Stephen Lane, author of "Long Run to Glory," the story of how women's marathon got into the Olympics.

“Long Run to Glory” with Author Stephen Lane

Release Date: September 7, 2023

Author Stephen Lane talks with us about his new book Long Run to Glory: The Story of the Greatest Marathon in Olympic History and the Women Who Made it Happen. It’s about the development of women’s marathon as a sport, how it became included in the Olympics, and the very first Olympic marathon at LA 1984.

Including women’s marathon in the Olympics was an instant success. At LA 1984, it was an epic race, with [spoiler alert] gold going to American Joan Benoit, silver to Norwegian Grete Waitz, bronze to Portugal’s Rosa Mota, and fourth to another star of the sport, Norwegian Ingrid Kristiansen. Take a look at how the ending played out:

Stephen’s book is a great read, so be sure to check it out. We have it listed on our Bookshop.org storefront, and if you purchase through that, we get a commission which goes to cover costs of the show.

In our Seoul 1988 history moment, Alison goes into “what happened next” for the women’s marathon in its second foray as an Olympic event:

In our weekly visit to TKFLASTAN, we have news from:

In news from Paris 2024, the Paralympics countdown clock is on, and Australian fans can look forward to a local partnership with Old El Paso.

Plus, the International Paralympic Committee has released its 2022 annual report, and we have a hot take!

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

Photo courtesy of Stephen Lane.

TRANSCRIPT

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 Do not quote from the transcript; use the audio as the record of note.

Long Run to Glory with Author Stephen Lane (Ep 303)

[00:00:00] 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’m your host, Jill Jaracz, joined as always by my lovely co-host, Alison Brown.

Alison. Hello, how are you?

[00:00:51] Alison: Hello. I have becoming concerned about my own fitness for Paris. Oh, so. As we have been told, it is a marathon. Hint, hint, not a sprint. I have been trying to go out and and do some longer walks in The extreme heat we’re having right now in the Northeast, it has been 90 degrees all week.

It’s super humid and I have a very lovely training partner, my adorable dog, who unfortunately now is 14 years old and loves a good walk still. She’s still very spry. Not when it’s 90 degrees out. Oh. So she just looks at me like, mama, I am not coming to Paris with you. I did not sign up as your training partner.

I am not okay with this. Thankfully, I have not put the 25 pound backpack on her. But maybe what I should do, ’cause she’s about 14 pounds, is I should put her in the backpack and walk around with her. So that may be the training sessions for , the rest of the week.

[00:01:50] Jill: There you go. I have been working on my sleep deprivation training because we did have the world press briefing yesterday, which was an all day affair starting at.

[00:02:00] 3:30 AM local time. It was very, very interesting. We learned a lot so I’m very grateful to have had that experience virtually because we could not make it live. But, there’s a lot of planning to do. I will say that,

[00:02:13] Alison: just slap your dog on your backpack and we’ll go hiking and planning.

[00:02:17] Jill: . Good connection there because today we are excited to be talking with author Steven Lane, who has written the new book, long Run to Glory, the story of the Greatest Marathon in Olympic History and the Women who Made It Happen.

This book is about the development of women’s marathon as a sport, how it became included in the Olympics, and the very first Olympic marathon at LA 1984, which was an epic race. a spoiler alert, gold went to American Jon Benoit, silver to Norwegian, Greta White, bronze to Portugal, Rosa Mota, and fourth to another star of the Sport, Norwegian Ingrid Christensen.

So Steven is the meat director for the Adrian Martinez Classic, a Festival of Distance Races, and he teaches history and economics at Concord Carlisle High School in Massachusetts. Take a listen to our conversation.

Stephen Lane Interview

[00:03:09] Alison: Stephen Lane, thank you so much for joining us. We really enjoyed this book.

[00:03:13] Stephen Lane: thank you. it’s great to be here. I obviously like you guys. I’m a massive fan of the Olympics. and find it, you know, it takes over my world when it’s on. so I think it’s a really cool, podcast.

You have to try to bring it all together. So I’m glad to be here. Thank you.

[00:03:28] Alison: And we do love to get a chance to talk about how so many people thought women’s uterus were gonna fall out. So we’re gonna go back to the beginning as your book does, starting with Boston Marathon. And what surprised me was Catherine Switzer was not the first woman to run the Boston Marathon.

[00:03:48] Stephen Lane: Yeah, it’s funny and I don’t know the full origin of that mix up. I do know that not to engage in too much [00:04:00] drama but there are factions in the old women’s marathon pioneering movement. There’s kinda like the, Bobby Gibb faction and the Katherine Switzer faction and you know, they all get along.

I think they all recognize their contributions. But the best I can think is that the photographs of Switzer getting attacked by Jock simple, were so compelling and just told a story that, any newspaper article about Bobby Gibb never really could match.

And so maybe that, In some people’s minds just became, Switzer must have been first. And Switzer to her credit recently has, taken pains to correct that. And she is the first woman to run with a number which she, she makes a point of claiming. But yeah, give was first.

and they’re, both such, cool stories and what I like about both stories is that there was this irresistible attraction to the idea of the marathon. And, if Bobby Gibbs says, she saw it with her father the first time in maybe 1964, and she’s like, I have to do this.

These are my people. I have to be there. And so in 1966, she did it. And Switzer in her memoir tells a story of, Running Track. And I think it’s really funny that, she got recruited to be on the men’s track team in college because they didn’t have enough milers. And she’s running the mile, and one of her teammates goes up to run Boston Marathon in the spring and comes back.

And she’s like, what? There’s a marathon. Like she’s just grabbed by it at that point. And then when she moves up to Syracuse, she transfers to Syracuse University. She starts doing runs with this guy who had run Boston I don’t know, maybe 10, 12 times. And he is like many people just enthralled to the Boston Marathon.

It’s this mythical mystic event to him. And so Switzer gets caught up in that and so they end up running it together in 1967. And I just think you’re from New England, so maybe [00:06:00] you get it but the Boston Marathon just has this hold on, running that it’s hard to articulate and I don’t know.

You, you either get it or you don’t, but it’s all I can say. And it, it definitely grabbed both of them. And I think that to me is a cool place to start the story. It’s just, it, once the marathon gets its hooks in you maybe it’s hard to get rid of. It’s more than just another race, you know?

[00:06:24] Alison: So the Olympic men’s Marathon has been there since the beginning. since 1896. Yeah. But it wasn’t a huge event, it was really the seventies that we see. And you talk about in your book, the big running boom in the United States.

[00:06:39] Stephen Lane: Yeah. the marathon originally was I don’t want to demean it but it was almost kind of an exhibition or a sideshow in the early Olympics.

It was open to a wider field and, you know, in the early days nobody really trained for it. Exactly. road racing generally in the marathon in particular were events that drew from working class athletes and for them the marathon was. I guess, if you’re working eight hours, 10 hours, 12 hours a day doing hard manual labor, like how hard can a marathon be?

so a lot of the early marathoners are like brick layers or, work in mines or metal work or things like that. farm laborers, they were used to hard, hard work. And so the marathon was just a thing they did. and so I think a lot because of that class issue, that class distinction the marathon didn’t get the same press or the same, esteem perhaps as the track events until, as you say, the seventies and I think the running boom starts a little bit earlier.

