Paralympian Ness Murby, Zeb, and Eva Fejes,

“Transcending” with Paralympian Ness Murby and Eva Fejes

Release Date: April 13, 2023

Category: Gender | Paralympics | Podcast

We love it when a TKFLASTANI comes back to visit–and it’s even better when they bring someone along! We’re excited to have Paralympian Ness Murby back on the show. You may remember Ness’ first visit, soon after he came out as transmasculine. Two-plus years later, he’s fulfilled his dream of being a husband and father–and now he’s trying to become the first openly out transgender Paralympian.

Ness and his wife Eva join us to talk about their docuseries called “Transcending,” which follows their lives as they navigate Ness’ transition in their everyday lives and on the field of play. Fun fact: Men’s and women’s discus are different! We get the inside scoop on what competition is like for both competitor and sports assistant in this division.

You can follow Ness on Insta and Twitter and check out his website Learn more about the show Transcending on AMI.

In our Seoul 1988 history moment, Alison looks at the Dream Team from the men’s gymnastics competition. Not all Dream Teams came from the US–this one came from the Soviet Union. Check out one of Vladimir Artemov’s routines from these Games — you’ll understand the commentator’s last word:

In our visit to TKFLASTAN, we’ve got news from:

News from Paris 2024 once again spotlights the fact that the Olympics can make public works projects in host cities happen a lot faster. Case in point: The work on cleaning the Seine River is making a lot of progress, according to this Associated Press article. We’ll see how it’s doing when it’s time for test events this summer.

Also, 55km of new bike lanes means that biking from venue to venue will be a viable option. And you can rent a bike from Velib.

More news on the hospitality house front: Team USA announced the location of its house, and it will be open to fans! Currently tickets are sold as part of a ticket bundle, and you can find out more information about that here.

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

Photo courtesy of Ness Murby.


Note: This is an uncorrected machine-generated transcript. It contains errors. Please do not quote from the transcript; use the audio file as the record of note.


Ness Murby and Eva Fejes on “Transcending” (Episode 282)

[00:00:00] Jill: The greatest festival of our contemporary society, the Olympic Games is about to begin. This is gonna be close. Oh, they’re all

Oh, brilliant, brilliant. Brilliant, but that is an Olympic ready. Hello and welcome to another episode of Keep the Flame Alive, the podcast four 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?

[00:00:47] Alison: Hello. I have been reading The Hard Parts, our next book club. By Oxana Masters and I will give a little preview and say so good so far. I’m about halfway through, so you might wanna jump on and get going with that cuz it is a good read.

[00:01:07] Jill: Excellent. I am looking forward to that. I just got done reading a very hard book about the Soviet Union and the, dissolution of it. So I am very curious to read Khanna’s story because she, of course was affected by Cher Noble and the fallout from the nuclear disaster there.

And so I’m, I’m curious to see how those two blend.

[00:01:30] Alison: Well, it’s funny you mentioned the dissolution of the Soviet Union. That will play into our history moment later on in the show.

[00:01:37] Jill: Oh, excellent. Well, let’s get to it then.

Interview with Ness Murby and Eva Fejes

[00:01:41] Jill: A few weeks ago, we mentioned in our Stan update that Shani Ness Murby was starring in a docu-series called Tran. Sending that follows him, his partner, Eva Fejes, and Child Zeb, as they navigate his gender transition, both in their everyday lives and on the field of play.

Today we are happy to have Ness and Eva on to talk about the docu-series and what it has been like to transition to competing in the men’s division of Para discus. Take a listen.

Ness and Eva, welcome to the show Ness. It’s so great to have you back. And Eva, it is so nice to meet you as well. First off, why’d you wanna do a TV show

[00:02:17] Ness Murby: so I could come back to Flaco stat and have a chat?

[00:02:22] Alison: Well, thank you.

[00:02:24] Eva Mejes: And you finally, you were finally able to pay for a trip for me to come.

Your last one

[00:02:31] Alison: Got you. The marriage visa.

