Race walker Evan Dunfee douses himself with water during a race.

Olympic Race Walker Evan Dunfee on Change and Transformation

Release Date: May 9, 2024

Category: Podcast | Athletics

What happens when your event is dropped from the Olympics, but you’re not ready to retire? Race walker, Olympic bronze medalist and TKFLASTANI Evan Dunfee returns to the show to talk us through that process.

Evan tells us what racing the last-ever Olympic 50K at Tokyo Sapporo was like [SPOILER ALERT: It was hot. Also, he won a medal.]–including how his Kraft Dinner sponsorship came about, and an interesting podium story that he knew we’d like. He goes into the disappointment of having your event dropped, and his reemergence as a “sprinter,” because a 20K race walk is a different beast from the 50K, and it is pretty fast.

Evan’s going to Paris to compete in the men’s 20K. We recorded this interview ahead of his finding out that he and teammate Olivia Lundman have also qualified for the mixed relay. That gives Evan two podium chances this summer.

Follow Evan on Insta and X!

We have a bunch of news from Paris, the most exciting being that the torch has arrived in France! The Belem, which carried the flame across the Mediterranean, arrived in Marseilles on May 8 to a rousing ceremony that featured a boat parade to escort the flame to shore, fireworks, and a concert:

Along with the flame arrival, Paris 2024 unveiled the cauldron that will be in use during the torch relay. Designed by torch designer Mathieu Lehanneur, ArcelorMittal manufactured this cauldron, which uses hydroforming to create the unique wavy base. This also ties into the design of the torch:

Paris 2024 Olympic torch relay cauldron features a ring on three metal stems, attached to a square metal base that is wavy on top.

Photo courtesy of Paris 2024.

No matter what, it’s an improvement on the Beijing 2022 snowflame–really, you can hardly see the flame in this!

Fireworks and the extinguished snowflame at the Beijing 2022 Winter Paralympics Closing Ceremony.

Paris 2024 has also released the theme music for the Olympics and Paralympics. This is not the official song–it’s the music that will be played around ceremonies and in venues–and maybe you’ll even hear it on the feeds. Composed by Victor le Masne, the musical director for Paris 2024’s four ceremonies, this is fantastic, a complete earworm, and we are here for it! Listen along with us and try not to dance!

In World Games news, Karlsruhe has been selected to be the host city for World Games 2029. Never heard of the World Games? Check out our interview with World Games athlete John Moorhead!

In our visit to TKFLASTAN, we have updates from:

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

Photo courtesy of Evan Dunfee.

 


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.

336-Olympic Race Walker Evan Dunfee

[theme music]

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? Do do do do do do do do do do.

Is there a reason we’re singing the Marseilles? Because the torch has arrived in France. That’s exciting. We will talk about that. We’ll get to that later. Yes, we’ll get to that. We have a few announcements. First off, we want to give a shout out to our patrons and supporters who keep our flame alive.

And our flame would totally go out if we didn’t have your support. So thank you. to those who donate money, support us in other ways. If you want to be an essential part of the show, please go to flamealivepod. com slash support. Another big announcement, we’re moving to two shows a week.

Alison: We’re doubling in size, growing by 100%.

Jill: Yes, we have so much content from the Team USA Media Summit, and we’ve been doing follow up interviews with some of the athletes who’ve had some time for us to, delve really into their sports a little bit. So we are going to have shows dropping on Mondays and Thursdays. Thursdays will be our Olympic show and Mondays will be a Paralympic show.

Cause we have that many. of each type of athlete. So I’m excited. And then we’ll have news, but then hopefully the new segments will be, shorter.

Alison: And the news from Paris is coming fast and furious. So going twice a week will make a lot of sense.

Jill: Yes. So this will be how it will be through the games. So we hope you are ready to come along for the ride.

And, uh, whoa, I’m excited. We have some good interviews coming up.

Alison: And maybe I will sing! On more shows! You never know!

[00:02:30] Evan Dunfee Interview

Jill: All right, speaking of good interviews, Shukla, Stani, Evan Dunfee is back.

Evan won the bronze medal in Tokyo for the 50 K race walk. And that race has been eliminated from the Olympic program for Paris. So Evan decided to switch to the 20 K and do the mixed relay as well, which is the event they put in place of the 50 K men’s instead of adding a 50 K for the women. They just, you know, Did one individual race for everybody, one mixed relay.

This decision for Evan to pop down to a different distance was not an easy decision or an easy path. We talked with him about how he made the transition, his life outside of race walking, and how things are shaping up for Paris.

Take a listen. Evan Dunfee, welcome back. We’re so excited to have you back on.

Evan Dunfee: I’m so, I’m happy to be back on it. So good to see you.

Jill: realize we haven’t talked since before Tokyo. So three years later ish, how was Tokyo?

Evan Dunfee: Tokyo was, I was saying to someone yesterday, we were talking about, you know, what do you call it?

Do you call it Tokyo 2020? Do you call it Tokyo 2021. And so I was saying how I, I I look at, the bronze medal that I won, and, and on that bronze medal it says Tokyo 2020. And I just have to laugh because one, it was in 2021 and two, we raced in Sapporo. So really the , the whole medal is, uh, is a bit of a lie.

The Olympic experience was obviously different with it being a COVID games, but, the race itself was, was just phenomenal. It was, the polar opposite for me from Rio, where I felt amazing and was off the front and was leading. And, and then it kind of, I kind of stumbled at the end and, and, finished fourth.

And this time it was, I felt, you know, Like trash most of the way and, just kept willing myself to stay up near the front and stay up near the front. And, then somehow with that, in that last kilometer of the 50 K walk, just somehow found it within myself in the hundredth time of asking to, to find that next gear and being told 99 times by my body that I didn’t have it.

And on the hundredth ask, it said, yeah, go for it. And yeah, I was able to chase down, The Spanish athlete and move into third place with about 150 meters to go of the 50k race and, left hopefully an indelible mark on, on what was the last ever, you know, Olympic 50k.

Unfortunately,

Jill: what was Sapporo? Like was, was it hot?

Evan Dunfee: You know, despite the efforts to move the marathons and the race walks to Sapporo to avoid the heat, it was about the same temperature as Tokyo was, which was great for me. Like, I, knew that my best chance winning medal was in really horrendous conditions.

The most annoying thing that race walking happens on a, on a loop. So we’re on a 2 K loop. And there was a high rise building that had one of those big led screens on it that would sort of showcase the time and the temperature. And it was one of those ones where you just didn’t, you don’t want to know how hot it is and you come around the corner and you’d be like, I don’t want to look.

I don’t want to look. And then you would just catch it. I think it was like a story tall. You couldn’t miss it. And so, you know, we started the race at five 30 in the morning. So super early start time. Yeah. And it was like 26, I think something like that at the start. And so it was hot for five 30, but bearable, but then every lap, like every nine minutes you come around that corner, you just see that thing ticking up 27, 28, 29, 30.

And that was just like, Oh, like. That added an element to it was, you know, you’re trying to do all this stuff to convince yourself. It’s not that hot. It’s not that hot. And then you, you keep seeing that. And, by the end of the race, it was 34, I believe, and about 80 percent humidity. and so I, I can’t convert that into Fahrenheit quickly enough in my head, but, it was hot and it was, You know, it, definitely took its toll on, on the race. And, and, you know, that’s one of the big reasons why the athlete who finished fourth mark tour of Spain, T had planned his race perfectly for 49 and a half K. And, and it was literally that last 500 meters that it just completely fell apart.

