We had Independence Day here in the U.S. this week, so we’ve put together a series of lightning rounds for your enjoyment. If there’s time at the end of our interviews, we ask our guests five questions–and they’re pretty similar–in a lightning round format. Because it’s us though, it’s never so lightning fast. That’s what makes them interesting though!
Plus, we’ve got a big show announcement that you’ll want to hear!
Thanks so much for listening, and until next time, keep the flame alive!
Note: This is an uncorrected machine-generated transcript and may contain errors. Please check its accuracy against the audio. Do not quote from the transcript; use the audio as the record of note.
Lightning Rounds with Olly Hogben, Louise Sugden, and Andy Spalding (Episode 294)
Jill: Hello, and welcome to another episode of Keep the Flame Alive, the podcast for 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 us always by my lovely co-host, Alison Brown.
Alison, hello, how are you? I
Alison: am well. I am firework. Workeded out. I don’t like fireworks. I never liked fireworks, and I have a dog that hates them even more. Aw, it’s been a rough I do. It’s, yeah, it has been rough.
Jill: I do love fireworks. Where I live has amazing fireworks for being a town. There are fireworks all around me, which does get to be a little bit old when it gets to be like midnight but, it is a holiday.
I do enjoy. and we saw some new firework technology, which has been. Yeah, I know we saw some new shapes new, there was like a spiral firework that came out this year. Yeah, it was exciting. It Speaking of fireworks, we have big news that we’ll announce later on in the show, but in light of the fact that we are recovering from Independence Day, we will celebrate with a little lightning round action for you.
First up. We had some police raids in the Paris 2024 offices, so there could be a little corruption case on the horizon. So we thought we’d hear from our anti-corruption expert, Andy Spalding. Andy is a professor at the University of [00:02:00] Richmond Law School. He heads up an independent task force called the Olympics Compliance Task Force that is working to develop a new approach to anti-corruption and human rights, both at the Olympics and at the World Cup. Take a listen
Alright. Lightning round. What is your first memory of the Olympics from when you were a kid?
Carl Lewis. 84.
Andy Spalding: Yeah. Yes. Love that guy.
Jill: has there been a moment during this project or in all of your anti-corruption work with the games where you thought how did I get here?
Andy Spalding: Absolutely. And that, that is when I have, was sitting in the International Olympic Committee headquarters in Luanne part of my research grant, having conversations with uh members from a number of different offices and finding how very receptive they were to the ideas.
We have this perception of these megaport organizations as just, just full of, of corrupt actors. And at the executive committee level, that might be a fair allegation but beneath the executive community level, there are lots of decent people who are just trying to do a good job and talking to them and actually having a conversation was kind of a, whoa, this can happen.
I can contribute to it a little bit. Yes.
Jill: What is your favorite Olympic sport to watch? ,
Andy Spalding: now it’s women’s soccer. but if it’s not actually tied women’s soccer and the women’s four by 400 meters race I think the women’s four by 400 is the most beautiful event in all of the Olympic games.
Jill: How, so this is nicely specific ,
Andy Spalding: Because the event is long enough that you see their full power and gracefulness, but not so long that they have to hold back their speed. And to see teams, of people, all of whom can run with this kind of power and skill and grace.
It’s just stunningly beautiful. And because it’s four by 400, you get about three and a half minutes of it rather than just, less than one minute. I am, I am in awe of those runners every single time.
Jill: If you could be an Olympian in any sport, what would it be? You don’t have to be good in it.
Andy Spalding: Okay.[00:04:00] Downhill skiing. Giant slum.
Jill: And why that particular event?
Andy Spalding: Because I think the giant slum also exhibits a combination of power and grace among the downhill events. The slum is very technical, but you don’t quite see the gracefulness and the power. The downhill is about speed, but you don’t quite see the technique in the turns.
The giant slum, the best giant slum racers in the world are truly the most beautiful skiers in the world.
Jill: And do you have any Olympic souvenirs? Yes.
Andy Spalding: What, which favorite? My favorite is a ticket from the skiers halfpipe in Seoul in 2018. And the reason that is so valuable to me is that I was standing in the fan area right behind.
