Geoff Wightman, coach and athletics announcer in the announcing booth.

Geoff Wightman on the 1500m and Athletics Announcing

Release Date: March 2, 2023

Category: Athletics | Podcast

It’s two interviews for the price of one! On this episode, middle-distance running coach and in-stadium announcer Geoff Wightman joins us to talk about how to run a 1500m, as well as what it’s like to keep a crowd entertained during an athletics competition.

Geoff was himself an elite marathoner, having placed 8th at the 1990 Commonwealth Games. His son Jake Wightman is one of the athletes he coaches, and in 2022, Jake ran an incredible race at the World Athletics World Championships, to become Great Britain’s second world champ in the 1500m. Even better? Geoff called his son’s race:

 

But really go back and watch the full race to see all of the strategy Geoff talks about in the show–you won’t look at the 1500m the same way again!

 

 

We also get into Geoff’s work as a stadium announcer for athletics, and how he works to keep an event entertaining for the fans. One time he didn’t have to worry about that? The London 2012 Olympics. Geoff told us about Mo Farah winning the 5000m and the immense noise of the crowd for that race. You can hear it as the BBC announcers go wild:

 

Thanks to Geoff for being on the show. You can follow him on Insta and Twitter. Geoff also has a series of e-books on Amazon that tell about his life and stories in sport.

In our Seoul 1988 history moment, Alison keeps the “all in the family” theme going, with a look at the Olympians whose parents and/or children were part of these Games.

In our visit to TKFLASTAN, we get updates from:

Plus, the Court of Arbitration for Sport has agreed to take on the Kamila Valieva appeal.

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

Photo: Courtesy Geoff Wightman


TRANSCRIPT

Note: This is an uncorrected machine-generated transcript. It contains errors. Please do not quote from the transcript; use the audio file as the record of note.

Geoff Wightman on the 1500m and Announcing (Episode276) – Edited

[00:00:00] Jill: The greatest festival of our contemporary society, the Olympic Games is about to begin. This is gonna be close. Oh, they’re all completely gas.

Oh, brilliant, brilliant, brilliant. But that is an Olympic. Ready. Hello, and welcome to another episode of Keep the Flame Alive, the podcast four fans of the Olympics and Paralympics. If you love the games, we are the show for you. Each week we share stories from athletes and people behind the scenes to help you have more fun watching the games.

I am your host, Jill Jaracz, joined as always by my lovely co-host, Alison Brown. Alison, hello. How are.

[00:00:40] Alison: Hello. I was just saying to you how Jackie Wong at Rocker Skating has been posting a lot of skating programs from the eighties and nineties, and I am so happy, ,

[00:00:52] Jill: I noticed

[00:00:53] Alison: that Jackie, you’re making me really nostalgic for the old scoring system

[00:01:00] Jill: the days where they didn’t do jumps with their arms over their.

[00:01:03] Alison: And the, just the different ways they did crossovers. Crossovers were different back in the day. I don’t know why. I’m not a good enough skater to understand it. We’re gonna have to talk to Jackie again.

[00:01:13] Jill: I will now start watching these videos cuz now I’m curious to see what, what the difference is. but I do wonder if it has something to do with the different skate blades, because skate blades are also very different these days too.

So put it on the list.

[00:01:26] Alison: Speaking of back in the day,

[00:01:28] Jill: Back in the day, there was an Olympics at Montreal in 1976 and we are reading a book set there. It is Inaugural Ballers by Andrew Maraniss. book Club Claire. it’s gonna be on the show to talk about it, but we are also Having a special q and a with Andrew on Monday evening, March 27th at 9:00 PM Eastern.

This is free, but we need you to sign up in order to send you the link to access it. Please email flame iPod gmail.com or slide into our DMS and let us know you would like to come and we will get you that information. We need to know by March 20th if you will be making it. So please let us know.

We’re excited. This book is,

[00:02:13] Alison: it’s Good. Spoiler alert. We really like it.

Geoff Wightman Interview

[00:02:17] Jill: You know who else We really like today’s guest, . Today we are talking with Geoff Wightman, Athletics coach and announcer. He himself was a runner who placed eighth in the marathon at the 1990 Commonwealth Games, and he now coaches middle distance runners, including his son Jake, who competes in the 1500 beater. The Wightmans were both at Tokyo. Jake ran and Geoff worked as an in-house announcer.

Which is his other role. among his many announcing events, Geoff was also a stadium announcer at London 2012 and the 2022 Athletics World Championships where he called the 1500 meter final that his son won. So if you haven’t seen that, we’ll, we’ll put a link to that in the show notes cuz it gets you right in the fields.

Olympism runs deep in this family. Geoff’s wife and his sister-in-law, both competed at Soul 1988. We talked with Geoff about the strategy behind the 1500 meter and also how he approaches announcing. Take a listen.

Geoff, thank you so much for joining us. and one would think that running laps around a track in a 1500 meter race would not have strategy to it, but it does. Tell us, when you approach a 1500 race as a coach, what are you looking at in terms of building a strategy?

[00:03:34] Geoff Wightman: Well, it, it is changed. And the point at which it changed was the Rio Olympic Games because in the 1500 meter final there uh Matt Centrowitz of the USA won in three minutes, 50 with a 52nd last lap. And that was, that was more or less how Olympic games at any championships have been run for a hundred years up until then.

Slow, slow, slow, quick. And then by the time we got to London 2017, and, and certainly in the five, six years since then those athletes that can run a sustained almost world record pace on their own have decided they’re not gonna let races be run like that. So the result is that in, in Eugene, in Tokyo, and in Doha at the World Championships in 2019, athletes like Timothy Chariot and Yakka Brison have set out relatively early barely a lap into the race at world record speed on their own and sustain that.

So it’s no longer good enough to be able to sit back, relax, cover the moves, and then kick at the end. You’ve gotta actually commit to a very, very fast race, not far outside world record pace for almost a whole of the three and a half minutes.

How do you do that? Well, and the other, the other finesse is that that’s the third round in four days. and the heats and semifinals are being run a little bit like that as well. So when CECO won in 84, I, I asked him about this the other week. He ran probably I think uh 3 39, first round 3 37, second round semifinal, and then 3 34 in the final for an Olympic record.

Now all of those times start about three [00:05:00] seconds quicker. So, the reality is in the Diamond League circuit beforehand, you’ve gotta get used to running a three 30 pace or quicker. You’ve gotta have good 800 meter speed by the time we get to that point in the season. But you’ve also gotta have a bit of over distance endurance, 3000 meter, 5,000 meter strength to be able to get through the round.

So, Jake was, Jake who I coached my son world champion, was really disappointed in Tokyo when he got dropped off the pace in the Olympic final. That was running three 30, finished 10th, and we spent most of last winter just going over distance, running further, quicker racing 3000 meters indoors. And the result of that was he came back stronger and better able to cope with three rounds as intense as that.

So

[00:05:44] Alison: what makes somebody good at a middle distance versus a 200 or versus a much longer distance?

[00:05:51] Geoff Wightman: I think it’s temperament, A lot of it’s temperament. So, um three minutes of action is bite size, but it’s hard. So you have got to have the ability to be able to suffer for a prolonged period, but you’ve also gotta have pretty decent closing speed.