And, That’s one of the amazing things about the 50k is that it can really come down to tiny, tiny, tiny bit of a mistake. And, you know, you push yourself a little too much and, and that finish line becomes just, just too far away. And he was between 48 and 49k. He was moving faster than I was. And at 49k, he was 22 seconds ahead of me and to think that, that, that was a gap that was, you know, I was able to make up, I think it really does highlight and go to show like just how grueling, the 50k can be if you don’t plan it, to a tee.

Jill: So how do you plan for the heat? Because again, we’re already starting to see Paris could be unbelievably hot.

Evan Dunfee: So there’s parts that you can do in your training. So, you know, making sure your heat acclimated physiologically, that takes about two weeks. So making sure you’re somewhere hot in that last two weeks of your prep, making sure that you’re kind of getting that, that time into to get the body used to it and get those physiological changes that you want.

There’s a psychological element. I think Doha was probably the perfect example of that. We had our world chance there in 2019 and, you know, stinking hot for, for the race walks in the, in the marathons and. You saw athletes world record holder in the 50 K race walk. Yo Hendon is like talking to the media beforehand.

Oh, it’s too dangerous. It’s, we shouldn’t be racing and dah, dah, dah, dah, and doing 10 K training sessions in his hotel, on his hotel floor of like a hundred meter, you doing a hundred laps of a hundred meters, on his hotel floor. Cause he didn’t want to go outside.

And. He dropped out of the race 14K into the 50K at what would probably be his slowest training walk of the year. and I think it was, it wasn’t physiological, it was psychological. Whereas myself and a couple of other guys I train with, we went into it thinking, This is going to be awesome. Like it’s going to be like, it’s going to be so brutal and it’s going to, but people are going to do stupid things and we can take advantage of that.

And when the gun went in Doha, I think I was probably like four or five meters behind the line, still chatting to one of my teammates, just completely oblivious to the fact that this race had started, because we knew we wanted to be right at the back of the race and just watch that first kilometer unfold to see.

from that first K who got it wrong and who, you know, who wasn’t thinking about this? We saw athletes warming up in pants and you’re just like, what are you doing? Like, why, why would you, but that’s, that’s how I warm up. that’s what warmup looks like. So I replicate that.

Whereas. I did a kilometer on the treadmill at the hotel before we left, went, okay, I still know how to race walk great. Went and had a cold shower and then went to the course and didn’t race walk again until the race started. just kept my core temp as low as possible doing the ice bath and all that stuff.

And so that final element is that what you do in the hours before the race and then during the race, so, you know, making sure that you’re lowering your core temp by doing, the ice bath and the ice vests and all that stuff. And then in the race, how much cold water can you pour on yourself? How, how much fluid can you consume?

I, I, Tokyo, I drank about four liters of fluid, in the four hour race. and so, yeah, just getting all those little things right can make the difference between. Getting to 49 and a half K and getting to 50K.

Jill: When you see a race unfold ahead of you and you, what are the signs that you can tell people are probably going to drop out at some

Evan Dunfee: point?

There’s some little ones of, you know, you see guys not taking on ice at the refreshment table or not pouring water over themselves. stuff like that early, early in a race, even a race that’s, you know, You know, like Doha was hot the entire time, but even, you know, Sapporo, where it was, bearable for the first 10 K and so athletes were like, oh, okay, like, don’t need to worry about that sort of thing.

And you could kind of just see, well, that, you know, that gives you the sense of, okay, that’s going to come back and, and bite you in 20 or 30 K. Sometimes you can look at the paces and that’s one thing that we were really lucky with. The women’s marathon happened first in Doha.

And one of our coaches that we work with went and plugged in all the data, all the data. And, when we woke up the next morning, we had all the information of, okay, top eight were 10 percent off of their personal bests. So don’t be surprised if you’re 10 percent slower than you, than you would, then your fitness tells you, you can go.

10 percent is huge. 10 percent is 30 seconds a kilometer. And so when that race started, I saw all these people going off at five minutes per K that have never walked four thirties for a 50 K. It was kind of like, okay, that’s probably not going to work out for you. and, and so, you know, that you just take all the information that you can kind of get and, and pull that together to help sort of not so much make decisions.

Because you try not to make decisions based off what anyone else is doing, but to sort of give you confidence that. Yeah, I’m in 25th spot right now. We’re only 20K into the race and, and you know, I’ve still have confidence that I’m going to move up and that’s sort of where I was in Doha. I think I was back middle of the pack that halfway and just had that confidence of.

Yeah, no, this is where I need to be to, to get the result that I, that I want. And, you know, ended up coming across the line in third in that one. And, Picking guys off every kilometer that last 15K, which was a fun way to race. I got to say, that’s a really fun way to do it.

Jill: it kind of baffles me because what, you’re all elite athletes, so you all should be kind of at the top of your game, yet there’s still some mental blockage that trips people up in situations like that.

What’s going on there? Or is it coaching that helps?

Evan Dunfee: I think there’s, I mean, there’s a lot of trail. I think there’s, there is an element of culture in it of, and you see this with, you know, a lot of the East African countries, and their marathoners, they kind of do their slow shuffle warmup in their track suits.

And that’s just, that’s just what you do. And so. You know, that there’s, there’s very hard to get that to change. I think having Doha and Sapporo kind of back to back definitely helped shift some things in, in the endurance world for within, within athletics to kind of see, at least I know for sure with the race walkers, like not as many people as I would have hoped saw what we did in Doha and the success that, that those of us who did those things had.

And there were a few people who went, Oh. Okay, I need to learn what they did and try to replicate that. why that lesson wasn’t learned by everybody is kind of, still wild to me, but, you know, certainly I think there’s, there’s some of that coaching element and, and not every athlete is lucky enough to have access to, you know, top physiologists or, or, you know, people who are clued into that world who can You know, say, Hey, this is what the research shows works, even if it’s just having that someone who’s in the ear of a coach, because, a lot of coaches are maybe stuck in their ways of, of this is how we do things.

And, and it takes having that, that person who can kind of be in their ear and say, Hey, like, Hey, look at that. Like, look at what this research says, like, look at the potential that could be unlocked here. even at the elite level, not every athlete is, is lucky enough to have that, have that. So I think that’s a big element of as well.

Yeah. It’s,

Jill: it’s kind of like a Moneyball situation. I don’t know if you saw or read that Moneyball.

 

Evan Dunfee: Yeah, certainly. and I think that’s, that is a one way to think of it. I mean, for me, that’s certainly an element of how I think about it when we have these hot races. I go into that saying, okay, I know I’m not the most physiologically gifted athlete.

On the start line. So we raced in perfect conditions and there’s a lot of guys who would beat me just because they’re genetically and physiologically more talented than I am. And so I reveled in having those hot conditions and really tough races. Cause it was sort of like, Oh, I can level the playing, like, like doing all those little things, right.

Levels that playing field, which is, yeah, exactly. Kind of, you know, the Moneyball analogy is, is perfect for that.

Jill: You mentioned something and I’ve had questions in my brain about this, knowing that there are other athletes that are genetically or physically, logically better than you on the start line.