A couple from the United States who were cheering for various skiers. Like they knew them by name. They would use their first names to, to cheer for the skiers rather than their last names. And I thought that was striking. They must be hardcore fans. An American won the bronze medal that year and she went to the podium, collected her medal, and then skied down and hugged these two people standing in front of me.
They were her parents. And at a very emotional moment, we learned that the skier had suffered a severe injury and had missed the prior Olympics, had recovered to win a bronze medal. And at one moment the dad turned around. He’s just, he’s very emotional. His eyes are watering. And he just looked at me like, you get what I’m feeling right now, don’t you?
And I looked at him without saying a word, like, yeah, I think I do. And that was my favorite all-time Olympic moment right there. Wow.
Jill: a good tey moment. . Okay. I
Andy Spalding: have a, I have one last question on a lightning round if you could. Oh. If it was up to you and you were king of the world, who would get 2030 for the Winter Ukraine?
Good answer. And we would effectuate reforms with the total buy-in support of the global community.
Why is Andy making me
How do you think South Africa did with fifa, the World Cup [00:06:00] and, how’s it going now?
Andy Spalding: It being fifa, it being South Africa, it being South Africa?
Yeah. South Africa is a, is a difficult situation and I, I was thrilled to see South Africa win the rights to host the World Cup because it was part of its inclusion back into the Olympic movement after having been banned under the apartheid movement. Very much of a narrative of development and progress and advancements in the rule of law.
Nobody at the time expected the rapid deterioration of the corruption environment in South Africa. And so there’s, there is tragedy there. I think hindsight being 2020, we, more thorough research may have helped us understand whether South Africa is the kind of country was poised at the at the time to be the kind of country that would adopt reforms or be the kind of country that would not, we could have predicted that Russia would not, we could have predicted that China would not.
We probably could not have predicted that Qatar would, but it very much did. And so now moving forward, I think part of the analysis has to be, if we’re going to host award the games to countries that don’t already have impeccable corruption human rights records. The question has to be, do we see opportunities here for reform?
Do we see uh the the right political and economic conditions in place that we could see some forward movement? and I don’t know if we had done that analysis back in what 2003 or so with South Africa what it would’ve told us, hindsight 2020. I’ve been to South Africa many times. I love the country deeply.
My wife has worked there extensively and it breaks my heart, God,
Jill: what? What happens if you’re in a country and you think, okay, we’re getting government behind some anti-corruption stuff and then the government’s overthrown and things go to hell in a hand basket. Yeah.
Andy Spalding: I hope I wouldn’t alienate too many of your listeners to say that arguably that happened in the United States. Oh, that we have to understand that In the global anti-corruption movement since the 1990s, you know this corruption eruption that I spoke of, for better or for worse, the United States was the undisputed world leader in anti-corruption enforcement.
Particularly international anti-corruption enforcement. We were [00:08:00] clearly driving the train and asking the rest of the world to get on board, and that leadership role, was based on two assumptions. One was that the United States was less tolerant of public corruption than most countries. Two, that the United States was very comfortable assuming a position of leadership in the world.
And then we entered a period in our history where neither of those assumptions appeared to be true. We looked the other way at, at corruption issues and we didn’t wanna lead anybody. And that was ver for those of us in the anti-corruption space. That was very, very strange. and for those of us who traveled abroad a lot during this time, working on anti-corruption issues, we just weren’t received the same way we used to be.
And they suddenly, before it was, oh, an American anti-corruption professor is in town, drop everything. We wanna listen now. It was you’re an anti-corruption professor from the United States. , really?
Now I say that not in a partisan way. You don’t know my political preferences and I’m not gonna tell ’em to you. And then I don’t mean that to be partisan. I meant there were issues there that had nothing to do with partisanship, had nothing to do with substantive public policy issues that were beginning to repair.
But our, the United States standing in the world on corruption issues changed in ways that I think Americans had no idea of. Cuz we didn’t see how stark the contrast appeared between what we had been perceived to be on both sides of the political aisle. That US leadership was not a partisan issue.
