Katie Moon smiling at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. Photo Getty Images/Team USA, courtesy of Katie Moon.

Katie Nageotte Moon on Pole Vault

Release Date: April 20, 2023

Category: Athletics | Podcast

Pole vault is an athletics discipline that we have really had questions about, so we’re thrilled that Tokyo 2020 Olympic gold medalist Katie Nageotte–now Katie Moon–could join us to talk about her sport.

We talked with Katie about poles (ever wonder how much a pole vault pole costs? Try seven of them), spikes, and what it feels like if a pole snaps while you’re mid-vault.

Follow Katie on TikTok, Insta and Twitter!

We stick with our pole vault theme for our history moment, when Jill looks at the pole vault competition from Seoul 1988. That’s men’s pole vault, as women didn’t start vaulting in the Olympics until 2000. Who was part of this competition? The legendary Sergey Bubka! Check it out:

In our visit to TKFLASTAN, we have news from:

In Paris 2024 news, Russia’s out of the basketball tournament, Aussie athletes are out of the Village within 48 hours, and there’s an opportunity to win a bib to Paris 2024’s Marathon for All. This is the Orange Night Run, which will be held on June 17, 2023. The format will be a relay, with five-person teams (must include at least two women). 1000 marathon bibs are up for grabs! Learn more here.

In Milan-Cortina 2026 news, Alison is excited about the new developments for the speed skating arena.

Finally, Jill and Book Club Claire and Mr. and Mrs. Book Club went to see the Flint Repertory Theatre production of “The Magnificent Seven,” a musical by TKFLASTANIs Gordon Leary and Julia Meinwald. Hear their post-show thoughts!

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

Photo: Getty Images/Team USA, courtesy of Katie Moon


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 Please do not quote from the transcript; use the audio file as the record of note.

Katie Nageotte Moon on Pole Vault (Episode 283)

[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

[00:00:19] Alison: all completely gas. They’ve given it everything

[00:00:21] Jill: on the GL pocket. Oh yeah. Oh, brilliant, brilliant, brilliant. But that.

Hello, and welcome to another episode of Keep the Flame Alive, the podcast four fans of the Olympics End 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, or maybe I should call you Ethel today. Hello, how are you?

[00:00:56] Alison: I’m okay. I’m having a bit of a Bob Costas pink Eye in Sochi situation. Oh, right. Just come to do my job and illness has caught up with me, and unfortunately I don’t have anyone stand on standby to cover for

[00:01:15] Jill: me. Aw, well, you know that’s, that’s all right.

I still, I love Ethel voice.

[00:01:20] Alison: I’m trying, I wasn’t sure if it was sort of Ethel, Lauren Becall, Kathleen Turner, Demi Moore, but it’s probably Ethel.

[00:01:29] Jill: Well, we’ll try not to have you talk too much today. I wanted to say I saw Magnificent seven with Book Club Claire over the weekend. I forgot to ask you about that.

Really enjoyed it. It was really good. Made you laugh, made you cry. Nice music, good songs. It was interesting because there was a standard program and then of course there was the insert of okay, who’s playing Alfie Schlegel? But also here are the songs that will be in two tonight’s show.

Because during the run it changed, they took a song out. So it’s interesting to see it evolve. Staging was. it was kind of a theater in the round, in the round being three quarters of a way around a stage. So, you still had a stage in the back, but you had audience sitting on all three sides of the stage.

the main part of the stage was like the floor from the floor exercise. And then behind it via stairs was a long strip. Was used throughout the show, but the main bit was the Vault run for part of the show. And then Tim Dagit and John Tesh and Alfie Schlegel sat across from the, vault run in the back of the audience.

So that was up so you could, you could see it from above or it would be behind you if he happened to sit facing the front of the stage. So then what the actors did was go around, The flux for like doing different rotations. So they’d, be kind of focused and, based on one side of the stage.

And then they’d do songs and do things on the floor, and then they’d move rotation by rotation around. And that was really kind of cool.

[00:03:10] Alison: Nice. I had seen some of the pictures that they posted on their Instagram and it looked very cleverly staged.

[00:03:17] Jill: it was choreography was really good. the choreographer was Duane Lee Holland Jr. Who had been on the. Junior national team when he was younger, so everybody’s hands were perfect and they did a lot of the choreography referenced floor exercise moves so they’d like pop the knee and do the little hip thing or you know, they’d wiggle their hips the way, uh, you do in a floor exercise.

So that was all very clever and if you knew a little bit about gymnastics and you could see those references and it was really cool. We do have some tape that I will put at the end of the episode that is me and Claire. And then we also went with, Claire’s parents, bill and Cindy. So we talked a little bit, about it after the show and, and we’ll have that tape on after for you.

But I got to meet Gordon. Oh nice. And that was really fun. . It sounds like there’s more revisions in the works. Not sure what is next, but I hope it has more life cuz it’s, it was really, really entertaining. And I gotta say, it makes me wanna go back and watch the original N B C coverage because boy John TE’s lines from.

it’s so cringey. It is so

[00:04:28] Alison: cringey, and that’s not even cringey. Be with the passage of time. It was cringey in its moment too

[00:04:37] Jill: that it was, All right, let’s get on to today’s interview.

Katie Moon Interview

[00:04:42] Jill: We are so excited to have with us Katie Nageotte Moon. Katie won gold in pole vault in Tokyo and after Tokyo she got married.

So she is married. Hugo Moon. They were married on New Year’s Eve and she’s now using her married. As she [00:05:00] competes, so get used to Katie Moon. She talked with us about pole vaulting and how it works and her plans for Paris. Take a listen.

Katie, thank you so much for joining us. We are so excited to talk Pole vault with you because we have questions on how this event

[00:05:15] Katie Nageotte Moon: works.

I’m happy to answer them. Thank you. For me let’s start

[00:05:19] Jill: with polls because what we know it is run down a runway, plant pole, jump over a high bar, as high as you can go, basically. Yeah, you got it. Hopefully on a mat. So, What are the poles

[00:05:31] Katie Nageotte Moon: made of? The poles are made of fiberglass or carbon fiber.

Okay. So they used to be bamboo. They used to be steel. You could only bend steel once and then they wouldn’t recoil. So that didn’t last very long. And now they are, carbon fiber, fiberglass.

[00:05:47] Jill: Are they standard size?

[00:05:49] Katie Nageotte Moon: That’s a hard question because they vary in length and stiffness. The better you get, the longer and stiffer pole you’re going to get on, because the more speed you have, the more strength you have, the better your technique is.

That’s ideally what we want as a pole vault, is to get to the stiffest longest pole that we possibly can and still land safely in the pit. Because

[00:06:12] Jill: the length allows you to get higher up in the air. Yes. And then the stiffness. What does the stiffness

[00:06:18] Katie Nageotte Moon: do? So the length is just, you’re starting.

Point. So the higher you’re gripping, the higher you’re in theory going to be in the air. But if you can’t handle that length in front of you, then it’s not going to benefit you. Because I’ve had people say, well, why don’t you just grip 20 feet? It’s like, well, I would if I could. But I would probably end up back on the runway.

Rejected. So the stiffness is just how fast it recoils. So the softer the pole is, you’re going to move the pole to vertical and get into the pit really quickly. And it just has a slower reaction time. So the better you are, We call it a blow through when you’re moving so well that you’re hitting the bar on the way up.

And then that would signify that you need to go up a pole, which usually you can either go up and grip or go up in stiffness When you’re in a competition, you tend to stay on the same length poles throughout the competition and just go up in stiffness. But you get to a point sometimes where you’re just maxing it out, you have to go up to the next length.

But usually you figure that out in practice and you’ll do that in practice.

[00:07:25] Jill: How heavy are they?

[00:07:26] Katie Nageotte Moon: So when they’re straight up and down, they’re actually only a few pounds. They’re not very heavy, but if you hold it at the end and let it go straight out in front of you and try to hold it, it gets anywhere from 15 to, 25, maybe even 30 pounds.

I, I’m not sure how heavy the guys get. It’s crazy. I’ve tried to pick up some of the guys’ poles and it’s takes my entire like, body weight to get behind it to pick it up. So, it just depends on how you’re holding it. And for us, that’s why my pole drop timing is very important because the more weight you’re holding out in front of you as you’re running, the more you have to lean back to balance that weight.

And ideally you wanna be tall and in a good position coming into the takeoff.

[00:08:07] Alison: How many poles are you traveling to competition

[00:08:10] Katie Nageotte Moon: with? I typically travel with, I would say anywhere from nine to. 11 or 12, you take a tube, a big case, you can get it from, gosh, home Depot, lows, usually they’re irrigation tubes.