It gets going in the sixties. And I think for all kinds of reasons more Professional class, upper middle class people are drawn to running. Partly suddenly they have more leisure time. There’s a guy in the book, Paul Milby who talking about the [00:08:00] 1970s said, you know, we jog while Rome burns.

And I thought it was this really interesting idea that to a certain, group of people in the 1970s, it felt like society was falling apart. Maybe like now, I don’t know. But they felt like the United States was falling apart for all kinds of reasons. We were, losing or loss of Vietnam war.

the Soviets were a huge threat. The economy was terrible. There was still that kind of struggle, working its way through the country from the 1960s and the protests and so in this sort of fractured society where I think You probably felt a tremendous loss of control, a loss of the ability to guide your own destiny here, was running, and, you could do it, you weren’t dependent on anybody else.

And, there’s a scholar, cooper who she wrote that running was a denial of helplessness for working class runners in sort of the pre-war and immediate post-war era. And I think, the upper middle class American society started to feel that helplessness a little bit in the seventies.

And so they running became their thing as well. I think especially for women, right? that idea of a denial of helplessness this idea that so much of the doors in society seemed closed to women. Here was this thing they could put on shoes and go run.

And it gave them a sense of agency identity power that society seemed intent on denying to them in some ways. And, , Nina Cusick, one of the early marathon pioneers started running after, kind of a brutal divorce. And she said she needed something to know, she mattered that, to know that she was important and she found that in running.

That’s a really powerful idea. I think that that drew people to running maybe to no one else but yourself, but you could feel like a hero. it filled a need and running took off all over the world. But particularly in the United States running took off and road races were there because unlike track events, there’s no limit how many people [00:10:00] you can put on a road.

So they gravitated toward, Road races and then the marathon became, you know, it’s got that pull on people. And it really took off.

[00:10:08] Alison: So also limiting in track events. There was no distance events for women at this

[00:10:13] Stephen Lane: point. No. And, you know, to go back to your comment about is, falling out and, the track being littered with, uh, internal organs.

when I wrote the book I had a really long chapter about some of the fights , over , the. Medical history. And there were physicians pro, predominantly female physicians in Germany in the early 19 hundreds who compiled all this evidence that women obviously were very suited for intense athletic competition and endurance competition.

and, you know, of course all their studies were discounted as obviously not objective because they were done by women. And so, you had all that evidence that women could do this. And I always think, if you go back to, probably any time in history, like working class women were, they were working hard right there, there’s plenty of evidence that women could do anything that men could do in terms of labor and in terms of really tough effort.

I think all of the attempts to deny women entry into the Olympics and then into Olympic track and field and then into the endurance events was sort of all about trying to preserve some kind of citadel of, of manly virtue, I guess is the way I would think about it.

That, , the Olympics was conceived as this sort of sanctuary for manly traits and the guys who controlled it were very reluctant to admit women into into this temple. And so they found their reasons, but yeah, you probably know the story very well of the 1928 Women’s 800 Meters, I had heard the story, but then in researching the book, I actually got footage of it and oh my gosh, what a phenomenal race.

there’s so many [00:12:00] great things going on in that race, and you have these, tremendous rivals and, and tremendous talents and the top three women smash the old world record. And, in any objective light, this Women’s 800 meters from 1928 would be considered one of the greatest races in history.

Very rarely do you see that kind of effort and those kind of times in a distance track event at the Olympics because, you’ve gotta go through prelims and all, there’s all these reasons why. But these women did it and almost immediately there’s like these falsified stories of women collapsing at the line and they can’t handle it and all that stuff.

And so that was used as pretext to nearly to eliminate women’s track and field from the Olympics altogether. But it was limited severely events no more than 200 meters until 1960, which is just mind boggling to me. And then 1960, you get the women’s 800, 19 72, you get the Women’s 1500, and then that’s the longest event for women until 1984 until the first of marathon.

you know, it’s a funny like, ’cause I. I love track and field but the comment I get most often when I tell people I’m writing this book, they’re like, really? First marathon was in 1984. Like, that’s crazy. I’m like, yeah, it’s crazy. But that’s where the Olympics were.

[00:13:19] Jill: Well, also crazy is, there were a couple points in the book where you talked about two different runners who ran races while pregnant, and

[00:13:29] Stephen Lane: that has suddenly become, not suddenly, but it has seemed like a recent phenomenon to see women running while pregnant and making a big deal out of it. But it really seemed like women are just like, well, I found this thing I’m gonna do and I’m gonna do it, and then people will accept me

[00:13:45] Alison: eventually.

[00:13:47] Stephen Lane: Yeah. so that part, you refer, I think Ingrid Christensen who ran she didn’t know she’s pregnant. She ran the The World Cross Country Championships while pregnant. And funny [00:14:00] story I didn’t include in the book, but her coach, Johann Kasad, was mystified by how poorly she ran at World Cross Country Championships.

And his wife said, well, maybe she’s pregnant. You gotta ask her. And he’s like, oh, no, I’m not, I’m not, I’m not touching that. But yeah, it turned out she was pregnant. And so

true

[00:14:20] Stephen Lane: confession. my wife is a, she’s a very good. Distance runner, she’s a she ran at the Olympic trials in the marathon and for her company Does, do you guys know the Ragnar relay?

[00:14:31] Jill: yeah. The one that’ss like all night long thing.

[00:14:33] Stephen Lane: Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. It’s like, 48 hours or so. And the big one out here is the New Hampshire and it ends up on the beach and, you know, it’s great. It’s a great thing. And she’s done that with her work colleagues for many years.

but she was seven months pregnant with our second child, with Emma, um, when Ragnar was coming up. And I confess I could not help but be worried that this would be bad for the baby. And, I, read everything and it’s it’s fine. It, there’s no real risk of harm to running and exercising while pregnant and all that stuff.

And, the rational part of me could come to terms with that, but emotionally I couldn’t help but be worried, which I think says something about how deeply those myths have been ingrained in our society. And it’s, you know, it’s really interesting and you, gosh, you talk about now Who was it?

Alicia Montano, who ran the Olympic trials pregnant. And I didn’t think anything of it. And then I didn’t, realize until reading later it was, it was sort of a, a protest, but also, she’s gonna get her bonus for appearing in the Olympic trial.

She’s got to, there’s no maternity leave in her contract. So running the trials while pregnant was a way to, hit her bonuses and get paid, but also to draw attention to this and that, gosh, what a powerful statement and image that was too. the whole intersection of making, I guess the way I’d phrase [00:16:00] it’s, men trying to protect women in athletics is, it’s just, it’s fascinating and depressing at the same time.

[00:16:11] Alison: Going back to the seventies. Mm-hmm. I was actually surprised in your book in a way, how quickly the women’s Marathon got into the Olympics once that lobbying really began in earnest.

[00:16:27] Stephen Lane: Yeah.

The I o C, the International Olympic Committee was obviously, generations behind in many ways.

And, and the i O C as an organization is I very conservative. And I I, I don’t necessarily mean that in the political sense, but in the sense of, you know, they believe that they’re conserving something which has this, you know, in the modern sense it’s history that go back to 1896. But in the real classical sense, you know, it goes back several thousand years and so they.

They tend to move slowly in terms of changing what the Olympics look like. so that, cultural conservancy, I think is a conservativeness is sort of ingrained in how they move. And yet they did move really quickly in, in Olympic timescales, which is, you know, a little bit faster than glacial timescales in getting the women’s marathon in.