So you still have to be able to run the last 400 meters in 50 to 52 seconds off a reasonable pace if you need to. So it’s quite an intriguing blend of. Strength and speed. And, and it always has been. And that’s one of the reasons it’s the blue ribbon event. It started as the mile four laps in four minutes.

We’ve always had a fascination with that. And the 1500 meters at most games has been one of the blue ribbon events because every nation does it. You don’t need anything technical. So we have every continent represented in the preliminary rounds and it’s a worthy champion that comes through that.

[00:06:40] Alison: Yeah. There aren’t too many events where you see Kenya, Norway, and Great Britain being outstanding in the same event.

[00:06:48] Geoff Wightman: E exactly. And you can add into that Australia, New Zealand, who’ve got some good current athletes, it, it’s a vintage time for 1500 meter running and pretty much every continent is in there.

If you extend it to the women’s event, the Japanese have got, An Olympic fine list from Tokyo as well, so it’s properly global. Everybody sort of knows from high school what they could do for a mile or what they could do for 1500 meters cuz they did it in PE or games at school. So it’s a very relatable event, a very simple event.

And for that reason the qualifying standard even to get to the games has gone quicker and quicker over the last five, 10 years.

[00:07:22] Jill: How fast do you think it can get?

[00:07:25] Geoff Wightman: The shoes have made a big difference. So I think uh there was a revelation recently that in the States, the body that counts Subor Milers has stopped. And we had a situation last weekend in the States where I think it was 12 athletes in one meeting went under four minutes for the mile in different races at the same indoor event.

And it used to be quite an exclusive club. It no longer is I. The 1500 meter world record is un borrowed time. I think 3 26 to Algar Rouge goes back to 1998. I think in the right circumstances in the Diamond League, there are five or six athletes who could probably run quicker than that, but it could be at the expense of a medal in a championship.

So you’ve gotta decide that when those records were set, they used to be off years in championships where there was no Olympics world Europeans or Commonwealth. Now every year has a championship, so if you do decide to go to Monaco and have a world record attempt, it could be the expense of a medal the following month in a world or Olympic games.

What about

[00:08:23] Alison: the shoes has changed to make the times really drop?

[00:08:27] Geoff Wightman: Well, there there’s been a lot of investment things kind of stood still for about 20 years. We had air and gel and, and honeycomb cushioning, and then suddenly the carbon fiber plate got reimagined in conjunction with some real.

High-tech memory foam. And that has most obviously shown itself in marathon running where uh runners have come down to two hours, two minutes, when that perhaps would’ve been two hours, seven minutes, 20 years ago. And it’s had an effect on all distance races. And also actually it was distance running spikes that Toby Musen was wearing in the sprint hurdles when she broke the world record last summer.

So there is a cushioning, there’s a spring, there’s a, protection to the calves and heels that is afforded by that technology. I dunno what it’s worth empirically, but certainly you would think in a 1500 meters, maybe a couple of seconds compared to the shoes that were being worn in Sydney, 2000.

It’s, it’s moved on a lot in the last five years and I think we’ll continue to.

[00:09:23] Jill: for the 1500, are they wearing spikes cuz they’re on the track or are they wearing road

[00:09:27] Geoff Wightman: shoes?

Yeah, you’re not allowed to wear road shoes on the track. So there’s two different regulations. Okay. It’s a stack height of 40 millimeters, four centimeters on the road, which is pretty high. And I dunno what it is on the track, I would guess it’s 10 or 15 millimeters, something like that. So yes, they’re spikes, but they do have a thicker cushion.

The trend was in the eighties, nineties to have really thin spikes, you know, as close to barefoot as you could get. And now that technology is, minimal but beneficial. And it’s all in the uh heel and the midfoot spike plate is still as it ever was.[00:10:00]

[00:10:00] Jill: why aren’t you allowed to wear road shoes on, on the track? Why do you have to wear spikes?

[00:10:03] Geoff Wightman: Because they’re too, they’re too cushiony, too springy, too bouncy. So on the road it’s 40 millimeters. You you see it sometimes in sort of unregulated races, like high school races.

Kids do come onto the track with road shoes, super shoes. But it wouldn’t be allowed in any meeting of any standard because they would just be too beneficial, especially over something like 5,000, 10,000 meters. Not, not so much at 1500 meters. Very, very deep cushioning.

[00:10:33] Alison: Sorry, I just got the mental image of the runners kind of bouncing

They look like

[00:10:38] Geoff Wightman: that. The track in the race. They’re like whoopy wellies. They’re, they’re like uh yeah, like something out of um 1970s disco

[00:10:47] Alison: So Okay. Strategy because yeah, you know, 1500 I know you’ve said is your favorite. Yeah. You love calling it, you love ranting it, you love coaching it. Lots of different styles running from the front, running from the back. So how does a runner come up with what works for, in your case, him, for Jake?

[00:11:08] Geoff Wightman: Well, well the first thing should be to try and run as close to 1500 meters as you can.

We had some analysis done on Jake’s races in 20 17, 20 18, and he was running quite wide in races to position himself and overtake. And the net effect of that was he was running up to 1,540 meters. Well, if you think 40 meters is another 2, 3, 4, 5 seconds of running. So there are athletes who absolutely hug the rail.

And the danger of that, , you rely on other people for your fortunes over the last lap. You can get boxed in, you can miss the brakes. You can fail to respond at a key time in the race even though you’re running the shortest distance. So the balance is somewhere between the two. It’s probably overtaking in the straits, but tucking in on the bends because it’s the bends where you can run the extra distance.

And I like to think you shouldn’t allow yourself to drop too much outside the top three. Especially the way races are run at a high level now, because if you drift too far back, Two seconds can be terminal. If you are two seconds behind with 600 meters to go, you may never get that back. So you have to cover the moves, but without expending too much energy in a sudden surge, but without sitting too far back and without running too far.

So if you can balance all of those things and, and most people are going after a similar position around third you’ve cracked it, but you’ve gotta think on your feet. There’s a lot happening. There are people making surges. There are people making bogus surges where they’ve just gone carried away and probably won’t come back.

But somewhere in there, you’ve gotta make half a dozen judgment calls in the space of three minutes.

[00:12:40] Alison: So Jake’s race in world championships, I was just actually re-watching it right before we got on, seemed like his perfect race. it looks so easy for him. So what good decisions was he making along the way?

[00:12:53] Geoff Wightman: Well, he was taking risks and, and the, the chat we had the day before was. You’ve never had a medal in, in a global championship. Three attempts, four attempts. He could have probably played the percentages and run for a bronze. He could have sat back in fifth, sixth, or seventh place and relied on his speed to come through and get a bronze, but he was in really good shape.

The opportunity to take a risk, try and get gold was all about covering every move. So if somebody made a surge and there were a couple, cover them and then try and get to the bell within touching distance of the leader’s shoulder, and that’s what he did. And then he probably went a little bit quick, but it’s that whole thing about not overtaking on the bends, getting in front on the bend and, you know, letting the adrenaline take over.