How do you think about that or how do you process it when you all want to be the best?

Evan Dunfee: Yeah, I think, I mean, certainly in the last sort of my, like, last 8 years for me, I mean, 8, 9 years, I’ve been able to change my way of thinking that. I think when I was a younger athlete, there was that That idea that being the best was the measure of success.

whereas I’ve sort of, you know, was very lucky to learn, and have a great sports psych back in 2015, who, who kind of helped me transition away from that line of thought and more sort of towards the, successes. Um, and I think that’s for me, what I can lean on is, I take a lot of joy and pride out of, out of the training of like seeing, okay, what am I capable of doing and knowing that, my best is competitive with some of the best in the world, and it might not be, winning a world championships, but it can be competitive.

And if I have my best day, then I’ll have, a result that objectively is really good, but more importantly, subjectively, I can be really happy with. And, you know, that’s really helpful, you know, world championships last year in Budapest, I came away with two fourth place finishes, which, with a different mindset would be a lot harder to deal with.

I think, whereas. Yeah, I’m hungry for, for more. I really wish I could have turned those into medals and been on that podium. but I, it’s nothing that I’ve beaten myself up over in the months since or, or dwelled on too much because it was, you know, the more or less the best I could have done on that day.

Jill: That also pumps something into my head that I hear on TV a lot, and I don’t know if they do this in Canada, but you’ll hear broadcasters say on sports things, they just wanted it more. And I just heard this in a women’s college basketball game. This team just wanted it more.

Does that even mean anything? you know what I’m saying? Like, it makes no sense to me why somebody would say that because how much wanting versus being able to perform, what’s that

balance?

Evan Dunfee: That breeds so many interesting questions around. um, Last week I went and spoke with our Junior B hockey team.

They’re in the playoffs right now and had some time off between their series and they invited me to come out and just do a little talk and show them some race walking and just have some fun and do some team bonding. And, one of the things, one of the questions that one of the kids asked was around this idea of like ideal performance state and how They were sort of saying like, they, you know, the way that they get really psyched up for a game is really different to how their teammates get psyched up for a game and, and kind of asking, you know, what that looks like at, the elite level.

And it is interesting. Cause I find you, you know, a lot of that in a lot of sport, we’ve associated hype or sort of, you know, intensity as a measure of, how tuned in someone is, how turned on they are, like how. competitive they’re willing to be or how hard they’re willing to fight for it.

When for some athletes being calm, cool, joking, laughing, laid back, that’s their ideal performance state. Like, that’s where they’re going to get the most out of their body. And so, I think, part of me just feels like that just comes from such an outdated idea of, amptness for lack of a better word associated with like desire when, when that’s just nonsense.

I mean, you wouldn’t look at and it’s sports, but we wouldn’t look at golf and, and see, you know, a happy Gilmore. athlete jumping up and down, going wild. And we wouldn’t say that that was, Oh, they just, you know, they wanted it more. We’d say, Oh, that was, you know, they were too psyched up. and that’s why they lost.

Whereas in other sports we say, Oh, like, they were so psyched up. That’s why they won. so yeah, you’re probably right. An entire thesis on that.

Alison: Yeah,

Jill: I know. Cause it’s just. It boggles me I just don’t understand the thinking that desire is, an element of making something happen. I mean, it is in a way, but just like, Oh, on any given day, two teams or two athletes are playing their hardest.

And the idea that wanting it more is what’s going to push it over.

Evan Dunfee: Yeah. Yeah. And I mean, I, I think there is certainly a, there can be an element of that, you know, if If there’s higher pressure on one side, if, you know, I used to feel that way when I was playing hockey growing up as a kid, it was like, you know, I probably took it way more seriously than the other kids did, cause it was like house hockey and it was, and so I think there were some games where I like elevated my game simply because.

I cared more about it than, than any of the other kids did, probably to my detriment. But, um, but I mean, I don’t think that idea is like void of trueness, but it’s certainly the way that we perceive want As kind of coming out or, or being shown, I think is like very culturally kind of dependent and, and probably outdated.

Jill: With Tokyo and getting the bronze medal, what opportunities came across from being a medalist that you didn’t necessarily get from Rio beyond getting a lot of press from Rio?

Evan Dunfee: oh, none really. You know, I have fewer sponsors now than I did before Tokyo.

Not that I had many before Tokyo either. I think,

yeah, not like life didn’t really change a lot. certainly there was a few more opportunities sort of, you know, It gave me a good excuse to get back into the schools and, and actually have a medal to show all the kids. so, the best thing about it is that medal has now been, dropped and dinged and touched by, you know, held by Probably 10, 000 kids.

so, so that, that was sort of a, an opportunity, that’s, that’s come out of it, that’s been a lot of, a lot of fun and actually having that thing now that I can kind of say, you know, to a group of 10 year olds, like, Hey, when I was you sitting on that gym floor, this is what I dreamt of doing. And here it is, like, it’s real, it’s tangible, you can hold it.

And so. hold it and, and while you’re holding it, think about, you know, what it is that you want to do with your life, whatever that is, just, if I can do this, there shouldn’t be any stuff, anything stopping you from chasing after that, that thing that you want to do. so in terms of like, the, the opportunities unlocked in terms of having really good metaphors, um, have been fantastic. but from a career standpoint, not, not a whole lot. It was a very good. Tool I ran for my local city council in 2022, and it was a great icebreaker. because I am, I was not super comfortable going around knocking on people’s doors, but the metal provided a very good kind of, icebreaker, if you will, and actually had a couple of my friends who came out to help one day door knocking and, one of them’s a Paralympic silver medalist and her and her partner would just knock on doors and.

Someone would answer and they, yes. And like, would you like to see a Paralympic silver medal? And they’d be like, yes. And they look at it and like, wait, why are you at my door? Like, oh, right, right, right. Yeah. And we’re, we’re campaigning on behalf of Evan Dunfee. And they were just so disarmed that it was kind of like, uh, oh, okay.

This was actually, they turned into a pleasant conversation rather than getting the door slammed in their face. so, uh, you know, it can be a useful tool in that sense. but You know, life is essentially carried on as it was. And, and, which was, which is fine.

Cause life was going pretty well before that medal as well.

Alison: Did you get a medal bonus from the Canadian Olympic committee?

Evan Dunfee: Yes. Yeah. So the Canadian Olympic committee pays, 10 grand for bronze, 15 for silver and 20 for gold. and then we also have a program. So our main funding is, is what we call carding.

There’s a top up to carting if you’re ranked, so if you count the first year after the Olympics is sort of year one, there’s a 5, 000 bonus if you’re ranked in top five in the world in year one. Year two and three, if you’re ranked in the top four, there’s that, you know, you still get that bonus.

And then in the Olympic year, you get the, the medal bonus if you win a medal. So it’s kind of a, a very narrow, pathway towards the medal of, of, of help. But what I find really, really funny is that five grand top up that you get in the non Olympic years is tax free, like our carding is. But the metal money is taxable income.

And so the 5, 000 you get in the, cause I was going into the Olympics. I was ranked in the top, top four in the world. And so I had that bonus and then after tax. The medal bonus, was it much higher than the bonus for being fourth in the world the year before? one of those weird idiosyncrasies that I find quite strange.

