Kenny Bednarek stands in front of a Team USA backdrop.

Olympian Kenny Bednarek on the 200m

Release Date: May 30, 2024

Category: Podcast | Athletics

We love digging into the minutiae of sports–see our tight 45 minutes on athletics relay baton handoffs–so when Olympian Kenny Bednarek sat down with us at the Team USA Media Summit, we were gung ho to talk sprint starts with him. We only got a few minutes with Kenny at the summit, but he had time for a longer interview, which we bring to you here.

Kenny, also known as Kung Fu Kenny on the track, won silver in the 200m in Tokyo and earlier this month, he was part of the squad that won the World Athletics Relay Championships, qualifying Team USA for the men’s 4x100m in Paris. Last weekend, Kenny won the 200m at the Prefontaine Classic. He’s known as Kung Fu Kenny because he wears a specialized headband (we learn more about those) and subscribes to a certain way of life (which we also discuss).

Check out Kenny’s silver medal race:

And his amazing second leg of the World Athletic Relays earlier this year:

And don’t forget his win at the Prefontaine Classic:

Follow Kenny on Insta, X, YouTube, Facebook and TikTok!

The latest news from Paris 2024 has a transport focus, including shuttles to remote venues and updates on Uber policies during the Games. Plus, more tickets will drop every Thursday at 10am Paris time until the Games start. Also, Casa Columbia joins the mix of hospitality houses.

Still on the fence about going to the Games? With the influx of tickets, and this news about hotel prices dropping, maybe they’ll get to be within budget!

In TKFLASTAN news, we hear from:

 

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


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 Do not quote from the transcript; use the audio as the record of note.

342-Olympian Kenny Bednarek

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

Alison: I am in a mood today because I actually, and not a bad mood, I was listening back to our Patreon show.

And I came up with a great idea for LA, and I hate to say this because it was us, I was laughing so hard listening to myself that it was embarrassing. So, if you really, really want to laugh, become a patron, please, because you, you want to hear it. Because It was like, I wasn’t listening to us. I was laughing so hard.

Jill: that patron episode reminds me of your bathroom story in Beijing, which I will occasionally go back and listen to and laugh and laugh and laugh. I can’t stop laughing over that one. So yes. And then you came up with a visual to go with it that made me laugh even more.

Alison: I did. And I’m going to post that visual today on, on Instagram so that you even get Bigger tease on this one because we make the Olympics and Paralympics fun.

Let’s yes, yes,

Jill: yes. And you know, speaking of weird, wacky fun that we have last week, we were talking about Toyota ending its top sponsorship and listener David messaged me on an X and goes, what’s going to happen to Mike and Maya immediately. I appreciate the concern, David, and I had to think about it for a bit and I thought, well, If they’re still together, which hopefully they are, you know, maybe they are, maybe they aren’t, young love.

but I would hope that Mike is no longer in need of the robot. It was a broken leg.

Alison: It wasn’t a

Jill: permanent injury. Right. So he should be able to be robot free hopefully by now. So. We’ll see.

Alison: And Maya’s dad will drive him over in what was it, the, the other truck that he was in that commercial? Chevy? Was that the

Jill: Chevy Silverado?

Okay.

But anyway. Uh, yeah. Good times. Good times. I cannot wait to see what we come up with in Paris. Paris, I hope you’re ready for us. Oh,

Kenny Bednarek Interview

Jill: today, oh my gosh, I am so excited that we can call this person a TKFLASTANI today we’re talking with American sprinter, Kenny Bednarik. Kenny won silver in the 200 meters in Tokyo. And earlier this month, he was part of the squad that won the World Athletics relay championships qualifying team USA for the men’s four by 100 meters in Paris, not on the team yet.

But he got the quota spot for them. And last weekend, Kenny won the 200 meters at the Prefontaine classic. And he also won at the Wanda league in Doha earlier this year, too. He is on a tear. This is so exciting. We talked, we met him at the Media Summit and we talked with him longer. Take a listen to our interview with Kung Fu Kenny. Kenny McNarik, thank you so much for joining us. Okay. We have done baton handoffs and I’m really curious about track starts. What makes a good start? Let’s break us, let’s break it down. So when you come out onto the field, what happens?