And in the end, he only won it by fraction of a second, but he did enough off a quick pace for that to work. So the strategy in a nutshell was take risks, cover all the brakes, rely on your speed at the end, but position well.

[00:13:49] Alison: You kept your cool announcing that race. How’d you do it?

[00:13:53] Geoff Wightman: Well, it’s not a novelty for me to be announcing Jake’s races.

I, I started doing it when he was in his teens at school because my wife was his PE teacher, so he used to get roped in for school sports days. And as he’s come through national championships Commonwealth European World, Olympic, I’ve been lucky enough to be announcing and sometimes we get a choice of the events we want to do.

So in London 2012, I chose both 1500 meter races, which were terrible. and my colleague Gary Hill got both 800 meter races and Rua won the 800 in one of the great races of all time. But I still keep picking 1500 meters, and now that Jake’s a part of it, I know I have to stay impartial because otherwise I’ll get dropped from doing it in the future.

So I’m not just there for him, I’m there for everybody in the race and everybody in the crowd. So, and also you’re concentrating hard on who’s, who’s doing what. I’m keeping an eye on the clock in Eugene as well because the British record was, close in the end. So there’s lots of things going on, the heart’s racing, but you just still try and keep, keep the mouth in neutral.

[00:14:54] Alison: I don’t know how to do that, so that’s not, that’s definitely not a job for me.[00:15:00]

[00:15:00] Jill: When you’re stuck in the pack, how does the jostling work and. are there rules against elbowing somebody too much or how do you use it to your advantage to get out of a tight situation?

[00:15:13] Geoff Wightman: Well, the athletes that race at the highest level in 1500 meters don’t often come out complaining of things, physical elbows or nudges or pushes.

It happens a little bit uh less than it used to because there’s cameras everywhere. There’s super slow mo anybody I remember back to Rio in particular, there were a lot of disqualifications for impeding people like that. the thing that actually happens most often, Almost every race is spiking, spiking of the shins, treading on the feet.

That happens a lot men’s and women’s races, and that’s because of the close proximity. So it, it doesn’t tend to take place in the upper body. Now you don’t get elbows and shoulders, but you do get shins and knees and spike plates in contact. But I think there’s just so much scrutiny on contact that it, it’s less of an issue.

You, you do get people that panic when they’ve hugged the rail and have to get out in a in a hurry, just sort of trying to ease their way through and making contact with people as they try and find a gap with their arms. But it’s, it’s not that common. It’s become less of a feature over the last three or four years.

[00:16:12] Jill: What are the qualities that make somebody good for middle distance versus a marathon or a sprint?

[00:16:18] Geoff Wightman: Sprinting speed. So there’s a whole different running action. We spend a lot of time, like three sessions a week on speed of contact off the ground, the same as sprinters. So the result of that is Jake’s terrible at CrossCountry because everything that he does is drilled to be quick back off the ground.

Whereas marathon runners can be heels, strikers, and quite a long period of contact on the ground protected by those super shoes. But most 1500 meter runners could still run a pretty decent four by 400 meter leg. You know, 47, 48 seconds off a rolling start if they had to. So you kind of know which direction your career’s going in by the time you’re in your teens.

You know, if you, if you haven’t got that leg turnover, you will drift through the distances to the road and marathon. If you can still change pace well on the track, then the 1500 meters has sent it to offer you. But you, you know, to look at a runner. Whether they’ve got that sort of spring and bounce and contact off the ground,

[00:17:16] Alison: I noticed that middle distance tends to be older.

And what is it about middle distance and, and experience that works so well

[00:17:25] Geoff Wightman: together? there’s definitely an apprenticeship that you have to serve. You can be a prodigy as Yakob was. But that’s not common. Jake went into the 2017 World Championships with one of the fastest times in the world this year, a winner in the Diamond League in Oslo, and he didn’t make the final, he’s made every final sins, but that was a harsh learning curve about most people in the qualifying rounds of 1500 are quite invisible until about 300 meters to go.

So they tuck in, they don’t do anything dramatic. They cover the moves gradually, and then with 300 meters to go, they suddenly appear in a qualifying position. Now if you watch the really experienced competitors that happens in heat, semi-final. And if they can get away with it in the final as well. So it’s energy conservation, it’s positioning, it’s nothing too extravagant, it’s no sudden burst.

Shape one is semi-final at the Tokyo Olympics and that that meant that the rate the final a couple of days later was probably a race too far. So it’s not doing anything that gets the emotions, the adrenaline or the energy conservation out of sync. And sometimes you’ve gotta run a couple of championships at that level to understand how to do that.

So there is still an apprenticeship to be served, I think, and experience to be gained. You, you’re not in lanes, you’ve gotta make calls about your positioning and your running against people. In Tokyo there was only, I think, less than two tenths of a second separating all 12 finalists coming through from the semi-finals.

They were all 3 36 point something. So incredibly close. But the big names do come through because they just know how to finesse that last lap when

[00:19:05] Alison: we’re watching a 1500. And obviously, you know, the fastest person wins, but how do you watch it to get some of the nuances? What should we be watching for?

[00:19:16] Geoff Wightman: The fastest person doesn’t always win. that’s still the fascination with it. I mean, I mean, Jake wasn’t the fastest in, in Eugene. He just ran closer to his perfect race in the final, and it is plain to your strength. So if you’re not the fastest in the field, and Inga, Brison and Chariot wouldn’t win if it was an 800 meters, but they would win if it was a 5,000 meters.

So they will go early. You can predict that. You can say that already about Paris and. Budapest at the World Championships this summer. Those guys won’t leave it till the last lap. It will be fast from 60 seconds into the race. Other athletes who’ve got the quick 400 meter times will be hoping it isn’t like that.

They’ll be hoping it’s more of a central it’s race where they can make their speed [00:20:00] count. But so it’s fascinating really. You’ve got people that can’t kick that will be trying to draw the sting out of those that can, and people who can kick desperately trying to hang on. And somewhere in the two, the person with the best combination of those two things will win.

But they won’t necessarily be the fastest runner, but they’ll be the smartest tactician and the one that got it right on the day. There was an

[00:20:21] Alison: interview that you did that, you mentioned that Jake also has a sprints coach Yes. For his middle distance. So how does that work in terms of prepping for the 1500.

[00:20:32] Geoff Wightman: It’s Laura Turner, Elaine she was um an Olympic sprinter relay medalist in Commonwealth Games at four by 100 meters. She’s one of our foremost sprint coaches and multi-bank coaches in the uk. We’ve worked with different people since Jake was an undergraduate, but most recently with Laura for about six or seven years.

And it involves Thursday afternoon sprints and drills and Monday afternoon drills. So they spend out of 12 sessions a week, they spend two specifically on sprinting as often as we can with her watching over it at Brunelle University, but often on their own or with just me keeping an eye on that. And it’s mostly about form and those things that I was saying about ground contact and rigid ankles and all of those things that sprinters do, that middle distance runners tend not to.

[00:21:20] Jill: Can you always have a kick and that’s something that you just maybe in a specific race you don’t have the energy for, or is that just like innately within your capabilities as a runner?