[00:02:32] Ness Murby: Yeah. There you go. There’s that equity in action. Well, in terms of actually doing a, a daco, did I want to do it? Of course. Like, you know, I, I dived in, but did I see this coming happening? No. And so it was this opportunity. We were approached and asked, could we make a documentary about this journey that you’re on your, your first year of h r t and, and making history and carving out spaces?

And I thought about it and I thought I needed the visibil. When I was going through my process and, and coming out and trying to work out where my place was in the world, and so being able to use the privileged platform that I have as being a Paralympian I, I recognized that that was something that I could do for the next generation.

So my extroverted introvert of a self took a hold of it with both hands and went, sure, let’s do this. Let’s make a docuseries.

[00:03:28] Jill: How was it with cameras following you around? Did you get used to it?

[00:03:32] Eva Fejes: Oh uh, you do get used to having a camera crew around. It was pretty daunting especially beforehand, imagining what it was gonna be like, and then it ended up being nothing like I imagined. filming days are long.

They’re like 10, 12 hours And there’s these folks in your house all day, and so many of them our space isn’t that big and they were just amazing. So it, it ended up being a really fantastic collaboration between all these really unique personalities who bring their own thing to it. I never thought that the sound guy would be so important to us, but the sound guy was super important.

And by the way, I feel really sorry for the sound guy because apparently we have every plane in the, like lower mainland going over our house and every garbage truck just on filming days. So, it’s an amazing thing to see what it takes to put something like this together.

weirdly we were the talent very odd thing to be called. but we were just one component of this and realizing, you know, we were told that it was gonna take 30 filming days to make these six episodes and, you know, 10 to 12 hours each day, and then so many hours of meetings and, posts like editing and all of that.

Coming into it every day and just trying to show up and, be vulnerable and be authentic and, and then recognize that [00:05:00] so little of it is actually gonna make it in. And trusting this team of people to pull out the most important and the best. is a really unique experience and, and the film industry is like its own ecosystem.

Like it has a separate set of laws of physics. So it was, it was like a really interesting exchange program into this other world of the film world and, getting to experience that.

[00:05:22] Alison: And how did being parents factor into your decision? Your child doesn’t have a choice, it’s your decision to

[00:05:29] Ness Murby: make. Yeah, that’s a really good question. I think as parents, we were able to chat about it and we were very clear about needing to explore the why, and so part of my journey is about showing up congruent for my kid so that.

Recognizes that the space is there for them to be who they want to be, and that I will always be championing them as their authentic self in whatever way that that looks or comes about. And to do that authentically, I needed to do that. For myself. And so in terms of having them be part of the docu-series, we had some very clear rules around how they could be portrayed or, or where filming would be allowed or, or what boundaries we’d set.

And we also recognized that we were making these decisions on their behalf. So that was a lot of responsibility going into that, and I think we did the best we could. We’ll ask Zeeb when she watches it at some point, how it feels you know, in, in retrospect. And we, most seriously and also jokingly, We believe in investing in therapy.

So hopefully this isn’t necessarily going to take up a long stint of therapy, but if it does, we are pro mental health and we really just wanted to do something in sincerity that could show that we’re we’re humans and we’re approachable. And, I guess something that I put up when I was, when I was talking about the show, We’re first time parents.

Zeb is our first kiddo. We’ve got a dog, we’ve got a cat. You know, the laundry’s never done and it’s coffee in the morning, even if it’s 3:00 PM in the afternoon. And Zeb is only eating avocados and work is piling up. And so we’re just these approachable, relatable humans. And then when you add in the layers of intersectionality that come with that, that.

I’m blind and I’m trans, and we are a queer family. That recognition that inclusion and belonging shouldn’t be a privilege. So I’m hoping that the decisions that we made at least come with an understanding of why we made them and why we were okay to have Zeb be part of this documentary. It is a hard choice, especially with the rhetoric and the pushback and systemic oppression at the moment.

[00:07:51] Alison: Are you happy with what you’ve seen so far and the response you’ve gotten?

[00:07:55] Ness Murby: That’s a good question. You asked about Zeb. I think it’s a hard choice as a parent to decide. Whether to have one’s kid in the spotlight, like it’s a, it’s a really tough, tough choice and we didn’t know if we were making the right choice.

