping that they make the right decision coming into 26. I think it would be really detrimental, especially for the men as well. Cuz they make their money off of views and who watches.

And personally I think a lot of people would watch the women not just the men. And with the pandemic, it was definitely hard traveling wearing a mask everywhere, like going on your outside runs before the warmup, before your ski jumping, I mean, you had to wear a mask but I’ve been also seeing progress.

So we have to look at the bright side, but at the same time, it it’s, it is very hard to not be at like the top, what everyone dreams about being up there.

Alison: And it’s a catch 22 when it’s not in the Olympics. Mm-hmm, people are going to choose to either compete in ski jumping or cross country, which is, but to get in the Olympics, you need participation.

So there’s that weird. Exactly. Your

Annika Malacinski: dichotomy. All around. It would be detrimental for our sport. I mean, it’s been a dream of mine as a little girl to go to the Olympics. I thought it would be for gymnastics, but um now I’m hoping it would be for Nordic combined. And how cool would that be to be at the first ever women’s Nordic combine Olympics, but also you have to make decisions for yourself.

And if the IOC is not recognizing the progress in our sport, then even, I feel like I would think about maybe going into ski jumping which is awful to say, I’m not trying to put a message out there that if you don’t get what you want, then quit. But. It, it just shows that people don’t care and they’re not ready to put in the work for getting like women’s Nordic combined at the top level.

So

Alison: How involved have some of the female ski jumpers been in helping you? Because they just went through this, less than 10 years ago to get it into the sport. So have you been getting support from those women?

Annika Malacinski: I feel like anybody that knows that uh our sport isn’t in the Olympics, which, I mean, I’ve gotten a lot of social media coverage about it, which has been really awesome.

And try to educate the world that, we still live in a place where women can’t participate in things that men can. But I think. Everybody that kind of knows about it has supported us. And I know a lot of people that have written letters to IOC trying to, get our sport up there.

But yeah, it it’s, it’s hard. So, I think that they definitely can sympathize with us and. Be empathetic and whatnot.

Jill: You talked about the, expansion of the world, the women’s world cup race schedule. How does that compare to the men’s schedule?

Annika Malacinski: Obviously um even though we have been getting more competitions, it’s nowhere near what the guys get.

Even the prize money is completely different. But you know like I said, I’ve also been seeing a lot of progress with it. Three years ago we had one world cup, like one, one single one, and um Then last year we got five world cup, weekends, actually four cuz one was canceled and then um this season we’re gonna be getting eight, hopefully.

So, yeah, it’s, it’s cool to see that at least someone is trying in the background.

Alison: So we just had a conversation with the ski jumping coach about suits and all the issues regarding suits.

So I’m wondering if that is also an issue. Because in the, in the Olympics with the women’s ski jumping, we saw a lot of disqualifications because of suits. Is that also an issue in Nordic combined?

Annika Malacinski: Yeah, I think people don’t realize how much goes into ski jumping and the rules and all the measurements we have to do.

Everything has to be perfect to try to prevent cheating, which is a great thing. But um When I’m trying to tell people about like the measurements we have to get and what reasons we might get disqualified on. They’re always like sitting there, like what, what the heck? Like there’s, it’s so like niche. But yeah, there’s definitely a lot of disqualifi disqualifications that go on in competition.

And I think, rightfully so, just, you know we’re trying to prevent cheating, but at the same time ski jumping suits are pretty hard to make and it’s not like they go into secondhand use unless you’re, donating to your local club or whatnot. [00:20:00] But they are. There’s so much that goes into it, you know I don’t think in any other sport, you talk more about your crotch um you need to get , you need to get crotch measurements. Your ski jumping suit has to align to your crotch measurement and before every competition they measure your crotch and So it’s hard for, you know the ones that are making it in the background.

And then especially on the US side, since USA Nordic is not government funded. We don’t get a lot of funding for suits. He’s literally anything. So looking at, the, the top athletes in the world, they’re Norway, Austria, Slovenia, they have top tier people that make their suits because they have the funding and money for it.

So I think that’s, that’s really a big one that we’re fighting with is funding. And um to have like these very professional made suits, you need to have money. So that that’s a big one for sure.

Jill: How, how much does a suit cost? Do you pay for them or are you, they, part of your USA Nordic stuff?

Annika Malacinski: Since I’m on the national team, I actually don’t pay for them, but I remember my first ever professionally made suit. Cuz usually as you start as a kid or like I started you use suits that have already been used probably on many different people already. So I actually started on a men’s ski jumping suit and.

I am actually like, I’m a very curvy person. And I remember like putting on these ski jumping suits that are made for men and um they would not fit me. , they’d be skin tight and they definitely weren’t supposed to look like that. But I remember when I got my first professionally made suit in Austria by a company named Dale.

So they measure your body and, they make suits accordingly. I think I paid about 400 dollars for a suit that was made for your body. And uh let me tell you that suit was phenomenal to jump in it was a great, it was a great start.

Alison: What’s the difference between a, a suit that’s fit for you versus a generic suit?

Annika Malacinski: Honestly, I mean, everybody’s body is very different. Especially for women, we have an extra panel in our hips because our hips are bigger than men’s. So a men’s ski jumping suit is basically just like straight down, but we have an extra panel for our hips. And then also it’s just way more comfortable.

