Just as the Olympics is a global event, so too is Olympic podcasting! We’re happy to have Ben Waterworth, one of the hosts of Off the Podium join us. Off the Podium is an Australian/Canadian collaboration, so we wanted to get their view on what’s going on with Paris 2024. We preview some of the big sports and names and look forward to the excitement that awaits us this summer. Also, Ben tells us the issues with the Gabba, Brisbane 2032’s proposed stadium.

Find Off the Podium wherever you get your podcasts and follow them on all the socials at @offthepodiumpod.

In Paris 2024 news, the podiums have been released–and like all elements of these Games, there’s a lot of symbolism in them! And the official film will be directed by Jules and Gédéon Naudet. You might know them from their documentary on 9/11 (if you haven’t seen it, make some time to do so!):

Not surprisingly, they’re bringing a different approach to the film of the Games, focusing not just on the sports, but also on the people behind the scenes as the city and country come together to produce this spectacular event. According to Variety, the final product will include a feature-length film, and a series.

Plus, Mattel has released nine new Barbies to honor trailblazing athletes from around the world:

9 trailblazing athlete Barbies in time for the Paris 2024 Olympics and Paralympics. They represent tennis, boxing, soccer, swimming, athletics, para triathlon, and gymnastics.

In news from TKFLASTAN, we hear from:


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 Do not quote from the transcript; use the audio as the record of note.

340-Off the Podium Olympics Crossover Special

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 as always by my lovely co host, Alison Brown. Alison, hello. How are you?

Alison: I have 19 new friends. Who know how to swing weapons.

I am going to be the safest person in Paris. Got your little bodyguard around you. It’s going to be fabulous. So yesterday, USA Fencing was kind enough to invite me to their media day. And I want to thank them. They were just amazing and the athletes were great. So we’ve got some just. Really fun Fencer interviews coming up in June.

We talk lightsabers, we talk snacks, we talk shoes. We talk about people who offered to let me hold their swords.

Jill: See, and I’m surprised you did not say yes.

Alison: I did not say yes because I was really, really scared of hurting somebody else. Can you imagine I go to the media day and I injure one of the fencers?

Jill: Oh, they know how to get out of there.

Alison: Come on. No, but I’m saying like, I drop it and like poke them in the eye. I mean, that’s really what I was thinking, like, not that I was going to swing it around and do something clever, but just, you know, drop it on somebody’s foot. But yeah. So thank you very much to USA Fencing.

It was, it was a really great day. Excellent. and you got to meet Phil Andrews, Shukla Stani, in person. I did. And you know, I feel so bad we didn’t take a picture. We were so busy talking. We did not think, I thought of it when I was on the train. So yes, Phil Andrews, we will see him in Paris. We will see his beautiful baby in Paris.

So we’ll get another shot at that photo.

Jill: Excellent.

Alison: With you. Everyone asked for you.

Jill: Oh, that makes me, I feel the love. Thank you, USA Fencing.

Ben Waterworth Conversation

speaking of friends today we have a return visit from our friend, Ben Waterworth, one of the hosts of Off the Podium, an Olympics podcast with an Australian and Canadian, Ben.

Ben brings the Aussie, so we wanted to talk with him about the Australian perspective for Paris, as well as get the word on the street about Brisbane 2032. Take a listen.

Ben Waterworth from Off the Podium. Welcome back. It is so good to see and talk with you again.

Ben Waterworth: It’s, it’s a pleasure, Jill. Thank you so much. And Alison, it’s so good to, uh, to join you both. Get rid of Colin. It’s just me now. So that’s good. Um, but no, it’s exciting to be back on the show. Thank you. And for you to both be on, on our show as well.

Alison: I’m disappointed not to talk to Colin since Penny Alexiak just qualified this weekend.

Ben Waterworth: Yes, yes, , very excitable times in Canada and Summer McIntosh, I think we just worked out is probably going to win, uh, you know, the Canadian equivalent of Michael Phelps levels of medals. So like about five, six medals in one game. So isn’t it scary that Canada are kind of good at swimming right now?

Alison: Oh, it’s fabulous.

Ben Waterworth: It’s,

Jill: I

Ben Waterworth: mean, it’s great, but scary at the same time, right?

Alison: The Canadian women have just really come through. I mean, now mostly the women, cause that’s what I watch, but Maggie McNeil, Summer McIntosh, Penny Alexiak.

I, I love the Canadian women swimming team. I’m very excited to go see them.

Ben Waterworth: It’s very similar in Australia. I think that for the last. I mean, Canada may be a little bit shorter, but in Australia, at least for the last decade and a bit, , the women have been carrying the load for the swimming, uh, which is fantastic to see and no disrespect to the, the male swimmers, but you know, we’ve really seen that in Australia, obviously with Ariane, Emma, Kaylee, you know, we’re, we’re really seeing kind of just the dominance there.

And obviously we’ve still, you know, got the likes of Kyle Chalmers, you know, Zach Sudbury Cook, you know, winning medals out there as well, but. It’s kind of the case that we’re seeing that, uh, in Australia and Canada, it’s, it’s the female swimmers carrying the load. Whereas you guys obviously just have everyone doing it.

So men, women, dogs, cats, like everyone’s just carrying the load for America. Right.

Alison: Though for the U S it did feel in Tokyo. And even now, you know, we have Katie Ledecky. So the women. Are the stars of the Swim I mean, yeah, Caleb Dressel, like I’m dismissing him, but Katie Ledecky is such a once in a lifetime swimmer.

Ben Waterworth: Yeah. Yeah.

Alison: And I would put Ariana Titmuss in that, in that category as well. We just, I feel like we’ve got so many once in a generation swimmers right now.

Ben Waterworth: Yeah, which is off the back of, Phelps. Uh, and then I guess even for Australia, you know, we look, go back to, we had Thorpe obviously and Susie O’Neill and those sites and ones, which I always refer to that particularly as a golden age of swimming.

I mean, growing up. That was just, they were icons in this country. but now, yeah, that we sort of have this extra generation. Cause I don’t think anybody could have ever predicted that Emma McKean was going to win the amount of medals that she won in Tokyo to become our most decorated Olympian and the unique thing.

And I don’t know if you have that with, Katie over there in the States is that I guarantee you, Emma can still probably walk around the streets in Australia and still a lot of people wouldn’t recognize it. I was at a women’s world cup game last year and she walked past me. And nobody was bothering her.

And it’s just like, if that was Ian Thorpe, or Susie O’Neill, it would be completely different, you know, 20 years ago, but that’s the beauty of kind of just athletes like Emma is that she’s so darn good, but so unassuming and can kind of just go out there. So, uh, and to me, Katie seems that way too. She seems like just like a nice person that probably can just walk down the street.

Go to Burger King and then just go home and sit on the couch or something like that.

Alison: Speaking of people who can’t walk down the street, is Dean Boxall still around? Mariana’s coach?

Ben Waterworth: I believe so. Yeah, I definitely, I think he is. Um, I think he’s probably just in training right now, getting ready to break a barrier or two, in Paris.

And we have, he’ll have a crowd this time around, won’t he? So. now people will probably be distracted by him and not watching Ariane win the gold. But, uh, no, Dean, Dean, I would argue probably gets more attention on the street sometimes than, and, and, and Ariane’s dad. I mean, I often shout from a rooftop that she is Tasmanian.

her dad, uh, very prominent newsreader. I grew up with him being like , the main newsreader for one of our networks in Tasmania. So, uh, he’s still in the media. He’s still, he’s now in Queensland. So he now sort of reads the news, uh, on the Gold Coast, I believe, but he is almost, out there with Dean Boxall in terms of attention, he gets always interviewed.

They always are filming his reactions to when Ariane’s winning. I’m friends with him on Facebook and he’s always posting fantastic stuff out there. So yeah, the Titmuss family, uh, are very well known in Tasmania. And there was actually, uh, somebody shared a clip, uh, in the very early nineties of, Steve Titmuss interviewing Jess Fox’s dad.

Back when Jess Fox was, , competing in Tasmania, uh, like back sort of in the day. So it was kind of this, you know, weird moment of, you know, dads of two great Australian Olympians now, uh, sort of, you know, 30 years ago. So it’s, yeah, we, we love our families and our, uh, coaches of our athletes as well as the athletes too.


Jill: So when does Australia have its swimming trials?