[00:21:34] Geoff Wightman: everybody can kick off a slow pace. So if it’s slow enough like it was in Rio, you’ll have the whole field in, in two seconds and it will be like a 400 meters.

the, the challenge is to be able to kick when you’ve got lactic acid up to your eyelashes and you’re really struggling to hold onto almost a world record pace in your third race in four days in hot, humid. Tense conditions, that’s where it’s more tricky to be able to be certain of your kick because everything is against that.

And, and half the field are trying not to leave it to a sprint finish, which is the big sort of transformation in 1500 meters. So everybody has a kick in a slow race. Not everybody has a kick and it’s relative if it’s being run at three 30 pace.

[00:22:18] Jill: What is recovery like? What do they have to do to prepare during races?

[00:22:22] Geoff Wightman: so if you’ve got in between races? Yeah. If you have three races in four days and it’ll be slightly more than that in Budapest and Paris. Recovery starts as soon as the athletes cross the line. So it’ll be. Carbohydrates, physiotherapy, massage, flush out and then quite often, and it, it’s not as in vogue as it used to be, but those cryogenic ice machines where you go into minus 30 degrees, we tend not to use those year round because it inhibits the body’s own healing and flushing mechanism.

But in a championship where you might be racing on a Tuesday night and you’ve got a semi-final on a Wednesday afternoon five or 10 minutes in, that can help. And then part of the challenge is trying to get to sleep because often the athletes would’ve taken caffeine, whether it’s in coffee or tablet form to be pepped up for the race and that will stay with them.

So if they raced at nine or 10 o’clock, they may not be able to get to sleep until 2:00 AM So then it’s optimizing when you get up the next day, whether you have a little jog. And, and going into the same countdown procedure again. So it’s a good question cuz it’s not easy to recover twice in four days, but there is a protocol for it.

That’s what some of the support staff are there to help facilitate. But everybody’s different on that, especially around sleep, because sleep in an athlete village where you might be sharing a room with somebody that’s getting up early the next day where there might be extraneous noise eye patches, earplugs, all of those things.

And maybe extended naps in the afternoon, even if you’re racing in the evening, is, that’s all part of recovery.

[00:23:57] Alison: How long of a training plan do you have? So is it mapped out for a season or multiple years, you know, coming into something like either Tokyo or going as we’re looking at Paris,

[00:24:10] Geoff Wightman: I will have a pretty good idea what Jake’s.

Year looks like starting in September. So he takes a break for two or three weeks. Then it’s quite high mileage and a trip to Flagstaff before Christmas South Africa, and then a mini indoor season in the first three months of the new year, then back to Flagstaff in May, and then start racing May into June.

Looking for the big race to be the eighth one in a series of perhaps 12 or 15 races in the summer. So that’s the rhythm of the year. I know roughly what it looks like. I know roughly what the mileage and the long runs look like within that, but it, it never goes smoothly. Last year he had covid this year, right now he is in a boot having turned his ankle in South Africa in January.

So that will extend his winter by a week or two. So, so the theory and the practice are, are quite different. [00:25:00] I know what a theoretical year looks like. We’ve yet to completely deliver it in practice.

[00:25:04] Jill: Do you involve weights in training?

[00:25:07] Geoff Wightman: Yes, a lot. I would say it’s something that Jake does more than most of his contemporary. So he’s done it since he was an undergraduate, in fact, almost since he was at school. It’s a guy called Andy K, who is an excellent s n C coach now getting a reputation for himself.

And we do s n C on a Tuesday afternoon and a Saturday afternoon, and also a session called Prehab, which is a Wednesday afternoon, and that’s usually core stretching and strength thing. And we also do yoga on a Monday night as well. But Jake, I would say he was quite a weedy kid, quite skinny into his late teens, early twenties.

And the transformation in him with the sinewy strength that he now has, and the bounce that he has in his stride is, is thanks to the work of Andy Kay and the fact that Jake’s spent two sessions of an hour and a half every week over the last seven or eight years to achieve that.

[00:26:00] Jill: So what is a training?

What’s a training day like? How many hours a day is he training?

[00:26:06] Geoff Wightman: It’s probably two or three sessions a day. And they could be an hour and a half each. So a long run or, or a track workout still involves quite a long warm up and a warm down. These gym sessions can stretch to an hour and three quarters to two hours.

So one way and another between sort of getting up, getting your hydration and your nutrition, right. Training for the first time, then recovering, maybe napping, eating again, then training for a second time. That’s the day gone really. So, although the actual training is only one to two and a half hours, the preparation and the scheduling of it is a full-time thing.

[00:26:45] Alison: I’m curious as to the balance of relationship between dad and coach and how that, works. I mean, those are two very fraught relationships that then are competing with

[00:26:58] Geoff Wightman: each other. Yeah, it’s been in quite sharp focus the last year because as he gets older he does know better than me what it feels like to line up for those races, to input on his training and especially his races.

He doesn’t like cross country. I’m still a fan. So we, we have, we’re even having a two and him throwing about the two races that he might do before Easter as part of his comeback, assuming it all goes to plan. And if it was one of my other athletes and I coached four, they would probably be quite deferential in expressing an opinion.

It would be a WhatsApp message, a phone call with him cuz he is son just tells me blunt to my face, quite rudely sometimes and I’ll be quite rude back. So that’s families for you And it, it does. Um We resolve it eventually. My wife gets drawn in sometimes, but it usually, I, I would say most of the time it’s harmonious, but when it’s blunt, when it’s fractures, it’s really fractures.

It’s shouty. It’s sulking for days. It’s that kind of thing that you’d expect. It’s like teaching a member of your family to drive. It’s not gonna go smoothly as it, you’re gonna have raised voices. You’re gonna have tantrums. It’s just families. Has

[00:28:01] Alison: it gotten easier? Has these gotten older or more complicated?

[00:28:05] Geoff Wightman: that’s a good question. I, I think, I think it’s okay. I think on my behalf, there’s an acknowledgement that he’ll be a coach himself one day. he’s nearly 30, he is nearly 29. He has a lot of experience, which I don’t have. So it has to be in the nature of a dialogue around coaching. So I often, I post training on a, software program on a Sunday.

but it’s consultative. If he says, no, I can’t, I don’t wanna do that or that, that’s just not gonna work. Then I take it down and I change it. In the past I would probably have been a bit more in dictatorial about that. Now he kind of knows he’s world champion. He knows what it takes and I have to respect his input on that journey.

All 52 weeks.

[00:28:47] Alison: Okay, so this is a personal question and please feel free not to answer it. I’m curious about the financial aspect when your father is your coach and do you pay him a salary? Like how does that work on the financial side,

[00:29:00] Geoff Wightman: I don’t take any money directly off my athletes cuz I think that would change the relationship.

I, I get money from New Balance and UK athletics. A lot of that is in kind, so it’s support for flights and training camps and car hire and accommodation and all that kind of thing. So there’s nothing that flows between Jake or any of my other athletes and me. . And that’s always been the case, and that probably always will be the case because I think it changes the dynamic.