I mean, in general speaking, like ski jumping boots, they are not comfortable. Ski jumping suits are not comfortable. They, especially in the summertime, our suits are made out of foam. So it’s kind of like a microfiber foam and it it’s about, half an inch of a layer. And so imagine summertime.

Sweating your off going up to the ski jump, sitting in the sun. I mean, it’s awful. I am just dripping in sweat. And so I guess comfort which isn’t really saying much

Jill: What is it like going through measurement time at competition?

Annika Malacinski: Yeah. So there is a lot of, I wouldn’t say rules, but. We get taught how to be measured. So basically our crotch, we’re trying to get it as low as possible. So we have that extra fabric between our feet to our crotch and our ski jumping suits.

So when you’re getting measured there, people are trying to get the perfect measurement, to have a good season, if that makes sense. So. , this is kind of hard to explain, but when you’re you, basically, you sit on or you stand against a wall and they have a crotch measuring machine.

So it’s this kind of like metal piece and they bring it up to your crotch. I know this to me. I mean, I’m so used to this that it’s like, it, it doesn’t even phase me anymore, but to other people. What the So they, they obviously, we, us women have a woman measure and then the men have a men measure, but we have to stand in our underwear in sports bra, and we get on to this little machine and a shoulder width apart with our feet and they bring up this metal piece and they check your crotch. And um generally speaking, you’re trying to stay as low as possible to the ground. And then they check your height at the same time and your upper body you wanna have as like tall as possible. So it’s really just really awkward. It’s an awkward stance. Because you’re trying to get your butt to the ground and then also have like a long upper body.

So they take your measurement as well with your upper body. And then you need to get your arms measured and generically speaking, you wanna have it like this, but people are trying to like get their shoulder back cuz you want a shorter measurement for your arms. So you can have as much fabric around, your body.

So it [00:25:00] catches in the air better. So it’s yeah. Your chicken wings, your butt is to the ground. It it’s, it doesn’t look very comfortable. I’ll just say.

Alison: So are ski jumpers doing yoga training to be able to be measured properly?

Annika Malacinski: Yeah, I’d say definitely there. I mean, people will practice cuz I mean, if you don’t get a good measurement through the season, so let’s say that your crotch measurement is super high, then technically speaking, the people that are making your suits need to like go with these measurements so you’re not gonna get disqualified. So going into the season, it is so important that you get good measurements with your body. Yeah, it’s, it is really crucial.

Alison: So how often are you measured?

Annika Malacinski: So I have summer grand prix competitions coming up end of August into September. So before that I will be measured and then sometimes they will measure you before the season, the winter season.

So I’d say about one to two times a year. Yeah.

Alison: You’re you’re stuck on the crotch measurement. Aren’t

Jill: you, Jill?

I am. I just, when it’s games time, we have a little feature called what officiating a volunteer job would you want to do? I can tell you, this is not on my list of jobs I would want to do I just, I can envision a very stern European woman, maybe German.

Yeah. Being like, ah, Get your arms straight .

Annika Malacinski: Yeah, totally. Absolutely. It is exactly like that. And like I said, like, we talk about crotch so much. Like I have a male male coach and we talk about crotch all the time. And I think for other sports that would be insanely weird. But at this point I am so used to it.

Alison: so the idea of the extra fabric, just it, it sounds like it almost works like a sail like it gives you some loft. A little bit of extra peace.

Annika Malacinski: Yeah. At the end of the day, you are really looking to have as much fabric as you can around, your armpits or your crotch um your legs. So, I guess the more fabric you have, the more lift you’re gonna get in the air.

So yeah.

Alison: So practical things, you’ve got ski jump. You do cross country, you do it all in the same day. Mm. You’re changing suits, speaking of suits, and you’re changing all the skis. How is the transition happening and you’re getting from place to place.

Annika Malacinski: Yeah, so I think one of the biggest struggles is traveling.

You’re not only traveling with ski jumping skis. I am also traveling with nine pairs of cross country skis. It’s just everything. Like I have two sets of boots, two sets of skis, two sets of, race suit versus ski jumping suit. So there is actually. A lot going into what I have to bring into Europe.

And I am always shaking in my boots, trying to weigh my stuff at the airport because it is always overweight. And those kiosk people just, they don’t care at all. They don’t care if you’re a professional athlete or just a normal person going to Florida. I think that is one of the hardest parts is traveling with all the gear.

But it surprisingly, isn’t actually too bad with the competition side. We have all our ski jumping stuff at the ski jumps, and once we jump and whatnot, we usually leave it there. It’s like a weekend world cup, so we’ll be there tomorrow. And then. We go back to the hotel and usually all my cross country skiing stuff is there.

So, I just have my race suit. My boots and then the skis are at the venue. So, um competition wise, I wouldn’t say it’s, it’s not any different. I think the traveling part is just the hardest part.

Alison: Do you eat in between the two events?

Annika Malacinski: Yeah, so usually we start with a ski jumping event in the morning.

So I’d say that takes about. An hour to two hours just getting through all the girls and whatnot. And then we go back to the hotel and usually have a lunch. So what I like to do is. Pasta rice, anything with carbs in it, and then usually a salad. You try not to overeat to, not feel like you’re gonna throw up on the race course, but also get enough protein in carbs in and then to fuel your race in a way.

Jill: I’m still stuck on the suits. I’m sorry. Cross country suits. Very different. That is all Lycra

Annika Malacinski: Yeah, so basically spandex material. Okay. Light as possible. Just really stuck on your skin. Pretty tight really light. So

Jill: When it’s cold, do you layer up underneath?