We talked about it a lot and we recognize that there is no right choice. There’s just doing the best we can. But yeah, really, really good question. Well,

[00:08:22] Jill: I think it’s interesting cuz in the second episode, I believe when you go shopping for clothes for Zeb, and I mean part of this is showing your authenticity and approachability is just, this is who we are and the fact that she’s gravitating towards.

Pink and that’s just who she is. And it reminded me of when we talked before and like your dream from when you were littleness was you wanted to be a father and a husband. Yeah. And now you’re finding out, well, okay, my, my kid likes pink. And I did not, you know, I don’t necessarily love it, but that’s just

[00:08:56] Ness Murby: who they are.

Yeah, it’s an interesting thing about colors. You’re right. Like I love Zeb entirely. Um, and I think it’s hilarious that that Yeah, I think that it is Hilarious to me that Eva has more of an aversion to pink than I do. And then there’s zeb gravitating towards these pink shoes in the episode. And, you know, the response is, I think often people assume that as a trans man, that I’m anti pink.

And I, yeah. So I, I also love though that, that Zeb is now so clear on. Taste and that taste changes, like preference changes. So I think we have a lot to learn from our kids. And I, I love journeying that with Zeb and as our family, because what I know is that as a human, I’m constantly evolving.

I’m never gonna get it right. I’m imperfect and watching Zeb be adamantly sure that their favorite. Is yellow. That’s it. Yellow. Yellow. And [00:10:00] then suddenly at some point I’m hearing favorite color is pink and green and I’m Wow. Okay. Yes. On board a hundred percent for this change and recognizing. I think we can learn a lot from the idea that it’s not, that we aren’t sure of what we are doing when we do it.

It’s that as humans, we grow and change and things impact that. Yeah, I, I, I think that the episode, you know, Zeb and, and clothes is just, it’s, it’s kind of a cool one where we get to, to talk about that and um, the pressures that I think every parent faces in making that universal quote unquote right choice for our kids, or even for ourselves and in our lives, we, how do we know what the right choice is?

And I think there really isn’t one.

[00:10:48] Eva Fejes: I think so much of it is remembering to let them take the lead in a lot of cases. And then that’s how we find out who they are rather than trying to make them something. And that’s certainly a mindset that potentially is shifting with younger generations now. I know that my parents were told who to be and they grew up thinking that when they became parents, they’d have to tell me who.

and we’re breaking that down now. I never wanna tell Zeb who to be except whatever is authentically who they are. You know, it, it’s ironic that she went for pink shoes that day. She’s obsessed with the local construction crew who’s building a sidewalk in our neighborhood and. Loves to watch the garbage trucks, and when she goes to the playground and someone finds out that she’s a girl, they say that she’s very brave for a girl because of the things she does.

And I think, gosh, you know, we’re still, we’re still doing it. Like, why shouldn’t she climb ladders and want to go down slides? That’s exactly what they’re supposed to be doing at this age. So I, I so desperately want to keep her, if that’s what it is. Brave. That’s the only direction I wanna push her in.

[00:11:58] Jill: on the theme of authentic self ness, as you take hormones, you are becoming more and more feeling who you were on the inside,

[00:12:08] Ness Murby: right?

Yeah, yeah, very much so. You know, it’s lifesaving medication taking testosterone saved my life and I kept trying to take up less and less space or edit myself more and more.

If I could just do this, then I’d be able to exist with that and. I remember turning to Eva in the beginning of 2021, just distraught because I couldn’t, I couldn’t find a way anymore by myself and taking that leap, it was terrifying turning to Eva and saying, I can’t do this. I have to break my promise to you.

I need to go on H R T. And what was beautiful is that, Even I had journeyed far enough together that whilst I didn’t know if she would be on the other side, what happened was Eva met me right there and said, okay, yeah, let’s, I see you and this is something that we need to do and I’m gonna support you, even though it was terrifying.

And I think that that’s something that isn’t there. And, and can’t be taken for granted. I am eternally grateful because I had nothing left to give. I had no way to keep my promise to what I understood was to stay me. And then when I finally released myself from that, that bind, I realized that what I was doing was actually staying me the longer I kept.