And the reason I think is they were a little bit afraid of losing control of maybe women’s distance running, but maybe this new big and popular event. and there’s a history of that in, the i o C wants to be the the people who put on the. Global athletic showcase, right?

They, and, but there’s no law or anything that says they’re the ones that get to put on [00:18:00] the global athletic showcase. They do it by trying to control athletics and make sure that the pinnacle in every sport is is the Olympics. And if you go back in history, the only way the I O C moved to bring women’s track and field into the Olympics at all was because Alice Milia uh, a French athletics administrator started her own Women’s Olympics, and it grew really popular really fast.

And so suddenly you had this other global Olympic athletic showcase that was potentially a rival and competitor to the Olympics as we think of ’em. And so, in order to. Eliminate the threat from the Women’s Olympics. They brought women’s athletics into their Olympics. They would not have done so willingly, I don’t think at that time.

And so that through line I think we see again and again, in the 1960s and seventies, a number of women’s events were added to the track and field schedule. All under the threat of track and field breaking away and having their own world championships and the Olympics didn’t want that to happen.

It happened anyway. Starting in 1983, you had the first Track and field world championships but in order to stay at sort of the pinnacle of athletics, the Olympics has to sometimes move very quickly. And with the women’s marathon , I think they felt a little threatened that this thing had grown so popular so quickly.

And you had Katherine Switzer created a, a global series of events. And the pinnacle of that was sponsored by Avon Cosmetics and the Pinnacle, they had a world marathon championship every year. And then you had a, a Japanese cosmetics company, Shiseido also created what they called it a Tokyo International women’s Marathon.

And that became almost a. Defacto world championships. And of course you had Fred Libo in New York, New York City Marathon promoting women’s marathoning and you [00:20:00] had Nike which hasn’t always been on the right side of history. But at the time they were huge supporters of women’s running and so you had this, corporate money backing women’s marathoning.

And implicitly maybe threatening to create a breakaway kind of marathoning world championship that, if you’re the only international Olympic committee you see as potentially a rival. And so, under threat, the I O C can move quickly. And they did they did in the case of the Women’s Olympic Marathon.

If you think about maybe. Gosh, I don’t know. The early 1970s is when there first started to be some, a little drumbeat like, Hey, why don’t women have a marathon? It seemed absurd to a lot of people at that time. They’re like, why should there be? They’re the longest races, the 1500, the mile.

And so at the time it seemed crazy but that drum beat picked up seemed quickly, and then by 19 78, 79, it’s like, no, really, why shouldn’t the women have an Olympic marathon? And for the I O C to jump on board in February, 1981, yeah, that was fast. But I think they felt a little threatened by the, growth of women’s marathon.

[00:21:05] Alison: I wanna make sure we get to the women, yeah. Joanie Benoit Greta Whites.

And so let’s start with Joanie Benoit, who, I remember her. Yeah. She’s amazing. So let’s talk about her.

[00:21:16] Stephen Lane: Oh, man. Well, I, know you mentioned that 1984 was what first sparked your love of the Olympics and, and 1984 for me was I, my first introduction to I think, elite level running and, I was born in 1971, so I guess I was 13.

And I just remember coming down on a, you know, it’s a Sunday and in my family, you know, if the Olympics were happening, the TV was on probably watching the Olympics. And I just come down and, and the women’s marathon is on and the, image I can’t get outta my head is one of Joan Benoit all alone on the Marina freeway.

At that point she’s something like two minutes ahead of her nearest competitor, and it’s just this, stunning [00:22:00] image of her coming over the rise of this freeway all alone. And, and that’s always stuck with me. and I think that is sort of the, maybe the origin of me wanting to write this book.

And you know what, ask anybody about Joanie and anyone in the running world and the thing that, that. People have a hard time articulating is how tough she is. And, the word, like, she’s an animal. She’s a monster. She’s like all, you know, I think the director of the Chicago Marathons, said, peel back that skin and there’s an alien underneath.

You know, all these things like to get across this idea of inhuman toughness, which is all very true. But what I wanted to try to dive in with her was there’s also a lot of doubt which I think for any probably elite athlete there is, anytime you say, I want to be the best in the world, there’s not much margin for error, right?

There. There are, there’s probably an infinite number of reasons to think you can’t be the best in the world, right? And there you don’t get many data points that say, yes, you can be the best in the world. But, and so sticking to that kind of goal to find out just how good you can be and say, I, believe I can be the best is it takes probably unimaginable mental strength and for a time period.

So she set the American Marathon record in 1979 at Boston. And after that for a couple years, she was, up and down a lot and I think she felt some of the stress about like, can I really make it as a runner? Like I, this is what I wanna do, but I’m not sure I, my running career might be winding up before it even gets started.

And so I think dealing with that sense of doubt or wondering is maybe the true measure of her strength and toughness that you know, in the face of a lot of. A lot of obstacles and a lot of difficult results and a lot of setbacks. She stuck with it and she persevered [00:24:00] and that part of her is just so impressive.

And she won’t talk about it. She doesn’t want to, well, I don’t know whether she is how introspective she is but she doesn’t wanna talk about it. She doesn’t wanna let people into that, which, you have to respect. But that part of it’s so impressive. she’s justifiably known as one of the toughest competitors ever to, to race.

but I think the real measure of her toughness is maybe dealing with the setbacks and doubts that came earlier in her career that maybe, A lot of people might have packed it in, might have moved on. But she wasn’t ready to give in. And that’s really, to me, that is, that’s the true measure of who she is as an athlete.

and she’s like, you know, the, the other side of her, she’s just delightful as a, she’s so gracious and nice. Like she’s been, what is she now? 60 something she’s been telling the story of that era, of that marathon for like almost 40 years. And I’m sure she’s sick of it, but she was nice enough to spend time with me and, and, talk me through a lot of her career.

and she’s like unfailingly polite and good with people and such a cheerleader for the, new era of runners, right? She, she doesn’t really wanna live in her past. She wants to celebrate what the women are doing now. And I think that’s wonderful. That’s really cool.

So,

[00:25:21] Alison: a big part of your book is her rivalry Ah, with Grid of Ice. Yeah. And we don’t think of Norway as a hotbed of marathon rudders anymore, and yet you had two of the greatest it’s amazing women runners coming out of there.

[00:25:36] Stephen Lane: Yeah. I think that’s really interesting and I, I poked around a little bit asking like, why do you think what was it just luck that you had Greta Vice and then Ingrid Christiansen is two of the greatest ever coming out of Norway at that time.

And I, I couldn’t find a really satisfactory answer. I think the Norwegians [00:26:00] certainly. Culturally, maybe a little more equitable or progressive in terms of what they see women as capable and able to do. Although, you know, Greta VITs, when she decided she wanted to run, she went to the sporting club in her neighborhood to join and they said, well, we don’t accept women.

So, so she ended up having to go across town to another club. So they’re not, you know, they certainly weren’t perfectly equitable, but I think more so than the United States and many other countries. And gosh, I don’t know if skiing is such a part of Norwegian athletic culture especially, and so maybe, you had all these people with pretty impressive endurance spaces anyway.

And I think I. Also, Jack fights Greta’s husband alluded to this and I’ve seen it mentioned elsewhere that Norway in sports wants to be the best even though they’re a small country they want champions. and he said it’s kind of ingrained in Norwegian culture that, that you don’t win silver, you lose gold.