Ben Waterworth: Uh, in a few weeks, they’re in June. Um, we had the national championships that were kind of a precursor for the trials. I don’t know why they didn’t then have them. Cause usually they double up as sort of the swim trials, but it was, um, yeah, they’re, they’re in June, 10th to 15th of June they are, and they will actually be.

In Brisbane, uh, which I believe is the first time Brisbane’s hosted, uh, an event of this magnitude in quite some time. So, uh, obviously with the Olympics, they’re starting to get a few events there. But, um, yeah, which the U. S. ones are, they’re about the same time, are they not? They’re

Jill: about, they’re, they’re just after, I think they start when.

Australia’s ends.

Ben Waterworth: Wow. Yeah. That’s gotta be deliberate, right? They’ve planned them, you know,

Jill: America’s

Ben Waterworth: gone, Australia got them then. So then we know what to do. Is that like the first car that you guys are playing against us for swimming?

Jill: No, no. Well, here’s a card to play. Do you know that they are in an American football stadium?

Ben Waterworth: I think I did see that. And cause this is a stadium that they can, they can get like, What, 50, 60, that’s something ridiculous like that, right?

Jill: Yes. Some ridiculous number of people will be there. And I believe they’re going to have something like three swimming pools. So they’ll have some warmup pools that they build.

They’re building it right now. And then the main competition pool.

Ben Waterworth: I love that. I love that. We, I know in like, was it 2006, we had the world swimming championships in Melbourne and they build a temporary pool in Rod Laver arena where they have the, the Australian open finals. So back then that was, you know, 20, 000 people, big deal for Australia, but no, like sticking in a football.

That’s, that’s brilliant. And knowing what you guys do, you’re going to sell that out. I’m probably already is sold out. Are you guys going to head along and go try and get a ticket for it?

Jill: I am going, I’m accredited. So I’m going to some of it. I don’t know if I’ll go to all of it. Cause it’s, it’s a lot.

It’s a long event for us. And for, um, a lot of swimmers just qualifying for Olympic trials is a huge accomplishment. So they, it’s, it’s a pretty big event.

Ben Waterworth: that’s amazing to see that. And it’s just, I mean, look, I say this in the most respect. It’s so American. That’s not a negative. That’s like, that’s a positive.

I think that’s brilliant. And I, to Australia, like. Stick it in Stadium Australia, stick it in the MCG. Let’s get 80, 000, 100, 000 people. Cause I’m telling you now you do it. we love our swimming here and I think you would sell it out here as well. Definitely.

Alison: So we mentioned Jessica Fox, Paddler.

We mentioned Arianna Titmuss. Who else? Is coming and taking over Paris from Australia.

Ben Waterworth: Oh, it’s a, it’s a great question. We’ve just had, with the qualifying series in Shanghai, a couple of our gold medalists, from Tokyo, , on the cusp of coming back. So we had, Logan Martin in the BMX, uh, gold medalist from Tokyo.

He’s, uh, tracking quite well, Keegan Palmer, we stolen from you guys. Thank you very much. Uh, in the skateboarding, uh, he’s doing, , quite well out there as well. So, um, you know, kind of tracking a few, , people when it comes to that level, we’re, we’re sort of spread out on a lot of different sports and some sports, I think too, where, you know, Australia doesn’t necessarily have a lot of success.

We might, I know in diving, for example, we’ve had a couple of world champions sort of in the last couple of years. Casio Russo, uh, won gold medal in the 10 meter platform. First ever world champion. We obviously have Matt Mitchum win a gold back in Beijing, uh, on that level of things, but, uh, he’s been doing really good things out there and is a, is a real chance of a gold medal.

And diving’s one of these sports for Australia where we generally get medals. We’ll get a bronze here or there, possibly a silver, but gold is, is very few and far between for us. So, uh, you know, we’re really kind of keeping. , track on that. we’ve recently had a few field hockey athletes that are coming up on the show and, you know, we’ve always been a country that’s good at field hockey where we’ve won gold in both the men’s and the women’s, the men’s team in particular called the Kookaburras have sort of always been, you know, one of the world’s best teams, but there always seems to be a bit of a kryptonite come the Olympics.

, famously in Athens, they got an extra time winner to get our first and only ever gold in men’s field hockey. And then we heartbreakingly lost in a penalty shootout to Belgium in Tokyo to get silver. So I’ve got a feeling that on the 20th anniversary of that famous gold from Athens, that we might kind of crack through for a long awaited second gold.

And the women as well, the hockey ruse haven’t meddled since Sydney and have a bit of a quarter final curse. But the positive news for Australia in women’s field hockey is if we win a quarterfinal, we always go on to win gold medal. So that’s kind of a positive. So if we can break that curse, I think we can do it.

So, um, I think a few of our team sports, we out there, um, really positive out there and even on the sport climbing side of things, actually, we had Oceana McKenzie on. Not too long ago. And she’s been doing really good recently, uh, getting some very high finishes in world cups. I believe she was on the podium recently, fourth as well.

, so a sneaky chance there for Australia, a medal that we’ve never won in that sport. It’s only been Olympics one time, of course, but, um, yeah, and it’s often the case with Australia. We often will, particularly in that second week, once we’ve put swimming to bed, we’ve kind of gone to all those sports and we’re like, yeah, okay, we’re done.

All of a sudden out of nowhere, someone will win a medal in something that we weren’t expecting. And then we absolutely love them. I’m thinking Chloe Esposito, modern pentathlon, 2016, still the highlight of my summer Olympics watching in my life. So, uh, I’ll go with that. I’d like to, on the flip side of that America, like, I mean, it’s, it’s a weird question to ask you guys.

What are you guys going to win medals in? Cause that’s more like, what aren’t you going to win medals in? But are there any particular sports that, that you’re tracking really highly in that maybe a lot of people don’t consider the U S as a sport that you win medals in?

Jill: Well, I am hoping that Deanna Price in Hammer Throw has a good Olympics.

This would, if, if she’s got to get through trials, but the, in Rio 2016, she got sick. Right before competition in Tokyo 2020, she had an amazing, an amazing performance at the Olympic trials. And then something happened in her hip, I believe, and she ended up her foot. Yeah. And she ended up, she competed, didn’t do great.

And then had some surgeries afterwards and has been on the comeback and looks really good, but it’s just like, come on, there can’t be a nicer person. Out there than Deanna Price. And, she really deserves to have a good games , I think. Poor thing.

Alison: I

Ben Waterworth: always like hearing those stories though. That’s Yeah.

Alison: Yeah. And, and we had her on multiple, sort of ended up doing multiple shows because she just had such fantastic stories and was so generous with, and, and we’re watching Bragan a little bit. Mm. Know we talked to this, we, we talked to Sonny Choi. Yeah. Who’s. It’s going to be one of the older breakers there.

And I laugh, you know, older, she’s like 30 something and it’s, it’s a one and done for breaking surprisingly, LA did not choose it, but that, that may be somewhere where we see some unexpected. metal, you know, an unexpected looking podium.

Ben Waterworth: How, we’ve talked a lot about that. We had, Australia’s, B girl on a couple of days ago and we’ve had her on before, Rachel Gunn.

She’s fantastic. Also similar to Sonny, like in her thirties, considered older. , but of course, you know, it’s, it’s laughable in a way, but it’s, it’s, How, how do you think that decision is going to reflect on LA because we’re on the page here that they’ve not thought about this and that breaking is going to be the star of Paris, I think that people from what they’ve seen in the qualifying series.

It’s one of these sports that you sort of question, but when you watch it, you realize this is fun. This is great. And people are going to get behind it. And yeah, we’re on the page that LA are going to look at the reaction that this is going to get in Paris and think, Oh, we should have maybe included it,

Alison: not from Americans.

Ben Waterworth: No.

Alison: Anyone I mention how breakdancing is in the Olympics is so dismissive of it. I think in other countries, they’re going to be disappointed that it’s not in the, in the L. A.

Ben Waterworth: But you’re the home of breaking. You invented this sport.

Jill: Yes. We understand.

Ben Waterworth: Wow. Maybe it’s an

Alison: East Coast, West Coast thing, like, you know, you are in L. A. Yeah.

Jill: So I don’t, I don’t know. Maybe it’ll have a moment. Uh, I’m, I’m very, very curious as to what went on in all of those negotiations for sports on the LA program since the IOC delayed the announcement of sports and there were so many team sports added in what was going on there and also where did world dance sport go wrong?

in not being able to get back on the program. I mean, it’s just always interesting how sports come, this whole sports are coming and going now. it’s a little disconcerting in a way, because if you’re a sport that’s on the bubble, like karate was in Tokyo. I thought it did well, you know, it seemed to be interesting, but then of course it’s out for Paris and it’s out again.