Pushing myself into these smaller spaces, the less I was myself and I’ve been a much happier person. I smile so much more. I, I can finally focus on so much more of life because I’m me and this was a decision that came about. Um Not so much the decision. I’m thinking the words in this, I guess Eva was pregnant when we had this conversation.

It was just a few months before Zeb was to be born, and that also played into things. My six year old self. I want to be a dad and a husband and I wanna make sure that I am that from the minute our kiddo was born. So yeah, you know, the journey though, from saying it out loud and, and being at my end point to actually getting to start was hard and long.

Now though, I’m so far along that I don’t tap into that a lot. I get to just be happy. I wake up every morning happy that I. My authentic self, and that is pure joy. I get to be me. I show up for my [00:15:00] kid. I love when she’s screaming dww. It’s always come like, yes, yes, Zeb, I’m coming. So it’s a gift and it was a life saving gift in so many ways.

[00:15:12] Alison: So I have a practice question for your sports career. Obviously testosterone is a banned substance, so how does that work with

[00:15:20] Ness Murby: testing? Yeah, so testosterone is a banned substance in certain instances, so cisgendered males, transgender males, can take testosterone. To a a level uh, a meter dose. And so that’s really an interesting thing that we, we often assume as a society that taking testosterone is purely happening for transgender men in sport.

And there are actually a lot of cisgendered men taking it as well. So what I had to do was get a therapeutic use exemption which meant I had to apply and demonstrate my need for this. That in itself was. A rough process of, of challenging the status quo because it’s lifesaving medication. Those who hold the power to authorize this medication do not have relevant lived experience, and so did not recognize the lifesaving nature of it and actually prolonged the time between application and approval.

And that was a very hard time for me and a hard space to be. That said, there wasn’t a question around approving it because it’s written into the, charter of sport. I do have to get regular blood tests and I’m, I’m still subject to the same anti-doping rules. And that’s kind of, the, the big hype around it, it really just comes down to there’s no limitation.

Once you have demonstrated a need, same for cisgendered males, that if they have low testosterone, they can be taking testosterone as well on a regular basis.

[00:16:53] Alison: So were you taking it waiting for the approval or were you waiting for the approval to take it?

[00:17:00] Ness Murby: The ladder of the two, I had to wait. If I wanted to stay in sport and not be subject to being sanctioned, I had to wait for approval to take my first shot.

And that was really hard because as I said, I started off with not being able to cope anymore. And that, admitting that to Eva, then going through the process of admitting that to my sporting, And then going through the process of applying for the t e by that point, I had very few things to hold onto.

And so waiting, waiting was a very hard space to be in, to the point that, uh, once again I was faced with, do I walk away from the sport? do I take the medication and, and hope I don’t get tested? And. Thankfully I was able to hold out, you know, I’d, I’d set a date for myself, August 31st, 2021, and my t e came in within kind of the hour for me to start.

And so I’m very lucky in that case, because otherwise it would’ve been risking everything to do it. And that’s part of the problem with the system that the individuals granting approval do not have lived experience. They had my case file. I had someone who was advocating for them to look at my case file and they weren’t looking at it.

And they took nearly two months to look at it, to approve it. And it needs to be approved by three individuals. And we were waiting on one.

[00:18:27] Eva Fejes: Oh. You know, I mean, that’s that

[00:18:30] Ness Murby: suck. That sucks. Yeah. I mean, I, you know, thank you. Suck. Exactly. There is no more eloquent way to say it than that sucks. Right. And. That’s part of the story and that’s part of why showing up for this documentary. You know, whilst we may not go into all of these aspects, it’s just important to be demonstrating what happens?

What are the facets of my trans life, of our queer life? that come into play. Because I think there’s a lot of assumption that there’s not always there. There is intentional. And then there’s unintended harm and a lack of understanding. And so that’s part of the documentary is we’re trying to open up these conversations and show the different facets of this intersecting, marginalized identities that, that I hold.

[00:19:12] Jill: Well, and Eva, in the, the show you do mention a few times that like you’re the first one. This is hard. And it’s interesting to see that and hear that perspective. and you can feel it there like you’re going through this stuff, it is very difficult and a lot of the reasons it’s difficult is just cuz you’re the first one doing it and breaking that down makes it easier for everybody else.