Kenny Bednarek: Oh, I mean, you always have to get ready in your starting blocks and, I guess for a prime example, one of the best starters that people could see today is Christian Coleman and he like comes out like a bullet. But when I tend to get on the blocks, my main focus is, you know, I get my steps in, set my blocks, and then once they say they’re set, my sole focus is just pushing forward because a lot of people don’t push forward, they tend to like go upward.

Instead of going forward. And if you’re going up when you start the block, you’re already losing time because you know, milliseconds matter. so for good starting blocks is get your set position. Once it goes and goes off, you go forward, get a forward motion and. I don’t know if I can really show with my hands, but what the goal is in order to push, forward is to have your angles low.

You don’t want to have a lot of airtime. So a lot of people tend to like to cycle their legs all the way back behind their butt. But what you tend to want to see is kind of this motion. Like you, you push forward and then you’re supposed to like, look like you’re in a drive, so you want to have a good drive phase.

You don’t want to have that back, that backward motion where you’re, you’re butt kicking, because all that is going to take, you know, when you have your, when you have your legs going all the way to the back of your butt, the time it’s going to take for your, your knee to hip angles to get up. It’s going to take forever.

So, what my coach Dennis usually says is. knee to hip, knee to hip, knee to hip when I get out of the block. So that’s just knee parallel to the hip and that’s all your, that’s your sole focus getting out of the block. So work on your drive phase to like 30 to 40 meters and then you stand straight up and then you start running.

in a way, it’s kind of like a, a buildup out of the block starts.

Alison: Okay. Sprinters tend to be tall. So I’m thinking knee to hip. Where is that? That’s a lot of space. To get knee to hip height, is there, so where is that power coming from?

Kenny Bednarek: Well, I would say the power’s coming from, because of the way I’ve started thinking about it, it’s like if I just focus on getting my knee up, you know, gravity’s automatically gonna bring it down.

So you gotta think of your body as a slingshot. So you, as soon as you bring it, as soon as you bring your knee up, it’s automatically gonna go down unless you’re controlling it to go, you know, down or, or whatever. So when I’m sprinting, I just like. What I do is certain reps, not even just out of the box, but if I do like a tech start or something like that, where I’m in three point stance and I just go out and run all the way to 60 meters, I just focus like, okay, get my, my legs up and everything else is gonna come with it.

It’s the same thing where people are saying, Hey, for most athletes, they don’t know how to use their arms properly. And that used to be me when I was in like high school and college, I would just use all my legs and yeah, I’m running fast, but I could run faster if I tend to use my arms and swing because you know how the brain is, it’s bringing up here, it goes all the way down.

So if I’m swinging my arms, my legs are going to follow. So you’re thinking about being more explosive. So the more, like, the more explosive you get with your arms, the more explosive your legs are going to get.

Alison: So the 200 you’re starting on the curve, as opposed to the 100 where you’re starting straight, how does that change how you start?

How does that change the race in general?

Kenny Bednarek: I mean, for me, it changes a lot because, like I said before, I’m not one of the best starters in a hundred. I think this year I finally figured it out on how to get better, you know, pushing forward, having a better drive phase. Uh, but for me, you know, since we’re at a stagger and I always have somebody in front of me, what I always thought in my head, and I don’t, I don’t do that more so now because the competition has gotten a lot better, but I tend to say, okay, you know, I got two to three people ahead of me in the stagger.

Technically we’re all in the same, you know, we’re starting at the same spot. And once I go, if I catch them by like 40 to 50 meters. And I know I’m doing something right. so usually I usually just do the same thing that I do in the a hundred, but I think it’s more of a, a mental thing that just clicks better doing the 200 than the a hundred.

and, um, yeah, I mean, there’s nothing different, different from it at all, but for me, it changes a little bit.

Alison: So the mental thing, because I was thinking, what does that do? When you can see people in front of you and you know, people behind you.

Kenny Bednarek: So, I mean, even with this, this race, it was funny because I had four, it was three teammates of mine.

So, you know, we have 14, uh, four teammates from star athletics that we all train together. And I picked lane seven because I was like, okay, I don’t really want to have to try to catch them. I’m better off trying to run away from them. So I had the one guy ahead of me and I was like, okay, well, you know, I’m not really worried about him because I know who he is and all that stuff.