Annika Malacinski: Yeah, so like for some instances, when we go to Finland Lahti usually it is insanely cold, like, so, so, so cold. Sometimes anywhere from negative 20, negative 30. [00:30:00] So, I mean, it’s really crucial to be layering up under your suits. Um A mistake that my brother made a couple of years ago at junior world. He did not layer up enough and ended up getting like severe frostbite at the end and had to go into, you know the medic room and, they put blankets on him.

So it was probably not a very good time for him. But then at the end of our season last or 2020 1, 22, we, our last competition was in Schonack Germany. And I’d say the weather was. 1520 Celsius. So very, very warm. And it, they were struggling to keep like the snow on the ground. I mean, it was hilarious watching.

It was a whole field and usually Schonack is, it’s a pretty flat field. You can kind of see everything around. And. Yeah, it was grass everywhere. And the only patches that had snow was our race course, and it was so hot, so warm. So actually in that competition, I wore my Spandex leggings and then a sports bra.

It was that warm. So it definitely depends on the weather, the temperatures and whatnot.

Alison: Oh, I wanna say, are you moleskin or a no moleskin? Because we saw a lot of moleskin coming out at Beijing on the skiers faces for the cold.

Annika Malacinski: Oh, I have worn Mo Moskin actually in LATI, Finland when it was that cold.

But other than that, I usually run pretty warm. So even if it’s really cold, my body warms up pretty fast, especially, you know when you’re skiing, you go, race base as hard as you can. But in some instances, it is very important, especially when in Beijing there was high winds so, you know wind burn.

That’s never fun. So yeah.

Jill: What is it like having a brother in the sport? Does that motivate you? Does that frustrate you? Cuz he has an Olympic path and you don’t yet that we know of?

Annika Malacinski: Actually it. It’s really motivating being with him. He’s a very highly motivated athlete. He’s just great at what he does and he knows how to discipline himself to go out and train.

And it’s something that he loves to do, which is really awesome to see. And actually last season we were living together in Austria. In a apartment, just the two of us. And it was so much fun. Like, it’s just, when you’re with your brother, you can be your like complete, goofy self. So I mean, we were cracking jokes all the time and it’s actually really comforting, having a family member when you’re gone for so much of the year and not being able to be home, it’s kind of taking.

Peace of home with you. if I will. And um he motivates me so much. We do training to, we do train it together. So, um yeah, I think it’s really motivating and he pushes me hard and I kind of do the same, so it’s definitely, and we have a very, very good relationship together. So, I love training and traveling with him.

Alison: And then your mom can, and your dad can keep track of you both. Cause if one isn’t answering the text, where’s your are why isn’t your sister answering me?

Annika Malacinski: Exactly. Yep. That’s how it usually goes.

Alison: I know how this works.

Annika Malacinski: Yeah, exactly.

Jill: Having a small US team. What is it like training wise, camaraderie wise, looking at. other bigger teams that have more resources wise?

Annika Malacinski: Yeah. It’s definitely a challenge that we have to face every single day. Like I said, like our sport is not, or specifically USA. Nordic is not government funded, so we rely on sponsors and that’s kind of what brings us the most money in it, you know when you’re looking at Norway or Austria, they have loads of money that they can put in, for example, like making suits or coaches or wax techs. So we have a lot of staff that we need especially during world cup season. Ideally we should have a P T a massage therapist. Couple wax techs, coaches, ski jumping coach, cross country, coach. I mean, there is so much we could have, but we don’t because we don’t have the funding for it. So I mean, looking at Norway, they have everything anything from the PT to the massage therapist to, having a gazillion wax techs that know exactly what they’re doing with our skis. So it, it is a challenge that we face on a day to day basis.

But we’re trying to make it work and yeah, it’s been a challenge, but [00:35:00]

Alison: yeah.

How much sharing goes on with say you know the by athletes in the cross country and the ski jumpers, and then the Nordic combined athletes,

Annika Malacinski: I’d say almost none, to be honest. so USA, Nordic is ski jumping and Nordic combin.

We are separate from the us ski team because we they’ve cut our funding, I believe in 2008. So yeah, honestly, almost. None. Cuz the ski jumpers don’t have any of cross country stuff. And usually we are doing our completely different schedules. I maybe see them once or twice in the year world championships or bigger competitions like this.

but we are basically on our own for equipment. I know the guys have some kind of agreement with Atomic, so they all share skis. We kind of get a big fleet of them and it it’s a lot of skis, like some, a hundred plus skis. Whereas I have An agreement with Madshus. And so I carry about nine to 10 skis throughout the season that have different grinds on them and specific to snow conditions.

Jill: How much of your day or week or month gets devoted to trying to get sponsorship and funding versus training and competition?

Annika Malacinski: Yeah. So. Funding is very important, especially going into season and, I’ve been on this rise with this sport. So obviously the first two to three years, I was really trying to figure out my ski jumping cross country skiing.

I’d say the 2020 2021 season, I was really outta shape. There’s so much that goes into training and whatnot. So with the results I was getting in 2020, 2021, , there’s not a lot of people that would sponsor you. They would wanna see like the top 10 results. And that’s been a really great change seeing that coming outta last season’s results.