And then you, we put our, case on top of it. And yeah, we just travel with those. So

[00:08:30] Jill: how many different lengths or stiffnesses do you want to take with, because I imagine there are backups in there, but Yes. So, but multiple, does it depend on the weather? what do you choose

[00:08:39] Katie Nageotte Moon: for when?

Yeah, that’s, that’s why we have bring a variety is because on some days, like for example, at the Olympic trials, I got to the biggest pole I had ever been on, well, a few weeks later at the Olympics, I was four to five poles down from that. I was actually on a much, much smaller pole, same length. But that’s, you bring a variety because you just never know if you’re feeling good, if conditions are good.

You’re gonna move through polls quickly if you are, you know, yeah. Conditions are bad. Sometimes it’s just as much as we want every stadium, every runway, the exact same. That’s not always the case. I mean, humans make them. There’s human error, like minute things that yes, in, in looking at it and my measurements, it’s in regulation, but just the littlest thing can, can change things.

So yeah, it’s, we, we have them for different options. Plus when you’re warming up, when I start my warmups, I am on a much shorter run. I’m just kind of finding my timing and then I back up to my full approach which is much longer. Poles which are bigger yeah, more stiffer poles. And so, yeah.

[00:09:49] Alison: How much does a personalized pole

[00:09:51] Jill: cost?

[00:09:52] Katie Nageotte Moon: They can cost anywhere from, I would say 500 to $700 a piece. So when my [00:10:00] polls snap, It’s about six to seven grand.

[00:10:02] Jill: And how long do they

[00:10:04] Katie Nageotte Moon: last? If you take good care of them, they can last 20, 30 years. So really the only times you see them break are when there’s probably already damage done to them when somebody’s either spiked them or they’ve landed on the standard.

Funny cuz the standards are metal. and things happen. Or just if you were jumping and you’re on way too small of a pole and you don’t jump the right way there. I mean, there are things that can happen, but usually it’s because it’s already damaged.

[00:10:32] Jill: What goes into pole maintenance?

[00:10:35] Katie Nageotte Moon: Just keeping them in the tube.

We’re in a safe s. Space. I usually keep them on a shelf in my garage, just making sure they’re not getting kicked around and you just outta the elements. But yeah, it’s, they’re pretty low maintenance. we will retape them.

We tape up where our grip is so that we don’t slip off it, it helps to grip, but but yeah, they’re, they’re pretty low maintenance.

[00:10:57] Jill: You said spiking a pole, like if you step on the poles with your spikes, does it create holes and then that

[00:11:03] Katie Nageotte Moon: does some, in theory, you have to really get it at the right angle, but usually it’s more if you take off and you’re mid-swing and something kind of is a little off, you can kick the pole.

That’s usually how. I would say the most common spiking happens. But yeah, you’re just, you’re walking around poles on the track. You just don’t pay attention. You, you can step on it. Usually that doesn’t happen as often. I’d like to think, but then again, I’ve absolutely done it. But usually in that case, you’re n there is just not enough force because it’s so many layers of fiberglass that a lot of times that’s just superficial.

If it cuts through enough, then, then it becomes a problem.

[00:11:45] Alison: So you talked about grip, what’s allowed on your hands,

[00:11:48] Katie Nageotte Moon: Chalk um sticky spray. People use lighter fluid. Anything you think is going to help you grip, I obviously we’re not taping ourselves on because you have to let go at some point. But anything that you really think is going to be a benefit?

I’ve never heard of anything getting. Band or being too adhesive that you’re not allowed to use. So I’ve, I’ve seen all kinds of things. I use chalk personally.

We can set pulls

[00:12:16] Jill: on fire. Yeah, I know.

[00:12:18] Katie Nageotte Moon: I’m just, I’m

[00:12:19] Jill: stunned by the lighter and, well, I mean, who decided, who figured out that was sticky in the first place? I’m

[00:12:24] Katie Nageotte Moon: just kind, I don’t know. And I don’t even, I don’t know the science behind it. I could not talk you through that one. But I do remember distinctly, there was one world championships, there was a girl there and whatever she used just had the most potent chemical smell walking by it.

It was like, woo. It was just very pungent. So I, you, you see it all.

[00:12:47] Alison: Okay. And the spikes, long spikes. Short spikes.

[00:12:50] Katie Nageotte Moon: So we are regulated on the spikes. They are short spikes. And. For pole vault. I know all the companies are coming out with, well, mostly Nike are coming out with these new incredible shoes that are being monitored.

So I do have to turn my shoes in before a lot of meets for them to check it, but I use what are called pole vault elites. And they’re not they’re not in question. They’re just a normal pole vault specific spike. it’s nice because I don’t have to worry about, oh, well, they accept it or not.

[00:13:21] Jill: what makes a spike pole vault

[00:13:23] Katie Nageotte Moon: specific? I could not even begin to know the technology behind it, but what I’ve noticed is that it’s a bit, I don’t wanna say heavier because they’re very light, but they keep you on your toes, on the ball of your foot better than say, like, a distance spike. So they’re, they’re gonna keep you up on your toes so that you can jump off it better, but they’re still lightweight to be able to.

To sprint into the takeoff.

[00:13:48] Alison: How is the run on the runway different than a sprint

[00:13:53] Katie Nageotte Moon: run? In theory, they shouldn’t be that different, and we do a lot of sprinting in my training um without a pole in my hand because other than just holding the pole, ideally you don’t want it to look that different. You’re gonna drive out and you’re, you’re gonna have high knees.

You’re gonna be pushing forward. And so you really don’t want it to look that much different. You just wanna be at your top speed at the very end of the run. So as long as you’re driving out and accelerating and at your top speed as you take off, that’s what’s that’s gonna look like.

[00:14:26] Jill: Is the length of the run regulated at all, or do you figure out how, what, what is best for you and what pole you’re using?

[00:14:34] Katie Nageotte Moon: Yep, that’s exactly it. Yeah, I mean, if someone wanted to run a hundred meters and then take off, they could, you’d get pretty exhausted pretty quickly, I think. So it’s this balance of what is going to get me to my maximum speed, but something that I can maintain jump after, jump after jump for an entire competition, because you can take anywhere from, I’d say if it’s a small competition and you’re jumping, well, I would say maybe [00:15:00] six jumps would be like the least amount of jumps you’d take.

Maybe four if it’s not a good day. But three in, in theory, if you’re, if you’re no hiding, then it’s three and you’re out. But if it’s good, you could take, I, there was one meet where I think I took 16 jumps, so you wanna be able to sustain that and not get burnt out too quickly.

[00:15:21] Alison: with your hands on the pole, what is the hand

[00:15:25] Katie Nageotte Moon: position?

So if it was resting on my shoulder, my hand would just grip it. Normally, my top hand and my bottom hand would be about an elbow length down. Gripping it normally. So both hands, just, just, I, I wish I could explain this in podcast better. I’m showing you guys, but but yeah, so you just grip it normally, and then you, you hold onto it.

Don’t let go and rotate it so that your top hand is on your hip and your bottom hand is in front of your chest. And it’s actually a little awkward because both hands are gonna be rotated, especially the, the bottom hand is gonna be rotated under. so basically the back of your top hand is gonna be facing your hip.

The back of your bottom hand is gonna be facing your chest.

[00:16:11] Alison: Is there a right-handed grip versus a left-handed grip?

[00:16:14] Katie Nageotte Moon: Yep. And so, because I’m a rightie, my right hand is my top hand. If I was a leftie, my left hand is my top hand, but they’re ultimately going to be the same, just the opposite hands.

[00:16:26] Alison: And because different arms are doing different things, do you have to have counterbalance in, in your body?

Like do you get lopsided

[00:16:34] Katie Nageotte Moon: a little bit? Ideally, we train everything to be very symmetric, but yes, I, just went to the chiropractor today because I had a rib out on my left side. And so yeah, what we do is lopsided, but we try to train very symmetrically so that we don’t get as many issues. But yes, your, your hands are in different positions and your, your hips can get a little off as a result.

And so, ideally it, technically you’re vaulting. Well, it should minimize those things, but you know, nobody’s perfect.

[00:17:07] Alison: How many jumps are you taking in practice a day?

[00:17:10] Katie Nageotte Moon: It just depends. If it’s a shorter approach day, you can take a lot more jumps. So when I say short approach, my full approach is 16 steps and I count them eight left.

So I count every other. So as I’m running down, I take my little skip and it’s 8, 7, 6, 5, which is about a hundred. And gosh, I usually start around 112 feet, but can back up anywhere to 115 feet depending on the day. And so a short approach for me can be four lefts, so half of that, it can be five lefts.