It still doesn’t make it fun, but, that’s such an interesting perspective to kind of be reminded and it’s a good reminder for the viewer

[00:19:45] Eva Fejes: too. Yeah, certainly. I, I think we, we just hope that it’s going to be marginally easier for the next person that something’s going to change.

There’s always so much to learn and, and as I, I try to educate [00:20:00] myself on the topic. Trans athletes and how this has been working on an international level. I’m learning that this is not a new story, it’s just that it’s being brought up again and demonized in a new way. and so this moment is super important and we have this incredible privilege to be able to show up right now and try to, to hold some space because.

it’s like so many rights that I think we take for granted that are in a precarious balance right now. We need to hold onto these things and fight for them, and we need to do it for each other. I think that’s, the other part of this that I hope that when people see how nuance.

Our life is and recognize that so is theirs. Everyone has intersectionality, everyone has all these complicated things going on. And that if we just value those in each other and try to not stand in each other’s way, how about that? Not even like, it would be great if we could lift each other up and help each other, but how about not standing each other’s way unnecessarily?

And pay attention to the facts. There is no actual reason why trans athletes shouldn’t be allowed to compete and what’s happening right now. Is very scary. And I, I was gonna ask if the two of you heard what World Athletics did last week

[00:21:23] Jill: we have

[00:21:24] Alison: a question for you written on our notes to talk about that.

Yeah. So yeah,

So World Athletics said male to female. Athletes may not compete except if they are at a certain. Testosterone level. It was, it was somewhat confusing and it applied to all. Events so they expanded it from their previous, so that set the table. So please jump in.

You’re, you have a better opinion than, than I will definitely

[00:21:51] Ness Murby: have. Well, I, I’d love to hear your opinion. I think I’ll, I’ll, I’ll start first with like the ruling. So the ruling that’s come down is no transgender woman may compete in athletics, whether that be in. Para or able-bodied competition and no competition that will have you on the world rankings.

So they’ve actually banned transgender women and then they’ve turned around and lowered the testosterone level for the female category to 2.5 nanomoles. And they have put it to specifically manage athletes with differences of sexual development. So that’s when they start to unpack intersex and different chromosomal changes.

so that was sort of, they did a blanket ban and then they’ve also then impeded individuals who identify as cis women, but have higher testosterone. And part of this ruling that is also I mean the whole thing is hugely, the whole thing is harmful and vastly offensive. But Lord Coe actually said. There’s no transgender athletes competing in athletics. So I enjoyed that simultaneous ableism and transphobic erasure because, hello, I’m there, but more so he actually erased Valentina Petrillo, who is a transgender woman competing in para athletics. So just broad sweeping statement, no one’s competing at the moment. And he also then managed to cut out, I think it’s about 13 athletes able-bodied who fall into that category of A D S D athlete and won’t be able to compete this year.

Castor Semenya

[00:23:41] Alison: being probably the

[00:23:42] Ness Murby: most famous of that. Yes, exactly. And so by doing that, these sweeping statements, you know, polarizing the topic, it’s a trickle down effect. And so it doesn’t just affect elite athletes, it affects. Any up and coming athlete, anyone who, who has earned the right to compete and have their name on a world ranking.

And, you know, it, it affects athletes at the grassroot level because sporting bodies aren’t making a stand. You know, even athletes Canada has said, Well, there’s not much we can do now that this ruling has been made and takes this position of privilege, rather than saying where we can show up, we will show up in solidarity and we will make sure at a grassroots level that there is inclusion.

And advocacy and protection. So instead you get this overarching ruling that trickles down and affects not just every level of sport for the transgender community, but it also seeps into society at large. And it’s really harmful right now, the rhetoric that’s going around. And that’s also part of why it’s really important to me that, you know, I turned to Eva and we both sort of said, Really gotta keep fighting for space and just holding space right now because the erasure harm and [00:25:00] demonization that going on is only getting worse.

