Headshot of Will Whiston, Executive Vice President of Olympic and Paralympic Games for On Location

On Location’s Will Whiston on Paris 2024 Hospitality Packages

Release Date: November 30, 2023

Category: Paris 2024 | Podcast

Most major sporting events offer hospitality packages to help fans better enjoy the event. But what does hospitality really mean? What does it mean for the Olympics? And will they break the bank?

On this episode, we demystify what “hospitality” means for the Olympics. We talk with Will Whiston, Executive Vice President of Olympic and Paralympic Games for On Location. It’s On Location’s first Games as the International Olympic Committee’s official sponsor, and Will tells us how that partnership came about. He also explains some of the different hospitality experiences on offer for Paris 2024. We also look ahead to some of the possibilities for Milan-Cortina 2026 and LA 2028.

We’re almost done with our year-long look back on the Seoul 1988 Olympics and Paralympics, so Alison looks back at the Olympic Closing Ceremonies:

In our visit to TKFLASTAN, we have news from:

Paris 2024 has had another ticket drop — 400,000 tickets this round, all sports, all sessions (except surfing), and ceremonies in a variety of price ranges. And they have a Christmas card if you’re giving them for the holidays!

If you don’t get tickets now, remember that the official ticket resale platform will launch in spring, and there will be options there too (we’ve heard many people say they can’t attend anymore and want to resell their tickets).

We’ve also got some travel planning news, particularly around flying in on the day of the Opening Ceremonies (try not to), boating on the Seine ahead of the Opening Ceremonies (won’t be possible), and public transport tickets (will be more expensive, but who’s surprised?).

And for your shopping pleasure, there’s another Paris 2024 boutique open in La Defense.

The Olympic Truce went before the United Nations — guess which country had a little tiff about it?

The surfingnovela continues to go on, with Paris 2024 providing a really long explanation about why they want to replace the existing wooden judges stand with an aluminum version. But, they’ve scaled back this project, which is interesting in and of itself. We’re looking forward to seeing this magical wave at Teahup’o and why the competition must be there.

And, the first torchbearer for the Olympic Torch Relay has been announced – it’s Greek Olympian Stefanos Ntouskos!

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

Photo courtesy of On Location.


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.

On Location’s Will Whiston on Paris 2024 Hospitality Packages (Episode 315)

[00:00:00] Theme Music

[00:00:28] 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

[00:00:47] Alison: you? I am so happy this morning. So little teaser, we’re going to be talking sled hockey. in the future. So since we talk sled hockey, I went back and I watched a bunch of sled hockey. Oh, do I love that sport so much.

I can’t get enough of it.

[00:01:09] Jill: That’s good. We had a really good interview. It’s a really interesting topic. And it’ll happen sometime in the new year, I believe.

Will Whiston Interview

[00:01:15] Jill: But today we are going to talk hospitality. We’re back on Paris 2024 talk and hospitality packages are one of the big things you can for going to the Olympics.

They range from anywhere from Tickets and some on site hospitality or in city hospitality all the way to multi day adventures. So everything runs a gamut. What does that all really mean? How expensive is it really? Is it really only for people with a certain budget? So we’ve talked with Will Whiston, who is the Executive Vice President of Olympic and Paralympic Games for On Location.

On Location is the official provider of hospitality packages for Paris 2024. And he joins us to demystify and explain these [00:02:00] experiences. Take a listen.

Will Whiston, thank you so much for joining us.

[00:02:07] Will Whiston: Thank you for having me. uh, I’ve been looking forward to this all week.

[00:02:11] Jill: Oh, nice. So On Location is the IOC’s new partner for the hospitality endeavor. How did this come apart? How did this come about? And what expertise does On Location bring to the table?

[00:02:24] Will Whiston: it’s been a while in the making.

I mean, we started this endeavor two years ago this dream, but it actually started well before that in terms, that was just execution two years ago. it really came from, an acknowledgement by the International Olympic Committee. And I think COVID allowed them to rethink things, candidly, but an acknowledgement that of course, the Olympics is the greatest sporting event in the world.

One of the greatest cultural events, if not one of the greatest cultural event in the world in terms of bringing the world together. But that it was something where people knew it via broadcast. by TV and, it was not on the same level in terms of attending in person. And what does that mean?

It doesn’t mean it’s not as great in attending in person. It is phenomenal attending in person, of course, it’s the greatest thing to go to in the world. Um, but it wasn’t seamless. It wasn’t easily accessible, um, navigating the Olympics on site as you two likely know has never been easy. And I think that there’s a recognition by the international Olympic committee that.

There was a huge opportunity to change and elevate the experience and, bring more fans to the event. That’s where it came from. They contacted more than 30 companies globally to come really develop this idea with them. At first, it was a tender process, but it was really to develop how this would work globally because it had never been done before.

We were one of those companies, and thankfully, after almost a two year process we came out as, the partner that they envisioned to be doing this with. that’s where our adventure started. Now, why on location? First off on location as a part of Endeavor group, which is, one of the largest sports and entertainment businesses out there across agents representing talent,[00:04:00] ownership of UFC, WWE, ownership of a number of tennis and golf, professional events.

all the way across professional bull riders and speaking engagements. It’s covered the whole span, but on location has a specialty in maximizing from a commercial perspective, as well as a fan experience perspective major events and major events is as opposed to maybe a regular season Knicks game or a regular season, English Premier League game.

That’s a different event that happens every week. That happens multiple times a week. But major events like golf and tennis majors, the Olympics, the World Cup, that they’re their own animals from a, uh, execution point of view and a demand point of view from the, from fans globally. So execution is highly complicated and attracting people is a massive global effort and they identified us, thankfully, as being the right partner to be able to achieve both of those things.

[00:04:54] Jill: When you look at putting together a unique experience for one of the most unique events in the world, what do you propose? How do you make it different? How do you

make it special?

[00:05:05] Will Whiston: that’s what we specialize in is bringing the event out, really bringing out what is special about it.

But that requires also making seamless experience. So what do we do in our process? What we focus on is, bringing the closest to action access you can get within a venue to bring out the sporting experience, but then also surrounding that experience to being outside of just the whistles or the finish in the start by bringing in legends of that specific sport.

I’m going to give you an example in a second, but bring out legends of that specific sport, bringing in a culinary experience that’s relevant. making the access to a venue for a major event, something that’s special and that is seamless, so you’re not waiting on long lines. It’s thinking about every touch point leading into the event, but more importantly beyond that, it’s creating an experience, a start [00:06:00] to finish experience from the moment that you arrive in the case of Paris at Charles de Gaulle Airport to the moment you leave.

Everything is taken care of. Everything has the Olympics in mind. Everything has the fans’ needs in mind and makes it carefree so that one can just take in these once in a lifetime moments. I said I would touch upon an example The best example of this is the on the finish line experience that we have for Paris 2024.