And so, you know, all these things and, and I think that culture was really difficult for Greta. But I don’t know, maybe somehow all that adds up and then maybe it’s just luck of the genetic lottery. You had good Eisen Ingrid Christensen at the same time. My

[00:27:15] Alison: Greta Wrights is such a figure in, in, you’ve got Joanie, Joan Benoit, and Greta Wrights and Ingrid Christiansen all running at the same time. I mean, what a goldmine to have the first Olympic marathon with these

[00:27:28] Stephen Lane: legends.

Yeah, no, I know. And, and it’s funny that Rosa Moda who won bronze she was voted, I think this was 2010 or 2011. She was voted the greatest women’s marathoner of all time. And I think obviously that would change now. But because, you know, Rosa was not as fast as the others but gosh, she was so smart and so tough in terms of how she approached championship races that she was able to take down, frankly, faster rivals quite often.

But yeah, Joanie um, was almost like a [00:28:00] force of nature when she ran. And Greta was a little bit more reserved and a little more maybe Aloof and cold and calculating and how she approached races. And so they’re very contrasting styles as runners.

But in many ways, I think, and I think they found this later in life, that they were very similar. They’re both very introverted. And I think Greta struggled also with doubts and anxiety about weirdly though with Greta, it’s not like she didn’t exactly have the ups and downs of Joanie.

For the most part she was, Greta was, seemed unbeatable like just this almost cyborg of a runner who, you know, when she showed up for a marathon, everyone else was like, well, we’re running for second today. And that’s the way it was through the late seventies and early eighties, like every time she went out to race.

She was expected to break a record. and so I think for her, there are doubts and anxieties, but not about, can I be the best marathoner? Because she was the best marathoner. It was is marathoning enough? Are marathoners good enough? Is this event something that is truly testing my capabilities and am I testing myself against the best runner in the world?

And I think until Joan Benoit developed as a rival and then Ingrid, I think for her the answer was maybe maybe I should go back to the track because that’s where, the truly great women are. And I think until maybe 1980. 2 83. So for a number of years, I think Greta wondered whether she was taken the easy way out by marathoning.

That seems hard, maybe that’s hard to say. But, marathoning being the easy way out in any sense. But I think she really, she wanted to test herself against the best. She wanted to prove that she was among the best and, she felt that maybe the [00:30:00] best, most accomplished athletes were still on the track.

And so she had the same kind of questions about her career as a marathoner for a while. She had to overcome a lot of sort of anxiety and doubt in that way. And I think, one of my goals in writing this book, I no longer coach, but I used to coach track and field and cross country and, at the high school level and the college level, but mostly high school.

High schoolers. I, it might be more than high schoolers, but high schoolers for sure, look at really good runners. Like, if you’re like one of the top runners in the state, you look at me like, hey they’re like unbeatable. They’re indomitable. They have everything together. They, they’ve just got it.

Why can’t I be more like that? And I found myself telling, even very accomplished athletes. Look everybody has doubts, everybody has fears. You just, you know your own, ’cause you’re in your own head. You don’t see everybody else’s all the time. ’cause they’re trying to, keep that inside.

And so one of my goals in writing this was to try to get at the way that, Greta and Joanie and, Ingrid and the others tried to deal with their own doubts and fears about being an elite marathoner. Just to kind of show that, you know, every. Every runner has to face this.

I suspect every athlete does. Maybe just the marathon gives you more time to get stuck in your own head. And I, you know, I was really struck by how Ingrid and Greta and Joanie, all of whom, we look at today as legends, but they had to fight through some of their own mental blocks or concerns or worries to get there.

And, all three of them also admit to getting incredibly nervous to the point of almost not being able to function in society, leading up to a marathon. Maybe nervous is the wrong word but you’re so energized and so focused and Yeah I do think a little anxious about what lies ahead, that they’ve really maybe the week leading up to a big marathon was a real, real struggle for them.

I think that’s important for runners to [00:32:00] know, that even the best in the world have to get through this, have to, fight through what’s in their own head and, and, come to terms with that, that nervous energy and still be productive.

So I think that I wanted to try to show that side of those runners because it’s an important part of their success, they weren’t just physically talented. They were mentally incredibly strong in dealing with their own fears.

[00:32:25] Alison: So I love that you gave me this segue.

One of the big fears for LA was the heat. Mm-hmm. Yeah, there was a lot of talk leading up to that. And it’s so funny because of what happened in Tokyo and, and what people are worried about in Paris was, yeah, is it going to be too hot to safely run the marathon that these women were really preparing for that

[00:32:45] Stephen Lane: prepar for?

Yeah. The, gosh, the whole heat thing. You know, I don’t know if, you guys have been paying attention to this, but the Women’s Olympic trials, this will be the 40th anniversary of the first Olympic trials and the women’s Olympic trials for the marathon will be in Orlando as will the men. Right.

I think they’re both gonna be there and the start time is gonna be like noon. And a lot of people were sort of upset by this, like, you’re starting something in the heat of the day in Orlando and I think, uh, There’s some of, that fear of the heat we’re, you know, we’re gonna see again in that buildup.

Now, it turns out Orlando, in the beginning of February might not be that hot. Probably won’t be that hot but that fear of the heat and what it will do to runners is, yeah, it’s coming back. And part of me wonders if a little bit at is again, you know, we gotta protect women.

I think that’s less of an issue here, but I do, I always do wonder about that.

A little bit, but I think a bigger part, you know, I can only speak to distance runners, but they tend to be control freaks. Like they like to control as much as they

possibly

[00:33:48] Stephen Lane: can and the weather obviously is something you can’t. and so I think one of the maybe real strengths of Joan Benoit [00:34:00] that maybe the others, or at least Ingrid and Gretta struggled with a little more was adaptability.

Joanie, like anytime you, you see an interview with Joanie about, you know, what’s your race plan? She like, she cuts it off me. She says, I don’t have a race plan. I go and race how I feel. And that’s true to a point. I think she always has a, has an idea in her head of how she wants the race to unfold and, and a plan for what she wants to do.

At least it’s not, you know, Super regimented, but I think she has her ideas of what she wants to do. But but I think part of the reason she says that is that she wants to be adaptable. She wants to show up on race day, figure out the conditions, and figure out what we’re gonna do. Figure out how she’s feeling, get a sense of the other women and go from there.

So, in that way she might have been better suited to what happened, which in LA it turned out to not be that hot. It just turned out there, you know, there’s a marine layer in the morning, there’s a little bit of fog which took a while to burn off. And it just never really got that hot. And I think Greta especially had planned on the heat.

Sapping, Joanie a little bit. And so I think Greta held back a little bit more than it’s tough, like hindsight’s 2020. But I, I do wonder if had Greta been more prepared to just say to herself, I’m gonna show up, see what the conditions are like and race based on that.

If maybe she would’ve been more aggressive in going after Joanie earlier? I don’t know. I don’t know for sure. Ingrid has said that, yeah, her coaches and trainers got too much in her head with the heat and that and that they, you know, the heat, the heat, the heat’s gonna come get everybody.

And, and so she says that that. Changed her mentality in the race and, and she didn’t respond as she wished she had. And she doesn’t blame anybody for that other than herself, but she acknowledged this is what happened. you know, we [00:36:00] prepared for heat period, and then it wasn’t hot.