So I don’t know how to, frame it in my mind along with like demonstration sports because demonstration sport, you got a, well, this is a test. Did the test go well or did it not? But you get, uh, the host selection. Well, these are full metal sports. It’s a real sport in the Olympics. And then all of a sudden it’s not, and it’s just a little frustrating.

Ben Waterworth: It’s very, yeah, it is very interesting. And it’s very much like what the Commonwealth Games have done for a while. Is that it’s sort of the hosts have their core sports, but then they can basically choose what they want. And you see a lot of rotation in the Commonwealth Games. You know, it’s hard to keep track of what sports there and what’s not.

And it’s You know, while I like that, it’s, it is interesting on the Olympic side, because yeah, you mentioned demonstration sports and they were always a fun bit because you could often put a very local sport. I mean, Melbourne had Australian football as a demonstration sport. Australian football is never going to be an Olympic sport, but it was fun for people to be able to come to an Olympics, a big worldwide event and see something like that.

You’d have American football, you know, karate would no doubt be that case for Japan. It’s sort of, yeah, I mean, we always feel bad for these sports. Like, we’re big advocates for baseball and softball to just stay on the damn calendar every four years.

Alison: Don’t get me started on softball.

Ben Waterworth: Poor athletes, they just get teased every four years.

You’re on, you’re off, you’re on, you’re off. Um, it’s, it’s just I mean, breaking to me, it just, it, it baffled me that it didn’t get kept on because the IOC was so advocating for this youthful sport, like let’s keep with the kids, let’s do this, let’s do that. And then it was scrapped so quickly, particularly from an American games.

And yeah. Okay. LA, not New York, but still like it’s, it’s the home of hip hop and the culture. There’s still a very strong hip hop culture on the West coast. And then the sports that they added, like I for one would have guaranteed cricket was going to be a Brisbane sport. Um, so it surprised me that they enabled that in LA and squash squat.

I mean, I am a hundred percent behind squash and cricket being Olympic sports, a hundred percent squash. So overdue to be an Olympic sport, but to me, they’re both very Commonwealth favoured sports. So that to me is where Australia would have been the ones fighting hard and let’s wait for Britain. So it surprised me that LA were the ones that.

That did it lacrosse doesn’t surprise me. Uh, flag football doesn’t surprise me. Yeah. It’s, it’s fascinating that you’ve got all these team sports. I, the one question I’ll ask you, cause we, we talked about this in the news episode, rather than culling sports and being like, look, we’ve got to keep a quota of 10 and a half thousand athletes.

We’ve got to keep a quota of this amount of medals, cost saving all this kind of stuff. Can we just be like, look. You’re saving money on keeping the, you’ve not built new stadiums. You’ve done this, you’ve done that. You’ve cost cut here. Let’s add another a hundred medals. Let’s add another 3000 athletes.

And then that way, you know, you can kind of appease to these issues that you’re having. Should the IOC maybe just be not so strict when it comes to the quota of the, the number of athletes and the number of medals that they have?

Jill: Well, I mean, when they’ve had this quota, I think Paris is the only one who’s going to stick to it.

Out of, you know, Japan went, Tokyo went way over, Brazil, Rio was way over, L. A. will be way over because there’s no way you can cut that down. but I’m, I’m with you if, you know, If you have a games where they’re not building any venues and they have temporary venues for things, why not add more sports?

The big problem is just the, cost of building a new stadium and then maintaining it afterwards. But if you can have temporary stuff and I mean, temporary does cost money, but at the same time, It’s not something that you have to maintain afterwards. I, I don’t know. I think it’ll, it’ll be interesting to see because then LA will pioneer this whole, like we’re able to do way more sports than you thought and have a bigger games.

It’ll be interesting to see what, what Brisbane gets to do. And it’s hard because

Ben Waterworth: you have a stadium.

Jill: Oh, we’ll get to that. We GABA. but I mean, The fact that Brisbane will have to choose its sports program before LA goes on, and the fact that LA had to choose its sports program before it could really see what break it did.

I don’t know. And with, with break in we’ve just talked about like two of the big athletes are in their thirties. Is that a youth sport then? Who knows? Maybe they, and it’s small. There’s not even that many athletes in there. I don’t, I

Alison: don’t

Jill: know.

Alison: I’m gonna be the opposite person. I’d like to see it shrink because I feel like the Summer Olympics has become so big that you’ve segmented your audience.

You know, you have 30 sports, 30 events going on at any one time. You don’t have that everyone watching the men’s 100, uh, 100 meter dash, you don’t have that unifying element that I think is so important to the Olympics when you have it so spread and thin where you take the audience and say, okay, you can watch.

And now we’ve got feeds and now you’ve got multi cameras, and you really can watch everything at once. And are we losing the unifying power of the Olympics. Yes. Should we move some things to the Winter Olympics that don’t necessarily have ice or snow, but we could spread the wealth a little bit?

Ben Waterworth: Well, I mean, I think Brisbane is going to be a great model for the fact that we’re going to be in winter in Australia.

So I think just combine them for Brisbane. I’m just, I’m trying to get Australia to get into ice hockey. That’s all I’m trying to, trying to do. But I mean, it is a great point. Cause I think while, yeah, you do have. You know, this ability now where you can watch whatever you want to literally, like if you want to watch the judo, the dressage, the archery, instead of the a hundred meters or the, you know, the 1500 meters in swimming, you can, cause you just, you jump on your NBC app, your channel nine app, CBC app, whatever it is, and you can, you can do it.

It’s fantastic. We’re, we’re living in that golden age now where we’re never missing out on what we want to watch. But there was also something unique when we all remember growing up where you kind of had your one feed. NBC channel seven, whatever it was, you had to watch what it was. And I’m sure it was the same at NBC.

Generally, it’s swimming for the first week and athletics for the second week. And if you saw a highlight of something else, you were lucky. Um, but it was that level of unification that you touch on Alison, because, you know, I think back to Australia’s most famous Olympic moment of all time, Cathy Freeman winning the 400 meters in Sydney, everyone in this country was sitting in front of a television that night watching that event, I don’t think anybody would be doing that.

In Australia today for anything, even if it was Emma McKeon going for her record, whatever number of gold he’s Katie Titmuss. it just, it wouldn’t happen on that level that it does. And it’s, yeah, it’s, it’s interesting. I can see, I can see what you’re saying. I maybe don’t necessarily agree with it. Uh, but I think that there is an argument there for it because you’re right.

That unification, that level of stopping the world. for events at the Olympics maybe isn’t quite there when it used to be.

Jill: And maybe we’ll see it come back because we’ve had two COVID games. So it’ll be interesting to see. The, the thing that you touched on, Ben, was you see whatever. The TV networks decide to air.

Ben Waterworth: Yeah.

Jill: So you all watched Kathy Freeman because Kathy Freeman was on, we watched, you know, Carl Lewis because Carl Lewis was deemed important for NBC. So even though you had smaller games, you still had so many sports that did not see the light of day because. TV producers didn’t think that they were worth showing or there wasn’t a good enough story for the, the country’s audience.

So I still think that the, the thing about having feeds and everybody segmented is that it’s a little easier to see sports that you may not have known existed. And especially for kids who want to get into sports who don’t like Soccer or don’t like basketball. And that’s all they see on a regular basis for them to see something like Taekwondo or fencing for the first time that could really spark something in them.

And it’s, it’s kind of nice that it’s a lot more accessible, but we have to, I mean, there’s always going to be a give and take, you have to give up something to get something. With it’s also great

Ben Waterworth: too, and I’m sure it’s the same there too. I, but let me, what Peacock, you have to pay a subscription fee, but correct me if I’m wrong when it comes to what NBC does during the Olympics, but here, you channel nine are about to do it.

All of the Olympic channels are actually free. So like if, if you, you download the app and if you want to watch dressage, you want to watch judo, you want to watch, you know, handball, particularly, you know, sports like that in Australia, which we’re never getting coverage of. You just download the channel nine app, sign up for an account and you can watch it for free.

I know when they first did this model, I think when nine last had the Olympics for London and Vancouver, there was maybe like a 10 fee that you paid for the month. Channel seven did that once where like you paid 10 instead of the free one and you got no ads or something like that, but I have always applauded and we’ve got laws in Australia that obviously keeps certain events on free to air TV.