Those are a select set , of, a few hundred seats that are directly on the finish line of a hundred meters for the men’s and the woman. Now, obviously that’s, that’s an unbelievable experience to begin with. That’s the biggest 10 seconds of 2024 right there. leSs than 10 seconds, but beyond that, we’ve turned that into a full day experience so that when someone wakes up in the morning, they’re going to a high end hospitality outpost we have within Paris where they’re going to be able to meet Olympic greats, listen to Olympic greats about how they prepared for this day, for that hundred meter finals, those 10 seconds they’ve been training for their entire lives.

then we have seamless access from there to the venue to start the fonts in this case where they get to go take in the build up to this event, hear more from coaches and performance trainers who talk about what’s needed to get to this point and then be able to take it in and have everything after that event taken care of.

So, if you think about that, it becomes a day of experiencing the 100 meter finals, not just those 10 seconds.

[00:07:27] Alison: Where does the ideas for the different experiences come from? How are you developing those?

[00:07:33] Will Whiston: It’s a great question. It comes from, that is, if I want to say, you know, Coca Cola has their secret ingredients.

I wouldn’t say that we have our secret ingredients, but that is our bread and butter from that sense is having teams who curate experiences. We call it our curation team. And they, They do research. First of all, we have extensive research and analytics done as to what the fan profile is.

Then we take that and think about what are the core temple elements of that experience. But really what [00:08:00] makes the biggest difference is everything in between. You can put the rocks into a jar and try to fill it up. There’s still going to be space. You have to put in the sand too, to make sure that if you want to fill up a jar in that sense, maybe not the best metaphor, but In that sense, it’s every touch point with the client in between those major moments, those meeting the athletes or watching the event, making sure that everything they might want is out there ready, that they’re able to experience the food and beverage of the culinary experience of France in those free moments to make sure that they’re not waiting in long lines and they have special access into the venue.

So again, it’s making it carefree.

[00:08:39] Jill: So

those curation, ideation meetings, how Olympics fan geeky. Do they get,

[00:08:46] Will Whiston: so I, I, I have to tell you, I was a massive Olympic fan to begin with, just with my, my father competed internationally in track and field, and he’s always had me watching athletics at the Olympics from when I was young.

I’ve been a massive fan, which is why I’m here doing this. but I, I was stunned when we actually, when we won this assignment and we looked internally at anyone that might want to transfer into this business. The number of people who raised their hands was unbelievable. people were saying this has been their dream to work on this or even be a part of the Olympics.

I think your audience and you too would appreciate that just being a part of something this special. So, um, we had fans to begin with thinking about this. but beyond that, I mean, within our Endeavor network, our larger holding company network, we’ve worked closely with, agents of Olympians. We’ve worked with our analytics group who run surveys and engage with Olympic fans.

We work with the brands around the Olympics who, who understand what they want to optimize and they have a good understanding of the Olympic fans. So we do bring it in on a personal level and at a business level.

[00:09:46] Jill: Was there a package that when you first heard about it, you thought. I don’t know how we’re going to pull this off, or is this possible?

[00:09:55] Will Whiston: hOnestly, the on the finish line package, I never, I didn’t think, would [00:10:00] this be possible? my first thought was this is, the Olympics. This is the moment. This is like a great starting point and something we want to expand into other sports. in terms of, is this possible, you know, sneakily, probably the coolest experience we have.

It’s in sailing . It’s not in Paris is actually in Marseille, but we are actually we have gone out and created, a fan experiences on the water. So you’re on the perimeter of the competition with a former coach, in the boat with you. It’s a small boat. We have a few boats, but it’s an intimate experience in that, you know, it’s no more than 30 to 40 people. But you are having that hospitality experience. You are out on the water near the athletes, preparing on the water for the start line. I mean, there is nothing like that. And we’ve accomplished, we’ve created that at first. I was like, where are we going to find these boats? Like,

where are we going to find these boats? Are we going to need dromamine on these boats for people getting seasick? but we figured that out. but at first I was like, this is unbelievable. How do we do this? But, we have got there. Now the other one, to answer your question too, is the opening ceremony.

24 has in its plans.

[00:11:12] Jill: They

talk about, talk about needing boats for

[00:11:15] Will Whiston: an opening ceremony, talk about needing more than boats, and I will comment on the opening ceremony. If I may, it’s out, people are aware of it, not as aware of these plans as you would expect. I think globally in France, they are, and it’s being put forward as, the tagline is really, you know, first ever, opening ceremony outside of the stadium.

It is. infinitely more than that. It is like, I’m excited for that turning point. I don’t know if it’s happening soon or early 24 when, when people start to recognize exactly the major once in a century, if not once in a millennia event, that’s going to take place for the opening ceremony, where there are athletes coming down the river with crowds of 600, 000 surrounding it performances on bridges, on building tops, take [00:12:00] elaborating on French history.

One of the richest histories there have been, culminating in an unbelievable moment. If you’ve ever, if you ever have the pleasure of meeting the director, of this opening ceremony, they’re all about surprises. that’s what they made their names on. So there’s going to be incredible surprises during this event and at the culmination of the lighting.

The opening ceremony is going to be, I think when people really start to recognize what’s happening, it’s going to be truly a once in a century moment. And everyone’s going to want to be there. And I realize I am going on a tangent, but I figured I would address our experiences there, which are going to be…

When we first learned of these plans and started ideating, I definitely had moments where I was like, well, how do you pull this off? But our experiences there, we’re seeing people come, we’ve already sold out of several of the highest level experiences we have. we are creating on the Alma Bridge, for instance, one of the more famous bridges on the River Seine, essentially two large Parisian cafes.

If you look at the renderings, it looks like you took, a cafe out of Saint Germain and put it right over the River sent on this bridge and people gonna be able to take in the Olympics, take in the crowds and have a 360 degree view with the athletes passing underneath them a view of the Eiffel Tower and a view of what’s happening within the Trocadero where the actual ceremony takes place.

That one, I was like, how do we turn around setting up a Parisian cafe over basically in two days, but the plans are there and we figured it out.

[00:13:26] Alison: So let’s talk a little bit more about Paris and planning. And so there were in the city and on site hospitality. So what are those two broad categories mean when we’re looking at the options for

[00:13:41] Will Whiston: Paris? Yes, it’s a great question. And then this does bring out some of the innovation that we’re looking to bring to the games.

some of the things that have never been done before. first off the on site hospitality in venue hospitality is, think about that is the hospitality, experiences those premium experiences, but also more comfortable [00:14:00] experiences that you might see at some other sporting events.

Now, nothing compares to the Olympics, but within the venue, Yeah. It’s it includes the suites. It includes access to the culinary experiences and entertainment within the venue, that are attached to your seats. So it’s, it’s most relatable to, even though it doesn’t meet this, this service level is even higher, but it does relate to, I mean, if you were to go to an NFL football game and sit in a clubs club section or a club suite, that’s probably the closest, but what we’re looking to do is obviously elevate that we wouldn’t be there if we weren’t elevating that.