Democrats, republicans alike, soundly committed to it, and it did not vary among the party that controlled Washington. It was anti-corruption and anti-corruption. Leadership was a bipartisan issue until it wasn’t. ,
Jill: was there a pivotal moment or a
Andy Spalding: See that question? He is not gonna answer. Yeah. I don’t, I I, I don’t, I just think, I think there’s too much divisiveness in the world. I don’t like to start saying names, but, but yeah I just think we as American listeners have to be very mindful of the fact that whatever progress we’ve made in anti-real [00:10:00] reforms globally in the last 30 years, we have made it in large part because the United States was willing to push on these issues and also model on these issues.
And when we suddenly decide that we don’t want to do those things anymore, that those norms are less important to us and we don’t much care about global leadership that has implications way beyond our borders. . And it’s true regardless of, of party. This is not about partisanship. I very much hope we’re returning to a time where democrat, republican, whatever your views on tax policy or immigration or privacy, or any of the rest of it, the notion that public officials should not abuse their office for private gain is clearly and indisputably accepted by everybody involved.
There’s nothing to talk about.
Jill: I’m gonna have to stop myself after this one, but I wanna know how you got into this field.
Andy Spalding: Bass wards . So I, I
So I, I don’t know about y’all, but mi mine is a career in a life that was never planned. I was a lawyer and one of the things you do and you’re lawyer is you, you go to DC or New York, you work for one of these big law firms. So I did that for no other reason than that’s what you did.
And found myself through absolutely no choice of my own in a kind of a corporate fraud practice. And I came to see from that stamp when I was working at a big firm with a major international footprint. And I came to see this is early two thousands now that laws governing corruption in connection to international business.
Were gonna be a major force in the world in the coming decades. I saw that international business was reducing poverty and changing. Economic and legal conditions around the world at a pace that was just stunning and was truly historic. And that the role of corruption in anti-corruption laws was gonna be a major player in whether this international investment, this international [00:12:00] business, was going to be for good or for ill in the recipient countries.
And so I got into it and became an international anticorruption law person and that was where my academic career started. And then my dean at the law school wanted to have a class with a travel component. And at the time I didn’t know anything about mega sports except that they tend to produce corruption stories and that Brazil fun place to travel to is about to host the Olympic Games and the world cut back to back.
So I proposed a class and she accepted it and we did it and it went well. And we started to think about the relationship between. Hosting Omega sport event in anti-corruption reforms. Brazil was going through a major anti-corruption mo moment in this time. Started to thinking about the relationship between the games and that movement class went well enough and my dean, let me do it again, two years later, and we went to South Korea and there, much like Brazil, that country was going through a major anti-corruption reform movement.
Major anti-corruption scandals, historic Watergate level scandals in that country as it was hosting the, the Olympics. And so we started to think about the connections there. And so that then brought me into this space of being really interested in the ways that hosting Megas Sporting events can help to catalyze anti-corruption reforms in the host country.
Jill: Thank you so much Andy. You can follow Andy on his blog Olympics compliance. We will have links to that in the show notes.
Next up, in honor of her return to competition and being named to Team gbs, para Power Lifting world champs team, we’ve got Para Power Lifter. Louise Sugden Take a listening to her lightning round. Lightning round.
we call it lightning and it’s not lightning, but what is your first memory or awareness of the Paralympics?
Louise Sugden: I think when I was 16, my friend got selected and I didn’t, and that was my memory. My first kind of awareness of the Paralympic [00:14:00] games, I was 16.
Like there was absolutely no reason I should have been selected, but then it kind of brought it onto my radar. It wasn’t something I really knew about. And I think that, yeah, that’s my first memory of. Crown and picks .
Jill: Oh, where do you keep your medals?
Louise Sugden: Random places. I take them into like school visits and stuff quite regularly.
So I don’t actually have them displayed as such. And the other week I had a mad panic, cause I couldn’t remember where I’d left it. So I do stuff like that all the time. I really should take more care of them because I’d be absolutely devastated if I lost them.
Jill: does team GB give you like rings?
I know that in America they get like actual rings for their
Louise Sugden: rings. No, no, we can get anything that, well, we get other stuff, but no, we don’t get rings. Okay.
Jill: What is your favorite training exercise?