And she found herself unable to adapt as I now obviously she wish she did. So yeah, that was, that was funny because I remember, I don’t know if you remember like the whole buildup to LA was, oh my god, heat smog, it’s gonna be a disaster. And, and to an extent they got lucky. The weather was mild and the winds were such that the small blew out.

And for the women especially, it was really nice. But I think, for most of the two weeks of the Olympics, they could not have asked for better conditions.

[00:36:30] Jill: and also Rosa Mota was used to running in heat and humidity. Yeah. And that she ended up doing okay. Yeah. I think,

[00:36:39] Stephen Lane: God, she’s so interesting because I think yes, she, felt she was a good heat runner.

to go back to the Olympic trials that are upcoming, there’s a lot of sort of complaints about, oh, a noon start. And I read comments by Des Linden and, she said two things, like one I usually start my runs around 11, so this is great. This gives me another hour to sleep in and do all that.

And, and the other thing she said is, you know what? I run well in the heat, so I’m psyched for this. I hope it’s hot. I hope it takes some of the spring out of the young kids’ legs. and I, I think the one thing that Dez is doing other than, just stating how she feels, is trying to make the point that, you have the conditions and you, it’s a, it’s incumbent on you to figure out how that can work to your advantage and be positive about it.

Not fearful of it but find a way to be positive about what’s going on and say, how can I use this to help me beat my rivals? And I think Rosa was really good at that. And so I think, yeah, she was pretty good in heat, but she’s also like, I know I’m not the fastest woman in the field, right? If it’s an all out let’s go break.

World records today, kind of race. She knows she’s getting left behind. And so I think Rosa maybe more than. Most of the others probably went in with a kind of a positive attitude. Like, I hope it’s hot, [00:38:00] man, I hope this is tough. and I think that’s a really, you know, as I say, a really important thing that you can learn is how can you take the conditions and as I say, try to turn it into a positive for you.

Ask yourself, how can I use this or adapt to this the best way possible? And Rosa, I think she’s such a smart runner, so thoughtful. I think. She and Dez have a lot in common in terms of how they run. Neither one of ’em is the fastest but boy, they’re smart and competitive and find a way.

[00:38:28] Alison: You do a great job in the book of going minute by minute through the race. And I remember watching this as a kid being so excited that women were getting the marathon. But what I do remember is the announcers were not good because the two things that they talked about that still stick with me all these years later is one, they made a huge deal about Joan Benoit skipping the first water station.

Yeah. Like that was gonna be the deciding factor in the entire race. And the other thing that they kept talking about was how strange it was for her. To be running alone and not surrounded by men, because in most marathons were mixed.

[00:39:09] Stephen Lane: Yeah, yeah.

[00:39:11] Alison: But the book tells me that neither one of those things was really true.

[00:39:15] Stephen Lane: Yeah. I talked to Catherine Switzer a lot, obviously, and she was doing commentary. And I talked to Marty La Corey as well, who was also doing commentary. and number one I’ll say I have a lot of sympathy for television announcers because, especially for the marathon.

’cause you know, you 20 to six miles is a long time and you know, you can only say so many times. Yep. They’re still running. Yep. There they go. And I think for the first part of the race, they were getting bad information. I. at one point they say, I think it’s a mile one or two. Like, Oh, they’re on world record pace and if you’re watching them run, you know, they’re not on world record pace, you know, they’re jogging.

Right. You can just see it. And so I know whatever the producer is saying in their ear, they’re getting bad info. But also that surprised me that they couldn’t look at the [00:40:00] runners and see like, okay, we’re something’s off here. We’re not getting good information.

About that. I mean, between them, let’s see. They had Bill Rogers who was on the press truck and then Marty, LA Corey, and Catherine suer, he had some really experienced runners there. And I suppose they probably regret that part of the call. But yeah I think, yeah, skipping the water station, they made a lot of that.

And then I think that maybe they, all the broadcasters are maybe talking from their own experience and what they liked. I don’t know. Does that make sense? It’s like some people like running in a crowd. But I know from my own coaching experience, right, you can set up a plan like, okay, this is what we’d like to do.

We’d like you to stick with leaders, blah, blah, blah. But then, you know, there’s some kids that they just, they can’t, they feel like bunched in and they get tighter and more nervous because they’re running around people and they, they just gotta be, they just gotta get out and run free. And they’ll do better.

Maybe they’ll get chased down in the end, but it’s still how they like to run. And that was Joanie, Joanie. I didn’t like running with other people. you know, she Admits it too in, in terms of how she trained but Tony Rivas, who, has done running broadcast forever, I guess.

He once said even in training, Joan Benoit ran at a pace that didn’t include others. And that’s how she liked to train. And if you were training with her, she might, try to just pop ahead a step. And so she tended to keep ratcheting down the pace when she was with others without even thinking about it.

And so I think yes the idea that, oh, it’s so hard to lead a race. It takes so much mental energy, to an extent that’s true. But Joanie felt better that way and. I know for sure in the case of Ingrid because she, told me she’s very upfront about it, but I also think many of the others probably not Greta, because Greta’s like, I got my plan.

I’m doing it. I think it’s gonna work. But I think the others, there’s a little bit of nervousness of like, are we okay with the world record holder being a minute in front of us? Is this all right? Like, I think Joaniee, I don’t think this was her [00:42:00] intent, but she bred a lot of nervous energy into the pack.

Like, Joaniee was just doing like, this is how I feel. I wanna run faster than we’re going. And they weren’t going very fast, so she just started getting a little bit in front. And it wasn’t a decisive move early on, but I think the others suddenly are like what are we doing here? Like, why are we letting her go?

But gosh, the dynamics of the pack are so cool and interesting. But then they’re like, but that’s Greta VITs right there. And she’s the best marathoner ever. And if she’s not going, I’m not gonna go it. You can almost see the wheels turning in a bunch of people’s heads and they kind of glance over at Greta like, what’s she doing?

. So, yeah, I think there was more mental energy wasted in the pack about Joanie being in front than Joanie wasted being in front. I think that’s just an interesting part of the race and maybe hard to articulate if you’re doing commentary on A, B, C I don’t know.

I have never been in a broadcast booth and I just would be terrified to try to do. But you’re right, the broadcasters early on in the race had some issues in terms of how they talked about it.

[00:43:06] Jill: one of the other things I didn’t realize was the fact that Jon OIDs coming off of knee surgery and Greta VITs had just backseat stuff right before the race.

So, your top contenders aren’t really in their prime that we know of going in.

[00:43:23] Stephen Lane: Oh, it’s ridiculous. If you wrote a movie script, like a sports movie script, people are like, come on, like, okay. Yeah. So Joan Benoit tweaks her knee in March,

I think it’s like 50 something days before the Olympic trials. And you know, obviously if you don’t finish top three of the Olympic trials you’re not going to the Olympics. And when she tweaks her knee, she sees her doctor and they’re trying to plan an approach and I think , .

The sensible thing to do is to be conservative because, they’re thinking, well, gosh, it’s 50 days to the Olympic trials. If we have surgery now, can you [00:44:00] even get back in time? You know? Yeah. All the rehab and all that stuff. And so they, they hold off on surgery. And one of the interesting things, I think in Joanie and her memoir talks about how she knew this injury wasn’t just a little thing that would go away.