And that includes having, instagrammable moments down by the field of play access to the field around the field of play during, warmups, for instance, but to frame it, that’s the experience now in the city. Hospitality is something never done before at the Olympics and never done before at a multi sport event like this, and this will be a new, I call it an innovation now, but will exist into future games.

That is hospitality at the fan desired level. So not necessarily applicable to, companies looking to host who might want to be in a suite. This is for those who are true Olympic fans. and in that sense, someone can, go to beach volleyball under the Eiffel tower, which will be incredible to begin with, but then before and after that they have access to our clubhouse 24, which We’ve taken over Palais de Tokyo, one of the largest museums in Paris, one of the largest, iconic venues in Paris, I should say. Central location, right on the River Seine, overlooking the Eiffel Tower, and someone’s able to walk to and from that for beach volleyball, and spend their day there taking in the Olympics, so that now, and this is the important part, now the Olympics don’t end when the event ends, when your session ends.

You get a take in the Olympics and well beyond that for the rest of your day, where we’re going to have exhibitions, participatory exhibitions as well. Someone can try rowing, for instance, and, and compete virtually against what would be the pace of a Olympic rower. be able to see the history of, Olympic sports such as swimming and beach [00:16:00] volleyball through an immersive experience.

we will be relocating in partnership with the IOC, a number of Olympic artifacts, including every single torch from every games, in the past into one large room where you get to follow the history of the torch and why it’s been developed in a certain way. Those are just some examples, but add on top of that the French Art de Vive with food and wine.

someone’s Olympic experience extends well beyond just the venue.

[00:16:24] Jill: It sounds kind of like club slash museum slash not arcade fun park, but that interactive element too.

[00:16:33] Will Whiston: Yeah. I mean, I’m, there isn’t really anything to compare it to and that’s why it’s so special. I’m trying to think of even examples outside of, the sporting ecosystem.

but yeah, it is a mix of a museum. with an exhibition, but then you can go through that exhibition, you can take that in, and that will be incredible to begin with. You walk out and there’s massive, massive large screens, in an open air venue with, as I said, the French culinary experience. But you’re surrounded by direct feeds of all the sporting events going on.

So you’re continuing to take in the Olympics, but in the heart of the city.

[00:17:07] Alison: Who’s your customer? Who’s buying these?

[00:17:10] Will Whiston: There is no one single customer. The one common thread is those who have, that Olympic passion, globally. And it’s a lot, a lot of those that I’ve spoken to, I’ll pick up the phone and call a customer sometimes. Sometimes I’ll, I want to better understand what they’re looking for and the response I keep hearing is, this is a bucket list experience.

This is something that I’ve been looking to do for so long and I’ve always wondered, how do I even attend the Olympics? How do I even go about that? I mean, some people have tried in the past to attend an Olympics, but they couldn’t even find a hotel room, that was available. They’re like, now I know I can go and I can actually experience the Olympics and what better place than Paris.

[00:17:47] Alison: Is there a concern with making these very exclusive, very expensive packages that you’re creating? And us and them, that you’re creating two buckets of Olympic

[00:17:58] Will Whiston: fans. I’m really glad [00:18:00] you asked that, because it’s something that, uh, hospitality has a certain name to it. A certain association, which I think you’re getting to. sometimes I wish that we could go back in time and rename it Experiences, because it isn’t just the hospitality at a high end. that’s necessary due to sponsor category. I’m saying this, I guess… Outside of what I should be saying, but there’s a hospitality is not the best name for it is what we landed on because there’s other sponsor categories around the games.

We’re not a sponsor, but of course, there’s certain categories that can be associated with branding. But these are really experiences. Now, we’re not creating two levels or we’re not creating a something that’s unachievable. We have a large portion of our products. we have products starting below 100 euros.

I mean, tickets to the athletics final by themselves for some of these days is 900 euros. We have hospitality experiences starting at less than 100 for certain events, and, and attractive events. and then we have a large portion of our products, I may be speaking out of turn when I say 20%, I believe it might be a bit more.

that are below 250 euros, which again, is in line with or below a lot of the ticket prices. So there is, we’re meeting every level of demand, every type of experience someone wants, every level of demand. We have 25, almost 3, 000 SKUs of product, different variations. and of course, I mean, you highlighted that there is an upper echelon to hospitality.

Of course, like any sporting event, we will be offering suites. To those looking to buy suites, there are some very, um, what will be considered higher price, but that’s what people are looking for. And that’s part of the cost of pulling together an experience that they are looking for.

[00:19:41] Jill: Is it possible just to buy access to the club only?

[00:19:45] Will Whiston: at this point in time, there is not, it’s something that will be considered down the line. It has to do operationally mostly with access to the club, to clubhouse 24. being also tied to having a ticket. And also the capacity and the level of demand we’ve [00:20:00] seen thus far.

We’re trying to figure out whether we can actually create a second home of that sort to be able to meet additional interest because there’s so much interest. But at this point, it’s mainly for those attending the Olympics.

[00:20:11] Alison: So you talked about the touchpoints. Two big bottlenecks of touchpoints are security and transportation.

So how do the hospitality packages address those issues?

[00:20:22] Will Whiston: Well, you hit transportation right on the head. I mean, anyone who’s been doing Olympics knows that that’s, um, in the past, and I say in the past, been a, um, a difficulty. Um, getting around an Olympic city when the whole world descends on it. we recognize that as one of the first key things we needed to solve for, to bring out the Olympics and allow someone to experience an Olympics in Paris, which is just different from an Olympics.

It’s an Olympics in Paris. and so we actually, we’ve worked closely as we are an extension of the Olympics and the delivery of the event. We’ve worked closely to, one, create our own transportation network that will allow. our guests to be able to get around the o The Olympics seem seamlessly.

If you’ve been to an Olympics, there is a always an Olympic lane, which is basically a fast lane. for those in the Olympics. They’re not always stuck in traffic. we have access to that and we’re partially managing that. We’ve also set up our own whole own transportation network, managed with our own depot.

I mean, it’s basically a whole metropolitan transport system. That we have set up, which provides an infrastructure to be able to ensure there are no delays and that we do get around. secondly, to that, we also recognize that we do need to be cognizant of what transportation means in terms of, carbon footprint and the goals of these games.

And, that’s where we’ve worked closely with the city of Paris as well as the organizing committee. to get a full picture and build into our communication with guests, the public transport options. And I will say the public transport options in Paris are really good. I did it myself for the Rugby World Cup, going up to Stade de France, which is probably one of the furthest reaching venues.

public transport is a really viable option. It’s a really good one. It’s a good [00:22:00] system. And all we needed to do there was really plug it into our communications and sharing that information with our clients so that they can get around seamlessly.