So, you know, puts it, so you can’t put it behind a paywall, but I always think that makes it a lot more accessible because I look at say the, the men’s and women’s world cups, which, you know, particularly on the men’s side of things is. Arguably a bigger sporting event. You have to pay to watch all the matches.

They will only really show Australian games and the big games on free to air TV. So yeah, I don’t know. Do they, is that a thing that NBC do or do you have to pay peacock to watch all the sports if you want to watch them?

Alison: Ben, this is America.

Ben Waterworth: Okay. Well, there you go.

Alison: So the only thing that will be completely free is what is on the main NBC channel that goes over the airways.

But then there’s also the multiple NBC cable channels. And if you are not a cable subscriber, you cannot get. Those feeds for free.

Ben Waterworth: Interesting. Okay. Which, do you, I mean, because I know Colin talks a lot in Canada, and I don’t know if it’s just a case because he lives nearest to the border or if it’s all of Canada.

He gets the NBC feeds, so he can actually watch American coverage. If you’re near the border of Canada, can you get CBC and watch the Canadian coverage if you want to?

Jill: You might be able to. I know my husband learned how to count in French and Spanish from two different Sesame Streets growing up because he grew up in the Detroit area so he was close enough to a border.

Ben Waterworth: There you go. That’s educational. I watched the wrong Sesame Street, clearly. You know?

Alison: Yeah, I think it’s if your VPN reads it or your, your computer connection reads you as possibly at more than one place.

Ben Waterworth: Which I’m so fascinated, which. Obviously you were there in Beijing. I’ve never actually been out of Australia for an Olympic Games.

I was in New York for the Paralympic Games for Beijing. So it was fascinating to watch NBC coverage and see another country’s coverage of an Olympics. But this will be the first time when I’m in Paris that I won’t be in my own country to watch an Olympics. Obviously I’ll be out there watching them in person.

So I’m not really too concerned about watching them on TV. But there are going to be moments where I’m in the media center, or I’m going to be watching highlights or things like that. So, did you find that an interesting experience? Because Olympics are a very national sport. Um, coverage sport, right? Like you are very much designated the country you are in, what you are watching.

So was that an interesting experience being in another country to try and watch an Olympic games that wasn’t the United States.

Jill: It was, did you see much of the coverage? I don’t remember watching coverage on the Paralympics, but I, I do know that in And my hotel for the Olympics, they had TVs in the dining area.

Uh, so there would be basically the Chinese version of the morning show set up and they had the, they had a set just, it just looked exactly the same as what any, I think television station does, except for it was just in Chinese and they’d have, they’d, you know, replay a lot more Chinese athletes, but it wasn’t.

So different, but it was, so it was comforting, but also different in a way. And I remember during Rio, I happened to be in, , Winnipeg for a weekend. And so I got to see, see a little bit of the CBC coverage, which is awesome. And that’s when a Penny Alexiak was winning right. At that moment. So that was a lot of fun to see, but yeah, it’ll be interesting to see what they do in Paris.

Cause I always, I think of Paris being nonchalant, even though they’re supposed to be big sports fans, but I feel like they’re like, what was it? Oh, we don’t care about anything, especially these.

Ben Waterworth: We, we,

Jill: I’m glad

Alison: you did the bad friend. Yeah,

Ben Waterworth: I’m glad. Like, you know, we’re all thinking it, right.

So yeah, it’s, it’s, it’s fascinating, I think. And also, I guess. Being in another country that it’s not an English speaking country as well. uh, I have desires to be in LA for be it working or visiting, uh, in, in 2028 and of course, English speaking country, if you obviously come to Brisbane, it’s going to be a similar thing, but it’s, yeah, it’s that interesting level of being able to.

Because I remember being in Thailand watching a Grand Prix and that was Thai commentary. Um, and it was sort of, you know, watching a sport that I watch religiously and all of a sudden it’s like, Oh, this isn’t in English. it’s fascinating, but. I think sort of going through my role there through the AOC and everything, it’s sort of, you know, we’ve discussed options about how we’re going to be able to, because, you know, it’d be important for us to stay on track with the Australian athletes a lot of the times.

And even though we’re going to be working hand in hand with Channel 9 on the ground there in Paris. They probably just can’t plug and play into our computers and give us their feed. So there might be, yeah, as you say, VPNs and, and things like that. Cause I do that with, um, the chasing gold program that Peacock did, uh, which, uh, it was fantastic, really great perspective to, to get, education on some American athletes that I’m not overly familiar with.

Jill: Well, it’s interesting because NBC has really been trying to boost interest in the Olympics.

I I’m very curious to know like what people care about the general public, just because I work at home alone and I don’t talk to people very much. And so. Do people want to watch the Olympics? Do they care about the Olympics? And there’s just seems to be this impression of nobody watches the Olympics anymore and they don’t know what it is and they don’t care about it, which to me is very sad because the Olympics are amazing, but with two COVID games and, and everyone going through a pandemic.

And for us being two games in Asia, which was great for your time zone, but not great for us. so people, even with feeds, people, I think weren’t watching as much. And so there’s a lot of fear that, Oh, people just aren’t watching the Olympics anymore. And NBC paid billions of dollars for the rights to host them.

So they’re really trying to go all out with programming for and especially way ahead of time, getting people just. In the know with, trying to understand the athletes and the sports and parsing out who’s going to be commentating just their everything’s coming out in dribs and drabs to keep you engaged.

I think

Ben Waterworth: Snoop Dogg and, uh, Johnny weird. That’s all you want. Right? But, um, yeah, the thing that would fascinate me from to hear from your perspective of that, because. Again, all jokes aside about America wins everything. I do imagine that that does make it very tricky to stay on top of who to pay attention to because Australia goes into an Olympics and, you know, we generally are going to win somewhere between 12 and 16, 17 gold medals, you know, which is standard for us.

and for the most part, you know, these athletes by the end of it, because there’s only a handful of gold, you guys winning that in a day, pretty much. Of course, you’re going to focus on your, you know, Simone Biles, your, your Katie Ledecky, your Noah Lyles, these types of people. I get that. But then when you’re getting an athlete winning a gold in archery or judo, like how, how do you find people stay on top of you winning so many medals to be able to then get the attention on some of these athletes, particularly in the lesser sports?

Alison: Well, I think the sad thing for American athletes Um, sports coverage and spectators is that we are constantly told that they don’t win a gold medal. They don’t matter that’s the only achievement an American athlete can hang their hat on, which is so frustrating because so many of these athletes are incredible stories and whether they, you know, win gold, silver or bronze or just make it to the final, it could be such an amazing story.

But because, you know, the U. S. is win or bust. You lose a lot of that. And now I feel like it’s become win multiples. So if Katie Ledecky doesn’t break the record, then she failed. You know, what happened to Simone Biles in Tokyo was the biggest news because she failed. And the way that that was discussed also was very interesting.

How by pulling out the way she did, she was a traitor. She was un American. She was this, you know, evil enemy of the state, and that was very frustrating to, to watch. And I mean, I was frustrated with her for a total different level, but she didn’t deserve what she got. And I think a lot of these athletes who go in as gold medal favorites don’t deserve when they get the hate

Ben Waterworth: they

Alison: get when they lose.


Ben Waterworth: Yeah. A hundred percent agree. ,

Jill: and it’s hard because for a lot of the athletes, they don’t make a ton of money. So what we like are people who can do multiple games because we’ve remembered them from the last time. So it’s a lot easier to keep that story going than it is to concentrate on somebody who may be one and done, or is not going to, like Alison said, produce a gold medal.

That also makes it hard for some people and, and for athletes, there’s pressure of, well, how do I sustain a career? And as a pro athlete, when maybe my sport doesn’t have a ton of financial opportunities, how long do I keep doing this thing that I love? How long do I keep, does my body allow me to do it kind of thing?

And, do you get any kind of Olympic glory? from anyone. I mean, I think that’s what we’re all here for, you know, you and us, we all focus on a lot of athletes that don’t get a whole lot of coverage otherwise.

Ben Waterworth: And you’d find that too, that people would question you. Why do you do an Olympic podcast?

They’re only every four years, every two years, you know, and, and what do you talk about in the other periods? Well, what can’t you talk about? That’s, that’s exactly it. Are you finding too that given you’re hosting the next Olympics Is there almost a little bit more pressure on American athletes this time around because you’ve got this cycle in the lead up to LA where funding is going to be increased for sports, you know, all this pressure that’s going to come with the home Olympics because you want to go out there and be even more dominant than you are.