And that just allows you to work on technique and not get as fatigued. And so if it’s a short approach day, you could take, I don’t take as many jumps as a lot of people probably think, and I know there are a lot of athletes that can take a ton of jumps, no problem. I, mine would be anywhere on a short approach day would be 10 to 20.

And then on a full approach day, probably closer to 10 at most. but I, I’m somebody that’s always gonna strive for quality over quantity. But

[00:18:14] Alison: yeah. You, you mentioned the skip. The skip. You’ve, you’ve put the skip in, you’ve taken the skip out, you’ve put, yep. So what, what does that do

[00:18:21] Katie Nageotte Moon: differently?

So, for me, the reason I started the skip was because I am not very dynamic from a static start. I kind of have to skip in to get going. I’m, pretty fast once I get up to speed, and that’s one thing that I am good at, is I’m very fast on the runway, but. Not from a static start. My block starts when I was sprinting was, or they, I was the last one out every time.

And so the reason I took it out last year was because I was just in such a bad mental place. Just I had come off winning the Olympics. It was amazing. I did this incredible tour, if you could call it that, of opportunities in Cleveland and just, but it was constantly centered around pole vault and I never got the break that I always take at the end of a season.

In that I just, I, like, I never stopped talking about it. I was always talking about it. It was amazing. I don’t regret it and I wouldn’t have known how to stop talking about it, but even in hindsight. But yeah, so it just, I was in a tough place just feeling burnt out and I thought, let’s try something new.

Let’s give me something new to focus on. Because if if I have this new thing to focus on, then maybe it’ll take my mind away from feeling, you know, down or defeated or, those post Olympic blues, if you will. And we tried it. But what I will say, and I, I’m happy I did because I think a lot of people have, they question the skipping.

They’re like, oh, well, yeah, it’s really actually an extra step. And Sure, in theory, yeah. But I proved that I could jump high without the skip [00:20:00] to myself. I think I was always curious. But on days that I felt off and once I kind of got past the, okay, this is new and something fun to focus on, once I kind of got out of that, it, it felt really off really bad.

And I just said, you know what? He can’t teach an old dog new tricks. We’re gonna go back to what I know. And I, and so yeah, that was, it was a fun little experiment. I’m glad I tried it and. We’re back to what I’ve been doing. So when you do sprint work,

[00:20:31] Jill: are you doing like 40 yard sprint? Six days? It’s like a hundred yards.

A really long sprint. Yeah. To do training?

[00:20:37] Katie Nageotte Moon: Yep. For, for us, I would say, so like yesterday we did 30 meter sled poles and then we’ll do hills for anywhere from 40 to 60 meters. On a, a regular Yeah. Sprint day. We could have a ladder where we’re going 10, 20, 30, 40, 50, and times two. So we’re definitely doing a lot of shorter sprints with ample rest in between.

And then on weekends we’ll do longer sprints that are at the beginning of the season, 150 meters, and then they go down to 120 meters and then they go down to a hundred and then 80. And those are just some longer runs to get. The week of lifting and a lot of volume out and still working on some speed for a longer period of time.

[00:21:22] Jill: I know why hill work is good, but have you ever had a track where you’ve noticed an incline or a decline in the runway? I know they’d be pretty good at your level, but like,

[00:21:34] Katie Nageotte Moon: I wouldn’t say I, I notice when a runway is really fast or when I just feel like I’m not moving very well. And so it’s, it’s so minute because if a, if a runway is legal, it’s gonna be I mean, it’s tiniest bit, but I, there are some runways where I’m like, I think this might be a slightly downhill, like, this is fast.

And so no, I wouldn’t look at a runway or take a few jumps and say, this is definitely downhill, or this is slightly uphill. It just, you kind of. Take the information in and, and deduce, okay, either this is not that good of a runway. And it could be because it’s at a slight incline. It could be for a whole lot of reasons.


[00:22:17] Alison: what kind of other variations will there be in the runway? Is the material

[00:22:22] Katie Nageotte Moon: standard? The material is pretty standard. Mondo is the main brand, I guess. it’s typically that Mondo cushioned, but solid material.

[00:22:33] Alison: obviously wind is gonna play a factor.

Yes. But what other weather factors and indoor factors

[00:22:40] Jill: and how

[00:22:40] Katie Nageotte Moon: does that play? I think the reason we love indoors so much is because there really are no factors. It’s just you coming down and able to focus completely on what you’re trying to do. When we get outside, The wind, a anything really can be very distracting.

And if you’re coming down full speed and you, the wind picks up, even though it doesn’t feel like much just standing there to a pole vault, it is a hurricane no matter what. And e even if it’s, even if it’s relatively calm. And I think people see, us run through in competitions or just in training and they don’t really get it.

But when you’re running down, and it’s a safety thing too, you don’t wanna, you know, if, if something goes wrong, it’s not just that, oh, that was a bad jump. It could potentially be, oh, this is unsafe. we’ve tried obviously to avoid that as much as possible. And the better you get, the better you can fight through those things.

But there are some days even in training where it’s. there’s a lot distracting me, but you get in a competition, the bar is up. it’s easier with meat, adrenaline to ignore those things, but yeah, it could be anything from the wind to the rain to, yeah. Those are the big ones, I would say.

[00:23:56] Alison: I mean, you’re becoming a human

[00:23:58] Jill: flag.

[00:23:58] Katie Nageotte Moon: Yeah.

[00:23:59] Jill: So that can

[00:24:00] Alison: be a little dangerous. Yeah. So, I do wanna ask about a little bit when things go wrong, because we’ve all seen the pole vaulting videos where a pole snaps or someone goes flying off the mats. Yep. What, what kind of goes wrong that can cause some of those, I mean, obviously the pole snapping is the pole

[00:24:17] Jill: snapping.

[00:24:18] Katie Nageotte Moon: Right? Right. Now, a lot of those videos are younger athletes that either don’t quite know what they’re doing, or maybe they have a coach that has them gripping a little too high before they know what they’re doing. They’re not as common as I think those videos make it seem. if you have a coach that knows what they’re doing, you’re landing safely in the pit like 95% of the time.

I think the number of times that I have been stood up and either yeah, landed super shallow or just not gotten into the pit at all, it was because I backed off of the jump. I did something, I got hesitant and [00:25:00] I didn’t run through aggressively. And that is really when things go wrong, is when you’re not, when a hundred percent committed, but obviously things happen at every level, it’s, it’s inevitable.

But it typically is because there is, yeah, the, just like I said, a coach that maybe has their athlete over gripping a little bit and the athlete might. Not be ready for it, or they’re just not consistent enough to where then they just have one off jump and don’t quite know how to save it.

[00:25:29] Jill: when I was doing some research today, and I cannot remember her name off the top of my head, but the British woman who’s pulled out because her pole snapped and you were talking about like the electric vibrations you feel when that happens.

Yes. Talk, talk to us a little bit about like what does it feel like?

[00:25:46] Katie Nageotte Moon: Yes. That was Holly. And she is wonderful. She is on the circuit, definitely internationally, my best friend and just in the pole vault world, she’s, she’s one of my favorite people. But yet, when a pole breaks, it would be like taking a metal baseball bat to a metal telephone pole as hard as you could, and then some, the sheer force and vibration that.

Has nowhere to go, but into your body is incredible. I, I’ve broken a pole once and it’s like your ears are ringing, your hands are tingling. Everything’s tingling. You don’t quite know where you’re at. You’re just shaken, for lack of a better term. You are just shaken. And I had a teammate a couple years ago.

I think she broke something in her wrist. I know people have broken fingers. Holly, in her case, when she landed, her legs snapped back so aggressively that it, I think she tore things in her hamstring. And so when people on social media were criticizing her saying, oh, she’s really milking this. Oh, she only fell from two feet.

It’s like, well, do you understand one iota of physics? Probably not, but you know,

[00:27:02] Alison: Does it hurt to hit the bar?

[00:27:04] Katie Nageotte Moon: It depends how you hit the bar. If you’re just kind of skimming it, no if you are crashing down on it, it doesn’t feel great. We tend to maneuver ourselves around. It hurts more when the bar lands and then you land on top of it on your back or with your head, then that can definitely hurt.

So that’s why we try to avoid touching it at all.

[00:27:25] Alison: And how cushy are those mats? They don’t look terribly

[00:27:31] Jill: cushy. If

[00:27:32] Katie Nageotte Moon: they’re brand new, they’re pretty stiff. You wanna land as kind of flat and hollowed out as possible. If they’re more broken in, they’re very comfortable

[00:27:42] Jill: on the approach. How do you know when to put your pole down? Because it’s very elegant when you look at the arc that the pole kind of takes and it’s just smooth and seamless. Instead of like, oh, I got, I’m running and bam, I gotta put the pole in this little hole to make sure it gets in there.

Right? And then I’m up.