Jill: Wait, where did the craft dinner? Sponsor where did that come in was that

Evan Dunfee: before after so that was before Tokyo, and that was that was sensational That was the coolest thing. I’m glad we get to talk about that because that was such a cool cool thing It was what I think must have happened was that er who there a you know Canadian Olympic?

Sponsor Kraft is and they must have gone to the committee and said hey we We want to do something with an athlete and we want someone who this is going to be genuine for. We don’t want to like go to their Instagram and see all these pictures of salads. And I’m pretty sure the COC immediately went, Oh, we have the athlete for you.

And so, yeah. So from our first conversation, they sort of said, they were very upfront of like what they want to do. And, and I said, like, I think this is great. I appreciate that you’re, You want to use race walking as kind of this funny medium, cause it’s strange and it’s kind of weird, but you’re not making fun of race walking.

And, and that was like right in my wheelhouse. I really appreciate that. So we sort of threw some ideas back and forth together and I think they were really happy to kind of have that. Have that kind of space to you know, not feel like they were offending me, that they, that they had that space to have fun with it.

and so, yeah, we did put this awesome, they did an amazing job with the, with this commercial and. within all that, they saw how important it was for me to kind of use my platform, do good things. and they were kind of like, yeah, we can, we can help. We, we have a very big platform and we can help with that.

And so, after, the race in Sapporo and coming across the line and going to doping control and finally opening my phone for the first time, the first thing I saw when I opened Twitter was that, you know, Kraft dinner donated. So I finished the race in three hours, 50 minutes and 50 ish seconds, I think, and saw that they had donated 35, 050 boxes of Kraft dinner to my local food bank.

so that was like, just incredibly cool to see me doing my silly little thing of walking fast, um, pay off in something that, that huge. And, and then from that, they were like, Hey, what’s actually like, what’s let’s make a box with your face on it. And, And, and I sort of said, Hey, can we, can we auction those off for kids sport?

And they’re like, yeah, a hundred percent and we’ll match it up to 10 grand. And so we ended up, you know, with people buying boxes of KD with my face on it, we re raised 20 grand for, for kids sport. so more kids can, can get to play sport. And so that was the coolest partnership ever, just cause they saw what was important to me.

And used the resources that they had available to them to amplify that. And, so really, really cool. I’m pestering them to try to do something again before Paris, because I have. What I think is a great idea, and I really want, I really, really wanted to, to, to bite on it.

Jill: Well, we will hope that that happens again, because that was, it was so much fun to follow, I will say that.

And we were bummed that we could not get Kraft Dinner up in, I mean, we have Mac and Cheese, but we couldn’t get Kraft Dinner. We couldn’t get the

Alison: Canadian boxes with your face on

Evan Dunfee: it. Well, um, we’ll talk. Hahaha.

Jill: Let’s get down to 50k versus 20k. I, I realize you’re probably thrilled. With this decision and you’ve done race to 20K before, but what’s the differences in terms of building a strategy and technique? I

Evan Dunfee: mean, the 50K, I like to describe the 50K as the, within the Olympics, it, it signified more than any other event, what it means to endure, you know, it really, really underline and that was very visible.

You could see that if you sat down and watched a race. it was enthralling. It was, it it’s incredible how many people I’ve heard from over the years who would flat up tell me that they put the race on thought, you know, this looks stupid and then realize five minutes later that they couldn’t turn it off and they ended up watching the entire race, because it, it.

It does pull you in, it captivates you. And you find out they’re going how far and you’re like, Oh man. Like, and then you start seeing, Oh, this athlete’s three minutes ahead, but like, they’re losing 30 seconds every lap. And you know, this athlete’s. On the sidelines throwing up and, whatever else is coming out of wherever else.

And, you know, I, I just don’t think the 20 K can do justice to that. And the fact that it’s walking, you know, race walking, it needs to have something that legitimizes it. And I think the fact that it was the furthest foot race in the Olympics, it made sense. For it to be racewalking because it, it was far, it was, it was this in, you know, ability to endure.

and so I just don’t think that the 20K has that same capability of captivating. And, and, I also think it’s really tough to judge. you know, I have very strong opinions on how bad the judging’s been the last several years and, and athletes getting away with absolute, like in my mind, pretty terrible technique, which that part of it, we’re getting closer and closer to solving with, technology coming in that hopefully will be ready in time for LA, that will measure flight time. and sort of take that subjective element out of it. So that’s one thing that is, that is good, so that’s sort of the philosophical, how I feel about the event, in terms of the physiological sort of training for it, it’s, they’re completely different events. And annoyingly World Athletics, replace the 50 K with a 35 K at world champs.

So we have a 20 K and a 35 K world champs. And we’ve seen from the two world championships that we had. The same guys, same guys and girls doing well at each because they’re, they’re the same event, you know, the 35 K is, is a 20 K with just an extra 15 K at the start. whereas the 50 K was a completely different beast, different training, different physiological requirements.

Different ability to utilize carbohydrates and fuel and, and hydrate yourself. that made it more of a sort of science experiment than, uh, foot race. so, yeah, so, so I think that those things are all very different and I hated the 20 K and I thought that my career was essentially going to be over after Tokyo and that I would stick around for a little bit, but mentally, I’d be a bit more checked out and, and, you know, You know, finding as many soft landing spots and parachutes as I could for when sport comes to an end for me.

and then I went and broke the national record and got my first PB in nine and a half years and, finished fourth at World Championships. And I was like, Oh, Oh, I guess I’m, I guess I can actually figure, I guess I’ve actually figured this out, figured this event out. And, um, And I got to say the last eight months have been a lot more fun and I’m enjoying it a lot more and, and feeling like I actually have a chance at, still unlocking some of that potential that I think I have, and which is a fun place to be.

I think I had spent a year kind of resigned to the fact that, I wasn’t going to unlock new potential in this event. And, that was a pretty. Mentally tough space to be in. And so, yeah, it’s the last eight months it’s been, it’s been fun, which is, I didn’t think I was going to say.

Alison: Did the results change your mindset or did the mindset change the results?

Evan Dunfee: I think it’s a little bit of both. Certainly getting to St. Moritz in Switzerland where we do our altitude training, last summer before games. Cause, cause, um, 2022 our world champs were in Eugene. I didn’t go anywhere before them.

I didn’t even, you know, I wasn’t even there for the 20 K I watched 20 K on TV at home before flying, you know, taking the short flight out from Vancouver to the race 35 K. So 2022, I felt very disconnected and my mind was way more attached to the election than it was to world champs. And 2023 sort of started the same way, although there was a lot more.

borderline depression and, and, stuff around not getting elected and coming so close in the election and coming up short left me in a pretty tough mental space for the first few months. And so finally got away and got to Europe with, a couple of the guys that I was training with and that’s when it sort of started to click of like, Oh yeah, like this actually can be fun.

And I get to see my friends and, and get to train with people, which I hadn’t done In earnest since, you know, in a really long time. and so that started to kind of, I think going into that race, going into the race in Budapest at world champs, I was already starting to feel a little bit different. And then probably, you know, I definitely am someone who lacks.

Confidence without results. I, I kind of need those results to like, give me the confidence to like, Oh, okay. that was possible, I guess. and so going into the race, I was feeling happy and, and content and, and, and excited, but I think the result helps solidify that, like, I still have an opportunity to, do something special in this event.