And I know what form he’s at right now. And my teammate yesterday, not yesterday, but before the race, he’s like, you better not mess up. And I was like, yeah, I got it. I got it. my mind, I’m just like, okay, catch me if you can kind of mentality. So I got on the block starts and I knew they were gunning for me, so I just ran as fast as I could.

Jill: When you start in the curve, how does the Block set you up because the block is kind of straight

Kenny Bednarek: Yes, but even if you

Jill: can angle it, I mean, yeah, how does that work?

Kenny Bednarek: Some people tend to angle it So for me, I kind of angle it a little bit towards the not the outside But the inside of the turn and I also it also kind of depends on where you’re at because you know If you’re in lane seven, and then if you’re in lane, you know one or two, it’s gonna be different but yeah, usually I’m in six or seven and I tend to angle it into the current and into the turn.

so yeah, that’s, that just helps out with a little bit, you know, just getting the blocks out, getting out of the blocks and then just trying to get that momentum built up and all that. Uh, some people don’t, I know in the past in high school, I used to not really care. I probably just did whatever, but being at this level, you know, all the small things matter.

Alison: Is seven your favorite place?

Kenny Bednarek: Yeah, seven, seven’s my favorite lane right now. So, I mean, it hasn’t failed me, I ran some pretty good times in lane 7 and it’s also just easier depending on the track, it’s easier to run in lane 7 because I don’t have to run as much curve, you know, if you’re lane 6. Um, it can be a little bit more difficult to get into the turn and you gotta, it requires much more energy trying to get off the turn off the bend.

That’s why you see most people are in like lane one, two or three. It’s like a death sentence because it’s like, okay, you got to put so much more energy getting off that bend. And then by the time you get on the straightaway, you’re going to, you know, your energy is going to be spent because getting off the turn, it’s a lot of.

Energy distribution, if you time it right, then you’re good on the backstretch, but sometimes if you just do way too much in the first half, then the second half, you’re going to have nothing there.

I want to ask you a question about Doha. You ran a personal best. When you’re doing a race like that, do you know it’s, how much do you know during the race in terms of, yeah, my time is going to be better than I’ve ever gotten?

Kenny Bednarek: . I didn’t know that I was going to break a PB, but I knew that I was in great shape and I was telling the interviewers there, like, oh, you know, they asked the same question. I was like, well, my teammate was Courtney Lindsey and he was the guy that was behind me and he ran 19 7, beat Tobogo and he ran 19 8, um, and, and I think it was Tom Jones or Gainesville, I forget what race it was, Tom Jones or Gainesville, like, you know, a couple of weeks back.

So I was like, okay, well, we trained together. And if he’s at that pace, I know I’m a little bit faster than him right now. Or, you know, we’re at the same level. So in my mind, I was like, you know, if he’s there, then I’m there. I just haven’t been able to get on the track and put it down yet. So right before the race, I mean, the day before we did our pre work and I felt great, felt loose.

And then the day of the race, I’m not gonna lie, but I got to the track and usually you stretch for about 30, 30 to 20 minutes. And I really didn’t do that much because as soon as I got on the track, I was warming up and I was like, wow, I already feel loose. So I told my coaches, like, I’m not trying to do too much.

Cause you know, if you overstretch that can also be a hindrance. so I was like, yeah, let me just warm up, not do too much. Get ready for the race. And I already know I’m going to throw something hot. I just didn’t know exactly what it was going to be. My goal was to get the world lead, but, you know, I did that, but I also broke a PB, so.

Jill: You talked about picking lanes. Do you always get to pick a lane? at the Olympics, do you get to pick a lane?

Kenny Bednarek: No, Olympics you don’t get to pick a lane. When it comes to trials and like worlds and all that stuff, that just kind of, they go off of your performance at that race. So you know, you got the big Q, the small Q, those matters.

So when you go through round, you know, people want to get top two because top two get the preferred lanes. The preferred lanes, you know, five, six, seven. And you know, if you get the little cues and you might get like eight or four or something like that. but when it comes to like, when I traveled to a diamond league, when I traveled to a world continental or any other race, where it’s just like a one off, that’s when I, they’re like, Hey, you know, if we got me and we got, let’s say Andre and then Noah, they’re going to be like, okay, well, no, it’s the world champion, the hundred or two, he gets preference first, so no, we’ll pick his lane and then it’s just, you know, well, who’s done something after that?