[00:28:00] Katie Nageotte Moon: But like, I’m gonna tell my coach, you said that cuz he thinks my pull drop is terrible near working.

Well, they said that I’m good. So I

[00:28:11] Jill: two nice ladies on the internet. What,

[00:28:14] Alison: what makes a pull drop bad or good? So what, how does that

[00:28:17] Jill: work? So

[00:28:18] Katie Nageotte Moon: it kind of goes back to what I was saying about you don’t wanna drop it too low because then you’re balancing all that weight out in front of you. You’re leaning back and that puts you in a bad position.

You have to stride out, you’re slowing down. It just, it. Creates all of these things and yeah, you can save it. It doesn’t mean that it’s going to be a bad jump. It’s just better when it’s a free fall. So ideally, I keep it up until four lefts. So for me, halfway through the run, and then you want it to be a free fall into the pits, into the box, so that there is no wasted energy.

You were just able to run tall, freely, accelerating completely. So in theory, that is what I’m trying to do, and I feel like I do it, and then I look at a video, I’m like, oh, that wasn’t anywhere close. Great.

[00:29:04] Jill: How easy or hard is it to get the pole planted correctly?

[00:29:08] Katie Nageotte Moon: You just work your way back. And so when you start, you’re starting from a very short approach, straight polling it, and so you just, you kind of work your way back working.

Kind of bringing the pole tip up at this level, you don’t miss the box very often. but it, it does happen. And usually it’ll kind of slide into the pit and you’ll get stood up a little bit. that is what tends to happen is that the pole doesn’t then bend the right way and doesn’t open up.

And so that you land short. But typically at this level, you don’t miss very often, knock on wood.

[00:29:49] Alison: How do they teach you that classic moving your body, you know, it’s that beautiful position, but also not a natural position for a kid to be

[00:29:58] Jill: doing.

[00:29:59] Katie Nageotte Moon: Yeah, [00:30:00] you, you just, like I said, work your way up.

So you start. Doing walking plant drills, and then you go to the pit and you just swing onto your back, and then you swing up to the pole as high as you can and land on your back, and then you swing up and twist and land on your stomach. And then you’re, that’s ultimately the short of it I guess as that’s how that goes.

There’s obviously a lot more in between steps, but I would say that’s the basis of how you learn to do that.

[00:30:29] Alison: Okay. I wanna make sure we get to talk a little bit about Tokyo. Yeah. I know sort of the, the big part of your career, we can’t leave it out. Didn’t start out so great. Nope. And then turned out amazing. So let’s just talk it through what was going on.

[00:30:45] Jill: Yeah.

[00:30:45] Katie Nageotte Moon: So coming into Tokyo, I had had all kinds of things that happened that year.

I got covid and then had lingering long-term effects of covid that didn’t go away until about April. And then all of my polls snapped in half when I was flying back from a competition about a month before the trials. And then trials went well. Thankfully I ended up, it was probably the best thing that ever happened because I was able to try different brands of polls and find what worked for me.

And these new polls are 100% perfect for my jump. And so then, you know, we made the team, that was awesome. And about a week before, Two weeks before I left for Tokyo, I got horrible food poisoning that ended up putting me the, in the emergency room. So once I got there, I was just so thrilled to be there. I felt really calm and confident.

I felt very ready. The prelims, so the way it works is we have a prelim and then a couple days later we have the final and the prelim, they allow in a lot of athletes. And then the prelim is meant to narrow it down to those top 12 so that, more people can say that they’re an Olympian and that’s great.

And then so they have two pits going at once. And you jump until there are 12 women left. So in a perfect world, you want to take one jump and be done. And that is how that went for me, thankfully. I feel like the prelim is always the worst because you can’t win the prelim. You can only lose the prelim.

And so it’s just, it’s pretty stressful going into that. Thankfully, I took my one and only jump right before the rainstorm hit, and it it delayed us for a while. I, I don’t even remember at this point, but they had to close up the pits take us off. I made my jump. But there were girls that hadn’t jumped yet and didn’t know.

I felt like, okay, even if I have to jump again, this puts me in a good position. So I was able to be a little bit more relaxed during that. And so after that, I felt so confident. I was so excited. that was the first time I felt like. Oh, I, I could win this. you think that, you hope that most of the year, but that was the first time I really felt it.

And then warming up on the day of the final, my quad was just really tight in a way that I don’t normally feel. And it was grabbing and cramping throughout my entire warmup, which is strange for me. I am somebody that once I get going, those things tend to go away. I knock on wood, I’ve been lucky with chronic type of injuries like that, and it was very distracting.

It’s kind of like the wind and things. If, if you have something that’s taking your focus away from the jump, it’s not gonna be great. And so I wasted my warmups pretty much thinking, is this gonna hold up? Is it gonna tear? Because that’s the closest I had ever felt to that. And Yeah, so that first bar was just a representation of my warmup, and that’s why warmups are important.

And thankfully I was able to find that rhythm. But yeah, it took me until my third temp at the opening bar, and then at the second bar I had the same issue. I just kept coming down on it on the backside, which doesn’t normally happen for me. Usually I make, I clear the opening height or I miss it on a blow through where I, hit it on the way up and then have to go up a pole.

This was coming down on the backside on. Like I said earlier, a, a very small pole for me. So it was a little confusing. I wasn’t sure what was going on. I don’t know if it was because I was later because of the food poisoning or if maybe there was just the slightest thing off with the box. I don’t know.

But yeah, the reality was something was keeping me from wanting to really drive through. And so at my second bar after I missed that first attempt, I actually moved my starting point on the runway a little bit closer to, you don’t wanna be too close at takeoff because it really can. Affect your jump negatively.

A lot of times it’ll spit you off too early. But I knew I needed to be a little bit closer to help move the pole because me just jumping into it wasn’t doing what we [00:35:00] needed it to do. And so I almost needed to help the pole bend before I jumped off the ground. my coach did not tell me to do that, and he would’ve said no if I had asked.

So I didn’t ask and I just did it. And then that’s where I kept my stuff the rest of the day and then found my rhythm. But yeah, it was very stressful. I don’t recommend doing that

[00:35:20] Jill: the competition format. Do they have so many heights? Like you get five different heights you can choose, or they

[00:35:27] Katie Nageotte Moon: have a choose from?

They have a set height progression. Okay. You choose your opening height and then you can choose to go every bar. You can choose to pass bars and come in at. Jump at the next one that can benefit you. But if you don’t clear that next one, then you only made the bar that you actually cleared and you get three misses in a row.

So like Civa did at the winning bar, she had taken two attempts. She could pass that third attempt and she did. And it would be she’d only get one left. So you can pass heights and you can pass attempts and I think that’s where sometimes gets a little confusing, but that’s where it can be really exciting.

And so what I came in at was not too high of a bar by any means, but you know, it was just, just a little weird day. But yeah, there’s set height progression and you just have to stay within that progression, however you choose to. But once the bar goes up, it’s not going back down. So

[00:36:29] Alison: how do you make those decisions?

What factors into the strategy?

[00:36:33] Katie Nageotte Moon: I let my coach make a lot of those decisions, but it just depends. A lot of times we know what my starting height is going to be based on what I do in warmups. The size pole that I get on how I look clearing, they have a bungee up usually during the warmups, and we are able to set it at whatever height we want.

And so that kind of tells us what to come in at. And it just depends on, on the day really and what the progression is. But usually most of the passing comes down to when metals are being figured out. And so once, like Cita for example, she could have taken her last jump at four 90, but that’s a pretty high bar, and it would not have given her an advantage had she made it.

She still would’ve been behind. We would’ve gone to 4 95 and I would’ve been in the lead. So passing that. Even though it didn’t work out for her that time was smart. And I, I think I probably would’ve done the same. So it usually is when medals come into play, but it, it can also just be that maybe I took three attempts at my opening height and then cleared it by a lot, and the next bar’s not that much higher.

Then I might pass that bar to give myself a little bit more of a break or just to save jumps for later in the competition at the Olympics, that wasn’t the case, that the progression was pretty aggressive. Just what we would probably wanted anyways. So it made sense to stay Right, right. On progression throughout the whole thing.

[00:38:01] Alison: you’re a talker at the top of the runway. What are, what are you saying

[00:38:06] Jill: to

[00:38:06] Katie Nageotte Moon: yourself? You know, it’s funny because I couldn’t tell you at any given meet what specifically I’m saying, but I am just saying my cues over and over again, I’m telling myself my execution points of exactly what I want my body to do.

I am literally telling my body what to do at the beginning, because as you go, it happens so fast that it starts to go off of old habits as much as you don’t want it to. Sometimes you revert back to old habits and it just becomes muscle memory. And so the more clear the vision, I guess, that I have, I could, because I do visualize the clear that is in my head, at the start of my run, the more likely I am to execute the way that I want.