I think I would then become his consultant or his employee. And I wouldn’t necessarily feel the same about putting my foot down about something. So, yeah, he’s, he’s reasonably well remunerated coach is everywhere, less so, but I’m not in it for payment. I’m in it for sort of helping athletes achieve their potential.

So I’m, I’m happy with how things are.

[00:29:44] Jill: Is that how a lot of coaches operate?

[00:29:47] Geoff Wightman: Do you know? At the highest level, there aren’t many coaches making a living. Those that are, are paid by colleges or shoe brands or federations or clubs. , there is a precedent, especially amongst [00:30:00] sprinters, where the athletes pay a monthly retainer for the coaching services.

And that may be for a lead coach, a strength and conditioning coach, a nutritionist, a physio within a sort of corporate structure. I don’t think there’s that many distance coaches charging their athletes directly. Most of them will do it through, through their shoe sponsor or through their federation.

that’s how coaches of distance runners most often get remunerated.

[00:30:26] Jill: I know, that’s so interesting how that, you know, I never, I mean, you think how because an athlete needs, especially, in running needs a, a fair amount of services, whether it’s massage or coaching or what have you, nutrition. And you kind of wonder like, how does that all get paid for? Is there that much money in the Diamonds League circuit that covers all of that?

[00:30:52] Geoff Wightman: Yeah. And, and, and the one that people point to is that almost all of them have a race agent or a commercial agent, a shoe deal, appearance fees, and prize money and, and retainers. And the agent will get 20% of that. The coach doesn’t, but they may have an arrangement that that gets them somewhere in that direction via the agent, via the shoe company or via the federation.

But it’s, yeah, in the money go round. The coaches, the coaches are a bit left behind. Unless, unless you’re with one of the big West coast shoe teams, there’s not loads. There’s a living, but it’s not, you’re not gonna get rich.

[00:31:26] Jill: as a coach, how do you stay up on, I, I don’t wanna say the word trends, but I guess developments in how people can improve

[00:31:35] Geoff Wightman: the most common is the time spent with other coaches, whether formally or informally. So at training camps events warmup areas that’s the chance to talk about who’s trying what, you know, and, and to see other ideas in action.

so we’ve just come back from South Africa and there were most of the leading British endurance runners were there, and you’re kind of living in a goldfish bowl. Everybody knows what everybody’s doing training wise and socially throughout the day, but it does enable you to look at different ways of doing things.

And then you supplement that with webinars, publications, books, conferences. Magazines, all of those sorts of things. So there’s lots of different ways of just sort of keeping abreast of ideas, ideas that, that may or may not work for you.

[00:32:22] Jill: How often do you try implementing something new? Because if you’re building, if you’re in a race schedule, like when do you not wanna rock the boat when it comes to trying something new?

[00:32:33] Geoff Wightman: whenever I set out the first six months of training in the winter in September through to March, I always try and think of something different, whether it’s dietary sand dunes in training use of a sports psychologist, something that we haven’t done before.

So, so for example there’s a new nutritionist Nigel at um British Athletics who’s fantastic and we will make use of his services in a way that we’ve never. Done before. He’s got lots of ideas about lactic, buffering use of bee root. Just stuff we haven’t thought about before. And I think you can introduce that on a trial and error basis without too much harm.

If it’s, if it’s wrong, if he dries dietary things that don’t work, he can go back quick enough. But there’s some expertise on offer there that could give a 1% advantage. And whenever that crops up, whether it’s at the start of the year or mid-season, yeah, we’ll try it because he’s, he’s intelligent.

He knows other athletes. He knows what he’s doing. He worked with any OS team on the Tour de France. So on every level he’s a guy that knows how endurance bodies tick. and we’ve got the opportunity to tap into his expertise. So try and do one new thing from September going into the new year.

Sometimes opportunities just pop up. Midyear use of a sports psychologist. I think that came in in March of one year as a result of I think it was when Seb went to uh Jake went to have a chat with Seb Co and it was just something we decided to do off the back of that. And I don’t get involved. I, I’m not even sure of the name of the sports psychologist that he uses, but it helps and most importantly, you can’t do any harm, so, you know, it’s worth, trying.

[00:34:09] Alison: I’m so glad you mentioned Sub Co. Cuz I’m curious as to, team GB has a very long history of track, so I was very surprised that Jake was only the second world champion for the 1500 from from Great Britain. how, how does that tradition kind of play into both your career as a coach, your career as an athlete, and then continuing with your.

[00:34:31] Geoff Wightman: Well, I, I was lucky enough to, to live through that area to I, I know all three of Cora and Oveta as friends and training partners and colleagues been for a run with all of them. And I remember the golden era when the nine o’clock news on the BBC was broken into to go over to a world record attempt in Zurich.

You know, it was unheard of sort of coverage for athletics. But, but that almost then became a millstone for the next generation because they were always compared with them, why are we not winning at that [00:35:00] level? The Holy East African wave came in the Moroccan, and we weren’t even making finals, let alone winning medals.

And I think that’s been really, really hard for the generations that have followed. I think Sarah and Steve and Steve Ove have played their part in mentoring and just chatting to people about having the confidence to. Develop. So Seb has chatted to Jake since he was in his teens. He’s been very good about giving his time, talking about the pros and cons of being coached by your father.

They both went to Loughry University. They both try and double at eight and 1500 meters. So, Jake and I talk tos several times a year about ideas and, and when you spend time with somebody like that, there’s no fear. He never had any fear of making teams or going through rounds or injuries interrupting his year.

He was always very confident for a 10 years in a row that things would come good and Steve k Graham’s much the same. So when you chat as a British athlete to someone like that, that sort of confidence and belief and assurance just I think rubs off over time. So Jake’s first breakthrough was European juniors 10 years ago.

But I think that generation. Really helped the current generation to adjust to the demands of international athletics. And I think the 15, 20 years in between really suffered from the comparison and the expectation that they would keep that production line going, which was a once in a generation thing or once in a century thing really.

[00:36:27] Alison: I’m imagining Christmas dinner at the Whiteman house.

That would be awesome.

[00:36:34] Geoff Wightman: it. Well, in what way? Argumentative or, or when we play games? When we play games shards or anything. It is so, so competitive. My wife was an Olympic athlete. Jake’s a twin, so he and Sam are really, really competitive. My daughter doesn’t let him get away with anything, so anything competitive, my goodness.

I mean, when we. Girlfriend’s boyfriends or in-laws new to the family. It’s just embarrassing how fierce we are about the slightest little competitive situation. It’s, I’m ashamed .

[00:37:05] Alison: I was also thinking, cuz you were talking about the nutritionist who makes the choice on the Christmas pudding, because there, there’s a lot of input that has to happen there,

[00:37:13] Geoff Wightman: Yeah, so my daughter is vegan. My wife’s pretty much vegetarian, so there are several options there, but I think Jake will get more intense about his diet over the next few years. But right now it’s not too strict and Christmas isn’t too strict. , you know, so It’s okay. everybody has the same Christmas dinner as everybody else.

but the party games, my goodness, we played murder mystery on New Year’s Eve during lockdown, and that almost came to blows. it’s just when you get too many type A people in one room.