I have a lot more opportunities out there to get sponsorships and whatnot. And me and my brother actually do have um a lot of individual sponsors that like to help us out and. Buy plane tickets for us. So it’s a really, it’s a big relief on my family and me knowing that, I can in the future, maybe be fully funded going into the seasons and from based on last year’s results, I did make the a team.

So I should be fully covered going into next season.

Jill: How much does it help that you have dual citizenship with Finland? Can leverage both markets in a way.

Annika Malacinski: Yeah. So, I mean, my whole life has kind of been crazy. It hasn’t been like anyone else’s I did first semester in Finland and then second semester in the US all the way up to my senior year of high school.

So, yeah, I had, I definitely lived a double life and I’m so fortunate to be able to have, culture experiences like that. And. . Yeah, so it was, it was an amazing life that I had and it gave me opportunity to be able to train with the Finnish team if I wanted to do camps with them and I do speak the language.

So it makes it a lot easier as well. And in the future, I do have an opportunity to switch to the Finnish team if I wanted to. So, I’ve definitely gotten a lot of, great training in and the coaches are amazing and very open hand or open, armed. Welcome me into any of their training camps or ski jumping there, whatnot.

Alison: What would push you to compete for Finland versus the United States

Annika Malacinski: funding? The US is. Struggling to find funding for US athletes, which is really big going into seasons. And Finland definitely has more funding for their women. But right now the women competing for Finland are also very young and mostly compete continental cups.

So I feel that it wouldn’t be the right move right now to do the switch.

Alison: See, I would switch cuz when you win in Finland, you get a cake

Annika Malacinski: oh, that’s funny. Yes. Yes, indeed. Um I actually competed in Finnish nationals two years ago and my prize for winning first place was a sack of potatos. So that’s

Jill: also a very good treat

Annika Malacinski: Yeah. And, and at the time I was living by myself, so it was amazing, cuz I was like, wow, I’m gonna have potatoes for the year.

Alison: Jill has a great pierogi recipe. She’ll share it with you when we’re done.

Annika Malacinski: Oh, perfect. I’ll need it. oh man.

Jill: Understand the resourcing cuz I, I follow by Athlon. [00:40:00] So I understand like I I’m guessing when you go to competitions, Norway, Austria, they all have like semi trucks of gear. Yeah. And then like you roll up in a jalopy , is, that really how it, how it works basically?

Annika Malacinski: Yeah. So definitely like bigger competitions.

When we were at world championships, 2021 season I mean, there was huge, huge trucks and it was filled with, like wax techs and just you, you could see like what other people have as resources. And uh yeah, we, we did show up in a, in a van so it, yeah, it definitely, it, it does go like that, but yeah, there’s nothing you can do about it, I guess.

Alison: So other than donating money to USA, Nordic, what can fans do to support women’s efforts to get in the Olympics for Nordic combined?

Annika Malacinski: Yeah, that’s a great question. I would definitely say like, Through our season, people are looking at, the views. So men obviously get a lot more views like people watching their competitions than women.

And I think a great way to support it is like watching our competitions. And I can assure you that they’re, they’re definitely not dull. They’re super fun. I. Some of the top athletes Guida, Westwood, hunt, Norwegian she’s killing the game right now. She is um basically unbeatable. So it’s something really cool to be watching and it’s a really great way to support us.

And then if you’re really passionate about it, we could start write writing letters to the IOC and try to protest our sport into the Olympics. So that’s also, that’s also a really big one and it would support us immensely.

Jill: What are you looking forward to this season?

Annika Malacinski: I had great re results coming out of last season. So, I think I have finally figured out with my coach Thomas the most productive way for me to train. He’s been writing me training plans, which have been awesome and kind of building an endurance base. So I’m actually very excited. My top goals is top six podium.

So I think it’s very much like I can, I can reach that goal. And my best result last season was 6th place. So I’m definitely getting up there and I’m just really excited to see like what’s to come in my sport for like the future. And then also for me,

Jill: I’m trying to figure out a question based on the, finding the training plan that works for you.

How long does, I mean, that’s a huge process that can take a long time and you don’t necessarily know how long has it taken to find a training plan for you?

Annika Malacinski: So I’ve been into the, I’ve been in this sport for about four and a half years, I’d say. And. training plans are so personal. For me last season, we, my coach and I figured out that running is the solution for me.

That’s what really builds my endurance. So, going into this season, I have been running almost every single day, trying to just like build my endurance and trying to be the best athlete that I can be. I’d say it’s, it’s something that you and your coach have to figure out and kind of build around that.

So, like I said, like endurance in endurance way, like running was huge for me, huge and I, I can appreciate running. And I think that that was a big reason why I was getting the results that I was getting last season.

Jill: What all did you try before landing on

Annika Malacinski: running? I’d say that me and my coach have gotten very close to each other to a point where he understands what I need in training and whatnot.

So I think it was just also, since I did start so late it was on kind of on me to try to figure out like what worked for me, what was my training? I had a general training plan, but I think that the closer. The athlete and the coach get the better understanding it is for the coach.

Like what, what does this athlete need? Versus just a general training plan for everyone.

Alison: When things go badly, do you swear in English or in Finnish?

Annika Malacinski: It’s more fun.

and people don’t understand you. I mean, Finnish is, it is one of the hardest languages in the world, so, it’s definitely a Finnish and it just sounds bizarre. So it’s, it’s more fun to do

Alison: I was hoping that was gonna be your answer.