So I think probably before that four 90 jump, I was saying something to the effect of like, jump and get back. Jump and get back. Like stay back. Because my first attempt at four 90, I just came out a little early and. Barely nicked it off. And I talked with my coach and said, okay, do we go up a pole or do we clean this up?

And he said, no, I think you have more in that pole. So it was really me just saying like, get back and stay back. Do not touch this bar. Are

[00:39:19] Alison: you ever up there? And for a split second, have a terror, just realize what you’re

[00:39:24] Katie Nageotte Moon: doing. No, the fear is at the takeoff, the fear is r in the last couple steps. Once I get past that, if I can get past that and jump the rest is fine.

Now obviously if something’s wrong and you feel yourself not traveling in, and then yes, you’re gonna have a bit of panic. But if it goes smoothly, then no at, at that point it’s fun. But my coach is a big advocate for, we. Have the standards vary. The standards are what the, the bar rests on and you can move it forward or backward based on where your [00:40:00] hips are peaking.

We always keep it all the way back so that I’m guaranteed to land safely into the pit and it takes away variables. Once you get to a certain point towards the end where you’re getting on stiffer poles, yeah, sneak them in a little bit. But if you’re always keeping them buried, when you start a competition, in theory, you the only option is gonna be that you clear it or you miss it on a blow through.

And of course, that’s the one meet that that didn’t happen was the Olympics, but that it just helps eliminate variables.

[00:40:33] Jill: when you know you cleared the jump, how long does it feel like it takes to land like the really great ones?

[00:40:40] Katie Nageotte Moon: Honestly a second. It, I mean, it happens so fast, but it, it’s, yeah, it, it really does feel like it happens like that, which is why I love, like, I love the videos and the slow motions and the still shots of us in the air because it truly is pure reaction.

We have no time to think about what our face should look like there. It’s just pure joy or elation or anger or whatever that emotion is. You see it exactly as it is because it happens so fast.

[00:41:18] Alison: Your reaction when you won was one of my favorites, Katie, because. You were trying to talk to people and they were talking to you, but you were, it looked like you were so overwhelmed.

Do you remember any of it?

[00:41:31] Katie Nageotte Moon: Yeah, I remember a lot of it. What’s funny is it just, I knew what it was, but you can’t, you don’t process it in that moment. it’s so big you can’t take it all in. And to me it, it almost, you know, you watch the movies and you watch them achieve this thing and it’s this pure elation moment.

And not that I didn’t have that, but because this just felt like what I do in my head, it was like, wait, there has to be another Olympics where all the good athletes compete. This can’t be it. Like, I cannot have just won this. There’s no, like, it just didn’t sink in. For a while. And again, I knew how big it was.

It’s not to say that I wasn’t absolutely ecstatic in that moment, but like, for it to really hit you, it, it took time. But yeah, I just, I remember running up and hugging my coach and he was tearing up and it just, it was a very, very cool moment.

[00:42:35] Jill: You talked a little bit earlier about the opportunities you get afterwards and you got to go to the Cleveland Browns and give them a pep talk.

when you get the call, Hey, come give our guys a pep talk. what is that like? What do you say?


[00:42:50] Katie Nageotte Moon: less just like immediately? Yes. I, well, and part of me was like, really they want a they want a girl talking to them like, what can I say to these defensive back that’s gonna motivate them?

But it was. So cool because at the end of the day, we’re all just athletes trying to be the absolute best that we can be. And I think there were a lot of things that they could really relate to, even though our sports are very different. And so it was cool just to see them get excited to see the medal and it really, it’s, it was things like that that helped it sink in what I did.

And yeah, it was just incredible. Cleveland was so amazing. it’s really been fun and that’s what made it so fun is getting to share it, it with everybody, and help. I, I know as a Cleveland athlete, just how much we attach ourselves to our sports success and how. We feel that so intensely.

And so if I could give that to even one person, I would just so, so excited to do that. And it’s very humbling to just, yeah, to hopefully give that, give that to some people.

[00:44:00] Alison: Looking forward in Paris 2024. what are you thinking? What’s next for you?

[00:44:06] Katie Nageotte Moon: Fingers crossed, I gotta make the team first. so this year there is a world championships in Budapest and because I won worlds last year, I automatically get to go as long as I, I have to show up to US Nationals proof fitness.

But it is so much of a stress relief. And it’s nice because the US now gets to send for pole vaulters and I really feel like the US women vaulters have deserved that for a very long time because we. So good and so deep. The level of talent is is very deep. And so yeah, I am focusing on that right now.

And then next year I definitely plan to go through 2024. I would love to defend my title, especially last year was tough, but finishing the way that I did with it being as tough as it was, just instilled this new kind of confidence that I wish the Olympics had instilled in [00:45:00] me. I think I was tired for one, but I think part of it was that I felt I needed to show why I won.

So there was this added pressure and then internally it was like I couldn’t make myself care to show why I had one. It was a very weird internal struggle but this year I feel very different. I. Feel more motivated than ever. I have a new diet. I found out I was celiac and maybe that was part of it.

I found out in the fall and switched my diet and it has proven to be very good for me thus far. And yeah, so I definitely wanna go through 2024. And then each year after that, we’ll just take it year by year. The celiac

[00:45:42] Alison: is a big

[00:45:42] Katie Nageotte Moon: deal. Yeah. so my brother celiac, my grandpa’s celiac, so I’ve seen it up close for a long time.

And I didn’t think I was sick. I wasn’t sick the way that my brother was. He was definitely sick. He almost was gray, his skin tone, because he just, it was so bad he wasn’t absorbing any nutrients. they called it silent celiac, I think for me, where you just, I had no idea. And I went in for something unrelated.

Told them that my brother was celiac, and they’re like, why don’t we just, why don’t we just test you while you’re here? I’m like, do we have to really? I’d rather not know. No. And um yep, I, I had it. So I started that new diet in the fall, and like I said, I didn’t think I felt bad, but I feel incredible now.

my energy is great. My anxiety is low because a lot of your gut health is connected to your mental health and my anxiety is low. I, my body looks different. I am vaulting better than ever and it’s just, it’s really fun. I didn’t think I would like it as much as I do, and I didn’t realize how much I was already eating relatively gluten free.

There wasn’t a whole lot of changes other than just being very conscious of what I’m picking up off the shelves at grocery stores and going out to eat.


[00:47:07] Jill: well good luck Thank you Uh

thank you so much Katie. You can follow Katie on TikTok at Katie Najat and she’s on Twitter and Instagram at KT nago one three.

So we will have links to all of those in the show notes.

Seoul 1988 History Moment

[00:47:21] Jill: Uh, that sound means it is time for our history moment all year long. We are looking back at the Soul 1988 games as it is the 35th anniversary of those Olympics and Paralympics. My turn for a story and, uh, thank goodness I went with pole vault. Since we were talking pole vault today, and of course we are talking about the men’s competition because a few mul pole vaulters weren’t allowed to compete at the Olympics yet.

That would not come for another 12 years. Seoul was the games where we would find out if an athletics legend would be able to take his success to the Olympic stage. And by legend we’re talking about Sergey Bka. Sergey was from Eastern Europe, Ukraine, which at the time was part of the Soviet Union, and he got into athletics when he was nine years old.

First he did some sprinting and long jumping, but a year later he switched to pole vault and his first world championships was in 1983. He was about 19 years old, then came outta nowhere to win and he kept winning in May, 1980. Less than a year later, he broke his first world record, which would’ve been a great Olympics preview except for earlier that month.

The Soviet Union had announced they would be boycotting the games. but Buko was well on his way to becoming the dominant competitor in the sport in 1985, he was the first person to clear six meters, which was considered impossible to do at the time. So one of the things that made Sergey Bka great was he was fast and strong, and as we talked with Katie, that allowed him to use longer stiffer poles.

And the poles he used would be ones that men 40 pounds heavier. Would typically use, and he was the first athlete to use a 17 foot pole. He also. Used a higher grip on his poles that was a half foot higher than the other competitors, and that became known as the Petro Buka Grip, which was Parline known for his coach, vital Petrov.

And this meant that it took him less effort to move, to get to vertical. And he also used a different technique where he added energy to the pole by swinging his leg as he got to vertical versus putting energy into the pole to bend it. If you did that, you would leverage the recoil. So he used his legs to help propel him higher. At Seoul, Sergey finally competed on the Olympic stage. Pressure was on,[00:50:00] of course. This competition was not without controversy. So for the qualifications, competitors were split into two groups and even though the qualifying height was 5.55 meters, the vaulters in Group A complained that the bar for the vaulters in group B was being raised at different incre.