You know, take a week off, have a cortisone shot, you’d be back on. She’s like, I knew this was different. I knew something was wrong, but she didn’t feel like she could articulate that to her doctor. She’s like, this guy is a, a surgeon. He’s operated on me before. this is his realm and what he’s saying.

Makes sense. Then she’s like, but I know me. And I know this isn’t the right approach, but she didn’t feel like she could articulate that or challenge him in his field which I think is really, an interesting thing. But anyway, . yeah. So, The injury lingers and lingers and she can’t quite shake it, and she’ll get back into hard training and feel great, and then one day the knee will lock up again and she can’t, and she can’t really run.

And so it’s not until 17 days before the Olympic trials that, that she has surgery which is it’s like mind blowing, like at that point, like the Olympics should be off. I’ve had my knees scoped twice much later than Joanie, and I know the technology got, has gotten better as we go.

But gosh, 17 days after surgery, maybe I can jog a mile or two, maybe, but you know, what I remember is like my knee, like the range of motion was in there. I couldn’t really bend it as much as you need to. Like, there’s just no way. and it hurts, obviously, you’ve got, four incisions into your knee and just the thought of, you know, that pounding on that knee and those incisions for 26 miles it’s impossible.

But, she’s Joanie and people already knew she was tough but to win the Olympic trials marathon 17 days after knee surgery is just, it’s unbelievable. It’s super human. And so that, story, gosh, I think, that, two, three week period would be a great [00:46:00] movie in its own right.

Just Joanie getting through the Olympic trials gosh, what a story. And then, yeah, Greta wakes up the day before the race and she can’t walk. Like she just like her back somehow ceased up. I talked to Jack about this a lot, and he’s like, I don’t know what happened.

I don’t know. I they did switch rooms at one point he’s like, maybe the bed in this new room was softer. He is like, but no, just didn’t make any sense. But her backseat stuff, she couldn’t move. Again, it’s like, come on for Greta, gosh, Her first Olympics was 1972 in the 1500 and she came back in 1976.

But had always felt like she hadn’t had a chance to test herself against the best on a level playing field, feeling her best. And here came this other Olympic chance gosh, 12 years after first Olympics. And she felt this was what she’d always been waiting for. This is what her career had been about.

And suddenly it’s like, it’s not gonna happen. And so they spend the day trying to do rehab and taking muscle relaxants and nothing, seems to improve it. Okay, she can finally start to walk but very stiffly. And, you know, I. The two, I think most amazing things about this story is one, she and her team go to the, the warmup track, because they’re gonna try, well, maybe we can just loosen up, but she literally can barely walk.

But she realizes okay, I’m around other people. Nobody can know that I’m hurt, right? Nobody can know I’m vulnerable. So somehow she like toughens up enough to be able to, like, I can jog a mile or two and not look like I’m hurting. And somehow she does that even though she’s in immense pain the entire time.

But it, it does not seem like there’s any way she’s gonna be able to run a marathon and certainly not run at full speed. So they’re working and working and, and finally one of her trainers makes this weird suggestion and her. Husband Jack, he tried to [00:48:00] articulate the meaning of her suggestion, but he said the trainer was versed in what he called visy ways or what he, he says like wise women ways, and, the nearest translation I could get was maybe like folk medicine.

And this trainer said, well put some heavy stuff in a backpack, put the backpack on, walk around. And she did. And it worked. Like, so, I have no idea what, maybe it was, I don’t know if this’ll work, but we’re, we just gotta try something. But it, works suddenly, like the spasm stopped and the tension ease and, and she started to feel a little more normal.

But that’s the day before the race. It’s just mind blowing. You know, she’s, so, that night she goes to bed 12 hours, before. The biggest race of her life. And I think she’s still not convinced she’s gonna be able to compete. But she wakes up and she doesn’t hurt. She’s still really tight.

And, I cannot imagine the emotional strain of, that kind of up and down like, okay, I’m preparing for the Olympics. Nope. Now I can’t run at all. And, and spending the day and that kind of emotional kind of purgatory I cannot imagine. But she wakes up and she’s like, well, doesn’t matter.

It’s the Olympics. No matter how I feel. I gotta be on the line. and , she never used that as an excuse. Jack’s never used it as an excuse. She said, Joanie was better. And I think , they both really believed that But you, maybe wonder what if, what if that hadn’t happened?

watching the marathon and watching the warmups before the marathon, , Greta looks tight, and she looks more anxious than usual, I will say. So I think it had to be on her mind, but gosh, she toughed out that race really well.

[00:49:41] Alison: And we ended up with this beautiful cinematic finish Oh my gosh.

Of the runners coming through the tunnel and around the, the track at the cossum. Yeah. you couldn’t get a more beautiful finish to this race.

[00:49:53] Stephen Lane: Right. I know it. Yeah. I, I can only imagine what it must have been like to be in the stadium. And yeah, to see the [00:50:00] runners come out of the tunnel I think it’s a little over a hundred meters long, the tunnel, and it curves under the stadium.

’cause the coliseum is actually sits underground. So ground level would be about even with level two in the collosseum. So the tunnel goes down and it curves around and you pop out near the a hundred meter starting line. And so, you know, out of the darkness into the light and I remember talking to Katherine Switzer who’s doing the announcing and , she said at that point, watching Benoit come out the tunnel, it was so hard to focus on the job, right?

It’s so hard. Like, okay, I’m a professional, I’m an announcer. I’m supposed to be a little bit objective, but Switzer had worked much of her adult life to get the Olympic marathon make it a reality. And here she is witnessing it and, and what that must have felt like for her. I can only imagine.

And, you have a, a pact Colosseum on their feet cheering for women’s marathoners it must have been emotionally overwhelming for Switzer. And she’s trying to keep her mind on the job at hand which is calling the race. Truly an incredible moment.

And for, Benoit, she was so locked in, so focused and I think she was very, very good at tuning everything else out. she probably didn’t really let herself go until she’s maybe like halfway around the track and she’s like, oh my God. Then she starts waving all this stuff and it is, as you say, a cinematic moment.

It’s truly, truly an incredible triumph. For Joanie, of course. But for women’s running. and Greta I think also to go from, I can’t run at all to, I can run, but , I don’t know if I’ll be able to finish. I don’t know if the back will cease up to a silver medal. I think in ways that we don’t usually see from Greta in races.

She appeared overwhelmed By the event and the feeling of joy it, being a part of it and coming through with a silver medal. I think it was a tremendous moment for her. And then Rosa Moda [00:52:00] coming in third, I mean, she looks like she won it. It’s incredible. And, I think that’s when you start to get the sense of, what this meant.

And, I wasn’t even good enough to like dream about being an Olympian, but, the idea of what the Olympics mean, probably to every athlete in the Olympics, but then especially for a historic first race and for what that meant for women’s running and,

For somebody like, Rosa, who, she’s running through the streets of her hometown in Portugal. Guys are yelling, you know, go home and help your mama with the dishes and stuff like that. And, to come from that to if, the marathon had never been an Olympic event, Moda would’ve been, she was still the best distance runner in Portugal, but she would’ve been like, one of the last finishers in the 1500 or the 3000 of the Olympics to being, because this event was finally open to women to being, a medalist.

she truly looks like maybe all of that came out in her mind on that last lap. She’s in tears. Both hands are over her head. She just can’t believe this is how it’s gone. It’s her finish is honestly one of my favorite moments of the whole race.

It’s just so powerful. It really is.