[00:22:08] Alison: What sports are missing? Cause we talked about, track and field. We talked about sailing. What sport is missing that bothers you that it’s missing?

[00:22:18] Will Whiston: From our hospitality experiences? Yes. Surfing in Tahiti.

That’s an easy one.

Nobody can go see the surfing. I mean, for 95 percent of, the Olympics sessions taking place. that’s of six. I mean, of the 700 plus Olympic sessions taking place. A session for the benefit of the group is one single competition has to be called a session because it might be a morning or an afternoon.

but we have it for 95%. Tahiti and by the way, London was like 10 percent of sessions. and that was the most hospitality that’s been offered before. So this is when we say revolutionizing, this is totally, this is a game changer in terms of how people access every sport Tahitian surfing had to fall off because of one distance to the hotel, um, infrastructure out in Tahiti.

And then also the, the grandstands, how they’re being set up for surfing, the viewing, the viewing is limited, for onsite. So that’s one that I volunteered to go work on and do the, uh, site visits, but, um, unfortunately we couldn’t do it. Do

[00:23:23] Alison: any of the packages cover hospitality houses, which are different than your hospitality?

[00:23:28] Will Whiston: So, and you’re probably referring to a lot of the, uh, the nation houses, right? Yes. Like the Team

[00:23:32] Alison: USA house and, and Holland house being one of the most famous.

[00:23:36] Will Whiston: So, of course, there’s, I mean, the nation houses are something that people don’t appreciate until they’ve gone to the Olympics and understand how vital that is, correct?

I mean, you guys know how vital the nation houses are to the experience, and how that also really adds to the global flavor of the Olympics because everyone opens their doors to be able to, um, experience different cultures. it also is a really amazing way to, get up close with [00:24:00] celebrities, with athletes and otherwise, because…

You know, they go to their nation houses. we are working in partnership with, a few of them. We look to expand this in future games. But, like, the best example, we do have a Team USA hospitality experience. And this is, it’s about to not be quite as quiet because we’re gonna be pushing a lot of promotion as we go into the, holiday period.

But, this is actually one of my Favorite products, if not the best experience in my mind, where we have paired the prime Olympic sports of the U. S. audience, gymnastics, basketball, athletics, aquatics, a lot of the prime events to begin with, with access to the Team USA house, which is in the old Paris Stock Exchange in the city center.

But what’s truly special about that is not just the location and that element is. A nation house, for anyone who hasn’t gone to a games, is really, it becomes a celebration point too. Some, you know, when someone wins a gold medal, or wins any medal, one of their first stops after speaking to the broadcasters and doing interviews, is at the nation house.

where there’s a celebration moment, and then they mingle. They spend time, they celebrate. there’s champagne involved. you know, the Team USA house is where Mike Tirico, when he’s off air, he goes and spends time. That’s where Michael Phelps goes, and spends a majority of his time. I mean, I’m just citing some of the celebrities and former legends, but name someone who’s prominent from the U.

  1. coming to, Paris for the Olympics, they will be there. And people, our guests will be able to rub shoulders with them. So the team USA house access and that travel experience as well is incredible.

[00:25:35] Jill: Are you planning to partner with other countries as well as team USA?

[00:25:40] Will Whiston: so team USA house is always the biggest, house. the, what used to be the Heineken house. Now they’re going back to the Netherlands house or the Dutch house. I can’t remember between the two names, but the, um. U. S. Is always the biggest.

That’s why that was the one that made the most sense in terms of capacity to be able to do this. we are working with the National Olympic committees for their nation [00:26:00] houses to be able to, um, make available to those who have bought from their countries access to those houses as well. Team GB House is a great one.

Netherlands House. I mentioned Casa Italia is incredible. The best food, in my opinion. But, we are working with them to, uh, allow access for those coming from their country.

[00:26:17] Jill: what about, federations, because I noticed you had a package with U. S. Equestrian and also one with, for boxing. What makes those different from just a standard package that you have?

[00:26:30] Will Whiston: Yeah. For, for team USA, the, the main, the difference maker for the team USA product is a couple things. where it’s different from the other axis is one, we’ll be looking to seat, those guests with common interests together during the event. Create crowd sections, which is something small, but actually I think will be impactful.

two, the access to the team USA house, which again is, I mean, I love what we’re doing in Clubhouse 24, but for a team, USA fan, for an Olympic fan from the us. You’re you’re in the U. S. Home during the Olympics. that’s the main difference. And then it’s also the gifting elements. I mean, it talks about the seamlessness and those fine touch points.

A fine touch point that we find is very important and really. caps off the experiences, that gifting, you know, the merchandise, elements from the host city. Um, when people depart, it makes you feel a part of it and have a memento, , to bring home. those will all be team USA focused.

[00:27:26] Alison: How is working with the IOC been and what kind of feedback and demands are you getting from them?

[00:27:32] Will Whiston: I think working with the IOC is incredible because like working with a the United Nations in terms of power and in terms of quality of professionals there as well They have a really they’ve done an incredible job and this is maybe from a business perspective.

So I’d be going on a tangent But, um, they do an unbelievable job of protecting the brand of the Olympic rings. The Olympic rings have to have to be the most [00:28:00] valuable brand or one of the most valuable brands out there. And they’ve done an incredible job of protecting that. At the same time, they understand the needs to be able to finance and put on the game.

So they, they, they strike an incredible balance of protecting that brand, the purity of it, as well as, ensuring that they can put on the best games possible. they’ve been really good partners in. balancing those two things as we bring this to market, and they also are, you know, great in that they’re allowing us, they really see the value of bringing this to the fans.

They really see the value of attracting fans globally, which is a huge emphasis of theirs. And they really do listen when we say, you know, if you want to attract fans now and into the future, these are those incremental experiences we should provide. Those Instagramable moments. This gifting. You know, those smaller touch points, the transportation even, they’ve really worked with us to ensure that we’re able to bring the experience to life.

[00:28:51] Jill: What about closing ceremonies? We talked a little bit about opening ceremonies and how special that will be. what kind of surprises do you have in

store for closing?

[00:28:59] Will Whiston: Well, that’s the thing, there’s surprises, so I can’t, I can’t reveal too much. But the opening ceremony. Is also a very underrated event for the opening ceremony always gets, I think, the bigger push.

it’s the beginning, but at the end, the opening ceremony will be a great cap, to the Olympics. I know the Paris organizing committee is doing, they have some unbelievable, elements to that to really bookend the entire Olympics in Paris. we’re bringing that it’s inside the front. So we’re able to bring, it’s one of the most, the largest and most, advanced venues.

globally or definitely in Europe. So we’re able to bring some really great experiences and up close and personal seating to our fans. but what’s also gonna be at the end of that is a handover ceremony to la which, LA has huge plans to incorporate the that as well as the team USA house, for really creating excitement for LA 28 and that, everyone’s obviously really excited for Paris, also really excited for LA in the Olympic movement, and [00:30:00] that’ll be a great moment.