Officials then decided we’re just gonna advance everybody who cleared 5.4 meters. So Sergey, along with Rodian Gatlin from the U S S R, were the only two jumpers to clear 5.5 meters on their first jump, and they led going into the finals. Everybody else kind of went under that, and so, This meant out of 21 participants, 15 people made the finals. Final height starts at 5.1 meters.

Sergey doesn’t decide to jump until the bar is at 5.70 and by this time, seven competitors are already out of the competition. First attempt at 5.7 for Sergey, miss. Gatlin of the Soviet Union and Earl Bell of the U S A. Both make that on their first attempt Sergei, along with four other competitors.

Clear 5.7 on attempt two, and Sergei barely gets over it. The bar really shakes. Somehow it’s amazing that it doesn’t fall off. So two more athletes don’t make this. They’re out. The bar moves up to 5.75 meters. Earl Bell from the US misses all three attempts, as does Felipe Collette of France, 1984 bronze medalist teary Vigneron misses his first attempt and drops out.

So we’re down to three Soviets. That’s all that’s left that we know they’re gonna get on the medals. the first one, Giorgi ov opts. Try 5.8 meters. Makes it on his first attempt bar, goes up to 5.85. Sega still sitting it out. He’s not going yet. Catalin goes for it. Takes all three, tries to finally clear bar, goes up to 5.9.

Now Sergey decides time to compete. He misses. He’s not feeling himself right now. He is feeling really tight. Catalan sits out ov faults and misses, so it’s OV and Bka trying to make 5.9. They both miss their second attempt. Sergey’s still nut himself, but he’s also going fast in order to force Jaeger off to jump quickly.

And mess up his strategy. So last try. Yeager off misses Bka. One more, try not feeling great, but the wind is good. So he is hopeful. Starts down the runway and a few step in steps in. He remembers I am Sergey Bka, and bam, he is back. Bka makes his. And now we know that OVS gonna get the bronze. So now it’s down to Bka and Catalan.


[00:52:55] Alison: Bka knows he’s Sergey Bka. That’s

[00:52:58] Jill: right. He’s back bar. Goes up to 5.95. BKA jumps over it right away. Forces Catalan to make this height in order to continue the competition. First jump, miss second Jump. Michigan. One last jump. Mrs. Again, so now Sure. Move goes the Olympic champion. He got an Olympic record far short of his world record, which at the time was 6.06 meters, and he wanted to try to get a new world record at Seoul, but he lost his strength and said, now we’re gonna stop.

So he, won the gold here, rightfully has his place on the world stage as just a legend, unfortunately. This was the only Olympics that he did live up to expectations and did live up to what he wanted to do at Barcelona. He tried to compete there. Missed the starting height in the finals at 1996. He did not start at Sydney 2000.

He couldn’t get outta Qualifi. That said he was still dominating in the pole vaulting world. And overall, Sergey broke the pole vaulting outdoor world record 17 times in the indoor record 11 times. Now, like many of these, he broke by just a centimeter because every time he got a world record, the U, the Soviet Union would pay him a bonus.

So you just, you know, can, can you fault

[00:54:27] Alison: six meters? I don’t think so.

[00:54:31] Jill: So the, the bonus was the equivalent of $385 per world record until 1989, and the arrival of Glass knows which gave him $2,950 per world record. Hey, that

[00:54:46] Alison: centimeter. Pricey,

[00:54:48] Jill: right. And then when the Soviet Union dissolved, Nike signed him and he got a $40,000 bonus for each world record.

So not too bad, he achieved his last outdoor [00:55:00] world record of 6.14 meters on July 31st, 1994. A mark that would stand until Mando Duplan vaulted 6.15 meters in September, 2020. So his indoor record had been broken by Reno LA from France in 2014, but it. Another six years to topple that outdoor record.

And on a side note, Sergey Buka competed against Greg DuPonte, Mondo’s father and coach.

I know you love that.

[00:55:34] Alison: I do. And we hear him a lot now in, Ukrainian. sports World, right?

[00:55:40] Jill: Mm-hmm. Sergey retired from competition in 2001 and was on the I O C Athletes Commission. He became president of the Ukrainian National Olympic Committee, but I believe he’s, Stepping down from that soon.

he became a member of the I O C in 2005, ran for president in 2013, but lost a tach C and then he ran for president of the I A A F, which is now World Athletics in 2014 and lost to SEP Co. But he is still in sports administration today and still, helping push the envelope in terms of the Olympics.

[00:56:17] Alison: And certainly has a lot to say concerning what should happen to Russian athletes. That is correct.


[00:56:24] Alison: welcome to Shk fk. It

[00:56:34] Jill: is the time of the show where we check in with our team, keep the flame alive. These are past guests and listeners of the show who make up our citizens of Shk Fk, our very own country. First up some results. Our para Archer Matt Stutzman, competed in his first Tournament of the year.

He said he had a lousy first half, but regrouped and jumped from ninth to second in the second round and finished a mere three points outta first place.

[00:56:58] Alison: Shooter. Tim Sherry had two seventh place finishes at the I S S F World Cup event in Lima

[00:57:06] Jill: Beach volleyball player Kelly Chang and her partner Sarah Hughes, won the A V P New Orleans Championship.

Wow. They’ve just been on fire. Yeah. Yeah. So this looks good. Going to next year

[00:57:18] Alison: in other News USA fencing Chairman Phil Andrews will be holding a fundraiser to benefit the US Fencing Foundation at the North American Cup and N C A A Division one National Championships in St. Louis this weekend.

I think this is fantastic. You can fence against Phil. And each touch will earn money for the foundation. And we’ll put a link to that information in the show notes.

[00:57:42] Jill: Curler. John Schuster will be signing autographs at the Minnesota Card Show on Saturday, April 22nd. This will take place at the Hyatt Regency Minneapolis. It looks like there is a free meet and greet from 10 to 10 30, and then he’ll be signing autographs until noon and that will be $10 each.

[00:57:59] Alison: artistic swimmer and pediatric medicine doctoral candidate. Jacqueline Simino is speaking at the Foot and ankle show digital, and we will have a link to that also in the show notes. I love that she’s a postdoctoral candidate and that there’s a foot and ankle show I know.

Paris 2024 Update

[00:58:18] Jill: Well, there has been just a lot of news about will Russia be in the games, won’t Russia be in the games? And we’re holding. Sharing a lot of that cause it’s just a lot of speculation. Until we have actual factual news to share with you actual factual, both the Russian men’s and women’s basketball team will officially not be participating at Paris 2024.

Fiba, the International Federation has prevented the men’s team from competing in Olympic. Pre-qualifying tournaments, which will be happening in mid-August. And then the women’s team didn’t qualify because it was suspended from the Women’s World Cup and Euro basket qualifications. And Belarus is also unable to qualify, so they will also not be there.

I’m not sure if they would have been a factor anyway, but Russia is a a no-go for sure. oh, remember, I love this story

[00:59:17] Alison: because I remember the story of a certain flight back from Tokyo. Yes. That that got a little bit rowdy.

[00:59:26] Jill: Yes. So the Australian Olympic Committee has decided that its athletes must leave the village 48 hours after their event.

And this is an effort to curb the party culture. Which can make it difficult for those who compete in week two. alcohol is not allowed in the village, but that does not prevent anybody from going out and having a good time in establishments outside the village and then coming back at all hours of the night carousing and being loud and upsetting everybody else who still needs to compete.

I don’t even know what to call it, flight, rowdy flight. Didn’t they get, they had to get [01:00:00] diverted or. Quickly,

[01:00:01] Alison: that I don’t remember. I know that there was a great monetary fine to help clean up the mess that they

[01:00:07] Jill: made. That’s right, and that was the rugby team. I know that they were big and responsible and got, really drunk on the plane and caused a lot of shenanigans.

So people were not happy. So this is the Australian Olympic Committees. Hope to maybe curb some of that. Now, this makes the fact that swimmers are not. Because they say we don’t get to participate in the opening ceremonies because we compete right away. And then now if we have to go home, we also don’t get to stick around and enjoy the village.

We also don’t get to go to the closing ceremonies. So now we’re just going to another swim meet and the swimmers

[01:00:43] Alison: are a big part of the Australian.

[01:00:45] Jill: Yes. A big, huge part. So we’ll see how this goes down. If there’s going to be any kind of compromise or if, maybe people can learn. don’t, I don’t wanna be like the the mean parent who says like, can’t you just cold it together and respect your fellow competitors?


[01:01:02] Alison: what I thought was very interesting was the justification for this, and this had to do with in Tokyo where athletes were taken very quickly. The Australian athletes did much better in week two than they have done in previous Olympics.