Louise Sugden: Bench press gotta be hasn’t it not be in completely the wrong sport. If it wasn’t ,
Jill: if you could be a Paralympian in any other sport, and we are taking wheelchair basketball off the table, we were also taking canoe and rowing off the table.
Cuz I know you tried those well, what would the sport be? But I also wanna know like what was up with the research I saw was canoeing and rowing. Weren’t a good fit because you weren’t the right class for what they were looking for.
Louise Sugden: Yeah. Canoeing. I was in a higher classification than they were looking for rowing.
I, I wasn’t good at oh, okay. Basically what other sport? I think I would love to do archery. I’ve always fancied a bit of archery. Can’t tell you one, the the British women have been doing very well at the world games this week. Have they? I’ve not seen anything last week. Oh yes.
Jill: And other than your medal, what is your favorite Paralympic souvenir?
Louise Sugden: I have a lanyard full of [00:16:00] pins from London, 2012 and yeah, I love them. I love pin badges. And every time I go to games of any sort, I’m the one at the front of the pin fading queue.
Jill: well, hopefully all three of us will be at Paris and we will be trading pins.
Thank you so much Louise. Louise will be competing at the World Pair of Powerlifting World Championships on August 22nd and 23rd in Dubai. We will have links to her Twitter and Instagram handles in the show notes so that you can follow her adventures. I think
Alison: I’ve mentioned this before, that Louise has achieved one of my bucket list items.
She got to meet Princess Ann
and I was very jealous. And it was one of the team GB receptions after Tokyo. So the king was, well now King Charles, but at the time he was, prince Charles was there and also Princess Ann was there and she got to chat with Princess Anne probably, you know, the, the bow and the nice to meet you. But she said she was Louise said Anne was lovely.
Jill: You know what I just realized? We will be in Paris and there will be an I O C session meeting in Paris. Yeah. Maybe that’s one of the things you should go to. I already thought of that
and I see that all of the equestrian has been blocked off. I have
Alison: claimed all of the equestrian
So we had a joke. Before we went to Beijing, we’re like, we don’t know what to pack. We didn’t know what clothes to bring. And I made a joke on one of the shows about do I need something cocktail? And I think this time now I need something equestrian like I need a dress and a hat.
Jill: Oh, that kind of, I thought for a second you meant John first.
Alison: No, I meant something appropriate to do. A little curie to Princess Ann. [00:18:00] I already have a great curie.
Jill: I’m not surprised.
Alison: I’m ready. You’re Royal Highness. I even know your proper title. The Princess Royal. I am here. I will not be afraid of you because we have had guests who have met you and told me have a cocktail with you and we will be friends.
Oh boy. I think I’m more likely to hang out with her, her rugby playing son-in-law, but we won’t even go there.
Jill: Speaking of Paris 2024, we have big news. We have officially been accredited to cover the 2024 Paralympics from Paris, so we will be there for the duration of the Olympics and Paralympics. We are very excited about this, but we will also be looking for help to fund this endeavor because we anticipate us working there about 45 days.
That is not gonna be cheap. And if you recall, our trip to Beijing cost close to $24,000 and that did not take into account salaries. So we anticipate that Paris is going to be at least that much, which in the way that our Beijing flights were extraordinarily expensive, the hotels were cheaper, but Paris hotels are gonna be more expensive plus We do need to get paid for this one.
So we will be having a fundraiser this fall. We’ll be asking for your support to help make this happen. So if you need some time to save up, now is the time to start doing so, and we will have more information in the weeks to come.
Our final lightning round is with fan favorite commentator Olly Homan. If you are watching a sports feed these days, there’s a high likelihood that Olly is commentating. He has been everywhere this year, but more importantly to us, he commentates with the Olympic Broadcasting Services or O B s. Take a listen to our lightning round with Olly
Alison: Lightning round.
what is your first memory of the Olympics from when you were a kid?
Olly Hogben: Asking [00:20:00] my mom who Ben Johnson was and what a drugs test was. I’m watching it on the news 1988. That’s my first memory of the Olympics. Not the live broadcast, but a news report. Cuz my mom and I, my mom raised me and felt it was, this is a lightning round and I’m going into my life story. Um,
It’s never lightning,
Olly Hogben: But I, we always watched the news always when I was a child. It was a, an important post dinner ritual and I didn’t know what the Olympics was, but there was something about this man called Ben Johnson. And and so my mom explained it all to me, and that’s how I learned what the Olympics was.