Annika Malacinski: Oh, yeah, it’s definitely Finnish.

Jill: Excellent. All right, well, thank you so much,

Thank you so much. Annika. You can find Annika on Insta and TikTok. She is Annika dot Malacinski, and we will have links to that in the show [00:45:00] notes.

So on June 24th, it’s. IOC executive board meeting and they are going to decide whether or not to include women’s Nordic combined on 2026. So this is the fun thing, because the IOC likes to tout how it’s got gender equity, but that doesn’t necessarily mean gender equality. Right.

Alison: Right. And, and Nordic combined having ski jump and cross country ski jump was only included for women very recently.

So the idea of women’s Nordic combined didn’t even exist.

Jill: Right. and it’s really weird to think that in 2022, we still don’t have true gender equality. And, and I know the IOC likes to

massage that word. Make it look, I mean, they really do work to make it, them look so very good when you don’t have there’s you really have to look between the lines and go, oh, in the winter side. No, it just because you have the same number of men and women doesn’t mean that you’ve got equality or the same number of events doesn’t mean you have true equality.

And so this is a real a black spot where it’s so obvious that gender equality is missing. so, part of the problem for not having women’s Nordic combine is that they’ve said. The sport is not so well developed on the women’s side. So since 2018, the event has been added to the junior world champs, the Youth Olympic Winter Games, and it had its first world cup series that Annika was in.

And it’s also been added to the FIS Nordic world ski champs. So the women’s event really has grown since. 2018. And since they’ve been trying to get it on the, the program, so, next week is a big decision and you can help. Show how important it is to have a women’s equality in this event. So you can reach out to an IOC member.

There is a form on olympics.com that will link to in the show notes. And you can send a message saying, please vote for women’s Nordic combined. There is a change.org petition that we will also link to, and you can sign that as well. And then you can post your support for the event on social media tag USA, Nordic FIS, Nordic combined us ski and snowboard team USA, the Olympics and local and national news outlets with your support or opinion.

And we will also have a link to called action. That’s got all of these things listed that is from USA, Nordic combined,

Alison: but wait, there’s more,

Jill: this. and I could totally see this happening. uh, Listener. David alerted us to the fact that there is a distinct possibility that it would be easier to just drop Nordic combined, rather than add the women’s event to the program,

Alison: which on the one hand I can see, because it’s not like events, haven’t changed events.

Haven’t been dropped in the past. We’ve talked about ski jumping, having to have this whole other facility. that’s very expensive to build. And is that the best use of money? But this just seems so heartless

Jill: in a way. Oh, it does. And it’s totally blindside Larry Lage from the Associated Press wrote yesterday that Billy Demong, who is a five time Olympian and member of USA, Nordics board of directors said he heard through back channels loud and clear that this was a solution and was totally blindsided by that concept Nordic combined as one of the original winter Olympic sports was in the first one.

Should it stay on the park. And remember when wrestling got dropped for a hot minute, and that was a big hullabaloo, cuz it was an original sport. But you know, as you just mentioned, the ski jumping facility is expensive. Why take away an event from using that facility?

Alison: It feels like the way a lot of American universities complain about title IX in.

The real problem with title. so title IX is the federal law that mandates that universities and schools in general have to equally support male and female opportunities in lots of different areas. And it works in many different ways. The way we talk about it is this forced a lot of American colleges to add funding for women’s sports.

Problem is that universities use it as an excuse to cut smaller men’s programs. Well, oh, we can’t afford to do that anymore. Title IX, we gotta give the money to the girls instead of saying, oh, the [00:50:00] real problem is that all the money goes to football and basketball for men. And so if you want equal funding, then you can’t fund these smaller sports.

So this feels like that. Same excuse blame the girls for taking your sports. instead of, we need to properly support both sides of this equation.

Yes. And I know they’re adding ski mountaineering for 2026. So the excuse that, oh, well we’re adding a new sport that already has gender equity. It doesn’t matter because Nordic combine has worked really hard to do it.

Jill: And it’s a popular sport in a portion of the world. Is well it’s popular sport in Europe and you would be, I, I’m kind of surprised that the IOC, which is still so Eurocentric would just dump this sport. That means a lot to a lot of people.

Alison: I have a feeling, this is a political tactic that they’re going to threaten to drop the sport.

So then you split the Nordic combined community, and then they don’t have to talk about this anymore. I don’t know. Is Avery Brundage still in charge here? I mean, what the heck? I feel sick just saying what I just said,

Jill: but It’s really sad that the idea of adding the women’s event, even if it adds people to the games, the winter games are still quite small comparatively.

So I, I think there is room for some growth and we can have both Nordic combined and your ski Mountaineer, you can really, I mean, there’s not that many athletes at a winter games,

Alison: But is it too Eurocentric to begin with? And those sports would be very difficult to spread to up their places.

Jill: You know, I don’t know, because remember who was the first jumper for ski jump in Sochi and American, our very own center, Sarah Hendrickson.

So I Think. I would not be surprised if some of these sports that have consistently not developed a women’s program developed in other countries because of a little bit more freedom.

Alison: True. Fair.

Jill: Ah, that sound means it’s time for our history moment and all year long, we were looking back at Albertville 1992, because this is the 30th anniversary of those games. Alison, it is your turn for our story. What do you have for us?