[01:01:16] Jill: That’s right.

[01:01:18] Alison: And so they were saying, well, maybe the problem is that the children from week one are a bad example to the athletes in week two being like, oh, come on, let’s go out and party.

So that the week two athletes have this peer pressure to not take care of themselves as well. But what I thought was really interesting was Australia’s best showing shockingly was Sydney 2000. And you mean to tell me that the Australian athletes weren’t partying every night in Sydney with their friends and with their family.

I mean, it was in Right. Australia. So I, I kind of hope that this does. Not that I want to hurt the Australian athletes, but I’m very curious to test the theory.

[01:02:00] Jill: That will be a good one to keep an eye on as well. Like you still have your credentials, maybe you just stick around and buy your own hotel room.


[01:02:08] Alison: can, you can, but as we know, that would get extremely pricey and very few athletes could afford

[01:02:14] Jill: that. Although you never know, you can probably. Six to eight swimmers in one of these tiny hotel rooms. People sleep, sleeping on the floor, all

[01:02:23] Alison: that stuff. I mean, in 1976, they fit the entire women’s basketball team in a single room.


[01:02:30] Jill: challenge John. There is going to be a race in Paris to try to win a bib to the marathon for all at Paris 2024. So this is called the Orange Night Run. It’s going to be a team challenge, which will be held on. June 17th, 2023 in the evening. So if you happen to be going to Paris this June, maybe you could participate.

the race is open to everyone regardless of ability, but you need to put together a team of five people and each team must include at least two women. So the race will be a relay along the banks of Theen. As part of the prizes, there are 1000 marathon bibs up for grabs, and these will not be going strictly to winners.

There’s other ways to win them as well. So you can find out more@nightrun.orange.com and we will have a link to that in the show notes.

Milan-Cortina 2026 Update

[01:03:21] Alison: I am so excited we have news from Milan. It’s been very quiet for the past several months, but now we have a speed skating venue.

[01:03:35] Jill: And what is this?

[01:03:37] Alison: Okay, so as you may remember, the had a speed skating venue.

[01:03:41] Jill: I, I think that the reason we have not had news from Milan is because they had their heads down trying to make up a budget.

[01:03:49] Alison: This is probably true. Okay? So they had an outdoor track in Visalia de problem was to make it an indoor track was estimated to cost 54 million. They thought. Possibly balloon to double that.

So the I O C said, no, you cannot do that. So then they came up with the idea of using the Torino venue from 2006, which is 200 miles away, and you’ve already got 200 miles between Cortina and mi. So it’d be a triangle much too big. So they have come up with the solution. The Fiera Exhibition Center in Milan will be reconfigured as a temporary venue and it will not be used for speed skating after the games.

It’s going to be privately funded, so this won’t even go into the budget. Wow. I don’t know. Who knows Cousin Joey that that is making these arrangements. But on the upside now speed skating will be in one of the competition

[01:04:46] Jill: centers and, and that is really good because once you start putting more sports out into other cities, it makes the original host city.

Less appealing to go to

[01:04:57] Alison: because the original venue, Belia [01:05:00] Dina, was a hundred miles from each of Cortina and Milan. It was a a third point. It was in between. Oh, but now speed skating will actually be where Figure skating and hockey will.

Okay, well that’s in the city, right? And then the mountain things will be up in Cortina.

[01:05:17] Jill: All right. Well that, it sounds like a nice solution. I don’t know. We’ll see what Uncle Joey says.

[01:05:24] Alison: But yeah, I mean, I’m excited cuz we had talked about, you know, one of us is going to Milan, one of us is going to Cortina. This means I get speed skating.

[01:05:35] Jill: All right. Well that will do it for this week. Let us know what you think about Pole Vault.

[01:05:41] Alison: You can email us at Flame Alive podd gmail.com. Call or text us at (208) 352-6348. That’s 2 0 8. Flame it. Our social handle is at Flame Alive Pod. And be sure to join the Keep the Flame Alive Podcast Group on Facebook.

And if my voice can hang on don’t forget to get our weekly newsletter filled with other fun stories about this week’s episode, and you can sign up for that@flamealivepod.com.

[01:06:10] Jill: Oh, next week is gonna be exciting because you know who’s back. Ali Homan. We’ll have the second part of our interview with him where we talk about some of the different events he’s covered and, uh, what he loves about the working the Olympics. So look forward to that, and we’ve got other exciting shows planned for the future.

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

“The Magnificent Seven” Post-Show Conversation

[01:06:38] Book Club Claire: Okay. The whole time I was sitting there, I thought those harmonies, I said, what? I wanna know what Claire thinks about the harmonies. I agree. That was probably my favorite part of the whole thing was when they came together and did they, they split into, you know, soprano and alto and all of that, and the cluster cores that they sang, like they were very.

Yes. And it just, it made the songs pop when they sang by themselves. It was fine. There was, it was a little flat, When they sang by themselves, sometimes they were a little flat, but when they all sang together, you could tell they were relying on each other, so it was really great. Yeah.

[01:07:14] Cindy: But I, I, the one that they sang in the circle and they all held hands.

Yeah. You could almost hear all seven parts, and yet it was so integral you couldn’t tell who was singing what I, I’m just really,

[01:07:25] Book Club Claire: that was so amazing. Yeah. That was, uh, I think that was like Mary Lou, the re the re reprise which I kind of really enjoyed that song, that was one of my favorites. Well, you could tell that, that influenced every one of their journeys

[01:07:38] Cindy: was watching Mary Lou as a little

[01:07:39] Book Club Claire: girl, you know.

[01:07:40] Jill: Yeah. And how that was a the starting point for everybody and

[01:07:45] Book Club Claire: it’s so interesting because then they became the starting points for so many others. Others, others. Yes, very much so.

[01:07:51] Bill: I did not look at the, at the roster or

[01:07:53] Book Club Claire: the

[01:07:54] Cindy: at the play cast

[01:07:57] Bill: at the start. So I was really blown away when Mary Lou showed up, you know?

Oh, okay.

[01:08:02] Book Club Claire: Because I thought that was unexpected to make this, I thought, okay, it says literally here, a vision from 19. Four. And it’s like, okay, it’s gonna be Mary Lou doesn’t say, so how are they gonna, Mary No, it does not say Mary Lou.

[01:08:13] Bill: How about the cast? Does it show them on the show? On the

[01:08:16] Book Club Claire: cast? it just says a vision 1980.


[01:08:18] Book Club Claire: What about the roster? Yeah, how you didn’t look at the rosters, so you didn’t know if she was even showing up. I did think that was kind of weird that she only showed up for the last song. Like we literally have a song all about Mary Lou and she could have like been in the background of it, but instead we just showed the Weedies box over and over again.

[01:08:34] Bill: I thought that was kind of cool though, because like I said, I was totally shocked when she came

[01:08:37] Book Club Claire: up. This is a weird cast thing. It’s like to only show up for one song. I’ve been in musicals where the person only shows up for two minutes and then they, yeah, but she had

[01:08:46] Bill: a, she had her own. I mean, it wasn’t like she just walked out there and said, hi, I’m Mary Lou.

She’s sang

[01:08:51] Book Club Claire: a great song. I didn’t have an issue with their hair, the girl that played Shannon Mill really brought it cuz she curled her bangs like they wouldn’t back then, like Shannon was known for, but the rest of them. But like, there were no CRO cuts like the rest of them were.

So, although I thought Amy Chow looked like Amy c. Agree

[01:09:09] Jill: that the table, maybe that

[01:09:11] Bill: was because of that, but I thought Dominique Oh yeah. Looked kind

[01:09:16] Book Club Claire: of like, I mean, she wore at a, she wore the big pigtails. Yeah, yeah. And there were scrunchies, there were butterfly cliffs coming out. Oh, yeah. She was very emotional.

Yeah. Her mascara was indeed running. Yeah. That

[01:09:29] Bill: was kind of, we

[01:09:29] Book Club Claire: were in the perfect spot to see that. Yeah, it was a theater in the round, well, kind of three fourths. So they had the mat like you would have for floor, kind of in the middle. And they did a lot of their singing on that. Uh, but they also had a small stage that they could go up and do some stuff.

And the lighting, I think thought really helped to show where you were supposed to look. and they also had the commentators booth. Did have the Atlanta 96 logo and it also had the NBC logo. Did the guy that played John [01:10:00] Tesh was probably the funniest guy. Oh yeah. Yeah. He really milked it. Yes, and,

[01:10:04] Jill: and Gordon had told us that that’s a lot of what John Tess, the character

[01:10:09] Book Club Claire: said was actual really. From the games. I was gonna ask you that cringeworthy, and

[01:10:16] Jill: I remember it being cringeworthy at the time.