Jill: What are the sort of things you think about strategically versus in the 20K versus the, the

Evan Dunfee: 50K? So the 20 K is much more, I mean, and the world champs in Budapest were an anomaly because the race from the gun went stinking fast. And, and I finished fourth with a pot. Like, my second 10 K was a couple of seconds slower than my first 10 K.

And that’s not normally how that race unfolds normally. It’s sort of a 15k feeling, you know, you got to get to 15k feeling good. And then the top eight is whoever can go the fastest over the last 5k. So it’s a lot more change in pace, a lot more, how I like to describe it is the 50k is you kind of get to a level of hurt.

And you just try to hold on to that same level for as long as you possibly can, whereas the 20 K is sort of, you get to a level of hurt, and then you try to push beyond that a little bit, hurt a little bit more than you try to hurt a little bit more and try to hurt a little bit more than that, that kind of that hurt ramps up rather than sustaining that lower level of hurt for just a really long time.

And I think I’ve always been more. comfortable in that space of like, let it hurt and then just like live in that space for a few hours. and so for training wise and tactics wise, like getting used to and learning and, and, improving on that change of pace and, and ramping up of, the hurt and going into that anaerobic, area has been what I’ve had to work on the most in terms of transitioning to the 20k.

Alison: Has your body changed?

Evan Dunfee: mean, I’m also Getting old which is which is you know for my sport So I think there’s some changes there but like for the most part, you know, I’ve been dealing with a pretty aggravated hamstring now for four, five years.

but it’s under control and it’s probably in the least pain it’s been in, in a really long time. And so that’s really nice. And, you know, I did unfortunately tear my hamstring in the 35K race in Budapest, with about two and a half kilometers to go. So that was really frustrating because I was closing in on third place and, and might’ve, maybe.

Possibly had an outside chance to catch them and then heard a pop and, managed to get myself to the finish line somehow, which I was very proud of. because this is going to sound silly, but I always sort of thought like, I was like, ah, I think I might be a bit of a wimp. Like, you know, cause you see guys and this is something that this is really interesting.

Cause you see guys like at the end of it, it’s Perseus Karlstrom is one of my guys I trained with from Sweden. And he’s one of those guys that you can hear him when you watch his race on TV and you can hear him breathing. like it’s one of those guys that, and you can, you can see like, Oh, he’s really, really working hard.

Like he is killing himself. He’s turning himself inside out to get to that finish line. And then when I watched myself race, I kind of see, like, I don’t really feel like my facial expression changes very much. And, and I always think like, Oh, did I, did I just, was I just not willing to push myself harder and, and all these sorts of things.

And then uh, in that race, it was kind of like, Oh no, like actually like, yeah, you are tough. Like it was this, it was, and then, then there was this awkward moment after where I was like, Well, I really hope it’s torn, like, you know, you don’t, ideally for training, not torn would have been great, but also I was like, well, if it’s not torn, then I kind of lose this ability to think that I’m tough.

Uh, and so that presented a very strange dynamic in my brain for, for a little while there.

Alison: Okay. I can’t miss this. Your muscle tears. How do you physically keep going? Because I’ve torn a muscle and I just crumbled to the floor. I’m obviously nowhere near an athlete, but like that’s your body’s natural react.

How do you fight that natural reaction to just fall over and, and keep going?

Evan Dunfee: It started with swearing a lot. there was a lot of yelling, to no one in particular. And then I think adrenaline kicked in, cause it was, there was probably 500 meters of excruciating pain, kind of not sure I was going to be able to finish.

And then, then thinking, wow, okay. Like it’s 2k, I am probably like hobble to the finish line. And like the goal at that point was to like, you know, I can still maybe salvage a top eight, but. Eighth would be four grand. Okay. That would be kind of like be nice. Like, so just keep going until you’re in ninth.

And then if you’re, then you can drop to the ground and, and then it kind of spent the next 500 meters. It was like, okay, no one’s catching me. Okay. This isn’t, oh, this doesn’t hurt quite as much now. And then it was sort of, it was able to actually, I actually picked it up a little bit in the last kilometer and, was able to kind of almost get back on pace.

And then I accidentally made my mom cry because, my physio was putting a wrap on afterwards. Just kind of hold everything together. And, she went and just like touched the back of my hamstring, like just with like, you know, a soft little, like to put that tape on and apparent, I guess my mom was in front of me and I like winced and that was, uh, too much for, so that was, to me, that was kind of like, Ooh, yeah.

Okay. This is probably like natural. This is probably not great. and then I got COVID and then, yeah. So the whole, the whole end of that trip was. Was not quite as great as the start of it was, I gotta say.

Alison: So last time we talked, we talked about what goes through your head for 50 K. What’s different for 20?

Evan Dunfee: Everything happens really quick. And so in the Budapest race was interesting because we were two hours delayed. So we’re, we’re in the call room. We’re about to go out to that to start the race. person makes an announcement.

We all think, okay, this is the announcement to like go out to the course. And then the announcement is. There’s lightning. Come back in an hour and a half, basically. Basically, you know, we’re, the race delayed two hours, and go back to the tents. And so I just remember kind of being like, okay, nothing I can do about that.

and then everyone around me freaking out. And, as we’re walking out, I, I turned to Percy and sort of said, well, like this is our advantage. Like we’re, you know, we’ll go back to our rooms, we’ll, Relax. We’ll do whatever we need to do. We’ll get some food in us and we’re just going to come back and say, everyone else is freaking out about this.

It’s going to negatively affect them more than it’s going to affect us. And we’ll use that as an advantage. Little did I know at that point in time, Percy was also freaking out and, and sort of said to me afterwards that like, that is like, Oh, I Thank you for saying that. but so that was like, it felt really relaxed at that point in time.

And then we go into the race and the gun goes, it’s still, the course is soaking wet, there’s puddles everywhere. That first kilometer was almost just figuring out which part of the course. You know, which part of the loop could you walk on and not just be in a puddle the entire time. And then the race went out so fast.

And I just remember I was

maybe four, three or four seconds back after the first couple of K and it’s being like, Oh, good. I gotta go catch those guys. Like I gotta be up there. And I, so the next like three K, all I could think about was just, Oh, I’m working really hard to catch up to these guys. And, and I wasn’t thinking about anything other than just like, okay, get back on the front of this race, get back on the front of this race.

And then. Kind of got back on the front of the race. And that was kind of like, Oh, okay, I can relax now. And the pace was still stinking fast, but I just, I felt like, okay, job was done. I did what I needed to do. I got myself back on that group. I didn’t let him get away. And now I can just. Chill here and let other people do the work for the next 15 K.

and at 10 K we went through 10 K and we were 39 minutes and Chris Linkey was beside me and we looked at each other and went, are we really that fast? Like this is, this is very fast. Or it was kind of like, okay, I guess we’re going this fast. And, And then the last 10 K, I don’t really remember.

Like, after that point, I’m just like, I don’t really remember much. you’re fighting to hang on to the front of that group and stay there as long as you possibly can. Whereas the 50 K, I still, you know, there’s lots of it. You don’t remember, but. the feelings of the tactics of trying to stay relaxed, stay calm, slowly make your move.