Okay. Kenny. he’s got two silver medals or last year he, he didn’t medal or something like that. So he gets third choice or last year, if I did medal, he gets second choice because, you know, he got second. So it also, it just depends on who is there. So usually if it’s me, I get preference.

And then like, I think Andre, he didn’t do anything last year because of whatever was going on with him. Um, so, you know, he gets second choice because it’s Andre. They also sometimes just go off of personal bests. If there’s nobody in the race that’s medal, they’ll just go off a current time. Like, okay, this person ran 2011, you know, give him, lane, whatever he gets to choose this lane, that lane, because you know, all the guys running like 2030, 2040 or whatever.

But yeah, when we get to trials and we get to, uh, Olympics and worlds, that’s all just like, okay, you better get the big Q because everybody’s going to be gunning for that. So that’s why sometimes when you watch races I think there’s a time where I think two years ago, yeah, two years ago, when I was coming back from injury and I was at the trials, I think Matthew Boling was in my, He was in my heat. And I was honestly trying to conserve as much energy as I could. But then he decided to just run, you know, a lot of the college kids like to just run and try to beat whoever’s in the, in that race. And then I was like, dang, like he’s hauling right now. Should I let him beat me?

And I was like, no, I got, I got to get the win so that I, you know, ran a little bit faster, edged them out, and then I got a better lane.

Alison: I want to talk about relays. Because you also had a little bit of a hand in the U. S. qualifying for relays in Paris. Yeah, finally. And one of the announcers called you the best second leg, uh, in the world. And I want to know what, what makes a runner good at particular sections of a relay?

Kenny Bednarek: I mean, the main thing is just handoffs. I mean, you guys probably seen it before. You can have the world’s fastest athletes. but it doesn’t matter if you guys can’t get the stick around, but what really worked well with me was my acceleration this year has just been a lot better and me and the three other teammates of mine, like we all have chemistry.

So, you know, the only person that doesn’t train with us is Noah. Um, so what made me like really good at my second leg was just. You know, doing what I do best, like, Hey, get off at this mark, accelerate as much as you can. Because, you know, Courtney is going to do his job. He’s going to try to give me the stick.

So I shouldn’t worry about his job. I only, I should only focus on my job. So as soon as you get my tape, it’s just like, okay, just run this. Like it’s a race. I mean, I mean, it is race, but for me, it was kind of like, okay. I’m trying to get the stick, but I’m also trying to compete against all these other guys.

So I’m trying to. You know, roll them up if I can. And, as soon as he hits the mark, I just go put my hand back. As soon as he says stick, it’s clean, safe, uh, exchange. And then I just do my part by hauling, hauling my butt to the other, exchange. And it’s just the same deal. to me, it’s, I mean, it’s not that difficult.

I mean, a lot of people like to, uh, I guess add a little bit too much. Like, they, sometimes they just like to complicate it. Like, it’s not as hard as it actually seems.

Jill: But you innately have to understand how your teammates are going to accelerate, how one will finish, and how the other is going to accelerate.

Right.

Kenny Bednarek: Yeah. So we have our steps and everything. so, you know, if I have Courtney, I mean, he’s a pretty good starter. So for our steps, it was like 29 steps. Um, and that’s from, you know, the, where I was at on that yellow mark to, 29 steps behind. So once he hits that, I was like, okay, he’s a good starter.

So, I’m also a good like accelerator. So that’s why we also do 29 steps because. Let’s say if we did like 32 steps and as soon as he hits 32, that 32 mark and I go, there might be a chance where we don’t have enough, you know, there might be a chance that I actually ended up leaving him because we had too much, you know, gap in between.

Um, so that’s why 29 was, it was safe for us because they knew that, hey, Kenny can actually get out and Courtney is going to close and yeah, you just got to understand all those things. You just got to find out. You know, who works well in what position and how much steps do you need in between to make the handoffs as clean as possible?

Because at the end of the day, you know, you’re trying to make everything, you’re trying not to make the stick slow down at all in between exchange zone.

Alison: How much training are you able to do together?

Kenny Bednarek: Especially for

Alison: something like the Olympics, where you don’t know what the team is going to be until really a few weeks beforehand.