The time, yeah. Just cause I was glued to that gymnastics competition and, and

[01:10:25] Book Club Claire: John was horrible.

[01:10:27] Jill: El was horrible. Tim dga. Oh. Why they put him in the booth at all? I couldn’t stand him in 84. I didn’t like him. I didn’t like him when he wasn’t competing. Oh. I was bad. And it was just, it. You know, listening to that 25, almost 30 years later is so horrific.

Like what The pressure that media, I mean, I feel like, oh, well this is us too. Like what Alison and I get very nervous about, like how much pressure do we put on someone and what does that mean? Yeah, exactly. And you’re talking about talking. But what I liked about this was it really, I mean, maybe kids of that age were thinking those things, but this was obviously, you know, told from a more adult perspective where they could reflect and feel free to say, sing what they were feeling.

[01:11:17] Book Club Claire: Right? Yeah. A lot of the. Stuff was hindsight kind of singing, but it did, it really helped the audience to kind of see, okay, this is what we saw, but this is probably what they were thinking. Yeah.

[01:11:30] Bill: So the Shannon Miller song at the end was Magic

[01:11:34] Book Club Claire: the only, the only song with ex expletives. Is the song the pastor likes the most.

Yeah. No, but she, like she had been in the background Yes. For most of the songs. And that was kind of her way to say, you know, shut up. This is my chance to take.

[01:11:48] Bill: Well, even when they were, a lot of times when they were singing, she had her, her headphones. Headphones on,

[01:11:53] Book Club Claire: not paying attention. Yeah. Well, I thought her character showed you the most Growth.

Growth. Sure.

[01:11:58] Cindy: Because at the. She is stuck up and totally isolated from the rest of the team. Mm-hmm. And then you see her become one of the group as the play continues until

[01:12:12] Book Club Claire: she’s the one standing up for all of them. Right.

[01:12:15] Cindy: Not just herself. She’s standing up for all of

[01:12:18] Book Club Claire: them saying, we don’t do this. For you, you

[01:12:21] Jill: know?

Right. And then I think it’s a hard thing about gymnastics as a quote unquote team sport, cuz you’re really poorly in and all these individuals who are in this hypercompetitive setting and then you expect them to be a team together. And you know, some of them have relationships and then others are just like, I.

You’re my enemy or my competition. How can, how can I, but we

[01:12:44] Bill: even go a lot of times to the college gymnastics. Mm-hmm. You know, and there’s always the, uh, overall winner. Right. You know, so you are in a sense still competing with your own teammates, but I don’t think it’s quite the same as the Olympics.

Right. It’s a one, one time deal. Right. That’s literally the gold medal, you know, that you’re going for. Yeah.

[01:13:03] Cindy: We always mark that when we, when we go see the Michigan girls compete, that they have one chance on the vault and that’s it for college. And you know, having watched the Olympics, We were like, why don’t they give them two chances on the ball?


[01:13:19] Book Club Claire: yeah. Yeah. That’s new. They don’t do that anymore. I thought they, they gave him two. They used, they used to have two balls. Yes. But now they only one Right. At the Olympics. At the Olympics gots. Wow. Yeah. So it’s gonna be more like college.

[01:13:31] Bill: Yeah. The college girls, they get one shot. Wow. And if Carrie’s drug hadn’t gotten shot number two, we wouldn’t know

[01:13:37] Book Club Claire: who carrie’s drug is.

We wouldn’t be here today. And Joanna’s musical. Yeah. My favorite part though was the ending because they finish with Carrie’s song and she lands it and she gets the, she gets the score that needed to secure gold. You

[01:13:53] Bill: basically just hear the crowd cheer this. Yeah. Yeah. They don’t tell you her score.

[01:13:56] Book Club Claire: Right. But at the end, instead of like that cutting to black, they give like an epilogue where all of them get to say what happened after the Olympics. And I think I really like that the most because every single one of them, at least once said after the. I healed. That means that has a lot of layers to it, if you know all their stories.

Yeah. Not just their body healing, but

[01:14:18] Cindy: their mental state and their, their relationships that had fractured. Mm-hmm.

[01:14:24] Book Club Claire: And the one girl said she emancipated from her parents. Yeah.

[01:14:27] Cindy: Dominique.

[01:14:29] Book Club Claire: That they read her book. Yeah. That, that was on my book Club mom. Okay. Clearly you read the books that I recommend. I haven’t read that one yet.

I think I gave it away. Try and look up that book cuz it, she just wrote it recently in the last, what, three years? Something like, that’s not at all. Yeah, it very recent. So it tells all about her struggles with lic Rollie and I think Larry Nasser gets mentioned in there as well. Well, she even said in one

[01:14:56] Cindy: part, should I get Dr.

Nasser? Yeah. Yeah. And I’m thinking [01:15:00]

[01:15:01] Book Club Claire: So we, we both, we both went. Oh,

[01:15:06] Bill: was she the one that said that I testified,

[01:15:08] Book Club Claire: yes. Yeah. which I thought a few more of them had, but apparently she was the one from that group. And then there were more from recent, more recent gymnasts. But yeah. Yeah, there was, it was a great way to end it, even though it wasn’t like the triumphant finale song

[01:15:25] Bill: shouldn’t have been.

I think that really

[01:15:26] Book Club Claire: hit hold. Yeah, baby. The, like,

[01:15:29] Cindy: that they did not include at the medal ceremony. For some reason I thought they were gonna. Present them with medals at the end, and I thought that would’ve just taken away from the, this isn’t only about the athletics, this is about the people behind the accomplishments.

[01:15:46] Book Club Claire: Sure. Well, there were gold medal things in the lobby. At when we left, if you looked on the table, they had a bunch of those, like TRA or um, Oriental Trading Company, little gold medal. You could have taken one if you wanted, but Yeah, yeah, I do. I was kind of wishing

[01:16:00] Bill: the actors would. I thought in my years of watching you guys, I thought the actors were all gonna be outside

[01:16:06] Book Club Claire: shaking, say, hi, you missed it, you left.

They did come out, not in their, not in their costumes, but they had changed by then and were getting acolytes and she was actually talking to the play writer Gordon. Speaking

[01:16:18] Jill: of the costumes, I was so impressed that they got the Reebok Yes.

[01:16:23] Book Club Claire: With the logo on it that. Shocking.

[01:16:25] Jill: the high top Reeb box with the double Velcro. Yep. the, the jackets, the warmup outfits looked really good and like that,

[01:16:33] Book Club Claire: parachute type

[01:16:34] Jill: material and then the, the leotards Yep.

[01:16:38] Book Club Claire: Were also really good.

[01:16:40] Jill: I thought the staging was really well done for, you know, you’re taking people who don’t have.

Talent and you’re giving them something to

[01:16:48] Book Club Claire: do

[01:16:49] Jill: but the one with the two girls on

[01:16:50] Book Club Claire: the, the little circle. Very, very well done. That was my second favorite song. Yeah. Yeah.

[01:16:56] Jill: They got me. Yeah. The fact that comradery. Yeah. Doing that stuff where they put on skirts and, and used bars and hoops in different ways.

I thought that was really a nice way to do it without,

[01:17:10] Book Club Claire: you know, being super gymnastics. Right. And plus the fact

[01:17:13] Cindy: that they would line up and march around, right. The center.

[01:17:17] Book Club Claire: Mm-hmm.

[01:17:18] Cindy: Square, which represented the floor. Right. I thought. Seen that? Yes. I’ve seen that at gymnastic meets where they, you know, all of a sudden they threw all their gear together and they marched to the

[01:17:27] Book Club Claire: next place mm-hmm.

Where they’re gonna perform.

[01:17:30] Jill: I thought that was great. And then the, the choreographer got their hands, all right. Mm-hmm. Oh yeah. I

[01:17:35] Book Club Claire: noticed that. I was like, must have done research.

[01:17:37] Jill: Yeah. Just the little touches on, on the choreography that made it feel.

[01:17:43] Book Club Claire: Like they were gymnasts, even though they weren’t. the Beam song, the Balance Beam, how, oh, I can’t remember the exact lyrics, but it was like, put your arms out and make a sparkle.

And they, the choreography, like shimmered with it. I thought that was really great. So yeah, there was some, there was some good, um, good lyrics in it. How do I get a wedgie in the middle of that was probably the first one where I laughed. I was like, oh, okay, that’s where we’re going with this. Oh, that’s funny.

Oh, I really appreciate you interviewing the guys that allowed us to, you know, see something local. So it’s always good to support, especially in Flint. So thank you. Yeah, you’re welcome. Thank you. Thank

[01:18:21] Jill: you all

[01:18:22] Book Club Claire: for coming. Yeah, it was a lot of fun.