Alison: I’m so excited about this

so I, I warned everybody at the beginning of the year that I was gonna talk about ice skating probably the entire year, because there are so many great stories. So we’re gonna talk a little bit about the ice dance competition, and I’m not even gonna talk about the competition. Really. I need to talk about some of these pairs because the characters.

This story are out of central casting. It’s fantastic. Okay. So the gold medal and ice dance went to Marina Klimova and Sergei Ponomarenko representing the Unified Team. They were the four time world champion and they were very classic, very traditional. Everybody loved them and her incredible flowing red hair, which in their free dance, she wore long and it was all over the place.

It was amazing. And even though. The favorites going into the Olympic year were French. The French crowd adored this Russian pair. Now these were actually Russians. I know we’ve been sloppy about Unified Team and Russian and Soviet, but they were actually Russians and they were the first figure skaters in any discipline to have a complete set of Olympic medals.

Jill: Oh, really?

Alison: They won the bronze in 84 in the silver in 88. And currently they’ve been married for almost 30 years. They live in California and they coach ice dancers, including their son, Anthony Ponomarenko, who with partner, Christina Carrera is a rising star on the US team. So their tradition continues. It gets better.

The silver medal went to the French pair, Isabelle and Paul Duchesnay, a brother and sister team. Who were actually Canadian, but competed for France, which is a whole other story.

They were the reigning world champions, but they were the Avantgarde Renegade team. They were the bad boys of ice dance of the time. And for the Olympic season, they had created this program called Reflections in which they wore pants, both of them. And they were opposites of each other.

The international judges hated it at the European champions. They were like, you cannot bring this to the Olympics. You are not even gonna medal. [00:55:00] So wait after the European championships

Jill: be wait because of the pants?

Alison: Well, no, just because of the program. Oh, okay. Just, it was too, it was a bridge too far for the judges to not being traditional.

After the European championships, they bring back their program from the previous season, revamp it a little bit. It was music from West Side Story, but they really didn’t like this program because it was very traditional and conservative. And when they performed it at the Olympics, the French crowd went crazy, but it didn’t really fly.

It kind of fell flat. Both of those program. Were choreographed by Christopher Dean. Oh. As in of Torvill and Dean who was married to Isabelle Duchesnay at the time, marriage lasted less than two years, apparently very tumultuous and stormy fighting all the time. And it caused chaos. Whoa. Yes. We’re gonna come back to Christopher Dean’s marriages when we get to the single’s competition, so hold that for the next couple weeks.

Okay. This is where it gets really good. The bronze medal goes to Maia Usova and Alexander Zhulin, who just beat out the fourth place pair, Oksana Gritschuk and Evgeni Platov also from the Unified Team. Okay. Both of these pairs returned for the 1994 Olympic. Gritschuk and Platov won the gold Usova and Zhulin won silver. Later in 1994.

The married couple of Usova and Zhulin announced their divorce. Zhulin claimed that their marriage had been a sham to get an apartment and additional benefits from the Soviet government. But with no Soviet system, there was no reason to stay married anymore. Maia Usova claimed that their marriage ended because Alexander was having an affair with Oksana Gritschuk.

Jill: Wow.

Alison: Both couples continued skating with their respective partners. Usova and Zhulin performing in shows, but refusing to practice together. And Oksana who changed her first name to Pasha after 1994, because she didn’t wanna be compared to Oksana Baiul, won the gold in 1998 with Evgeni Platov.

Jill: Wow.

Alison: And I have one final note for this story.

Eventually Usova and Zhulin stopped skating together. So then for one season they switched partners on the ice. So it was Usova and Platov and Zhulin and Gritschuk.

Wow. How did, and then they

all retired and moved on. And actually Alexander Zhulin is a very successful dance coach in the United States.

Jill: Holy cow.

Ice dance, you do not disappoint.

Alison: And that’s just the top four.

Welcome to TKFLASTAN. It

Jill: is time to check in with our Team. Keep the Flame Alive, our past guests of the show who make up our citizens of the country. TKFLASTAN Alright. Follow up from last week, our wheelchair curler, Steve Emt made the USA wheelchair curling national team. So congratulations to him.

Alison: Race Walker, Evan Dunfee finished first in the 10 K race at the Harry Jerome classic with a time of 40:38.99. This was about two minutes slower than his time at this race last year. But he mentioned on Twitter that he’s still coming back from injury and that finishing this race almost entirely pain free was the big takeaway from the day.

Jill: Commentator, Rob Snoek is currently commentating the beach volleyball world championships, and will be calling the swimming world championships in Budapest for the CBC

Alison: and speaking of beats volleyball, world championships, Kelly Claes, Cheng and partner, Betsi Flint finished second in their pool with a record of two and one, but they lost in the round of 32 to Borga and Suda of Germany.

Two to one.

Jill: Former bobsledder. Nick Cunningham has been named the full-time head coach for cross country and track and field, and will also be teaching kinesiology at Monterey Peninsula College go

Alison: coach Cunningham. Oh, I was so excited to see that. Paralympic track athlete and motivational speaker. John Register published an article on military transition career advice in the summer issue of US Veterans

Jill: magazine and speed skater.

Erin Jackson joined the relaunch of Comcast’s Team Up. It’s. A corporate in person volunteer program. She will [01:00:00] be part of a steam activity day with lifting up Camden’s youth and will also be part of a career panel and goal setting workshop with girls, Inc. Both of which are in the Philadelphia area of the US.