So that this is almost like a precursor for what to see in four years, because, you know, we’re going to see this in LA in four years time ahead of Brisbane. , it’s going to be, we’re hosting the next one, so we want to go out there and show that we’re doing good, and then four years later we’re going to do even better.

Alison: I think LA wants that, but I don’t know if they’re getting it. I’m not sure LA is getting the press it wants out of Paris. It feels like once Paris is done, then we’ll pay attention to LA. It feels very far away. It doesn’t feel like people are really talking about the, the LA Olympics much. So I’m not sure that the American athletes feel pressure.

I know some of them feel pressure in terms of they want to continue their careers. They want to stick around for LA. And if Team USA has a bad Olympics in Paris. Then I think we’re going to hear, Oh, this was a disaster. What happened? And now we’re hosting, we’ll be embarrassed. So I think once Paris is done, we’ll, we’ll hear good or bad.

Jill: We hear from the Paralympians that there’s not the pressure. There is the excitement that hopefully they’ll have more eyes on Paralympics and that, you in the lead up to Los Angeles, there’s going to be more and more attention paid to the Paralympic side of things. So that is also a hope for me.

And I don’t think there’s necessarily the same pressure to do well. I think that, that a lot of the pressure is self imposed because they’re high performance athletes who obviously want to do their best, but there’s a hope that the Paralympic movement can get a lot more visibility that they lost after.

I would say they’ve lost it after London.

Ben Waterworth: Yeah. Yeah. It’s, I mean, definitely I’ve seen like the time we’re recording this, it was a hundred days to go to the Paralympics and a lot of heavy press around that here in Australia, which is great to see. Um, because yeah, I guess they’ve always got the issue of being after the Olympics, right?

So therefore, you know, that attention is sometimes a little bit hard for people to, To put on that, when people are focusing on the Olympics ahead of that, I want to ask a question though. And the important question around LA 2028, the handover ceremony and the closing ceremony, because this is one of those things that I always have in the back of my mind, as much as I’m excited for an Olympic games, of course I am, but I always like to think, well, what are they going to do for the handover ceremony?

And. Often the handover ceremonies recently have been better than the actual opening ceremonies for that Olympics. So, uh, I’m thinking Paris, giant CGI flag on the Eiffel Tower, you know, thousands of French people celebrating on the streets. I’m thinking of the late great Shinji Abe coming up as Mario in, in the Rio, closing ceremony.

I’m going all the way back to Atlanta to inflatable kangaroos on bikes. What are we gonna get for LA handover ceremony in Paris?

Alison: Well, we’ll get another fabulous dress from Paris mayor, Ana Dalgo, that will be for sure. That woman knows how to put on an outfit for a ceremony. I don’t know. I hope it is not what we expect.

Like I hope they don’t go with the LA Hollywood angle. So you

Ben Waterworth: don’t just say, well, Leonardo DiCaprio is going to stand out there like, hi everyone, come to LA. Yeah.

Alison: Yeah. Like I hope they go with. Historic 32, 84. We’re keeping that connection because Paris 24 to 24, we have that Centennial. So I’m hoping a little bit, a little bit of history.

I’m hoping.

Ben Waterworth: I like that. I don’t know, Jill, if you have any doubt on that, do you have any ideas, or?

Jill: I, I’m,

it would be interesting if Sand the Eagle made an appearance. He might. That’s a good point. He might show up. you know, I kind of wonder if they’re going to go the surfing, sand, sun, beach angle to L. A.

Ben Waterworth: California, right?

Jill: Right, right, right. That element, or, I don’t know, I don’t know, they’ll bring some cars on the stadium.

Ben Waterworth: It’s so, like, this is what we’ve talked about recently, that. It’s been so long since you guys have had an Olympics, winter or summer. Like it’s generally every decade you have at least one Olympics.

I mean, this will be what, 26 years between Salt Lake and LA and 32 years since summer Olympics. So it’s so many people have grown up in the States without witnessing an Olympics. So I’m just so intrigued to see it. And I mean, LA 84 was such a, an influential games for the Olympics that yeah, I don’t think you can’t not rely on that.

History and just everything on that. I mean, I, I can’t not think they’re going to do something in Hollywood. I know that’s disappointing, Alison, but like, I mean, it’s, it’s LA, like, I mean, what do you think of when you think of LA it’s it’s Hollywood, right? So there’s going to be, there has to be at least one.

Actor, either in a video or the se I don’t know, like, I can’t not imagine that Leo’s gonna show up or Meryl Streep or someone, right? Has to be. Who would be your choice? He had to choose a Hollywood actor.

Jill: Clooney. I’d take

Ben Waterworth: Clooney. Clooney, yes. Well, he’s about to do Broadway, so he might be busy.


Jill: yeah,

Alison: that’s right.

Ben Waterworth: You know, but Clooney would be a good one. Come on, Bob Clooney. I’m trying

Alison: to think, are there any, you know, we had the old days where all the athletes would become actors. Do we have anyone floating around who’s like an Olympian?

Ben Waterworth: I can’t think of anyone at the top of my head, no. No, I can’t,

Jill: not at the top of my head.

Ben Waterworth: I’d be, I’d be, I mean, I know he didn’t, wasn’t an athlete, but he’d dance a lot. Kevin Bacon. That’s just my choice. Terry Crews.

Jill: Yeah.

Ben Waterworth: True. I was going to say Kiefer Sutherland, but he’s Canadian. So that doesn’t work. Um,

Jill: Matt Damon, just call Matt Damon out.

Ben Waterworth: Yeah. Julia Roberts. Pro Julia Roberts. Probably

Jill: someone

Alison: though, who’s native to California.

Ben Waterworth: Yeah. We gotta go. Take a pic, right? Throw a stone. Put them on a surfboard. Second Nepo baby reference. Can I actually just also ask too, just on the opening ceremony, I know we sort of touched on the, Sen idea, I believe last time, but what are your thoughts now that we’re this close?

and also I’m putting it out there, Cauldron, top of the Eiffel Tower. Don’t know if they can make it happen, but. I’m sure they’ve asked the question, that should be the flame. That’s just my opinion. I mean, are we excited for this idea now that we are so close to it and we’re all going to be there in Paris, whether we get to see a boat float down the scene or not, Oh, there’s America, there’s Australia.

Jill: I am very hopeful that it will come off and that the plan A will work. Very, very hopeful about this knocking on all of the wood. uh, it would be amazing and. The only time they’re ever, ever going to pull that off because no, nobody else is going to try to do that. they may think about it, but when they hear the stories of, Oh my gosh, this is what happened.

And this is how hard it was to pull it off. and nobody will ever, ever want to attempt that again.

Ben Waterworth: I don’t know, Jill, Brisbane, we don’t have a stadium, they might not have a choice. That’s right. You might have to put it down the Brisbane River. You

Jill: might have to put everything on the river.

Ben Waterworth: Brisbane River’s a nice river, so, you know.

It is a nice

Alison: river. Yeah. So, this, this is a perfect chance for me to ask you, Ben, in terms of how it plays in Australia. Certainly in American conservative media, it’s all terrorist all the time. That the, that Paris is going to be this huge risk in terms of the safety of American athletes. Are you hearing that as well?

Ben Waterworth: Not, not a lot, to be honest. I mean, there are definitely new stories and there’s, there’s questioning on it, but I haven’t seen a lot of that here. I’ve spoken to people who are concerned. I’ve spoken to people who have been to Paris recently and are going, how are they even prepared? They’re hosting an Olympics in a couple of months, but this is the first Olympics I can remember since London, maybe that there hasn’t been a lot of talk on, Oh, they’re not ready.

Oh, it’s not going to be safe. No, at least in the media, I haven’t, but again, talking to people and being in a few meetings here and there, yes, there is concern, but, uh, I, I haven’t heard much outside of, so no. I think we’re just all focused on, again, the new story that I saw during the week, which is very Australian, was two former Olympic athletes who are on the Channel 9 commentary team don’t like each other.

So there’s already tension in the commentary box for the Olympics. so that was the new story that I saw during the week around the Olympics. So, it’s very Australian news.

Alison: Well, Jill and I got a little chippy before we started recording. So it wasn’t us. We’ll just put it out there. Yeah, I didn’t

Ben Waterworth: want to mention that.

That’s just why Colin’s not here. We had a big blue the other day. We were just like, nah. He threw his And

Alison: he chairs thrown again.