Kenny Bednarek: Well, so we, we trained, we trained the week before for like two days. And then we went there the next week and trained for another, like three days. So we had five days of training. yeah, I mean, it’s not as much as, you know, what the other federations do. I know they train all year here and there.

but I mean, you guys know we got just so much talent in the U S that you gotta make do with whatever. but for us, I think it just worked out just because we all live in Florida. And we all live in Claremont at that. So it’s like, Hey, we go to Noah’s track, work out there, do handoffs. And then he came, you know, he could have came to our track, been the same.

but when it comes to Olympics, I mean, when I was there at Tokyo, I don’t really, I don’t really know what happened because You know, I, I was supposed to be there, but there’s a lot of politics involved and, you know, I just wasn’t, I just wasn’t in the process. so from what I heard, they only practice only a couple of days before the, the first round.

And I mean, that’s why you saw what you guys saw that year. but yeah, I mean, that’s, that’s all we just got to do is just practice. I would say we should practice at least. No week before and the week of, but I say when you do that, just don’t try to complicate things. I think sometimes like you can, you can have something.

set and ready to go, but then if you do a little bit too much, and then you can always bring in more like, Okay, well, maybe we should do this. Maybe we should do that. And I think that’s what we, you know, we were like, contemplating, Oh, should we do more? And they were like, nah, we’re good. Like, we, we’ve done this since high school.

We know what to do, and everything was good to go.

Alison: I want to ask about the Tokyo 200. Yeah. I’m sorry.

Kenny Bednarek: Nah, it’s okay.

Alison: Because to me, it looks amazing. But you were disappointed.

Kenny Bednarek: Yeah. I mean, it was my first goal. Um, I mean, that was just a weird, weird, I don’t know. I mean, Tokyo was just weird. I mean, there was no fans. You know, it was, I was, I was that close to getting the gold medal.

And honestly, when I crossed the finish line, I was like, kind of like, what happened? Because I always heard that Andre, You know, he would get his butt kicked almost all year, and all of a sudden when a championship comes, he just flips a switch, so I was like, oh, okay, and then when I actually saw that, I was like, oh, okay, like, he’s gonna be on his A game, and I mean, in the semifinals, I think he broke the Canadian record, and in my head, I guess I kind of underestimated him, because I was like, oh, he’s like, he’s cooked, like, he looked tired and all that stuff, so I was like, okay, I got this, and then, You know, he, he pulled another, uh, shocker in the finals and edged me out.

but yeah, I mean, I enjoyed the time that I was there. I mean, I had a lot of fun besides taking COVID tests every single morning. and yeah, like I almost got the job done and it was a great learning experience. honestly, I think it was helpful because, you know, it just said like, Hey, I got a lot to improve on and I’m not the top dog.

You know, obviously you got a bunch of people that have faster times than me, but when it comes to actually competing against. You know, for the gold and all that stuff I do, you know, I step up to the challenge and I put down whatever I need to do to get the job done. Yeah. Tokyo is, it was a little stinger just because, you know, you were so great.

And then I didn’t finish it off with that, but I was happy for Andre because I know his story. And, you know, he, he’s a great athlete, great personality. And, he’s been trying to get it for many years and he finally got the job done. But. You know, this year is going to be different.

Jill: We hear you on COVID tests.

We went to the Beijing winter Olympics. That was fun taking COVID tests every day.

Kenny Bednarek: Oh yeah. I mean, yeah, it was, it was just so nerve wracking. Cause you know, they did the contact tracing and everything and. You know, several people tested positive. I’m like, well, I was just right next to them. I don’t know if that, I don’t know if that means I’m going to get caught or something like that.

So, you know, just waking up, taking a test, not knowing, you know, you get the test by like 12. Don’t know if you got it or not. And then once you finally get your results and you’re like, okay, negative, you’re like, oh, thank you. Like, okay, I’m good to go. But, you know, there’s a few athletes out there that tested positive and then they couldn’t even compete in the final.

So it was just sad to see, that be taken away just because of, you know, a sickness that was going by.

Alison: What does life look like between now and trials and trials and Olympics?

Kenny Bednarek: right now I’m training. I was supposed to go to L. A. but after the time that I ran, , I was just like, yeah, I need a break.

let me go back to the weight room, reset. you know, just get ready for, Pre, because I got Pre Fontaine in, um, Eugene, Oregon next week. So, yeah, right now it’s just recover from the trip. eat right, sleep, practice, do whatever coach tells me to do and then I think Monday we head out to go to Eugene and then we’re going to practice there a little bit until the race starts.