[00:37:44] Jill: How does having a mom for an Olympian and ant for an Olympian help your

[00:37:50] Alison: son?

[00:37:51] Geoff Wightman: Well, I didn’t go to the Olympics and it was a big regret of mine, which still is in a way. But the fact that I’ve announced one and I’ve coached at one, I’ve announced it two now has got rid of that. But I heard Jake say when he was a kid and he was, he was training.

And he, he’d be saying to other athletes, oh, I, I’d like to go to the Olympics one day. And the other kid would say, yeah. And he’d say, but my mum went and my auntie went. and really it’s not that big a deal in our family because we’ve had two, two that have been, and Jake’s been as well, it’s just me, Martha, and Sam that are the odd ones cuz we haven’t.

So I think, I think that sort of made it easier in some ways for him to think, well I can get to that level cuz somewhere along the way it might be in my genes to be an Olympian. But it was, it’s certainly a very odd situation. He, because my wife and her sister are identical twins as well. So that’s highly unusual to have identical twin boys and then an identical twin mother.

That’s not hereditary, that’s just a luck of the draw. But I think that whole, well they both went to the Olympics, so I might as well, was, was an odd one.

[00:38:55] Jill: So speaking of the Olympics, you’ve announced that London, correct? Yeah. And Tokyo, yeah. Two completely different experiences.

Yes. what makes a good in-house announcer in athletics?

[00:39:10] Geoff Wightman: Uh It’s changed so my style certainly wasn’t in vogue up until just before 2012. I think it’s communication. so our sport is quite complicated. There’s an awful lot going on. And if somebody’s coming for the first time, you have to kind of explain the field events and, and how that all works.

And also when to get excited and when not, you know, so, the distance events will build. So, so it’s um it’s explaining, it’s infusing and it’s just trying to position athletics along with every other sport as entertainment really. That I think is, is the role of the announcer in stadium

did you have

[00:39:47] Jill: to get them enthusiastic? Very much in

[00:39:49] Geoff Wightman: London? London was amazing. And you spoke about the contrast with Tokyo. So in London we had 80,000 and they weren’t athletics fans necessarily. They were [00:40:00] Olympic fans and a lot of first timers, and we had face paints and flags. At one stage, the noise on super.

When Mo Farrow won the 5,000 meters on the second Super Saturday, the noise that they made as he crossed the line created a sound wave that distorted the photo finish camera equipment, the film or the digital imaging Inside the photo finish, they had to go to a backup image to get the, the accurate timing.

Tokyo, there was barely a thousand people in the stadium, and they were all either teams or VIPs or security personnel. So we were the atmosphere in Tokyo, we had to create the atmosphere that was missing, but was just so conspicuous in London.

[00:40:44] Jill: How does that take a toll on you, physically and mentally when you’re trying to be exciting for 70,000 people who aren’t there?

[00:40:55] Geoff Wightman: Uh It, it was okay. In Tokyo, the, the, the load is always shared. So in any session of athletics there will be three voices that you’ll hear. And in Tokyo it was two English and one Japanese.

And, and that’s usually the way, so it’s the home language and English shared. So that means that if it’s a session of 20 events in an evening, I’ll do 10, I’ll lead on 10 of them, and it may be six track and three field. So that’s manageable. The voices change a bit. The tempo changes a little bit.

DJs have made a huge difference to the experience in the stadium. Not all of the purest like music, but I think our sport works well with music. We’ve now moved on to lasers and lighting effects and things of that kind, and it’s far more rassas. Than it used to be. So I enjoy it. It’s nine or 10 or 12 days of competition.

Nine is usually the maximum that, that can be hard. I’ve done solo days of nine hours on day nine, that that takes a physical toll, but you kind of get through it. You, you’re pretty whacked at the end of it. But it’s a big adrenaline rush because we’re all athletics fans. So we all enjoy it as much as feel like we’re working as well.

[00:42:13] Alison: I was gonna ask about your own training for that. You know, are the things that you, that you prep, do you have a favorite cough drop? Do you have a favorite beverage in your thermos? How do you get through the days?

[00:42:23] Geoff Wightman: so I do practice, I, I went to a voice coach after London 2017, on that day, nine of nine hours.

And my voice was going, I went to see a voice coach and I have exercises that I do every other day. That helps strengthen. I’ve got, you have to stay well hydrated. So I always have water plus and then a, a gradation of just pastels, which are non-medicated. Then strep cells and then vocal zone.

And vocal zone is the one that gets some of these singers through their Las Vegas residencies, but it has an anesthetic effect, so only one of those per session maximum. So that’s the degrees of that. And I also have a steamer that I inhale between sessions as well, because that keeps the vocal chords lubricated.

So I’ve got a, a regime.

[00:43:12] Alison: Yeah, we learned our lesson on going too many days with Bady. It’s the key, it’s the key to get it through the, the long sessions.

[00:43:20] Geoff Wightman: But if, if, if you’re drinking water as you have to, it’s gotta go somewhere. So you’ve gotta be prepared to make a run for it every hour or so as well. That’s the other thing to be factored in.

And, and I’ve had, I’ve had situations, I announced in a, a Diamond league in New York and I did seven and a half hours solo. And the toilet was three fours down via a lift. So I had to just stay, put, even the national anthem while that was playing. I couldn’t leave. So seven and a half hours, that’s, that’s hard.

That’s stamina.

[00:43:51] Alison: do you have a race where you said to yourself, I, that was really good in the call. I.

[00:43:58] Geoff Wightman: I think the best I’ve ever done was that super sat, the last super sat of London 2012. I had to do the first two or three hours on my own because Gary Hill was at the race walk that was finishing in the mail, and then he joined me for the last three hours or whatever it was.

and I think that’s probably the best I’ve done so far. I can’t think of anything, any major errors or things that I missed. But you are always trying to improve. You know, probably if I listen to it back, I would think that was a bit me, but I still think uh 11 years on, I still think that was probably my best session of track and field.

So it must have been okay, but, but it’s not my opinion that counts. It’s the producer and it’s the people watching in the stadium. So, you know, in a way it doesn’t matter what I think of our output, it’s whether people enjoyed that session of athletics.

[00:44:45] Jill: And if you get hired again,

[00:44:46] Alison: you

[00:44:47] Geoff Wightman: know, you’re Exactly, yeah.

If you get, if you get asked back, you, you, you’re doing enough. You’re doing enough. Yeah.

[00:44:53] Jill: What is the process for you to get the job as an Olympic

[00:44:57] Geoff Wightman: announcer? I was very, [00:45:00] very lucky and I, I can tell this story without mentioning names, but I’d been announcing since the eighties at my club and London Marathon since 91, and we got to 2006 seven when the London Olympics had been, had been awarded.

And I was, I would so love, I would love more than anything in my life to be an announcer at London 2012, but there was really no chance because I was four or five seats away for me to get. It would’ve needed somebody to turn it down uh somebody to die and somebody to suffer ill health. And all three of those things happened.

All three of those things happened unbelievably. And I, and I just, they decided they needed an English voice. It couldn’t be all Americans. So I got the call. And then even more unbelievably there was a, an opinion piece in one of our tabloids, the Daily Mail saying anger as an American voice set to ring out over the main Olympic stadium.