Ben Waterworth: I just don’t go near him with chairs, like if I’m in a room and there’s a chair in the room with him, not entering it, you know, I’ve already got one child now with Cherry, like I don’t need another one.

It’s hard to look after Cherry. He’s a diva. I find it interesting, I think, though, because, obviously Brisbane still does hit the news here a little bit. And so a lot of people are talking that. And the interesting thing with that is that there’s obviously going to be an election in Queensland later this year, and more than likely there will be a new government in Queensland later this year.

So then there’s going to be questions around that. , so I’m very intrigued because I know on the ground in Paris, there’s going to be a bit of a Brisbane 2032 delegation, as you would expect. So yeah, it’s, that’s to me where the coverage, cause before Tokyo, three years ago, that’s when it was announced, right?

That’s, it was excitement. It was what, two days, three days before the opening ceremony. It was excitement. We’ve got the Olympics again. Yay. And oh, it’s, it’s 11 years away. We’ve got so much time. I look at it now. Has anything happened in the last three years? I don’t think so. They launched a website with a flyover video this week.

Cool. Yeah. so three years on from the announcement, I’m questioning it myself now too.

Jill: Well, do you think it’s too soon to be announcing games? Should they go back to seven years or are we getting into this whole, Oh, we’ve got the commission that selects and then puts a, you know, then they recommend and the executive board votes and then the membership rubber stamps that, but it just felt like Brisbane got pushed through so that we can get stuff locked into place on the IOC side and not necessarily worry about like how much that.

impacts the host cities and Brisbane is seeing just lots of turmoil with the whole stadium debacle.

Ben Waterworth: Yeah. Thanks John Coates for getting us the Olympics and then basically screwing us over with the venues.

Jill: That was fabulous.

Ben Waterworth: Yes. Yes. I look, I I’m a traditionalist Jew and I’m sure you and Alison are both the same.

I loved the seven year announcement. I loved the election campaign. I love the big ceremony where you had the rounds of knocking cities out and It was just exciting and fun, and they’re never going to do that again. so on that level, yes, I think they should go back to it, but I see why they do it. I’m not completely opposed to them giving a longer turnaround for it because it maybe would help cities that aren’t Paris, that aren’t LA, that aren’t these big global world cities prepare.

So, you know, looking ahead to 2036, if you’re, if you’re going to India or Egypt. You know, Istanbul, you know, it’s going to give them a lot more time to, you would think, get their ducks in a row having said that around Brisbane. But, I think it does just adds your pressure to it in a way, because Brisbane gets this bid and wins it based on legacy venues and this, and this is going to happen, this is going to happen.

But I think what we’re seeing here is just, just stupid decisions that are being made, just like last minute decisions have been making, because I think a wider issue when it comes to Brisbane is, is. It’s the third biggest city in Australia, but it’s maybe got some of the, the worst stadiums in our country.

Like the Gabba is a great venue. I’ve been to many, um, uh, football match there. I’ve been there. It’s in a great location. It needs an update, not just cause of an Olympics. This is a venue that was crying out for an update before the Olympics were even on the radar. And that’s an issue. And outside of that, Brisbane doesn’t really have.

a stadium and they’ve got Suncorp, uh, Lang Park, whatever you want to call it. That’s a rectangular venue, which for Australia is not fantastic because we play cricket, um, you know, we play Australian football, which, you know, we, we need kind of a, a multi purpose venue that’s round in a way that can accommodate these.

So I think Brisbane has got a lot more problems outside of just having an Olympics because. You know, I’m from Tasmania, I’m from Hobart. We just got given a license for an Australian football team. They’re about to build a brand new stadium. So we’re going to have a more advanced stadium in Hobart, uh, a city of 250, 000, versus a city of what, 3 million people, which is the third largest city in Australia hosting an Olympic Games.

So, yeah, it’s, it’s a long winded way of saying that I see the positives of having a cycle where you’re giving a city 12 years. Have an actual plan in place to do it. And I have the most. Utmost respect for John Coates for what he’s done for Olympics in Australia, but he went so far to get us the Olympics again, maybe a little too far, depending on what you believe.

But then to all of a sudden be the person who earlier this year just goes, Hey, so about those stadiums. Yeah, nah, not going to work. Let’s do something different. And then just throw it into turmoil. Like it’s just, it’s embarrassing. And it’s just, I really hope that they fix this because it needs to be something done.

To make these games a spectacle, like we put on for Sydney. So yeah.

Jill: Yeah. And, and I will say, I, I liked the fact that I, the seven year cycle seemed to be working. What I, what I like about the new commission system is that we don’t have the beauty pageant because I think the beauty pageant just was so expensive with so many cities spending a lot of money on nothing, but the, The positive of having 12 years to put together games is that you could, you have more time for all those infrastructure projects, like Brisbane really needs some public transportation up and down the Gold Coast there.

And, and things like when we were looking at Atlanta 1996, uh, in depth, we talked with some people who said, look, we, we built miles and miles of sidewalks and put in all these trees. And that’s all stuff that the Olympics kind of. having that deadline and having that event that the world was coming to really got us kicked our butts into gear and made us do something.

Whereas the other, the problem becomes when every developer goes, Oh, this is an ATM. I can build a big stadium and make a lot of money on that versus the stuff that needs to be done. I don’t know. It’s, it’s just really frustrating.

Ben Waterworth: It’s never going to be perfect. There’s never going to be a perfect system because I think also issues around, uh, you know, an advisory board and a recommended city.

We’re going to go to the, you know, the conversation phase is there’s not enough, like, we don’t know the process. So that’s where you question it a little bit more. Like, you know, that’s where the questions around John Coates and everything around Brisbane come from it. You know what I mean? And the dialogue phase, like.

Kind of what we’re seeing with the winter games at the moment too. It’s sort of, you know, it’s great that we’ve got two cities in the pipeline and everything, but it’s kind of like, well, what’s happening, why are other cities kind of not even being invited to a conversation? Um, but yeah, I think, you know, one thing I’ve learned since living in Sydney is that my experience of coming here, when you would talk about the Olympics, so you’d go out to Homebush and everything along those lines is a lot of people would say like, Oh, it’s a bit of a white elephant, you know, it’s too far out of the city.

It doesn’t get used enough. you know, it hasn’t stood the test of time, but since I’ve lived here, I’ve, I’ve found that the opposite because. You know, I go out to that area of Homebush quite a bit for events, you know, the arena there is, you know, if you want to watch basketball concerts, , the Kudos Bank arena, you know, that’s the indoor venue where you go and watch it.

Stadium Australia right next door, you know, during the women’s world cup, it was, it was absolutely perfect. You still have big games there. Don’t really want to mention it, but like when you had the Taylor Swift concert there the other month, like, you know, that’s where you have it. It’s the second largest stadium in Australia.

So it, it serves its purpose. And without the Olympics, Sydney would have been lacking on stadiums itself. This is a city not sure on stadiums. And Sydney is a very big city where they’re all spread out. So it depends on where I go to an event, which stadium I go to, which can be frustrating. Melbourne, much better.

The stadiums are all very close and all very well put together. Uh, I’m very much pro Melbourne, but it, it is something now that when you talk to people and you see what has been the lasting legacy of the Olympics in Sydney, the transportation here in Sydney is, is second to none. It’s such an easy city to navigate for public transport.

you know, talking about that area of home, which that was just an abattoir. It was a nothing area. Now , it’s a developed area. Like it’s just, it’s a area where people want to live and everything along those lines. So, I lived in Brisbane. It, it’s a great city. Uh, you know, I was obviously there for the Gold Coast Commonwealth games and I saw what that did for that area.

And the beauty of Brisbane and the Gold Coast is it’s kind of all merging into one. You never say that to somebody in Brisbane that you’re basically the same as the Gold Coast. They get very offended, but it is the same place. I’m sorry. Gold Coast does have a few more beaches and a few more bogans, but it’s what the Commonwealth games did.

Clearly show that that area can host an Olympic games. I have no question in my mind that Brisbane will host a fantastic Olympic games. It’s a great city. It’s a great place to have that. I just hope they can get their bleep together to make sure that it does go together because you know, we all saw Sydney and we know what we can do on that level.

So yeah.

Alison: I have a question, so we’ve already selected our historic Olympics for next year, for 2025, and it is Sydney, so we’re going to be having lots of Sydney conversations next year, but you said the Gold Coast had what?

Ben Waterworth: Bogans. Bogans? Don’t know what a bogan is? It’s like an Australian redneck, basically.