[00:30:01] Alison: What other packages should we be looking at that are some of your favorites?

[00:30:05] Will Whiston: we touched upon the Team USA house access. We also have the Team USA travel experiences. We have not touched upon the travel experiences. That’s important. we have the onsite, we have the in the city. the travel experiences are those and much more.

Um, because it allows someone to immersive 3, 4, 5, 6 day.

Olympic experience that isn’t one sport. It’s not one day. it starts, as I said, at Charles de Gaulle when you land and having seamless access out of there into the city center into a we provide, you know, the highest level service at an accommodations on site so that one does not need to go find their ticket and figure out where they’re staying.

We think through what is the best hotel with access points to these different venues so that you hope so that you’re not losing time and traffic. we think through if someone’s going to two events one day, another event, another, that afternoon, how do we bring out Paris? We have exclusive access to the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre, as well as a number of other iconic venues within Paris.

So those travel experiences allow us to make this an Olympics in Paris. And allow people to see new, sports that they might not have thought of going to see. that product category is my favorite because it’s a, imagine a one week immersive experience in the Olympics that’s handled from soup to nuts.

You, you can’t, I mean, that’s something that will never be replicable, especially in Paris. someone can combine their Olympic experience with the Paris trip that so many Americans love to do to begin with into one incredible trip. that’s my favorite product category. people also have to really, I mean, I think what Paris, I know they’re planning on doing this, the organizing committee.

but what not is not recognized, I think, outside of France yet very well is just how incredible these venues [00:32:00] are for these sports. Beach volleyball under the Eiffel Tower, right on the River Seine, fencing in Grand Palais. I mean, it’s insane, equestrian, which we’ve sold out of, and we’re looking to bring more onto the market, but we sold out of it a while ago, and now we’re looking to, again, expand our presence there, which we will, and there will be more coming, so people get excited.

It’s actually quietly happening in the next couple weeks, but equestrian events at Versailles. they just did some of the tests, and, cross country goes over the canal, directly over the canal, and it’s going to be, uh, and it worked, which is important, when they did the test with the horses.

So there’s, I mean, those are 2 that come to mind and some, some really high demand events, but, you know, when you think about all these other sporting events, I mean, it goes, basically every single sport is in a venue. That’s incredible, whether it is an existing venue, like start the France. Berserk Arena on the Sun for basketball.

Plaza La Concord with, you know, that’s where three, three basketball skateboarding, BMX and BMX are, we’ve seen incredible demand for that. essentially every venue is one that’s like, uh, never, we’re never going to be in a place like that again.

[00:33:06] Jill: You’ve got events that are outside of the city beyond sailing in Marseille, but you’ve got football all around the country.

You’ve got handball and some basketball prelims up in Lille. Do you have anything up there?

[00:33:18] Will Whiston: Yeah, we have hospitality throughout all of those events and cities. you know, Lille has handball finals and as you said, basketball prelims. that is a great venue. That is a great place to watch basketball and handball.

And it’ll be a great crowd for handball as well, especially because of, The northern European fan base for handball and how accessible for the benefit of those don’t know Lil is on the Belgian border. so we have a number of different experiences there. Um, football, is in a handful of different venues.

We have experiences at effectively all of those, including Marseille, and Bordeaux. we’ve covered every venue in France except for shooting. Shooting is the only one. Um, uniqueness of that venue. It’s not that [00:34:00] far outside of Paris, but the uniqueness of that venue, that just shows you how far we’ve, we’ve reached into France.

[00:34:05] Jill: When I think about how much work this is going, that goes into this, you have to be on the road to Milan Cortina. Oh yeah. You’ve been planning. So what kind of things can we look for? What kind of things are you thinking about offering for the winter games?

Which will be your first winter game, or OnLocation’s first winter games, and excitement.

[00:34:29] Will Whiston: Yeah, and, I don’t think people really recognize just how Northern Italy is a hub for winter sports. It’s not to say Switzerland and Austria don’t have World Cups and World Championships, but Northern Italy, the infrastructure they have, this is where all of, whether it’s Bob, whether it’s cross country, like, a lot of the downhill, of course, events.

They have their major major circuit stops through Northern Italy and incredible venues. So we are well on our way on planning Milan. We have a team there, including in the clusters up in the mountains. what we have there is a benefit of time and temporary venues. the time is that we’ve, we’ve got the experience with Paris and we’ve had time now to build into that and understand what’s possible.

How we can really push the boundaries, on an Olympics experience. and also with with the nature of open air venues, you can create money can’t buy experiences throughout. I mean, just think about the downhill skiing for men’s and women. We’re, we’re looking at. Putting people at the start gate because you can.

I mean, of course, there’s some security area around it But unlike some summer sports where you’re sitting in a stadium and there’s a field of play that’s in the middle of a large Circular seating pattern we can put people up next to the starting gate and see see these athletes getting ready to come down We can put people at the top Of the mountain at the turn at the first turn of downhill, in, next to a culinary experience.

You have a lot more flexibility to create, money can’t buy [00:36:00] experiences for those who are hardcore fans of those sports. So that’s going to be really exceptional. And I have to say in Milan, a lot of Cortina. Importantly, if you go to Cortina, I mean, it’s a sister city of Aspen for a reason. It’s one of the most beautiful settings you’ll ever find. And it’s got some of the most exceptional accommodations as well as those venues I mentioned. So we have a great playing canvas to work with there.

[00:36:25] Alison: Has there been any pushback in terms of the athletes being concerned about having fans where they don’t usually have fans?

[00:36:33] Will Whiston: We’re striking the right balance there. I’m talking about being up close. but we’ve worked very closely with the IOC and the International Federations, who represent the athletes in that respect, to finding the right balance. Olympians want, they love that energy. They want fans, of course. And you need to, you need to do that at a certain balance, but they love to.

Feel that energy. So they’re excited about it. And I will tell you the number of when we were at the International Athlete Forum in Lausanne earlier this fall, the number of athletes who said, how can I get involved? How can I engage with fans? How can I build this was incredible. They want the energy and they want to be a part of the Olympics and bring it to the world.

So, we’re striking a great balance there. Um, to where it’s not intrusive. Of course, that’s the first concern. We can’t impact the field of play or the athletes. But we think we’ve found a really good way to, uh, bring the energy that the athletes want to,

[00:37:24] Jill: are you already thinking about LA 2028?

[00:37:26] Will Whiston: Yeah, we’re deep into LA 2028 planning. We also know those venues very well, which helps. We’ve done Super Bowls at, at SoFi. We’ve done other events.

We do the Rose Bowl every year. so we know that there’s unbelievable infrastructure in L. A. And L. A. S. L. A. S. Concepts are plans that they’re successfully, you know, advancing are incredible. so it’s it’s spread out throughout L. A. Which is great because then you can kind of work in pods and clusters of different sporting events. And I think there’s going to be some of the most innovative venue usage there, too. and similar to Paris, there’s [00:38:00] going to be, iconic venues. I mentioned the Rose Bowl, that resonates in the U. S., we want to bring that globally. SoFi is, um, one of the world wonders. But beach volleyball, again, Santa Monica Pier.