Get done with that and I mean after that we’ll just come back here and train for the next two to three weeks and get ready for trials.

Jill: When you’re bopping around the world like that, how do you acclimate to a new time quickly?

Kenny Bednarek: I kind of stay in between because like this race in Doha was 723 and I think we were seven hours ahead, from Florida.

So, depending on when the race is, if the race is like in the morning, then I’m like, okay, I got no choice but to force myself to sleep at this time. But if the race is usually in the afternoon, I tend to go to bed around like two or three in the morning, their time, then wake up around, 12 or 11. I mean, we’re only there for four days, so I’m just like, I don’t want to force my body, like, I don’t want to, force it into trying to get on the time because, if I do that, I might wake up in the middle of the night, not get enough sleep.

And then, you know, I might be tired for the race and then I might run a little bit slower. So, I mean, it just kind of varies on where I’m at. If I have a lot more time, like more than a couple of days, then I’m okay. I can, I can try to acclimate to their time. But usually what I do is try to make sure to sleep at a certain time when I’m on the flight.

so I take my melatonin and then, you know, I have my water and all that, go to sleep. And then, um, I mean, yeah, just, just simple stuff. I’ll sometimes take a one hour to two hour nap when I land just so I can, not be tired by by the time it’s like six o’clock or something their time. so, yeah, just just depends.

I mean, sometimes I go there and I’m great and I can automatically just get all their time and just. Whatever my body’s telling, telling me, I listen to

Alison: how much sleep is enough sleep.

Kenny Bednarek: as an elite athlete, I’d say nine hours, but as a normal person, uh, eight, eight hours. you got to make sure the body is sleeping enough in order to do something like this, but yeah, nine to eight hours is what I usually would tell people if you’re going 10 hours, then that’s when I feel like, cause I’ve done that before where I’ve slept 10 hours.

I never woke up like, Oh, Hey, I’m great. Like I sometimes wake up on my own day. I’m a little sluggish. Should I have slept that far? You know? but yeah, sleep is one of the most important thing besides, you know, diet. cause it doesn’t matter what you’re doing. Like if you’re eating all the nutritious stuff and you know, not sleeping, it won’t matter, it won’t translate because you’re still beating your, you know, you’re beating your body to try and do something that’s not really meant to do.

but yeah, for me, it’s nine hours of sleep. I try to go to bed by like 1030 and then wake up around 745, yeah, 745, 8 o’clock, um, and then I head to the track around nine.

Alison: Okay. Absolutely most important question.

Kenny Bednarek: Yeah.

Alison: Which came first, the nickname Kung Fu Kenny or the headbands?

 

Kenny Bednarek: Oh, the headband. I think the, oh, the headbands that I have now?

Alison: No, no, no. Just like wearing the headband. And that’s how you got the nickname, or did? No, I’ve,

Kenny Bednarek: I’ve always had the headband on. so we had the headband first and then we came up with a nickname. ‘ cause um, yeah, when I was in college I had a few headbands I wore.

And then once I came, I became, as a pro, I had a few headbands and then the nickname came. so the reason why we came up with the name, uh, nickname Kung Fu Kenny is because, um, you know, when you watch, you watch track and field all the time, you have all the sponsors, you know, Adidas, Puma, all of them.

And we all, and the men all tend to look the same when it comes to what they’re wearing. You’re like, oh, there’s a bunch of Nike athletes, Adidas athletes. You know, there’s not much character, I guess, when it comes to the actual jersey itself. so it was like, I wanted to stand out. and we came up with Kung Fu Kenny, cause you know, we have the headband and I do the bow and all that stuff.

And Kung Fu Kenny has a set of values that I tend to live my life by, which is, humbleness, dedication, discipline and respect. And I mean, for me, I live those on and off the track daily because that’s like who I am as a, person. I’m from Wisconsin. I’m a Midwest guy and I’ve never really been the type that’s like, all high energy and stuff like that.

I kind of keep to myself, go do my work, kick butt, and then I’m like, alright deuces, I’ll see you later. that’s why we came up with it. cause you know, I just wanted to stand out as an athlete. And it’s a little bit easier for the girls because they have their nails, they have the colored hair and all that stuff.