Nice, nicest way of putting it, essentially. Yeah.

Alison: Now I’m ready for Brisbane.

Ben Waterworth: You’re welcome. You’re welcome. There you go. Brisbane, not so much, but like, again, I actually like the Gold Coast. It’s a, it’s a great place to go. But, um, you had the, the district there, Surfers Paradise, which if you ever see the postcards with the tall skyscrapers, you’ve got the, what they call the meter maids, like the girls in the bikinis and then the beach blonde hair surf guys.

It’s. It’s a bit trashy though at night when it comes to like the uh, the nightlife. It’s sort of, well we have schoolies there so all the uh, you know, the high school kids who have graduated go there and have a big, you know, get drunk on the beach and not a good reputation at that time of year but um, yeah.

You know, maybe something like, uh, I don’t know, like a spring break, like a Palm Beach kind of area. You know what I mean? Like it, it, it’s a great area, but can have a bit of a dodgy reputation at certain points. that’s why Brisbane don’t really like to say they’re part of the same place. Because they are technically two cities, but it’s just kind of blending into one.

So, yeah. But I, Sydney, I’m excited for that. I, I look forward to here. I might know some people that, uh, can talk to you about that.

Jill: Sign us up.

Ben Waterworth: Shook for Stan.

What’s how are they looking for Paris in terms of other athletes? Are they winning lots of gold? It’s going to be a successful games for them.

Jill: It will be. Well, we have some people going, like we said, be girl. Sonny Choi is going, , race Walker, Evan Dunphy from Canada. He is going, right. He’s going to be, , he’ll be in two events, so that will be very cool.

, Who else? Because a lot of it is now we’re waiting for some trials to happen.

Alison: Yeah. So all our athletics people, we have to wait. , and I’m already thinking like Paralympians, I’m like, Oh wait, the Paralympians have qualified, you know, Matt Stutzman and, and some of the others. So I think it’s going to be good.

I think we’re going to do better than Tokyo just because we have a larger team going this year.

Ben Waterworth: That’s good.

Alison: I don’t know where we’ll rank on the country table.

Ben Waterworth: I’d be intrigued. We should do a comparison because like we, we, we don’t call ourselves anything. We, I don’t know, Cherry Stan, I have no idea, but we’re just team off the podium.

And yeah, we, we obviously have a pretty bad habit on this show of a lot of guests coming on and they’re not doing too well in the Olympics afterwards, but I literally, have outside of Jack Wallace and the Paralympics have never had one of my guests go on to win a gold medal. So I’m, I’m the curse one.

But we have interviewed a lot of athletes who are going to Paris and, uh, you know, we’ve got Jess Fox on the books now. So I’m, I’m hopeful that maybe my, my gold medal drought will be broken. So, um, yeah, it’ll be interesting to see the medal tally.

Alison: Before Beijing, we had a stretch where all of our Beijing athletes were getting hurt and or sick.

Mm. And Jill and I would just get on a call and I don’t want to cry. I mean, it was because we, I get very attached and I’ve said this a million times. I do,

Ben Waterworth: don’t you? You get very attached to your guests and their performances.

Alison: I do. And then we continue to watch them. Yeah. And sometimes we literally, now at the Team USA Summit, we’ve met their parents and like, we watch their social media.

And. You know, Josh Williamson, who is Shook Lasani number one, got COVID before BJ. He did actually get there, thankfully, but there was a lot of that. So thankfully, so far, we haven’t had a lot of that. I don’t want to jinx us because we’ve still got, you know, a month and a half, two months to go. So let’s just, as long as they get there, that’s, I just want them to get there.

Ben Waterworth: Do you have an athlete that You got on the show that maybe then went on to get a medal or something that kind of was expected, uh, unexpected. And then they’re kind of like, almost like your baby. Like there, there’s a one that you just got. We have that with, um, Ali Lutid and Abigail Straight, two Canadian ski jumpers who we got on, months before Beijing, they were part of the bronze medal team that got, Canada’s first ever ski jumping medal.

And particularly, um, Ali Lutid has gone on to win world championship medal. Now she’s like one of the best ski jumpers in the world. And we went from having her on the show with barely any listens and nobody knew who she was to now probably almost downloaded interview and viewed interview on YouTube and, and just, she’s a big deal now.

So do you have like athletes that you’ve had that have gone on to things that maybe before they went on to things, they will only known as a keep the flame alive guest?

Alison: I mean, the first one that I think of is Erin Jackson. she’s a speed skater and we talked to her when she was just making, she surprisingly qualified for PyeongChang and we talked to her at that time and she had just transitioned from being an inline skater to an ice skater.

And then at Beijing, after she won her gold medal, she was everywhere. So that’s probably the first one that comes to mind , as kind of fun. We’ve watched you since you were little.

Ben Waterworth: You know, like when you have like a band or like a singer that, you know, you’ve always liked and then all of a sudden they become like huge, but you you’re that person’s like, I liked you from the beginning.

I feel that way. Like when you, you get very attached to your guests on your show, but particularly when they are. Um, you know, starting out or something, and then they go on to that success. It’s not taking away from when you get your Johnny Weirs on or, you know, people like that on.

It’s, it’s great to get, you know, highly successful people on like that, but it’s just, there’s something different when you’re there from the beginning. Right.

Alison: . Agreed. It’s fun. It’s fun just watching them. and I’m sure you’ve had this experience when you continue to interact with them on social media and they respond to you.

Yeah. Yeah. And I think I said this the last time we were on the show. This is never what I thought I’d be doing at this point. And I am so lucky to get to do this and talk to these amazing people and, and meet some Australian broadcaster that I never would have gotten to meet and, you know, and spending two months in Paris and the Olympics and Paralympics have done this.

So it’s not just the athletes to get that get to do this amazing stuff. You know, and meet these amazing people, we, we get to do this too. And that’s, we’re so lucky. And we definitely

Ben Waterworth: are. And, and it’s also, I think the community that, you know, with the Olympic podcasting, because again, it’s, I’m sure you get it as well.

It’s a question about like, Oh, I didn’t know there was an Olympics podcast. So that’s the thing. And obviously we’re in that period right now where All of a sudden, a lot of people are suddenly doing Olympic podcasts. Aren’t they? Like a lot of the big networks are doing them, the newspapers, you know, and that sort of stuff.

And we all know deep down that they’re going to disappear after Paris. We’re not worried, but it’s, it is that level of that community that, you know, I do a lot of podcasts. I’m involved in a lot of different fan communities. You know, the Olympics community is it’s, it’s never toxic. It’s, it’s, Engaging you, you talk to people of all ages, of all races, of all countries, of all, you know, backgrounds. It’s, it’s the most diverse, interesting of all of the fan communities that I’m involved in with my podcast. And it’s just, it’s such a great community because again, as you say, I was like, meet great broadcasters who do this and we can come together and do.

Uh, collaboration and I’m not gonna be able to do that in some other podcast, you know, cause it’s too, the rivalry is too strong, you know, all know your competitor. So yeah. And we are very lucky. I know we talked about this last time, but to be able to sit here and, and, and talk to Olympians, we, you know, I sure, just like you, you look up to these people when you’re growing up, these are insane athletes and yet they’re just normal people, you know, and you can send them a message and say like, Oh, congratulations on your world cup medal.

And they just reply back. Thanks. You know, it’s just like, cool, it’s pretty cool.

Jill: Ben. Thank you so much for getting back together. We’re sorry Colin couldn’t be here for the fun, but I do But I’m so excited that we’ll get to meet you in person in Paris and We’ll hopefully have some kind of weird collaboration thing that we can do there as well

Ben Waterworth: I, I 100 percent expect we will, and it’s such a pleasure to do this.

We’ve been talking about this for a little bit and obviously perfect timing to do this. We will do it again, be it also in Paris, but also other ones. If we come up with an idea that I think we came up with last time that we still can’t remember what it was, we’ll do something. But no, it’s, it’s a pleasure and, and really looking forward to meeting you and seeing your coverage there, uh, Paralympics where we’re only there for the Olympics, but.

It’s, uh, yeah, always a pleasure. Keep up the great work. And I also look forward to trading a cherry pin for a Shukla stan pin.

Jill: You got it. You got it. All right. Thank you so much, Ben. Appreciate it.

Thank you so much, Ben. You can find Off the Podium on the podcast app you’re using right now, and they are at Off the Podium Pod on social.

Tell a Friend about the Show!