[00:53:11] Alison: the last thing I wanna ask is, can we overstate how much impact this had on women’s athletics and women’s sports in general?

[00:53:22] Stephen Lane: Wow. it’s probably always easy to overstate it. I think. A couple things that, that I would say to that and this is, about the Olympic marathon, but also the whole road to getting the Olympic marathon is that I think Joanie and Greta especially the way they ran and the way they conducted themselves.

And also I think partly because, most road races the field is mixed, right? Everybody’s in there together. It was hard to say, well, they run well for a girl, or they’re, you know, they’re good athletes for a girl. Not only because they were beating like [00:54:00] 99% of the guys in like the Boston Marathon or the York Marathon, but just the way they ran and they were so just so tough and so good that I think, I think they changed the way people think about.

Women’s running and women’s runners and maybe by extension then all of women’s athletics. Ingrid Christensen at one point says that Greta taught them all what was possible if they trained like men. And I think that’s a really interesting quote, but I, think, societal biases ingrained like, oh, you know, to go back to the original thing we were talking about, like we have to protect women in athletics and you watch Joanie and Greta Ron, like they don’t need protection.

Like if anything, we need protection from them. They’re so tough. And so I think that they changed perceptions in ways , that maybe aren’t explicit, but became maybe a little bit ingrained in how people think about running. And so I think that’s really important. And the other thing, and, and this is me as a, high school teacher talking is that, it is vital that people see people who look like them doing great things.

And yes, Joanie and Greta they won Boston and they’d won New York, all these things. But the Olympics is the pinnacle, right? It is the ultimate in athletics and for hundreds of millions of people to watch these women contest the marathon I think mattered.

And again, I don’t know that you could, draw the explicit steps, like here’s how many people entered marathons the next year or anything like that. But I just think it is so important for young people to see people who look like them doing great things and. for girls all over the world, maybe seeing this Olympic marathon and seeing how they contested it and how they comported themselves, in a way that maybe had never existed before.

They could say, yes, that’s what I wanna be. I don’t think you can overstate that part of it. and, and so I think if nothing else that, that impact of the marathon has lasted and lasted,

[00:55:54] Alison: wonderful. Steven Lane, thank you so much for joining us. Yes. And we want everyone to read this book because we [00:56:00] really loved it.

Thank you. Thank you.

[00:56:02] Jill: Thank you so much Steven. You can find his book through our bookshop.org storefront. That’s bookshop.org/shop/flame alive pod. We will have a link to that in the show notes. You can find it on our list, featured Olympics and Paralympics. Authors on the show. All purchases made through this shop.

bookshop.org link give us a commission, which goes to cover the costs of the show. And we have a lot of them coming up as we prepare to go to Paris. I will say if you loved David Davis’ book and we’re a big David Davis fan, this is on par with that. This was such a good

[00:56:36] Alison: read, so well written.

And for us it was fun ’cause we remember this. But I think for people who don’t remember this race, it gives you a really good sense of how, you know, I was a 12 year old girl watching this and just how incredibly excited I was to have. A women’s marathon in the Olympics. And it was a big deal.

, and this really captures that so brilliantly.

[00:57:00] Jill: Thank you so much, Steven, for joining us and hope the book does well.

Seoul 1988 History Moment

[00:57:05] Jill: Now is the time where we have our history moment all year long. We are looking at the Seoul 1988 games as it is the 30th anniversary of those games. , Alison is your term for the story. , what do you’ve got for us?

[00:57:24] Alison: I got women’s marathon. This was, as we’ve said, only the second women’s marathon, and it was also quite an epic race.

So after the 1984 Olympics, Joan Benoit became Joan Benoit Samuelsson, and quickly had two children. So she decided to skip the Olympic marathon, though she did finish third in the New York City Marathon that year. Cool. So nothing, nothing stops. Tony Benoit, , Ingrid Christensen also chose not to compete in the marathon, but rather in the 10,000 meters instead, , she did not finish this race, dropping out [00:58:00] after seven laps with a broken foot.

What? Yeah, Greta Weitz did compete in the marathon, but she was struggling with an knee injury and dropped out at around the 18 mile mark. Aw. So the day of the race was warm and humid, but the course was mostly flat with a downhill stretch at the end. Huh. So the two top contenders were 1984, bronze medalist Rosa Mota, and Australian Lisa Martin, who had the best time in the 1988 marathon season.

Now, unlike in Los Angeles, the top runner stayed together for two thirds of the race, so you didn’t have that early breakaway. And Rosa Moda made her move with only two and a half miles to go pulling away from Martin and East Germans. KARE. And Moda had a characteristically smart tactical run as we talked with Steven about.

She was a really smart runner, but she needed an unexpected sprint speed towards the end of this race. She sprinted the last stretch of this race because Moto did win the gold, but she was only ahead of Martin by 60 meters, and about 13 seconds. Whoa. Which in a marathon. That’s nothing. They were in the stadium together running the track, and Dora earned bronze less than a half a minute behind Martin.

So this was about a minute slower than the 84 time, but considerably more, , competitive in the sense of all these women could have won up until the last little stretch of the race. Wow.

[00:59:40] Jill: don’t forget that this week is the last week to vote for our historic Olympics and Paralympics for next year. , you are choosing what we will discuss. That’s another winter games. ’cause we flip flop every year. Our choices are Shemini [01:00:00] 1924, which will be celebrating its 100th anniversary, Sarajevo 1984, which will be celebrating its 40th anniversary and Lila Hummer 1994, which is celebrating its.

30th anniversary. , go to our Facebook group, keep the Flame Alive Podcast Group to cast your vote. , we’re still looking at a potential shaman upset. ,

[01:00:22] Alison: shaman is still in lead, but it is very, very close between Shaman and Sarajevo, which surprises me. It seems like people want us to really go back in history though, with Shaman.

It’s a five hour train ride from Paris.

[01:00:39] Jill: And as Sean Callahan told us last week, sounds like a lovely, lovely place.

[01:00:45] Alison: So if you wanna send us on a train ride through France, , go vote on our Facebook group for Shaman. Not that I am lobbying in any way.

TKFLASTAN Update

[01:00:56] Alison: Welcome to

[01:01:01] Jill: Ship Stan. Now is the time of the show where we check in with our team, keep the flame alive. These are past guests to the show and listeners who make up our citizenship of Shukla on our very own comp country. , starting off,

[01:01:15] Alison: Tim, Sherry earned bronze medals in men’s 300 meter rifle, prone and open 300 meter standard rifle at the I S S F World Championships.

He will compete. He will be competing at the U S A shooting Rifle Olympic Trials part one, September 28th through October 3rd in Fort Moore, Georgia. I don’t know why there needs to be a sequel, I think, because obviously this is a part one and a part two, but good luck to Tim.

[01:01:44] Jill: There is, and I think it was one of those, like we don’t want everything to be based on one day and if you had a bad day, So they balanced it out.

But I I, this is all coming back to me after talking with Jenny Thrasher and Tim [01:02:00] before, um, before Tokyo, that, that they do spread this one out. But it’s almost crazy to think it’s time for trials already. I know, and I know people, but people are

[01:02:09] Alison: qualifying, we’re seeing this all over the place, the basketball teams and, and individuals in surfing.

So yeah, it’s happening.