We are close to Nova territory with the basketball situation for Paris, 2024.

Alison: Oh, and I actually read something this morning about this, so,

Jill: Ugh. Oh, this is great though. So as we’ve said before, suddenly the basketball venues that the Paris 2024 organizing committee has selected are a problem with F I B a.

They want to move to a new stadium because of the low ceilings in the current one, uh, which are nine meters tall and poor ventilation. And they are worried about the poor ventilation causing havoc in the summer heat, which by 2024 could be really, really hot in Paris who knows.

Elliot Brennan reported in Inside the Games, the current stadium replacement contender is a Pierre-Mauroy Stadium in Lille, which is 200 kilometers away about a three hour drive. And. F I B a is concerned about that because of course, that takes away the whole Olympic feel that you go to the Olympics before.

And they said, quote, we respect the Olympic Games may long, no longer be able to offer conditions equal to the standard of the world championships, which in our case is the Feba world cup. And also said, we do not feel our athletes should be subject to the conditions we currently have on the table.

Interesting. Oh dear. And they said, well, we can’t, we also cannot guarantee that the best basketball players in the world will come. If the stadium is in this condition and, Paris hosted Euro basket, 2015, which was a big tournament.

And the stadium that they used for that, which was perfectly lovely, has a retractable roof that got assigned to handball for 2020. So I don’t think, I bet Feba is not happy about that either. Well,

Alison: this morning on Inside the Games I read, the proposal has been to swap handball and basketball to send handball out to Lille and bring basketball back in, or to give handball the crummy stadium with the blow ceilings and the poor ventilation, because obviously the ceiling doesn’t matter to handball, but the ventilation certainly.

But Feba is trying to kick handballs at the curb.

Jill: Wow. I wonder what handball thinks about that.

Alison: They’re gonna take a ball to the face is ,

Jill: so we shall see interesting because ,

Alison: we love a good Federation fight.

Jill: We’ve got news about the bids for 2030, but before that, we would like to remind you that next week will be book club week, and it’s still time to get Driven to Ride by Mike Schultz.

You can get your copy at bookshop.org/shop/flamealivepod. And if you’re shopping for any kind of summer reading, go to that link first, because we get a commission for any book you want on bookshop.org, but you have to go to the link first to get it to count for us. Those commissions are extremely important to the lifeblood of the show because it keeps us going and it also helps fund what will be an expensive trip to Paris for 2024. Should we be able to go and cover the games there for.

Alison: and@bookshop.org, you are sub supporting local independent bookshops.

Jill: Also. Excellent. So big announcement this week, Vancouver officially launched the, what they call the engagement phase of its plan for 2030.

This is an Indigenous led plan. And then also includes. Local officials and the Canadian Olympic Committee and Paralympic Committees. What they’ve announced that the Vancouver bid will be three clusters for Vancouver 2010. It was. Two clusters, but now they’ve said that there are many more sports since then.

So we have to add more. I, I see you I see you have thoughts. So they, they were calling them circles in, in Indigenous cultures the circle is a sacred symbol and demonstrates the interdependence of all forms of life. So, the bid is being led uh, in Vancouver. It’s the Musqueam Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh first Nations and Whistler, it’s the Lil’wat and Squamish First Nations. The other venue that they’re going to add is going to be Sun Peaks, which is, which is just north of Kamloops, which is also like a five hour drive from Vancouver. There’s the Adams Lake, Little Shuswap Lake, and Neskonlith Indian Bands there who are leading that project.

So they’re basically using a lot of the same venues. They don’t anticipate having to build much. The sports out in [01:05:00] Camelot will be freestyle skiing because they said, look, we’ve got six fields of play. We can get north facing slopes there. Snow was a big issue. In 2010. And even though I’ve heard that Whistler was a huge place and could totally, even with the addition of slope style and some team events they could probably handle those sports.

I have a vague recollection that traffic was also an issue going up to Whistler as well. So when we’re adding more sports and there, and then Alpine also added a team event, which is another day for that discipline as well. So they decided they go to Camloops.

Alison: I was very concerned about the three clusters because we experienced that in Beijing and what a, a nightmare that was.

But then I read something today. I believe it was on Inside the Games cuz they. Summarizing the Canadian bid. And it said they also want to have a second option for Alpine events in case of weather issues. That’s interesting. The idea being that if there’s no snow or if the weather conditions are so war that, which we did experience in Beijing, that they almost didn’t get that team event off because of the weather conditions.

In the worst case scenario, they could move Alpine events to that other Alpine mountain site.

Jill: Interesting. The other thing they were talking about was the fact that regional bids are gonna be the way to go. And when you look at Milan Cortina, those two regions are extremely far apart and there have been a lot of Olympics where the mountains and the. Ice events have been very far apart. I mean, we don’t, the games are much bigger. We don’t have necessarily a lake Placid anymore.

Well, even Lake Placid got to be far away because the traffic was so bad.

Alison: Right. It physically wasn’t far, but you couldn’t get up to the mountain because unless you

were going to hike it. Oh, maybe they had mountaineering in like flat without even knowing it . But yes, you, you’re not gonna have Lille Hamers anymore. Where all the ice events, all the, the Alpine events are all in this cute little mountain resort town. It, it, the, the summer is the same way we’re going to have to accept that hosts are sprawling.

And what does that mean? And what does that look like? And in what way can we keep it unified and yet have. Adjust for physical space.