I I, I challenge you to find a better place for that.

[00:38:15] Jill: what was the team’s reaction to the new sports that got added to the L. A. program? I mean, we’ve got some big sports coming

[00:38:23] Will Whiston: in. we were taking polls. cause I mean, it’s a lot of Olympic geeks. So like we have a team with people who’ve worked on an aggregate more than 60 Olympics.

So we have a lot, a depth of experience and appreciation and love for it. there is real excitement for, cricket is going to be. Is going to bring a whole new dimension to the Olympics. I mean, the most popular sport, like, sporting event is like the Cricket World Cup.

It’s just the, the fan base is incredible there. it’s going to bring a whole new section of the world into another layer of the Olympics. I think they did a really good job of mixing international events with bringing the U. S. flavor. I mean, bringing back baseball, bringing back softball. and I will say what a lot of people have come to appreciate too is they have a lot of curiosity about lacrosse.

Um, especially in this format, which is a due to quotas on athletes is going to be a faster pace across a fast pace to begin with, but like a faster paced, version of lacrosse. and people are really excited, curious about it and excited to see how the world reacts to it because it is a unique sport.

May I ask a question? Yeah, of course. What are you and your fans most excited for in Paris?

[00:39:33] Alison: I think just being able to go.

[00:39:35] Jill: Yeah, that’s a big, that

[00:39:36] Alison: is a big one. I mean, so many of our listeners had tickets for Tokyo, and then their hearts were broken.

So, just, Being able to be there is going to be just, there’s such a hunger for that.

[00:39:50] Will Whiston: Yeah, and I, I’m really glad to hear that because that’s what we’re trying to do. Well, we want to bring something to the world that is a game changer, but also that, you [00:40:00] know, should have been brought before candidly, which is that seamless access and importantly, and I asked you a question, but you made me think of something.

you mentioned Tokyo and you mentioned, I’m sure you have, you know, listeners who’ve gone to Olympics in the past, and I would be willing to bet that you have fans who have been disappointed in the past, not by the Olympics, but where due to the obscure way of attending, the different channels, the lack of clarity, they may have, actually been left at the altar with some tickets.

They may have been left, Disappointed with the accommodations that were promised, and that’s if there’s one thing we’re solving, it’s that and we already have because we’re working in an official capacity. So it’s not about solving for that. that’s what we do. So this is the only 100 percent secure guaranteed way.

To get exactly what’s advertised and to go to the games in a way that you’re ensuring what you’re paying you’re getting and that there’s complete security in that and a carefree element to it. That is a really important thing. You made me think of.

[00:40:58] Jill: Anything we’ve missed that we haven’t talked about that you want to make sure that we, we

[00:41:02] Will Whiston: share?

I think if I were to add one thing, it amazes me every day. Maybe it’s cause I’ve worked on this day in, day out and our team does, but I only talk to people who work on the Olympics, but when I’m seeing friends, family.

Meeting people. the awareness of the Paris games hasn’t picked up yet. and that presents opportunity. It’s also a surprise. I mean, you’d think, and I think that it’s has, I think that’s just a unique element of what covid kind of turning the cycle off a little bit or putting the cycle off beat. But think about the fact that the awareness has not fully arrived of a Paris Olympics.

The last one is 1924. It’s 100 years. It will be at least another 100 years. So it happens again. and the most beautiful city in the world. In those venues. I mean, this is, I think once we start to hit people thinking about 24 more and more in the next few weeks, the next couple months, it’s going to become the talk of the world is the Paris Games and that awareness hasn’t even hit those levels yet and we’ve already sold out [00:42:00] of certain events, which shows that just the level of interest and excitement for these Olympics.

What’s the message around that? Start planning now. it’s going to be a major moment. People are going to be like, are you going to those games? Are you going to Paris? my recommendation everyone I speak to is jump on that now because, it is the highest selling Olympics in history already in terms of ticket and hospitality sales.


[00:42:22] Jill: Well, this is exciting. Thank you so much for joining us and for sharing what’s going on with hospitality and, travel.

[00:42:29] Will Whiston: You’re welcome. Thank you for having me.

[00:42:32] Jill: Thank you so much, Will. You can find out more about On Location at onlocationexp. com and the hospitality packages are in the Paris 2024 ticketing area. So that’s paris2024. org and we’ll have links to both of those in the show notes.

Speaking of Paris 2024, what’s going on with our Kickstarter?

[00:42:52] Alison: So we need some help. We’ve only got a handful of days left. It ends on December 9th, but it is the holiday season and everybody wants to feel good in the holiday season. And supporting our Kickstarter has three ways to make you feel good. One, you’re helping us out, so you can feel all, proud of yourself for being generous.

Two, when you get your incentive, when that arrives, either in your inbox or in the mail, second. And then third, when you get to hear the 34 daily episodes we do for Paris. So it is the gift that keeps on giving.

[00:43:30] Jill: Yes, yes. And we do appreciate your support and the support from everybody who’s donated so far yeah, producing 34 days of coverage will be a feat and we’ve done it before, but we needed help to do it before and we’ll, we’ll need your help again.

We’ll have linked to the Kickstarter in the show notes

[00:43:48] Alison: and you can find it on our website. Flame Alive pod.

Seoul 1988 History Moment

[00:43:53] Jill: That sound means it is time for our [00:44:00] history moment all year long, and we’re getting close to the end of the year, but all year long we’ve been talking Seoul 1988 as it’s been the 35th anniversary of those games. Alison, your turn for a story, your last turn for a story.

[00:44:12] Alison: And of course I’m doing closing ceremony.

And the closing ceremony was on October 2nd, 1988. So these are still the times when we get into the fall for these games, you know, no right in the middle of July and the closing ceremony was equally beautiful to the opening ceremony and had a lot of similar elements. So we had dignitaries and the 159 teams come in.

And the Olympic flag was handed over to Barcelona who would be the host for 1992. And of course, Barcelona did do a presentation and man, they were wild with the dancers. They had dancers with fans and giant skirts. They debuted that sun logo that became so ubiquitous throughout Barcelona. And they had Spanish music.

And Korean drums playing together.

[00:45:07] Jill: Oh, very cool.

[00:45:09] Alison: Really, really nice blending. But. Seoul was not to be outdone. They had rhythmic gymnasts with the ribbons, but then they also had, I would say probably in the dozens, if not over a hundred men wearing hats with ribbons on their heads. So they were spinning their heads around and making the shapes with the ribbons.