So you see the track, you’re automatically going to see like, Oh, okay. We know who that person is because they’re known for, doing that or doing this. So, you know, I feel like I’ve gotten to the point where everybody knows me because of my signature headband. And what we started doing this year is everywhere we go, like when we went to Doha, we have something on the headband that has something of Doha.

And then we also have like a quote or something like sometimes I put Kung Fu Kenny, but then for this race in particular, we had, because this, this, like I said, this race had four of my teammates. So this was like a fun one. So it was like, okay, I think it was like fear none. And then there was like curve conqueror because we always say battle of the turns because whoever gets on the turn is going to win the race.

So. That’s what I had on there. And then I think I had like a, uh, building structure. I forgot what it’s called, but I’ve actually seen it, but there’s like a building structure on the side and whoever’s seen it, they know what it is, what it is if they’re from Qatar. so yeah, like everywhere I go, you’ll just see a different headband.

It has something that represents that country.

Jill: Very cool. that’s a lot of fun. And that makes, that makes it fun and makes you remember everything else too.

Kenny Bednarek: Yeah, exactly. So, and I think the fans love it too. So, I mean, we just started that this year. I think the years previously, it was just kind of like, you know, we’ll just wear a nice headband, but now we’re actually trying to have like a theme.

Jill: Well, Kenny, thank you so much for taking the time and talking with us and breaking it down. We’re really excited to be able to talk to you a little bit longer than the Media Summit.

Kenny Bednarek: Oh, thanks for having me. Yeah.

Jill: Thank you so much, Kenny. Kenny will be competing at the U. S. Olympic trials in the 100 meter and 200 meter on June 21st through the 30th. Uh, you can follow him on Instagram X and YouTube at Kenny underscore, but Narek and on Facebook and tick tock. He is at Kenny bed. Narek, and we’ll have links to all of those in the show notes.

I’m curious to see what kind of, , headbands he’s going to pull out for. Paris. He’s got a whole line of merchandise that he sells. You know and good on him, He was so nice. Like I say, I’m happy to have him in Shuklaistan. I think we got a good chance.

Alison: Oh, I know. It’s like the metal potential I think we’re ahead of Italy at this point.

Paris 2024 News

Alison: would like to start.

Jill: Ooh. That’s pretty good. we have a lot of transit news today in Paris 2024 news. , there will be a free shuttle service to remote venues. What do you know about this?

Alison: Yes. So there are several venues like Roland Garros and the canoeing venue and Versailles, and they are closing the closest, transit stop to those venues.

And also not metro

Jill: metro station.

Alison: Yes. And some of them are not they’re off the metro. They’re actually the train lines. Oh, oh, wow. And they’re not terribly close to those lines to begin with. So they’re going to have shuttles running, basically buses from the closest station that will be opened. To the venue, so if you’re worried about getting out there, apparently, they’re running, once every minute, 2 hours before the competition, 2 hours after.

So, if you’re worried about Metro stations being closed. Don’t worry. There’s a bus. I am hopeful that those buses will be there and they’re free like that.

Jill: Yes. So that is great news Starting May 30th. Oh, we are on ticket drop extravaganza So today as the show is released starting today and every Thursday until the games will be another Ticket release at 10 a.

  1. Paris time. What’s up with this?

Alison: So we’re I don’t even know what these tickets are. I assume these are tickets that federations aren’t using or that they’re not using for media blocks that they have all these new tickets. You don’t know what events are going to be dropped. You don’t know what category of tickets every Thursday at 10 a. m. Surprise. Paris 24 is going to release some tickets, so these are not. Part of the resale platform. These are new tickets that have not been previously available.

Jill: That’s going to be interesting. So if you have thought about going, have been on the fence, more tickets are available. And France 24 had a story about hoteliers and rental agencies who are sad about the lack of demand for properties during the games.

Some hotels thought they could command. three times the price of a regular room and now they’re hopeful that they can get double the price for demand and same on apartment rentals. This is a video story. We’ll link to it in the show notes. High end, they’re still pretty pricey, but regular apartments are now one to three times. the cost that they would be for demand instead of say 10 times the price that a lot of people thought they were going to get. There are twice as many rentals on the market than usual. So the market is oversaturated. And by twice as many, I think we’re talking like 120, 000 compared to they’re usually have like 60, 000.

So there are still hotel deals and apartment rental deals to be had just like Ken Hanscom said, marathon.