It’s a strange, I’m afraid it’s not a, a beautiful first memory but that’s the. But it’s also
Jill: interesting because we have a history moment on the show every week, and we focus on one games every year. And this year it is sold 1988. So that will come into play later in the fall when we’re gonna read a book about the, that race and everything.
So that’s a very interesting first moment.
Alison: If you could cover an event in Olympics history, any event, what
would it be?
Olly Hogben: It would be anything from London 2012, because London 2012 was the games that I attended as a fan, and I’m really glad I did it.
Alison, I’m so glad I got to be an Olympics as a fan because that’s in my head. Whenever I go to work at an Olympics, I’ve, I’ve been to one as a fan. It was gonna be a very special Olympics when I remember where I was when the bid was won for London, and my father was ecstatic. He was so excited.
And he died before the games, uh, happened. He passed away very suddenly a few years before. And, and he was, honestly, he j just talked about it all the time. He was so excited about the thought of going to, uh, to London 2012. I would love to, to have started my broadcasting career. earlier. In fact, if I’m really honest about this, honest with myself,[00:22:00] it would be anything from Beijing 2008 because then my dad would’ve heard me commentate and he never heard me commentate.
He never knew that’s what I did. So probably yeah, if I could, if I could call anything from any Olympics, it would just be something that my dad could hear. What
Alison: is your favorite voice ex exercise?
Olly Hogben: My favorite voice exercise. Wow. I’ve never been asked that question before. And it’s making me very aware of the lack of voice exercises I have. I tell you what I do in my sound tests I always do a general level and then I do I do a shouty level to get so they can hear me at my highest. So I always do a Very warm, warm, welcome to you Indeed. And, uh, here we are on the, uh, keep The Flame Alive Podcast and how exciting it is and blah, blah, blah. And then I do, um, I’ll just say, and, and Alison Knox, the ball to Jill and Jill’s put it in. And that’s the opening goal of the contest, and that is the thing that gets my voice really fired up and, and ready to go.
So I, I would say I think it’s important that I do my my high level sound test.
Alison: And I can honestly say that is the only time in history that I have ever accomplished anything in sports . Oh,
Olly Hogben: it’s a great pass as well. You put it on a plate in my mind, you put it on a plate for Jill and she couldn’t miss
Alison: If you could be an Olympian in any sport, what would it be?
Olly Hogben: It would be the end of the Olympics is what it would be . Um, it would Talent aside, talent aside, would, it would be a travesty. It would be a national iow. No. If I could be an Olympian in any sport, the first sport I played was football. I was, uh, a goalkeeper. I was good enough to have professional trials and bad enough to never be at risk of making it at a professional level.
But I love to play and I’m always really sad that great Britain has got such a poor record and attending the Olympics in football because of the political machin nations of the home nations and then being unable to work together to produce a Great Britain team. [00:24:00] But yes, perhaps for me, Representing Great Britain in association football as a goalkeeper at the Olympic Games would’ve been a childhood dream.
Jill: Okay. Since we did not know about you being able to play football, take that off the docket. What other sport would you do that you haven’t played?
Olly Hogben: Okay. A, a sport I haven’t played. That’s a really interesting question and that has absolutely. Do, you know, it’s, it’s genuinely stumped me cuz again, I, my next go-to would be tennis.
And tennis was, is also a sport that I have played extensively. Something very classic. Would be quite interesting to excel in the most traditional of, of Olympic ways to be able to jump higher than somebody to be able to jump further, to be able to throw something further. Immediately what comes to mind is the high jump because it, it feels like one of those incredibly iconic Olympic sports.
Alison: And I’m sure you have a lot of them, but what is your favorite Olympic souvenir?