Wow. They had dancers in traditional Korean costume. The crowd spelled out goodbye with lights. Oh, that’ll bring a tear to your eye. If you catch that moment, Hadori and Kobe made an appearance as giant balloons. And of course you had the flurry of fireworks. There were dancers that formed a giant flower that blossomed and [00:46:00] closed.

Oh yeah. And then they had a whole bunch of musicians playing cymbals. Oh, wow. Really, really beautiful in the same way the opening ceremony was very Korean, very late 1980s. But with a little less structure as a closing ceremony we’ll want to have. So Juan Antonio Samaranch , declared the games closed and they extinguished that really lovely torch.

Thankfully at closing ceremonies, no pigeons or doves were injured.

TKFLASTAN (Team Keep the Flame Alive) Update

[00:46:38] Alison: Welcome to Shookflastan.

[00:46:43] Jill: 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 Shookflastan, our very own country. We have some results from the Parapan American Games. Gold! Oh, this was so exciting.

Boccia player Alison Levine got two gold medals. She won singles and pairs and earned a Paris quota for Canada at Paris. And then Canada chose her as a flag bearer for the closing

[00:47:14] Alison: ceremonies. If you have not seen Her Instagram story, and Team Canada posted it as well, of when they

[00:47:20] Jill: tell her.

[00:47:22] Alison: Alison, you’ll be forgiven for swearing. And also from the Parapan American Games, Chuck Aoki and Team USA took home gold. In wheelchair rugby, they beat Canada 57 to 51 after losing to Canada in the preliminary play. And this earned the team a ticket to Paris.

[00:47:43] Jill: Yeah. we have results from the IBSF North American cup in Lake. Placid in the bobsled competition, Josh Williamson with driver Frank DeLuca finished first in the two man bobsled. And Josh has also been named to the U. S. World Cup team and will kick off the season on [00:48:00] December 8th in Lapland, France.

[00:48:03] Alison: And then for skeleton racing, also at the North American Cup, Brendan Doyle and Shannon Galea finished sixth and seventh in the men’s and women’s races, respectively. They will be in Whistler this weekend.

[00:48:15] Jill: Erin Jackson, a speed skater, won the 500 meter at the Beijing National Speed Skating Oval, which is the first World Cup race of the season.

We finished our watching Special Forces Fox on, uh, last night, and she was one of three celebrities who passed the test. Are we surprised? No, but Bode Miller did not make it. He dropped out. So, uh, this was very exciting. She did a good job. It was a tough season. I would love to try to talk to her about it when she’s in the

[00:48:44] Alison: off season.

Warren Perrin shared that he is raising money to benefit the Acadian Heritage and Culture Foundation, Inc. And he’s looking to fund the new Acadia Project, which funds field and historical research and aims to get a UNESCO World Heritage Site designation for the Acadian area in Louisiana.

We will have a link to the GoFundMe in our show notes.

[00:49:09] Jill: And many congratulations all around. Paralympian John Register welcomed a granddaughter. Swimmer Mallory Comerford married Clark Burkle in October. And wrestler , Alex Sancho and his partner Naomi announced they are expecting a baby boy in March.

[00:49:27] Alison: And finally competing this weekend is Annika Malasinski. She will be at the Women’s Nordic Combined World Cup in Lillehammer.

Paris 2024 News

[00:49:41] Theme: Bonjour!

[00:49:42] Jill: Bonjour! Ah, so much Paris news going on. The day this show drops, there will be another ticket release. So tickets go on sale at 10 a. m. Central European time on November 30th. The organizers have said they will have all sports, all surf, all [00:50:00] sessions, except for surfing, which should be free.

A third of these tickets will be priced at 50 euros or less and nearly two thirds of them will be under a hundred euros. So to give you an idea of what’s available, swimming will have 6, 000 new tickets. Equestrian will have 14, 000 new tickets and tennis will have 24, 000 new tickets. I wonder if they figured out how to maximize seeding a little bit more.

I don’t know, but it’s amazing. They will have tickets for both the Olympic and Paralympic opening ceremonies.

Olympic starts at 90 euros and Paralympic will start at 150 euros. Oh, and athletics also has 30, 000 new tickets. That’s a lot of tickets. That is.

[00:50:43] Alison: That is not a little just dribble out. That’s a lot of ticks. Fantastic.

[00:50:48] Jill: If you plan to go to Paris, keep in mind that on the opening ceremonies day, July 26, all airports within 150 kilometers of Paris will be closed from 7 p.

  1. to midnight. So if you’re trying to fly in day of opening ceremonies, may not be a great idea because if you have any kind of delays, you’re not going to be able to land in the evening. Uh, if you are in Paris ahead of the games and you want to take a boat ride down the Seine, a la the athletes during the opening ceremonies, Not going to be possible unless you’re there very early because the CEN is going to be closed starting July 19th.

So that will go in through the opening ceremonies as well. Both of these stories from the La Parisienne via the Exports Examiner. I

[00:51:34] Alison: would expect that the closing of the Seine has to do with keeping the water safe, because if somebody’s on a boat the day of or the day before, you could drop something into the water.

Yes. I would imagine. So that’s the thing about that. So those days will give the security a chance to. Scan the water and make sure we don’t have any horrible things going to happen as the athletes go down, [00:52:00]

[00:52:00] Jill: right? And and also potential for rehearsals if they need any more rehearsing or just all of that stuff

[00:52:07] Alison: Oh, that would be so fun to catch Now you gave me another thing to do.

Oh, that would be cool

remember when we were in Beijing for Paralympics and we got to the closing ceremony so early that we ended up seeing the rehearsals?

[00:52:22] Jill: That was fabulous. That was

[00:52:24] Alison: fabulous. The rehearsals are so much fun to watch. So yeah I’m going to be hanging out saying, are you rehearsing? Can I come in? I won’t take any pictures. I promise.

[00:52:35] Jill: , also if you were working on your Paris 2024 budget Paris has released a games time prices for the metro and they are going up.

So if you get to use public transportation, which that will be probably the most convenient way to get around. Maybe bike if you are a cycler walking, of course, but The prices have really gone up for the Olympics games time because they need to recoup the cost of increasing capacity by 15%.

So between July 20 and September 8, there will be a Paris 2024 pass. that covers both Olympics and Paralympics. Day passes will be 16 euros, week long passes will be 70 euros. This will give you unlimited access to the entire Paris region , transport network, which includes the Metro, the RER, the Orly bus, the Orly Val, and night buses, Roissy bus, Noctilien, and Filet O.

So if you want to get a single Metro ticket, that is going to basically double in price. So it costs you 2. 10 today. It’ll be 4 euros during the games. Single tickets for the trains and RER will go up to 6 euros. There will be no Navigo day or week passes sold during this time. So, don’t look for those.

If you are already a resident of Ile de France and have an annual or [00:54:00] monthly or imagine Imagineer or Senior Pass. Don’t worry, there’s going to be no changes for you. But this is really for the people coming into the city as tourists during the games because it’s going to be a huge influx. little bit of a novella around this.