And off the back of that, which appeared like just a few days before the games, I was given all the prime events, the men’s hundred and my choice of everything. So when I look back on it, I still can’t believe it. You know, I was just in the right place at the right time. I’d been brought back in to Diamond Leagues.

I’d done a World Youth Championship a year or two before, but it was lucky. and I still, I still thank my lucky stars , you. ,

[00:46:16] Jill: How did it work then For Tokyo?

[00:46:19] Geoff Wightman: Tokyo, I’d been quite established. I did the previous, it, it, it’s now the call is with World Athletics.

So World Athletics have a roster of announcers that they use. Everybody gets given a chance because across the year we have a world cross country. This weekend in Australia, there’s a world indoors every other year there’s um world Cup and World Championships. And, and I’ve been lucky enough to do the last five World championships.

So 17, 19 was four and, and 23 this year. And I, I don’t know about Olympics. I don’t know about Paris. I’d love to do it. I’d love to still be in the frame for Los Angeles. And I, I have done a couple of Paralympic games as well, including Tokyo. But often these things are Taste and, giving other people a chance.

There’s an increasing need for female voices uh within it for more diversity within announcing. And I’m an older white guy, so I’m not always gonna be first choice, but you know, I’m just grateful when I, when I do get the chance,

[00:47:20] Alison: we, Americans love the English accent. So we’re, I’m, I have no, no surprise that you were in Eugene. I’m like, of course. Because somehow when someone with an English accent tells us something, we believe them more .

[00:47:33] Geoff Wightman: Well, we we’re often villains, aren’t we in Bond or other films? The English accent is the CAD as well.

I think it plays well west Coast, more than East Coast. Sometimes there is the other way around. I can’t, I can’t remember. But yeah, but you can still go to places where you say something and you think you’re pronouncing it exactly right. And people go, what? Sorry? It’s like it takes a while for people to get with it.

[00:47:56] Jill: You are a marathoner. How much do you still run these days?

[00:48:00] Geoff Wightman: I cover and write down a hundred miles a month. So 25 miles a week, but increasingly some of that’s walking, so my target is to run three, five miles each week and two of something else. So I still run and I, I, my knees are still fine, thanks to turmeric and hips and back are still Okay.

So I’d like to reach a hundred thousand lifetime miles. I’m on about 74,000 at the moment, so it’ll be a race between that and dying. I should think, you know, because it will, if it happens, it’ll be when I’m 80. So I, I might be deceased at 90,000 miles.

[00:48:34] Alison: Well, Jill needs a training plan cuz we’re getting her ready for the 10 K in

[00:48:38] Geoff Wightman: Paris.

Oh, oh, the mass participation one. Yeah. Good luck. There’s, there’s lots of schedules and they’re all Good luck getting in . No, start, start gradually, but there’s lots of online schedules for 10 K. It’ll be a nice distance to do. Great place to do it as well.

[00:48:53] Alison: So your English, your wife is Welsh, your son runs from Scotland. Yes. Who are we sending to? Northern Ireland?

[00:49:02] Geoff Wightman: That’s well picked up on there was a joke one time that our son was a steeple chaser and he liked Guinness and he could run for Ireland, but, or Northern Ireland as it would be in the Commonwealth.

But no, it’s slightly unusual. Susan and Jake’s qualifications are by residents, so, Susan was an undergraduate and the postgraduate in Wales, so that qualified for her for Wales. And Jake lived 10 years in Scotland and that was enough. And he is disregard himself as Scottish. And, and Susan will cheer for Wales at rugby.

But it is slightly unusual within one family to have three nationalities. But that’s it. Now we can’t , we can’t get an Irish man or woman out of it. Well, I say that, I mean, if one of the move somebody can marry or, or, or if they move there, if they move there for six years, yeah. Who does? Why not? Yeah, it would be funny.

[00:49:47] Jill: is there anything else we’ve not talked about that we should know when we’re watching the 1500?

[00:49:56] Geoff Wightman: No, I think it’s, it is a golden era for 1500. [00:50:00] You pointed out how many different nationalities are in the mix there, but the times that they’re running now and it will take a world record from somebody for people to realize that this is probably one of the all-time great eras at 1500 meters.

But it is, it’s a privilege and a pleasure to be involved in it, but it makes it really hard to make teams and finals and podiums. It’s, it’s classic at the moment.

[00:50:21] Jill: Excellent. Well, no, I’m way more excited to, to watch it in Paris, definitely. Oh, agreed. Thank you so much. Geoff,

Thank you so much, Geoff. You can follow Geoff on Insta, Geoff Wightman, and on Twitter. He is Wightman Geoff.

Seoul 1988 History Moment

[00:50:37] Jill: Ah, the sound means it is time for our history moment. All year long, we are looking at the Soul, 1988 games as it is, the 35th anniversary of those games. It is your turn for a story. Alison, what do you have?

[00:50:54] Alison: I have parents and children, so Nice. Geoff and Jake and the white men family have a long history.

They are not the only ones. This is just parents and children. I didn’t even get into siblings, spouses, cousins in-laws. So this is gonna be either the parent or the child competed in 88 and then have some connections. So we’ve already talked about Reiner, klim and his daughter ing. who have a long history of sage, but sage in Germany is a family affair and Katherine Linn.

Hoff won Golden Soul, but was only half as successful as her mother Lilo, who won gold in 68 and 72. Josephs Kerman won four medals at four different Olympics competing for Germany. His daughter Eva Maria Proct competed for Canada at Seoul and won the team bronze. Yeah, I wanna know the story there. , we got more Germans.

Ryan, hold Bear competed in fencing in Munich and Montreal and his son Mathias and daughter-in-law Zita. Eva Fuen Hauser both won multiple medals in 1988 at all. Andreas Keller represented West Germany in field hockey and soul. His grand. Father, wife, daughter, and son all played field hockey for various incarnations of Germany.

Whoa. There has

[00:52:22] Jill: to be. We got more field family or they have a whole family museum like can you imagine

[00:52:27] Alison: all field hockey? Watch out for the sticks at that family dinner. . We got more field hockey from the Netherlands. Hedi Krutz played in 1988 just as his father Ropey had played in 48 and 52. Grisha competed in water polo for the Soviet Union in 88.

His mother, Valentina Rova competed in fencing at three Olympics and his father, Boris Grisha, was a water polo polo player as well. There were cousins and extended family in that group, but like I said, parents and children only. We got more water polo families this time from Italy, Marco del Tru.

Played in 88, following in the footsteps of his father Giuseppe, who played in four Olympics. Paka Buk played water polo for Yugoslavia in 88. Luca Buk represented Croatia in Rio. In Tokyo, we got more Yugoslavia. Maximov won Air Rifle Gold for Yugoslavia in 88. His daughter Ivana shot for Serb. In London, in Rio.

Okay. Makes sense. Wow. I got, I got more, I got more. This is, this is insane. This is incredible. How many legacies there are. I know also, how many names I have to say Vaslav. Zeit played volleyball for the Soviet Union in 1988. His son Ivan, represented Italy in 20 12, 20 16, and 2020. Yeah, I wanna know what happened there.