Alison: So we’ve got some amazing interviews coming up and we want to share it with the world. So listeners, we want to get the word out as we’re coming up to Paris 2024, share the show with a friend, put it on your socials, do a review. All those things are such a great way to share the show, help us out and get more people as citizens of Shakhtarstan.

Jill: Definitely. And also if you subscribe to any podcast recommendation newsletters or any newsletters about podcasting or even any fun newsletters in general, that would maybe talk about podcasts to listen to in the run up to Paris or during Paris, let them know as well because they will, be interested, intrigued, and maybe feature the show in their newsletter.

Alison: So you can send the link flamealivepod. com.

Paris 2024 News

Jill: Oh,

that’s okay. It’s okay that you are not ready. I feel not ready. I feel considerably not ready and we still have a few weeks to go. I can only imagine what they feel like in Paris. And I

Alison: gotta say, I think I just did that pronunciation like it was Italian. I will be so ready for Milan. Milan, my brain. Wants to say everything in French like it’s Italian.

Jill: . Okay. We have a podium. This is using the Eiffel Tower as inspiration. So these podiums look to be gray and the front has a lot of what looks like the, , metal Around the bottom of the Eiffel Tower where the arches are, that leads up to the just above the base kind of thing.

So, , it’s got that kind of intricate detail. Right now they’re gray colored, so maybe they will be gray in Paris and the sides of each tier say Paris 2024. And they’re also angled. So it kind of, gives. the aesthetic of pointing toward the center of the podium, toward the gold medal.

The gold medalist becomes the top of the Eiffel

Alison: Tower.

Jill: Exactly. In this structure. Exactly.

Alison: Well, it’s, it’s a great little design. Disappointing in the color. If it really does stay gray. Cause they have such fantastic colors as part of this game. Why is this not pink? I

Jill: don’t know or blue or something because it, it just, it looks a little flat to me, but maybe in the actual execution, it’ll look different.

The Paralympic one is a one level thing with it. Okay. So the Paralympic podium is slightly different. It also has the, the front of the podium also has those nods to the Eiffel tower, but it is a one level podium. The front of the podium, however, has a raised section in the middle. So it has the appearance of a gold medalist and, A whole podium has a wheelchair ramp attached to it.

So it’s a wider podium front to back and, , that can accommodate more wheelchairs. So you’ve basically

Alison: made it as they’ve done throughout. Paris 2024 matching Olympics and Paralympic design and as, as close as possible taking that same decide and just making it wheelchair accessible. Fantastic. Exactly.

Jill: We have some news about the official film of Paris 2024. This will be directed by Emmy winning brothers, Jules and Gideon, No day, who do you, did you watch their documentary about nine 11? I don’t watch any documentaries. I’m sorry. I actually, I realized that you probably didn’t know this.

listeners, if you have not seen their documentary about nine 11, particularly if you were too young or not born when nine 11 happened, it is so amazing. I got sucked into watching it again last night and I just. you can’t watch it because it’s just, it’s way too close to you and your, your family.

But they had been doing a documentary about, fire men who were on probation, the probes, and they happened to be with ladder number one in New York. So they were already working on a documentary and the call comes in for nine 11. One of them, they split up because one of them’s following the probie and the other one was with the battalion, the chief.

And he goes, can I come with you? Cause nobody really knew what happened when the first plane hit. And the chief goes, yeah, just stick with me. So he is in the building during the whole thing. And it’s just, it’s, it’s. Absolutely devastating. It’s, it’s a must see documentary movie.

They also did a Notre Dame, Our Lady of Paris and November 13th attack on Paris. So this is not going to be your typical Olympic recap film. Clearly, um, they’re actually going to try to get away from the disaster stuff that they’re known for. So, , it’s going to be the story of how Paris, the city and France, the country came together to host the games.

So they’re going to have like this fly on the wall style documentary again, uh, telling stories of people behind the scenes. Like we like to do and athletes. I’m wondering, Hey. Go Day Brothers, er, No Day Brothers, if you listen to the show. Bonjour. We will talk to you later. the final product they’re putting together will be a 90 minute feature and then a five part television series that will be 52 minutes long.

Episodes each, the series is going to air on France television, and they’re going to have three episodes before the Olympics and two after the closing ceremonies. So get your VPNs ready, man. Find this. , so they are currently shooting now, they started shooting about a hundred days out and they’re just.

Yeah. So much work is going into this movie. It’s going to be fascinating. I’m really excited. And that’s

Alison: a super, super fast turnaround for them. So this is, this is really different.

Jill: It is very different. And for the 90 minute feature, It sounds like they’ll also have access to all of the OBS feeds. So yes, there will be sports elements of it because I don’t think you can have a, a documentary about the games without featuring the sports, but they’re really going to a huge effort to tell more of the story.

And, uh, the IOC was on board with this and really was looking for a different way to To showcase how they put together games and, I think this is the perfect team to do this. Speaking of movies, The Olympic Torch took a detour to Cannes Film

Alison: Festival. I saw that. What, what a great way to, I mean, that’s what you want the torch relay to be, right? To, to encompass all the things that people know the country for. So go to Cannes, you know, go up the steps, don’t set them on fire, but just make that appearance as part of the French culture.

I mean, it’s so perfect.

Jill: But the flame had a job this time. It was there to accompany the premiere of Mikael Gamrazini’s documentary, Olympique, l’Affance des Jeux. this movie features three generations of French athletes, aged 20 to 100, discussing France’s special and unique relationship with the Olympics.

And it also features many Paralympic champions as well. And this is just like a side note. Job for the the flame because it’s going to go back to con on for the real leg of the relay on june 18th, and we found that out through variety. Did I? Distinctly remember you asking what barbies would be out for the olympics.

Alison: did I I can’t remember. I think we we I did this article, for the newsletter originally when the Barbie movie came out and the history of Olympic Barbies. And it goes back to the seventies and Barbie has had, has been an Olympian many times in many sports. And then they came out with the Shiro line, where it was famous women as Barbies.

Christy Yamaguchi came out most recently, but now thank you, Mattel. We’ve got a whole list of Uh, Olympians from many countries, many sports who are going to be Barbies. And I got to be honest, Barbie, podcaster Barbie, I’m here,

Jill: right? I’m with you on that. Barbie has announced nine dolls to honor trailblazing athletes from around the world.

These include Venus Williams, tennis player, Christine Sinclair, Canadian soccer player, Mary Fowler, Australian soccer player or football. If you prefer to call it that Estelle, mostly from France, who is a boxer, Alexa Moreno from Mexico. She’s a gymnast, Rebecca Andraja, a Brazilian gymnast, Susana Rodriguez, a span from Spain.

And she’s a para triathlete and Federica Pellegrini, an Italian swimmer and Eva Svodoba, a sprinter on the track from Poland. So we will have a link to the show or link in the show notes for where you can see what these Barbies will look like.


Welcome to Shook Fla Stan. This is the time of the show where we check in with our team, Keep the Flame Alive. These are past guests and listeners of the show who make up our citizenship of Shook Fla Stan, our very own country.

Alison: Noelle Malkamaki defended her para shot put title at the Para Athletics World Championships in Kobe, Japan.

Jill: I was so excited because I knew this was happening. We put up a lightning round on our blog on our website with Noelle and I’m so thrilled for her. Karate athlete Tom Scott is competing at the Pan American Championships in Uruguay.

Alison: Millie Tapper won the Australian Table Tennis Olympic Qualification Tournament, so she will officially be at her third Olympics in Paris.

Jill: And Ali Hugben and Blythe Lawrence are covering the Rhythmic Gymnastics European Championships in Budapest. So if you’re watching on feeds, you might hear some familiar voices. And that is going to do it for this episode

hey, if you’re going to Paris, let us know what you’re doing because we’re starting to get some messages from some of you and letting us know your plans. And we would love to figure out when we could meet up or run into you. And, uh, say hello in person.

Alison: You can find us on X YouTube and Instagram at flame alive pod.

Send us an email at flame alive pod at gmail. com. Call or text us at 2 0 8 3 5 2 6 3 4 8. That’s 2 0 8 flame it chat with us and other fans on our Facebook group. And share your Paris plans, keep the flame alive podcast, and sign up for our weekly newsletter with even more Olympic and Paralympic info at our website, flamealivepod.


Jill: on Monday. It is Memorial day here in the U S. So we are going to put together a little medley of para athlete interviews that we did at the media summit. Uh, across a wide variety of sports. So be sure to tune in for that. We had some really fun conversations about a lot of different things and you won’t want to miss it.

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