Mayor Anne Hildago says that even though they’re planning to increase capacity, Transportation is probably going to be an issue.

[00:54:24] Alison: It’s always an issue because no city is prepared for everybody wanting to go and be in the same places at the same

[00:54:32] Jill: time. Right. how much capacity can they add? Because there’s only so much time in the day.

How many trains can they really put on the schedule. How many people can they hire to work and or ask to work overtime for that long? So that’ll be interesting. There, there was a little back and forth on X, although Mayor Hidalgo is quitting X this week. Good. So I’ll quit X. All of that is from Franck Joux.

Also from Franck Joux, another official Paris 2024 boutique has opened. in the city. This is in the Westfield Les Quatre Temps shopping center in La Defense. There are now five total boutiques in France, three of which are in the city, and there’s also three smaller stores at Place de l’Opera, the Champs Élysées, and Hotel de Ville.

I just think it’s funny

[00:55:21] Alison: that there are Westfield malls in France.

[00:55:23] Jill: Oh, I know. I know. It’s amazing that that brand is global. the Olympic truce has been ratified with the United Nations. There was a catfight there too because the Olympic truce is something that the IOC introduces in front of the United Nations.

And in hopes of keeping peace during the games and the whole games period, which runs through the Paralympics, we know from Beijing that the Olympic truce was not respected by Russia because they invaded Ukraine right before the Paralympics started and broke the truce. They of course had some objections to [00:56:00] the truce within the United Nations and the nice AP article talking about.

how they feel they’ve been treated unfairly.

[00:56:09] Alison: You know, Russia, because obviously I’m never going to be able to go to Russia with all the things I’ve said in the show, but Russia, sit down, have a shot of vodka and calm down. I mean, really?

[00:56:21] Theme: Oh,

[00:56:22] Jill: looking at the latest in our surfing novella. When last we spoke, for surfing, you needed a judging stand or some kind of judging location. And there is in Tahiti at the Teahupo wave, A wooden stand, not good enough, and apparently this is, it’s falling apart.

The organizing committee wanted to spend a good chunk of money putting in a big metal stand that was going to be giant, destroying the reef. Yes. And potentially affecting the wave. That they so desperately want to have for the surfing competition. Paris 2024 released a huge statement talking about how they are going to change this.

So, they are going to scale back their tower.

It’s still going to be this aluminum tower, which is… Apparently an improvement over the wood. I don’t really know, but they can’t use the wooden tower because it’s not potentially stable for what they need. And they need this tower to look over the big wave and be able to see it.

They looked at the option of certifying the existing wooden tower.

It’s not possible. The, 20 years old. It’s degrading because of the ocean. So the foundations are now weakened, they’ve, especially for corrosion, they say. So that would compromise safety. So you could reinforce the existing foundations without drilling, but that would have a greater impact on the coral reef that has grown on these concrete footings.

in recent years. So, this would require more [00:58:00] concrete to build a sarcophagus around the old foundations. And I don’t know about you, but when I think sarcophagus… Building around something? I think Chernobyl.

[00:58:12] Alison: How did you even get there?

[00:58:16] Jill: The threat of nuclear warfare in our childhood had loomed large. Okay, well

[00:58:21] Alison: let’s not equate nuclear war with killing the reef.

Though, to be fair, equally devastating.

[00:58:29] Jill: There’s an option of a new wooden tower, which apparently is impossible to do in the time left. So, you can build the aluminum tower on land and put it into the water. I guess in the wood tower you have to put it… Build it in the water wood does not weather as well as this aluminum will, so they’re looking at longevity of this and apparently you can dismantle this aluminum tower.

So okay, option of having the judges on the shore or a boat. The wave is 750 meters away from land.

That’s a lot, isn’t it? Right. I get that the wave is the wave. And you want the best wave possible. But I’m not sure that this wave was a good choice. You know, like, what other waves do? I’m very curious to see how this competition really stacks up. because of all of the hullabaloo around the wave. And my… lack of surfing knowledge, which is not helped from the Tokyo coverage.

I will say

[00:59:30] Alison: that. We’ll get a surfer on. We’ll get some surfers on for the winter.

[00:59:33] Jill: We’ll get there.

Can’t watch on land, too far away, angle does not have a good view of the entire wave and the whole sessions. Can’t use boats for filming because boats would be on the side of the wave. impossible to observe the competition properly, get all the angles, boats. If you have boats in the lagoon, visibility would be obstructed by successive waves.

And of course the boats [01:00:00] could damage the coral if there’s drag. So they’re going to do a smaller tower. reduced in size, reduced in weight, so they don’t have to drill as far down for the tower. They’re going to reduce the number of people allowed up there. They were originally planning for 40 people up there.

They’re now going to cut that down to 25 to 30. Big difference. They’re going to have a temporary solution for supplying fiber and electricity that will be allowed to have that removed after the games. they’re going to remove drinking water and wastewater connections. Which we complained

[01:00:37] Alison: about before.

Are they still going to have air conditioning though?

[01:00:40] Jill: Does not say, but I imagine no. Good. If they’re removing drinking water and wastewater, I, I would be surprised if they do that. So we’ll see. they are hoping that the new tower will have a 10 year certification, which is essential for insurance purposes, but also has some longevity and will, guarantee future sporting events at Teahupo. So we’ll see. There, there’s still some pushback from people, surfers, things like that. So, we’ll see how this ends up going.

But this was an incredibly long press release response from Paris and was. It’s quite surprising to be quite honest. They’ve had enough. But we’ll end on some happier news here. The first torchbearer for the torch relay has been named, and that is Natuskos, Stephanos is a rowing gold medalist.

He’s a Greek athlete and that is tradition to start the torch relay with a Greek athlete. He was one of two Greeks to win Olympic gold in Tokyo. That is very exciting for him. We’re getting close to Torch Relay time. Shush, shush!

[01:01:50] Alison: I’m not ready! I know. Our Kickstarter isn’t ready!


[01:01:53] Jill: on! We need… We need help with everything! Alright, well, we better get to it, so that’s [01:02:00] going to do it for this week. Let us know if you will be heading to Paris next summer.

[01:02:04] Alison: You can connect with us on XN Instagram at Flame Alive Pod.

Email us at Flame Alive pod@gmail.com. Call or text us at (208) 352-6348. That’s 2 0 8. Flame it. Be sure to join the Keep the Flame Alive podcast group on Facebook. Don’t forget to get our weekly newsletter filled with other fun stories about this week’s episode. You can sign up for that. And connect to our Kickstarter at flamealivepod.


[01:02:37] Jill: Next week, book club Claire will be back for our final book of the season. We are talking about Speed Kings, a book about the 1932 Lake Placid winter bobsled competition, or not. We’ll find out, but we’ll be excited to talk with Claire next week about that. Let us know if you’ve read it. Thank you so much for listening, and until next time, keep the flame alive.