Alison: There has been some schadenfreude on the Facebook, planning groups of people saying, yes, my Airbnb host canceled my room, tried to post it for multiple times the price. And now they’re seeing that apartment still available.

So if you’re not happy with how much you’re spending. And you have a cancellation for your hotel, take a look. There may be some deals out there that then you can go and buy more tickets. There you go.

Jill: And also if, yeah, if you didn’t think that this would be possible for you, it might be starting to get into the realm of possibilities on a budget.

So, it’s hopeful out there. also for getting around, several outlets have been reporting that Uber will have 40, 000 drivers out there to help ferry you around the city, but look for a dynamic pricing throughout the games. Supposedly, it’s going to be limited to 10 to 15 percent surge pricing.

I’m skeptical about that. I bet if there’s a huge demand after an event gets out, I bet search pricing goes up. But we shall see they say 10 to 15%, they will have 10% off rides to and from airports and train stations. Uber Share is going to be cut by 30% for the whole duration of the games. So if make friends.

That’s what I think, make some friends, share a ride together. Uh, the app has also been approved for use throughout the city, including games time restricted areas that were previously for taxis only. So that map that’s got the gray and the blue and the red zones, they now have better access to that. They do not have access to Olympic lanes, which I, I understand some of the stories I read that they were, there was a little grousing about that.

No, Uber. You do not get access to those Olympic lanes. As somebody who will be using the Olympic lanes, and, and I understand they’re going to look really empty for a lot of the games, but for journalists getting around, for dignitaries getting around, for, federation people who have to get around and broadcasters, they are invaluable to have.

Alison: And athletes. Remember the stories of people missing events because their bus was late? Yes. I think, I mean, it’s from like Atlanta, but I know that that’s.

Jill: But that can be a problem almost every time. Or if an athlete oversleeps and needs to get through on the Olympic lane. You know, we can’t, if you throw 40, 000 Uber drivers into those lanes, then they aren’t Olympic lanes anymore.

I appreciate the privilege I get. We have more Hospitality House news.

Alison: I’m so excited when I, when you showed me the pictures of this one. Casa Columbia

Jill: is going to be in Parkdale Love and Let at a bar restaurant club called a la Folie and it will be open to the public for both Olympics and Paralympics.

We don’t know if it’s free yet, but they will have food and some shopping and consulate services. If you are Colombian, the bar, the interior of the bar is man. It is cool on Fuego. On Fuego, lots of bright colors, lots of patterns. It looks like it’s going to be a fun place. We are now at 26 country hospitality houses with pride.

That does not include any kind of corporate pavilions or the pin trading house. So there are plenty and not all of them are. ticketed entry. Some of them are still free. So there is going to be a big opportunity there to go wander around, especially in Parc de la Villette and, see what the world has to offer.

TKFLASTAN News

Alison: Welcome to Shook Plus Don.

Jill: And it 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 our very own country, Shukhfustan.

Alison: We got some results. So more results from Prefontaine Classic, Katie Moon won silver in women’s pov vault as did Deanna Price in women’s hammer throw.

Jill: Excellent. And Coryn Lebecky won the tour of Somerville with an amazing last second sprint.

Alison: Please watch the video. We’ll link to it in the show notes because the announcer loses his mind for Coryn, which made it even better. Jacqueline Simoneau will be competing at the World Aquatics Artistic Swimming World Cup event, very close to home for her in Markham, Ontario, May 31st to June 2nd.

Jill: Commentator Rob Snook was awarded best play by play announcer at the Canadian Screen Awards.

Alison: And congratulations to Dr. Renske Lok. She and her partner Gabrielle Roa were married in April.

Jill: That will do it for this episode. Let us know what you think of sprints and Kung Fu Kenny.

Alison: 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. You can chat with us and other fans on our Facebook group, keep the flame alive podcast and sign up for our weekly newsletter with even more Olympic and Paralympic info for you. You can do that at our website, flamealivepod.com.

Jill: On Monday, we’ll have our next Paralympic episode, and we are going to head out to to the Dressage Writing Grounds to talk with Dressage writer beatrice de Lavette. We had a great conversation with her at the Media Summit and you befriended a dog and Simba. So it’ll be time to get those pictures out again.

Look forward to that on Monday. Thank you so much for listening and until next time, keep the flame alive.