American diver Kelly McCormick won bronze in the three meter springboard, but that did not match her mother’s four diving golds in Helsinki and Melbourne. That’s Pat McCormick. And the final one is one that people will be familiar with. Val Larry Lukin won multiple medals in men’s gymnastics in 1988.

You may have heard of his daughter Nas.

[00:54:26] Jill: Wow. Pretty incredible. That is a huge list. I’m also curious to see if this Olympics varies from other Olympics with, I mean, obviously earlier you’re gonna have more kids, but like, are we getting into three and four generations of Olympic families?

[00:54:44] Alison: The answer is this is not that different from a lot of other Olympics. Olympic families are a tradition. I’m sure I miss some and like I said, I didn’t even get into siblings and spouses, but this is a list that for certain [00:55:00] countries and certain sports will be true no matter what Olympics we are covering historically.

Amazing.

TKFLASTAN Update

[00:55:07] Alison: welcome to shk fk. It

[00:55:16] Jill: is the time of the show where we check in with our team, keep the flame alive. These are guests and listeners of the show who make up our citizens of Shk. Fk. We’ve got some.

[00:55:28] Alison: Nor combined Athlete Anika Masinsky got a world Championship’s personal best with a 22nd place finish. Nice job Annika.

I’m

[00:55:37] Jill: excited for her. She’s, she seemed to have a pretty good season At the IS S F World Cup, which is their world championships. Tim Sherry finished 41st in men’s 10 meter air rifle, 29th in mixed team, 10 meter air rifle and 26th in three position, 50 meter air rifle and Thrasher.

Finished 38th in women’s three position, 50 meter air rifle. Tough champs for all of them, but it just goes to show that some days you have a really tough day and we’re sorry that this happened to be your tough day, but hopefully there are more, better days in the future.

[00:56:14] Alison: In some other news, Erin Jackson placed third overall for the World Cup season in the 500 meters. But more importantly, she will have her own bobblehead. And thank you listener David, for letting us know about hi this.

We’ll put a link to that in the show notes.

[00:56:29] Jill: Yes, available for pre-order. Now. Get your very own. It’s just exciting to see. Para thrower Ness Murby is going to have his own show called Ness Murby Transcending.

it’s a documentary series that talks about his life and follows him as he trains and vice to be the world’s first openly trans man to compete at a Paralympic Games. This debuts on March 8th. A M I TV at 8:00 PM It’s also going to be on demand@ami.ca and the AMI tv app. So it’ll be a six week run.

And hopefully we’re gonna have uh, neon to talk about it soon.

[00:57:07] Alison: And curler John Schuster is competing in the mixed doubles national tournament with Aileen G.

[00:57:14] Jill: And then so many listeners have gotten into the Paris 2024 ticket lottery.

That would be listeners, Patrick Anthony, Dan David, Brian Ross, Don Nicholas, superfan, Sarah contributor Ben and me. I got into the lottery too, and you, and you. You

[00:57:31] Alison: know, did you, you know, who didn’t get in the lottery?

[00:57:34] Jill: You me, but don’t feel bad’s bad because I don’t, I don’t, I I ended up buying nothing in the ticket lottery because there’s not, by the time it’s getting to us, cuz I wonder if this is, what is happening is that everybody’s getting chosen for the lottery now.

And then they get there and they find out this is not what I wanted to get, and they leave. So when I looked, I hoped. Some fencing and some modern pentathlon and maybe some athletics, and there was no fencing. There was no modern pentathlon, and the athletic session I wanted was there, but the tickets were like 690 euros each.

They were really, really expensive. And I said no, and then I looked around to see what else they had. I, I’m, I’m not really interested to see every sport if the price is really. So I looked at weightlifting and I looked at wrestling. And when I put those two together and then I was like, well, rugby, I would go see rugby.

But in thinking of bringing the rugby’s at the beginning of the games, the weightlifting and wrestling are at the end of the game. So that’s kind of a little disparity there. When you put them all together for two tickets for each event, it was. 850 Euros and I kind of went not wanting to pay that much for these events at this time, so

[00:58:57] Alison: Fair enough.

And we’re gonna have Ken Hanscomb our ticketing expert back on the show, probably about one year out. And he will tell us what we need to do at that point. Because the ticketing process for any Olympics is a long, long process with multiple rounds.

[00:59:12] Jill: Exactly. And he has said many a time, don’t worry, there will be more tickets.

And he has shown up at games. Almost no tickets and gotten into some fabulous, fabulous events. So they do have that resale platform, I think that will make it easier for people to resell their tickets and be able to see stuff you, you wanna see. So, We’re excited cuz so many of you do have tickets so far and that means that we will be able to maybe, I don’t know, it would be nice to have an event together and run into each other, but at least be able to put together a little chat group so that we know what you’re up to, what you are experiencing, and be able to share that with everybody here

[00:59:55] Alison: and find out how the bathrooms are at the different venues.

Beijing 2022/Doping Update

[00:59:58] Alison: [01:00:00] Speaking of interesting bathroom activity, ho ho.

[01:00:17] Jill: Yes. A little Camilla Valk update. The court of arbitration for sport has taken this appeal from waa. The World Anti-Doping Agency. so now we are in a case. The skating union has also appealed the Radas initial decision to, not do a suspension for, for Val Ava.

Interestingly, RADA has also appealed its own decision, and apparently this is not unprecedented. But they have decided that the board that made the decision did not do the right one. So they are appealing as well. So now this goes to the docket and we will see what, what Cass has to say about it.

Do you have

[01:00:59] Alison: thoughts?

No. I’m gonna keep my mouth shut for once, , and I’m gonna let, I’m gonna wait. Well, you know, I, I really wanna see how this plays out because, Waa has a protected class policy. They had this idea that if you are under a certain age, we’re going to treat you differently. But I don’t think they had ever had a case of somebody being underage and testing positive.

So they really didn’t seem to be prepared for that. And what did that mean and how was that gonna play out? And now they got handed this that said, guess. . If you’ve got 12, 13, 14 year olds in the Olympics, eventually somebody’s gonna be guilty of doping. Mm-hmm. . Okay, now somebody’s guilty of doping. What do you do?

Wow. That was me keeping my mouth shut. .

[01:01:50] Jill: and we love it. All right, well, we shall see. We will keep you up to date on what we find out with the case, but this is on the next steps. We would like to thank all of our show kanis who support the show, whether you tell a friend and help us grow the audience and.

help us find more tani’s or whether you support us financially. We appreciate that. If you would like to help support the show in one way or another, go to flame alive pod.com/support to learn more. And that is going to do it for this week. Let us know what you think about running a 1500 meter.

[01:02:28] Alison: I will never do that. Email us at Flame Alive pod gmail.com. Call or text us at (208) 352-6348. That’s 2 0 8.

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[01:02:57] Jill: Next week is Book Club, which means Book Club. Claire will be back to discuss our first selection of 2023. That’s inaugural ballers, the true story of the first US Women’s Olympic basketball team by repeat book club author Andrew Marinis. It is always fun when Claire is on, so you don’t wanna miss it.

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