[01:02:17] Jill: Nordic combined competitor Annika Masinsky competed on the summer grand pre circuit in Obvi Zal, Germany. She placed 13th in the individual competition and 10th in the mixed relay in ob Dorf. She got 16th in the women’s individual and in VLA Austria she took 13th.

So next up will be the start of the winter season at the end of November, and it’s gonna be winter sports season before we know it too.

[01:02:42] Alison: Alison Levine is competing for gold today while we are taping at the Bcia World Cup event in Des in Brazil. Despite kind of a scary accident earlier in the week, she took a fall that ended up, uh, sending her to the hospital, but she is fine.

I think it could be a broken foot, broken ankle situation, but she’s booted up and competing with it.

[01:03:04] Jill: Well, good luck Alison, and we hope that your ankle heals quickly.

, Beach volleyball player Kelly Chang played in the A V P Pro tour in Chicago last weekend and made it to the semi-final round before being defeated. And preview her former partner, Betsy Flint, who will soon become a member of team, keep the flame alive. She also competed in Chicago and also made it to the semi-finals opposite.

Kelly in the bracket, which was interesting. I will say I was in Chicago while the tour was going on and I was doing an event called Bike the Drive where they shut down Lake Shore Drive and you can ride your bike on it. And, I’m also training for a century ride, so I had to do 50 miles. I did my full 50 miles on the drive, but you got kicked off.

So that they could reopen the road again. So I got booted onto the lakefront path and , was riding my bike past the beach volleyball venue, and I thought I saw Kelly warming up. [01:04:00] I know I, I felt Patrick from Chicagoland’s Disappointment and I thought about dragging my bike over there and I realized I have ridden 52 miles at this point.

I have to ride about four more to get to where I need to go, and if I get off this bike, I will never get back on. So I thought of Kelly from a few hundred meters away, which you probably safer for Kelly. Probably. I mean, it probably so.

[01:04:27] Alison: wheelchair Fencer, Ellen Geddes will be representing the US at the 2023 I A S Wheelchair Fencing World Championships.

That’s October 3rd through the eighth in Ate

[01:04:38] Jill: Italy and Waterman. The movie based on David Davis’s book about Duke Kahan. Moku was nominated for a news and documentary Emmy for outstanding historical documentary. The winners will be announced on September 28th.

Also in c Stan, we will be at the Olympian 2023 Memorabilia Show, October 13th through 15th at the hotel m d R in Marina del Rey, California. So if you are in the area, please stop on by. We would love to meet you and you might be able to get your hands on our 2024 pin, which came in.

I saw the picture. I’m so excited, so excited. The box was so heavy. The box is really

[01:05:17] Alison: heavy. And if you’re really lucky, I will show you the , pencil drawing. That I sent to our designer and how he came up with this beautiful design based on my scratching. I don’t know, but it was exactly what I was thinking.

[01:05:32] Jill: So stop on by again. That’s October 13th through 15th at the hotel M D R in Marina del Rey, California.

Paris 2024 Update

[01:05:40] Alison: Well, when we get to the second piece of news, that’ll make more sense.

[01:05:53] Jill: Oh, okay. Okay. So a little bit of news from Paris 2024 this week. , omega has put up a Paralympics [01:06:00] countdown clock at Port de Lorne near the Eiffel Tower. So now there are D places, DeLillo, where you can go and , watch the countdown.

Very exciting. This is exciting. Big announcement from Australia Olympic Committee that the food brand old El Paso has partnered with them to be the AOCs official meal kit partner. What does that even mean?

So old El Paso, they make all sorts of Mexican food staples, and in Australia they put together meal kits. So you can buy a box and it’ll have all the stuff you need. And I, I would imagine you add the meat yourself, but , We’re working on finding out what the sponsorship is going to mean for you, but old El Paso representatives had told us that this is old El Paso’s, single biggest foray in sport to date.

So this could be fun. I’m hopeful. , Favorite old El Paso products in Australia include Taco Spice. Mix the hard and soft taco kit and the standin stuff. Hard taco kit slash soft taco kit.

[01:07:03] Alison: Um, standin stuff. Should be one of my B girl names.

[01:07:07] Jill: Well, will you standin stuff hard though?

[01:07:11] Alison: No, I’m definitely stand stuff soft.

[01:07:16] Jill: Oh, now I get it. Sorry. It’s standard stuff. Hard taco kit. Standard stuff. Soft taco kit. I’ve, I had a Diet Coke today. I tell you. I am hopeful that this will include, at the very least, packaging that is Olympic in nature. But , if you are a fan who likes themed food for your opening ceremonies party, and you like to support the sponsors that support your teams, That’s right.

Could be a good way to provide a I would say easy meal for your opening ceremonies party. So we will keep abreast of this situation. If you hear of any other sponsors doing stuff, let us know ’cause we love to hear. What’s going on with sponsors and like what products you can buy. We have to get on our, beat and look ’cause [01:08:00] some places have sponsored Team GB already.

[01:08:02] Alison: I’m looking for pictures, so if listeners see go in grocery shopping and you see anything, please tag us in pictures on social media at Flame Alive Pod.

[01:08:12] Jill: Yes, definitely. the Summer Olympics and Paralympics are less than a we year away and we are hard at work getting you ready to bring you the best stories you can’t get anywhere else.

[01:08:22] Alison: Who else talks about hard and soft taco kits?

[01:08:24] Jill: Right? Right. It’s the important things and, and at the World Press Briefing, very important topics to, you started coming up in my head. So we need to start making a list of things that we absolutely have to find out. And bring you the Olympics that you want to know about.

Later in the fall. We’ll, we will be launching a Kickstarter program to raise money specifically to, , help us get to pairs 2024. Be on the lookout for that. , we are working on some great supporter.

. We are working on some great supporter incentives for that endeavor. And in the meantime, you can become a Patreon patron and get bonus episodes about Paris 2024. Give back to your favorite Olympic and Paralympic podcast@flamelivepod.com slash support.

International Paralympic Committee Update

[01:09:06] Jill: We’ve got a little bit of news from the International Paralympic Committee. The I P C has published its 2022 annual report, which came in right before we went to air, so we have to dig into a little bit to see what they, , talk about.

But this is one thing I noticed really quickly and I realized that the Paralympics are probably the third biggest sporting event in the world. So you think it’s a giant organization with a ton of money, right. But, , its revenues in 2022, were 24.2 million euros, which is $25.9 million, and their expenses used pretty much all of it.

In comparison, the IOCs revenues in 2022 were $2.4 billion. So tiny org trying to do a lot of stuff and doing a lot of stuff.

[01:09:58] Alison: When you look at that number and you think [01:10:00] about what they do, it’s kind of amazing.

[01:10:03] Jill: And that’s gonna do it for this week.

let Us know your memories from the LA 1984 Marathon and, and I really wanna hear from the people who were, I was a figment of my parents’ imagination too, so please let us know.

[01:10:15] Alison: You can connect with us on X and Instagram at Flame Alive Pod.

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 where you can vote for our next year’s historical Olympics. Don’t forget about that, and you can get our weekly newsletter filled with other fun stories about this week’s episode.

You can sign up for that@flamealivepod.com.

[01:10:50] Jill: Next week, Shuk, Ani, Blythe Lawrence will be back to talk more about the world of gymnastics. I think we get into artistic gymnastics too, and do a little preview here. If you missed part one of her conversation, she was on episode 300. So go back and take a listen to it. Thank you so much for listening, and until next time, keep the flame alive.