If you’re catching a guy, like you don’t need to catch them all at once, that sort of thing. The 20k is very much just like react to every move, always like if someone takes, if someone makes it, you know, gets a 10k. step on you, close that gap right away. you’re just way more conscious of those things than in a 50k where you’re kind of racing your own race, the 20k, you’re kind of, racing everyone’s race.

Jill: Do you do anything to train for reactions?

Evan Dunfee: Not a whole lot. yeah, no, you know, I had this fascinating conversation one time. Um, myself, Marco are up, um, are, you Our world champion 800 meter runner and Mo Ahmed, Olympic silver medals in the 5k, we were all doing a school talk together and. Talking about our process and talking about that stuff.

And it was so fascinating to get a 800 meter guy, a five, 10 K guy and a 50 K guy. And all of the things we were talking about were the exact same, just the, the amount of time between those decisions was so radically different. And so Marco’s talking about these, fractions of a second that he has to react to, to something and make a decision and all this stuff.

And Mo’s talking about, You see a guy make a move and then you have to decide whether or not, you know, you get that moment to decide, do I go with it or not? And then you have to make that decision. And then for me, it’s like, you see a guy make a move, you let him see how that move plays out for a little bit.

And then you can kind of figure out if you react to it or not. but yeah, for, hearing for someone like Marco, like how much more important it is to. Have those reflexes. They’re they’re reflexive rather than reactive. Whereas I think for me, like even in the 20 K they’re still, they’re still reactive decisions, they’re still, still this decision that if you have a good plan, if you have, if you have the right plan, if you kind of know, Roughly what you’re hoping to do and, and how you’re going to react to those moves.

You can kind of still have that time to sort of say, okay, yeah, this is happening. Checklist. Okay. This is what I’m supposed to do with that happens. Okay. Go and do that. Whereas Marco has to do that reflexively, that has to be drilled into him so that he knows as soon as that thing happens, his body just has to respond to it.

Alison: What do the next four months look like for you?

Evan Dunfee: so I’m heading to Europe to race in Czechia in April. And then being very selfish and staying, we have a race two weeks later in Turkey. That’s our world team championships. And so I’m going straight from Czechia to Turkey to train with, Percy and Nick Christie, one of the Americans, for two weeks there.

And that was a really tough thing. Cause it means I’m missing coaching. I’m coaching the university of British Columbia racewalkers now. It means not being here for a couple of the boards I sit on now. so I’m on the board of the food bank, uh, and I’m on the board of our local kids sport chapter.

And so it means missing those things. And so it’s tough. It’s, it’s had to be that like, no, like I need to put everything into this now. I need to be, I need to be selfish. one last time. You know, leave no stone unturned. And so trying to still convince myself that that is, okay.

And, and allowed. Team championships. I’ll hopefully be racing with, one of the girls that I’m coaching, Olivia Lundman, and we’re hope, going to take a stab at qualifying for the event. That’s replaced the 50 K the, the mixed team relay. So marathon relay, one guy, one girl, you take two legs, each of, you know, Roughly 10 K and yeah, so we’ll take a shot at that.

Super amazing to qualify for that. was telling Jill before we started recording that at the Olympics we have a 72 hour rule. So we’re out of the village within 72 hours, I compete on day zero of athletics. and so that would mean missing, you know, not getting to really see any of my teammates compete.

The relay is a week later. So very, very selfishly, I really want to qualify for that relay so that I can stay in the village and get to, you know, cheer on my teammates and get some of that, you know, get that experience, one last time. and also I would love for Olivia to get that experience, so that she can take that to LA and, and hopefully be in the individual 20K in LA and, and it not be this big, scary, daunting thing.

It’s, it’s, it’ll be. old hat knows what to expect. So, really, really hopeful that, that we can qualify there. And then may back home doing some coaching duties and all that stuff. And then June take off for altitude, do our month in St. Moritz, do our two weeks in Barcelona, getting acclimatized to the heat and then into Paris.

It’s very formulaic at this point in time. We know exactly where we’re going to be staying in St. Moritz. We know all of our training loops. We know how long the train takes from Zurich and all that stuff. So many of those, elements are controlled now and we know exactly what to expect.

And so that makes things like so much easier in terms of just focusing on the training and, and all that stuff. So, yeah, really excited for that. Bittersweet because it might be the last time I’m ever in St. Moritz, which is, you know, my favorite place on earth. it’s where I got engaged last summer, which was really, really exciting.

And so, you know, my partner will come and join me once the school year is done and she’s done teaching and, and we’ll kind of get to revel in, in that place that neither of us will never be able to afford to go back to once sport is over. and then just, Go into Paris and leave it all on the, on the course and, and.

See what we can do.

Jill: The element of selfishness is inherent just in elite sport or in lot of elements of sports. how has that changed during each of your quads?

Evan Dunfee: Really, it’s a, it’s so interesting. Cause when I was heading into Rio, I was doing this for myself, you know, it was, I wanted to know how good I could be.

And, and that was kind of it. Obviously I had a team around me, but there was not much, outside influence, I guess, and I think that’s exemplified by. In that final five kilometers as I was chasing down, Hiroki in third place. I was telling myself, just take one more step.

Just take one more step. It was this really internal me focused thing. And then Rio unfolds the way it does. I have all these opportunities once, getting involved with kids sport, doing all these school talks, all this stuff that I never thought I would have as a race Walker. and so fast forward to Tokyo and.

I’m still doing it for myself and that, but I also have this kind of community behind me. And there’s all these people that I feel like are a part of the journey as well. and I think that’s exemplified in that final kilometer in Tokyo, where instead of thinking, just take 1 more step, just take 1 more step.

The thing that. Unlocked that hundredth time of asking, you know, do I have one more gear? It was thinking of all the people back home that were walking every step with me. That thought process that was so much more external than, than it was in Rio, where it was this really internal thought.

And so having those two moments within the race that kind of exemplify how those quads had changed, how I had changed and how kind of, My motivations, my, my whys had changed. I think it’s really cool to have those two kind of like really succinct, obvious points that I can look at and say, yeah, look at, look at, look at how much this has changed.

And, you know, now heading into, into Paris, I think there’s a little bit of a change in that because I’ve kind of taken that, that idea of having that community behind me and, and I’ve. taking more of my time to apply, the ideas of giving back to my community outside of sports. So I’m on these boards.

I’m, I’m, you know, I’m doing these things that that aren’t just me trying to do good things by walking fast. so, you know, it’ll be really interesting to see how that manifests in, in Paris and, how that evolution sort of continues and what that looks like beyond Paris.

Cause, Paris is almost certainly my last Olympics. Almost certainly and, but I still, I still wanna go to world champs in, in 2025 and, and go back to Tokyo and, and actually have a crowd there and race in Tokyo that I, you know, that I didn’t get to do. And, all that stuff. So it’s certainly isn’t the, the, gonna be the, the end of the end, but it will be my.

You know, likely my last Olympic experience. So it’s, it’s exciting. It’s, it’s exciting to see what that will look like and how I’ll feel and how that will all manifest itself, on race day.

Alison: We may have been screaming at the television, right?

Evan Dunfee: It’s. It is remarkable how many stories I’ve heard from, it must have been a long weekend I think at home because I’ve heard from tons of people who were huddled around a phone while they were camping and having entire campsites that had congregated around because, they’d start yelling about something and people are like, Oh, what are you, what are you guys watching?