Olly Hogben: My favorite Olympic souvenir is a Lanin that was given to me and Jill by the look on your face. You’ve got one too. No, I don’t, but I know what you’re saying. Ah you did a very nostalgic look there and I thought, oh, wonder if you got one as well. I like, no, I don. . Ah, okay. It was a lantern that was given to me in Pyeongchang and they were made by people in the Republic of Korea and they were placed in all of the rooms.
And there was an email address in there saying, if you, you know, here’s a gift, welcome to our country. And you can write to me if you want to. And I did. I wrote to the person and they wrote back saying, you’re the only person that’s actually written to me. You know? And they were so thrilled that I wrote to them.
Cuz as you open the lantern inside, it is their, their little letter. And I love it was such a [00:26:00] delightful personal thing to receive that from somebody, to think that somebody had made that and it was in my room to welcome you when I arrived at, at the games, it was what a beautiful thing.
Jill: Interestingly enough, we had a cameraman who went to Pyeongchang, and that was also his favorite souvenir, that same lantern. So I knew when you said lantern, like I thought for a second it was gonna be a torch relay lantern that you’d somehow managed to get. But then I’m like, wait, Pyeongchang, I know where this is
Olly Hogben: going.
Yes, exactly. We all talk about it. It’s lovely. How
Alison: much o b s clothing do you own?
Olly Hogben: Oh god, Alison. How? Oh, . I’ve got a drawer full of the stuff I’ve got and, and, and I’ve done so many multi-sport games. I have got so much stuff. I, I think I should just be truthful about this and tell the world my great dirty secret. The O B S gloves are amazing for gardening . I couldn’t, honestly, I need to work at an Olympics just to get good gardening gloves. I love gardening. I really love gardening. And my gloves from Pyeongchang, I wore out just ahead of going to Beijing but I’m worried, I don’t think my Beijing gloves are gonna make it to Milan cuz I’ve been doing a lot more labor intensive gardening recently.
But I I tell you what, if I didn’t have, all that o b s kit then I, I’d have to go out and get proper gardening gloves. No, I’ve got loads of it loads of it and I, it’s it’s something I’ve gotta get a better storage system for it cause it, all of it sort of crammed into a big drawer in my bedroom.
Do they give you
Jill: more every games or do they say, You know, this is gonna last you until it lasts.
Olly Hogben: A bit of both. Okay. Yeah for things like the Youth Olympics, it was a case of bring what you’ve got from Rio and then we’ll augment it. Other times they start again. Yeah they start from scratch.
So it, it’s a bit of a mixture. It’s a lot of Kit
And then you al you also get this really sad moment where you have to change [00:28:00] bag. I was using my Pyeongchang 2018 bag for a long time As my bag, and I just, one day I knew that the time was right to change over to my Tokyo one, but it, it’s a hard moment. You know, when you, you look at the bag and you go, we’ve gotta part ways now and I’ve gotta move on to the next phase of my life and start using the the Tokyo one the golden bag by the way, apparently I’ve been told is the Beijing 2008 bag, which apparently is as good as rucksacks get.
And occasionally you see one of those and you, you know, it’s one, you sort of see it around a corner in the I B C and you, you run towards them and then they, you turn a corner and they’ve gone. And you’ll never see that Beijing bag again. But it’s almost mythical, the Beijing 2008 bag and the people that have still got one are very proud.
Jill: Now we have a mission
Olly Hogben: to find an oh eight back. Exactly. You’ve gotta get an oh eight R sack. Yeah.
Thank you so much Ali. You can follow Olly on social. He is on Twitter and Instagram at Olly Homan and his website is Olly homan.com.
And that is gonna do it for this week. Let us know what your favorite Olympic moment is.
Alison: You can connect with us on Twitter and Instagram. Our handle is at Flame Alive Pod. Email us at Flav Alive. Email us at Flame Alive pod gmail.com. Call or text us at (208) 352-6348. That’s 2 0 8. Flame it. Be sure to join the Keep the Flame Alive Podcast group on Facebook.
And don’t forget to get our weekly newsletter filled with other fun stories about this week’s episode. You can sign up for firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jill: Special thank you to our intern Annalee Deabel for doing research for us this week. Join us again next week for more stories and news from the world of the Olympics and Paralympics.
Thank you so much for listening, and until next time, keep the flame alive.[00:30:00]