Jill: Right? And if you want more and more sports included to the games, because you want to showcase more sports that people play. There’s a breaking line somewhere.

They can’t all be in one city and, and ski resorts are ski resorts because they don’t. 20,000 people. They are a getaway and you’re getting away from it all. So this will be interesting. In Vancouver, they’re going to use Hastings Park, which is a big urban park that has a horse racing track in it.

They’ll put big air there, a short track, figure skating, wheelchair curling, and a medals Plaza. There’s gotta be medals Plaza. That’s in all. Circles of the plan. Hastings Park would also have the closing ceremonies for the Paralympics, which I thought was interesting that they were going to have the Paralympics opening and all of the Olympic ceremonies at BC Place.

But then put the closing in this park. And the park is designed to be like the central place to hang out. So even if you don’t have tickets to the games, you can still go to Hastings park and there will be things in the area that aren’t ticketed and you can walk around and get the, get the games filled.

Alison: and that also seems to be the way to go that there, that all of the bids at Tokyo was trying to do this. COVID stopped that have this urban park where. You’re a part of the games, even if you’re not a part of the games that the city is truly hosting the games and that the citizens of the city are part and parcel of the vibe.

Jill: Yeah. So it, it does sound like an interesting bid or plan. So far the IOC a technical committee has been to visit. They were impressed with the cam loop site the organizers of the bid, all. If the cities ask for referendums from the citizens, which is a big deal that might kill the bid. Because in, in the presentation I watched, there was a couple of questions from reporters and a lot of dancing around the question until someone finally said, yeah.

And because we know that the IOC does not like that, that I think is the one issue with the new norm and the new bidding procedure is. [01:10:00] The IOC knows that when things go out to a vote, citizens do not like the idea that Olympics coming to town, cuz they don’t wanna pay for it. And they always shoot it down in referendums and that causes cities to drop out and the IOC does not want that to happen anymore.

So I, I think if city councils and they have a lot to deal with. They get asked for a referendum from the citizens that might not be great, except for perhaps the IOC is going to open up targeted dialogues in December. So that is kind of one of the next steps for this plan. If they get into the tire, get a dialogue, but a city council says in January, Hey, we wanna put this up to a vote.

I think they get through.

Alison: And speaking of referendums. So according to GamesBids.com, the Spanish bid for 2030 is falling apart because Catalonia and aronia can’t agree shocking. So their respective regional council city council. it can’t come to an agreement and that bid is falling apart very quickly.

Jill: I have also read in various publications that there have been protests about a Sapporo bid from citizens. I, I don’t know how much uh it’s it’s the no Olympics people. But I, I don’t know how big those actually are versus getting press coverage. The Sapporo bid, if I recall correctly, wants to use some Nagano venues and I think they would try to get the sliding center reopened because they don’t have a sliding center, that kind of thing.

So that was kind of interesting. That would be another very regional bid for Japan. So we shall.

Alison: Who really wants the games for 20, 30 Salt Lake City?

Jill: That is correct. Cause the IOC has visited Salt Lake City. Salt lake city has sent a delegation to Switzerland to meet with the IOC that was Lisa Riley Roche reported in the Deseret News.

That included Lindsay Vonn, who is good buddies with TBach cause. She was supposed to meet separately with him, along with the delegation, like, oh, can you imagine like being pals in that way?

Alison: And what’s funny. I think Lindsay Vonn is taller than Thomas Bach so you have this very stunning, statuesque blonde coming in and TBach is just like, hello, have a seat.

Let us talk about Salt Lake City.

Jill: but they have a very promising bid as well, because it’s a lot of reuse of venues. They already have a budget, which they say will be 2.2 billion, which is pretty low. The Canadian plan budget will come out in July. So we shall see, like we said, target dialogue will probably be in December with the goal of announcing a host city at the session.

Next It’s at the end of may and spills into June. That will be in Mumbai.

Alison: Oh, this is fun. We, everyone was worried about the new selection process, not being horse racey and sort of taking away the, the excitement. I feel like this is so exciting in a way that bidding for the games hasn’t been in quite a while, right?

Jill: Because you have city here, you have cities who. Aren’t ready to host, not bidding, not having a formal bid or they’re in talks with, they’re not putting together this massively expensive proposal and presenting it just to get shut down. I think the big question that has been raised over and over again is LA 2028 is right before 2030, would we have back to back American games, but there’s also the potential that they could award 20, 30 and 2034 at the same time.

If you’ve got a number of bids that are strong enough. So like, yeah, it is, it is kind of wild. Like you say, it’s very, it, it’s still got the thrills.

Alison: Did not expect that Norm has proved to be quite an exciting date.

Jill: We would like to give a big shout out to our Patreon patrons who keep our flame alive. Find out more about patronage at patreon.com/flamealivepod.

That’s going to do it for this week. Let us know if you think women’s Nordic combined should be in the Olympics.

Alison: You can get in touch with us through email, flame, alive pod gmail.com. Call or text us at two zero eight three five. 6 3 48. That’s 2 0 8. Flame it, our social handle is at flame live pod and [01:15:00] be sure to join the, Keep the Flame Alive Podcast group on Facebook.

Jill: If you text us, we do text back. Next week, as we said, Book Club, Claire will be back for our discussion on Mike. Schultz’ Driven to Ride. Thank you so much for listening. And until next time, keep the flame alive.