And all of a sudden there’s 40 people huddled around a phone screen. And, it’s really been so cool to hear those stories and to hear. the memories that people have from that and, I have video of all of my friends watching back home in that moment when, they’re all yelling at the TV to go back to the race because they’re showing, the guys come across line and first and second, and, then the camera kind of pans up slowly after, Jonathan finishes in second, and you can kind of see my shoes and.

the moment that all my friends sort of lose their mind and there was boxes of Kraft dinner being opened and flung into the air. And, my friend’s dog was still getting Kraft dinner out of the, uh, the cracks in the concrete weeks later. but just having that, getting able to see that and having that, look at things, I think it’s so much more special than, then being able to rewatch the race, which I’ve, I’ve rewatched the last, You know, kilometer, but I’ve never rewatched the, the whole race.

I, I, I’m sure there’s parts of it that I would just be baffled by. If I went back to watch again and, that I just completely been lost to, from my memory.

Jill: Spoiler alert. You won a medal.

Now that you have more of a name in Canada, do you feel any different kinds of pressure in terms of expectation or, or do you have a system for dealing with it? I,

Evan Dunfee: I mean, I think if I was getting paid more, I’d might feel like I had more pressure on me. at this point in time, it’s sort of like, I, if I don’t win a medal, I’m not going to lose sponsors.

so I think, I think that would be the only thing, you know, if I had, sponsorships that were incentivized, where I got bonuses, if I performed well and stuff like that, that’s the only way in which I could see that I could have more external pressure. I think I put enough, I think I put enough internal pressure on myself.

but externally, I think at the end of the day. There’s just not enough. it’s still race walking at the end of the day. I think that’s that, you know, that’s the way to sum it up is that I think people are really happy to see me do well, but it’s no one is hinging. They’re hitting their ride on on me.

so to speak. So, Yeah, maybe that I did hear from someone after Tokyo who said, or after Rio, who said they put, put a little bit of money on me and in the moments that I was the bronze metal bronze medalist got paid out and they were very happy about that. So, you know, maybe there are a couple of people out there who are hinging money on me and hopefully.

Want to come break you my legs if I, if I don’t win a medal for them.

Jill: Are you running for office again?

Evan Dunfee: Certainly. Yeah. I, I like to describe it as, you know, in, in Rio, I was fourth. I was just off that podium. you know, I used that motivation to come back, a better athlete, the next one around and, and got on that podium. This time around, I was.

400 votes out. I was just outside, just off the podium. and so, want to learn from that experience and come back stronger the next time and, and, hopefully again, get myself on that podium and get elected. So certainly want to run again. It was a ton of fun. learned so much and really think I’d be good at that job.

Jill: when is, election season,

Evan Dunfee: 2026. Okay. That’s fine. Yeah. So it’s, just like the last 16 or so years of my life, it’s just another career where I’d be planning my life in four year cycles. Uh, that feels getting

Jill: something you’re familiar with. Yeah, exactly. Are you running for Athletes Commission?

Evan Dunfee: No, I’ve been, I’ve toyed with it. I’ve been asked about it. I think for me, the, passions that I have, the, the good things I want to do just aren’t really in the sport world anymore.

You know, I want to help build good cities. I’m more energized by that and excited by that. it’s just more invigorating to me now than. And I think we have some amazing people, who are doing, especially in Canada, I think we’re blessed in Canada to have probably the best athlete commission in the world, but also a national Olympic committee that listens to them and gives them space and, and, I, so I think we’re in, we’re in good hands, sports in good hands.

That does remind me of a story that I feel like you guys would love to hear. yes. so back in Tokyo, the, the, the medal ceremony is back in the Olympic stadium in Tokyo, so we were, we’re flown back to Tokyo and we’re waiting there to get our medals and our medals are being presented by two executive board members of the IOC.

And so I’m thinking. perfect, these are the people that got rid of this event and they’re going to have to look at me. I’m going to have like a couple of seconds where they’re going to have to listen to me. So I’m going to use that time to speak my truth.

And, so they, you know, they come, they, they, you know, you grab the metal off the plate and you put it on yourself, which was really nice. They didn’t, you know, because of COVID, they didn’t get to put the metal on me. I got to put the metal on myself, which, Didn’t realize it at the time, but ended up being something that was really important to me.

and just said to, said to them, you know, you made a terrible mistake getting rid of this event. And I hope you have to live with that decision for the rest of your life and came off the podium and went upstairs. And the first person I saw from the COC was, um, David Schumacher, our, our CEO and just sort of said, Hey David, just by the way, I said this just in case you hear anything.

And sure enough, the next day find out that the IOC had filed a complaint against me because, um, they had felt disrespected. And I kind of replied, well, yeah, that, how do you think I feel? and sort of said, you know, that was the, You know, the most respectful way I could have protested. I was wearing a mask.

No one else. You know, it was a conversation between the 2 of us. It wasn’t anything bigger than that. and so, yeah, that’s kind of where I thought it was going to end. And then I found out that the C. O. C. Olympic Committee apologized on my behalf. And so then I had to have a conversation in the airport with our president.

And sort of say, I really wish he hadn’t done that. I, I’m not sorry. and you know, I feel pretty disrespected for, for someone apologizing on my behalf. but yeah, it was awesome. It was great to get to that moment to speak my truth. Our press conference after the race was remarkable. Myself, uh, David and.

Jonathan getting a chance to talk about what it meant having the event taken away from us. And those quotes never went anywhere, but they made an impact in that room. And, very annoyingly, they wouldn’t let Jonathan and David answer in their own language. they made them answer in English, which was incredibly frustrating because they couldn’t find the exact words to express how they felt about it.

but, it was cool to see. Three athletes on that had just finished on the podium of this event, speak so passionately and defensively about what their event means and meant and the good that will be lost by not having it, was, was really, really special. So, you know, those are moments that no one really got to see, but when I look back on the experience, they’re up there in terms of what I’m proud of.

Yeah. Alongside, just as high alongside the race.

Jill: Evan, well, thank you so much for coming back on the show and spending a ton of time with us.

Evan Dunfee: Yeah, of course. I love this.

Jill: We’re excited that you get to go to Paris. We’re excited that we will get to see you. Try not to be crazy on the

Evan Dunfee: sidelines. Yeah, it’ll be a lot of fun.

You’ll have to find, uh, I’ll have a big group there. My fiancé is going to be there and all my family, so you’ll have to, you’ll have to find them and, and, and stand with the Canadian Cheer Squad.

Alison: Absolutely.

Jill: Thank you so much, Evan. You can follow Evan on Insta and X. He is at Evan Dunfee.

[00:58:41] Get Your Paris Travel Journals!

Jill: Are you heading to Paris this summer?

Oui, oui.

Will you go see some race walking? Pass the Octatree off. Oui, oui. And I will be looking for Evan’s family in their lovely Lululemon outfits.

Alison: And for you and for everyone who’s heading over to Paris, you can keep all your memories saved in our new travel journals.

We have one for the Olympics and one for the Paralympics. And we’ll see We will be coming out for coming out with one for those who are staying home as well. So a television watching journal and these handy notebooks have checklist writing prompts and travel tips. So you can record all your favorite moments from your once in a lifetime trip.

And the travel journals are available on amazon. com. You can find them through links on our homepage, flamealivepod. com.

Jill: And I’m excited. I have my own copies of the travel journals and they are nice. They are really cool. I’m excited to use them. I’m very excited

Alison: as well. I haven’t seen them in person.

[00:59:43] Paris 2024 News

Alison: C’est magnifique!

Jill: Yes, so the torch has arrived. The ship The Belem arrived in Marseilles. I have not seen the footage yet, did you?

Alison: It’s a nice fancy ceremony and Tony Astenguet showed up, it’s what you’d expect.

It has all the pomp and the circumstance and Tony Astenguet is there, and you heard lots of music and lots of French flags and It was real. And the day was beautiful. They could not have dialed in better weather.

Jill: Excellent. So the big news was that they released a cauldron for the torch relay. Right.

Alison: And it’s a cauldron. though it is a small version. So this cauldron is going to be used in stopover cities around France. So there’s 20 of them that were produced and it gives me great hope for what we’re going to see. at the end of the torch relay that we will get a real cauldron. There was a press release from Paris 2024, and it, this was also designed by, I’m going to get the name wrong because I have not been doing enough Duolingo, Mathieu Leheneur, who was the same designer as the torch.

It uses that same metal in a ring. Nice. It has three, support. So it’s when it’s lit, it’s supposed to look like it’s floating. Oh, cool. And the reflective metal base has that same wave ripple effect. So it’ll look like fire floating on water.

Jill: Oh, very, that’s very cool. I mean, the, the picture you posted in the Facebook group, to me, it almost looks like the waves are Photoshopped in that wavy metal.

It just, it looks weird from the angle that they took the picture. I will say that. But I bet it’s cool.

Alison: That base is reflective.

Jill: Oh.

Alison: So, depending on what light you shine on it, because I saw a picture. Where it almost looked green because they were taking a picture of it outdoors. Oh, cool. And you could see the trees and thing reflective in it.

But here’s the coolest part about that wave effect. It was actually made by water. Oh, really? I don’t quite understand the process. It’s called hydroforming. So they heat the metal that it is and like use a wave machine.

Jill: Oh, really? Oh, that is cool. That is really cool. So the water then makes the dips. And so I would imagine that no two cauldrons are alike.

I would expect so.

Alison: Very, very cool. This is what they use at the end. So much better than the snowflame.

Jill: Almost anything is going to be better than the Snowflame. I’m very hopeful about this.

Also, did you, did you hear this? The, that the music has come? I’m so glad you have not listened to this. So the official theme music has arrived as well. This is the music that they are playing along the torch relay. This is also the music that they will play in venues. ad nauseam, so expect this to get in your head.

I would not be surprised if this is also music that you will hear on the OBS feeds. So hold on to your hats, people. Let’s take a listen to this.

Alison: I was with it, with its Disney musical overture. And then we hit the disco beat.

Jill: It is that. Composers Victor Lamazna. I’m just, I’m blown away by this. This is an earworm that will get in our heads. Much like the Beijing music got in my head, although I can’t remember any of it anymore.

Alison: But if you heard it, you would have an immediate Pavlovian reaction.

Jill: That’s right. But the transition from, yes, Disney music to choral and then to Hooked on Classics Olympics. Oh my gosh. This is fantastic. I love the throwback to Hooked on Classics type style with the teal and the pink of the design of these games.

Oh my gosh, we are just going right back there.

Alison: So a few Christmases ago, my daughter bought me a Team USA sort of papery jacket from 1996. She found it on eBay. I think that’s coming with me. Yes! I’ll be hooked on classics in front of the Eiffel Tower.

Oh, that’s gonna be fun. That is fun. I am really loving the look and sound.

Jill: Oh my gosh, it’s just gonna, oh. There’s something so French about it to me. Something so throwback about it to me. and it’s also a little hilarious.

Alison: Excellent. Nice job, Victor. Oh, let’s go get some coffee together. Yes.

Jill: It’s just, oh, this is just, it’s fabulous. that giant rainwater storage basin. What a segway. Well, going back to the water discussion. Yes, there we go. The giant rainwater storage basin is done. It was done on time. Uh, it will be able to hold 20 Olympic swimming pools worth of dirty water that will now be treated instead of just going into the river.

So hopefully this will help with the Seine water is too dirty to swim in issue.

Alison: Fingers crossed triathlon and marathon swimming will be in the Seine as intended.

Jill: Exactly. We always have our job that we job, or officiating role we would want during the Olympics and Paralympics, uh, Would not want this job, but I will probably be awake for it is during the games.

The water will be tested at 3 a. m Every day,

Alison: I would love that job. Oh, yeah Oh, there are test tubes involved and like mixing there’s probably pH sticks

Jill: probably Maybe we could we can work on that for you. ,

[01:07:57] World Games News

Jill: We have some World Games news we need some music for World Games We’ll work on that World Games has announced that the World Games 2029 host city will be Karlsruhe Germany and it is the first city to organize the the World Games twice.

So games are going back to Germany. That will be very exciting. Maybe we’ll go.

Alison: Well, you speak German, so I feel safe traveling with you there.

Jill: Well, you got through China and I didn’t speak Chinese.

[01:08:36] TKFLASTAN Update

Jill: Welcome to Shooklastan.

It is the time of the show where we check in with our team, Keep the Flame Alive. These are past guests of the show and listeners who make up our citizenship of Shooklastan, our very own country. First up.

Alison: At the World Aquatic Artistic Swimming World Cup event in Paris, Jacqueline Simoneau and partner, Audrey Lamont won bronze in the duet technical and duet free.

Canada finished second in the team free and Jacqueline reported that the venue, which will be the artistic swimming venue for the Olympics, is gorgeous.

Jill: Nice. And that is a, one of like two brand new stadiums that they built specifically for the games. So very, very cool. Boccia player Alison Levine and partner Yolion Chiabano won silver in the BC4 Pairs division of the Montreal Boccia World Boccia cup.

Alison: Stephanie Roble and Maggie Shea are sailing in the 2024 European Championships, May 7th through the 12th in Le Grand Montreal.

Jill: Pole vaulter Katie Moon is still struggling with the injury to her Achilles, and she has withdrawn from the Doha Diamond League event. She plans to return for the Prefontaine Classic at the end of May.

Alison: Lauren Gibbs has published The Medalist Mindset, the workbook, Your Guide to Success at the Highest Level, written with fellow Olympian Shannon Robery.

Jill: And congratulations to our friend, Rich Perelman, who won fifth place at the 2023 AIPS Sports Media Awards for writing best column with his entry, with the best of intentions, the IOC has lost its way.

And we will link to that in the show notes so that you can enjoy it as well. And that is going to do it for this episode. Let us know what you think of the new race walking mixed relay.

Alison: You can find us on X, YouTube and Instagram at flamealivepod. Send us an email at flamealivepod at gmail. com. Call or text us at 208 352 6348. That’s 208 flame it. 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. at our website, flamealivepod. com

Jill: Don’t forget next week we are moving to two shows a week and Monday will be our Paralympic show with shot putter, Noelle Malkamaki.

She is so much fun. So we cannot wait to share this interview with you. Thank you so much for listening. And until next time, keep the flame alive.