[00:25:03] Jill: Well, yeah, and having this blanket just. Covers up the fact that they were systemically racist and anti-trans and anti a lot of stuff by targeting just a couple of of races. You know, you could obviously see that was the issue, but now we have this blanket and it’s just.

We’re covering up the obvious and really starting to integrate that into this is okay to think this way and to target certain groups of people. And it’s not

[00:25:33] Eva Fejes: it certainly isn’t. And sport is so influential and athletics like track and field. vastly influential in the world of sport and in the world at large.

So what they do, everyone notices and if they say that it’s okay to cut a group of people out, it does normalize that that has a huge effect. And we do need to take account the laws that are being passed so squarely in so many states in your homeland, And it’s, it’s coming to Canada too, but it’s just so, it’s so explicit in the United States and, that gender affirming care is being kept from kids, which actually includes therapy by the way, like just getting mental health support that’s considered gender affirming care.

But outside of that, What is the effect gonna be on kids who are being told that they actually have to choose between getting gender affirming care before puberty and sports? How many kids are actually going to ha make a choice? Like that’s a big thing to put on a kid when we tell them that the greatest thing you could ever be as an Olympian, and then you have to make this choice before purer.

that is very harmful. and this is happening in a first world country. Like when you think about just the vast sweeping effect across the entire planet that, that this ruling by world athletics can, can have it really scares me. This is.

[00:27:08] Alison: What kind of reaction did you get Nest when you trans transitioned in terms of competing in the male

[00:27:17] Ness Murby: category? Reactions have been mixed. There’s been a lot of silence and distancing. There’s been some Explicit support. And that was really heartwarming individuals that I can count on one hand who actually reached out and said explicitly I’m with you.

I’ve had some people come out to me not feeling safe to do so in a broader context and. I feel so honored to be able to hold that, that safe space for people. In terms of last year making history competing in the, the men’s category there’s been a mix of responses and it ranges from, I think support and excitement to straight out Abuse and victimization, and part of that is because of this narrative of, well, you’re not winning, and it kind of goes in, in so many directions because you know, if I was winning, it would be a problem.

I’m not winning and it’s still a problem. And so that’s where this, transphobia is just rampant. the desire to erase trans people is really the, the key objective for gender criticals. So for myself, competing in the men’s category, I went from being top eight in the world, but I was told that as that top eight, you can represen.

This country, but you cannot represent as your authentic self. And now I’m showing up as my authentic self. I don’t mind that it’s a journey. It’s supposed to be an evolving journey. Nobody else has done this before. Nobody else has, openly transitioned in the middle of their elite career.

And I’m not at the. That’s also something that I’m not actually at the bottom of the world rankings. So the response I’ve been just, just the other day I was uh, alerted to people using myself as an example to fight back against gender criticals, and that made me extremely proud. And then there’s also those who use it to devalue trans people in sport, because I’m not top eight yet, and that shows me that there’s a lot of work to be done.

[00:29:30] Eva Fejes: And can I say, I’m always blown away how focused we get on winning to this extent that if someone is 10th or 16th or six, There are suddenly of so little value like in the world. And you know, if we didn’t have fourth place, like if we really only had first, second, or third, what would the Paralympics and the Olympics be like?

Like you need people to show up and [00:30:00] strive and, compete against themselves and each other. That is what sport is about. So we need people. Be pushing and we need people to be 60th and 40th and we need to stop devaluing anyone who isn’t a metal contender, when did we think that perpetuating that wasn’t going to be extremely harmful?

So I find it almost laughable that, that, you know, people are, are turning around going, oh, all these trans athletes uh, trans men are athletes are, you know, worthless. and I think, and then, but they’re out there and they’re competing. Are you out there and competing?

[00:30:36] Ness Murby: I think that’s part of what we bring to the documentary as well is this, this idea of standards that are being set even when this has never been done before.

And the narrative of winning. You know, part of the, the documentary, our goal was to start to unpack what winning really is. Because for me, winning is. Knowing my kids happy, that’s winning. I’m here as a, as a Paralympian fighting for space and holding space. It’s not about winning in that same way.

It never was for me. You know, actually, here’s an interesting fact I’ll share, which is part of being a Paralympian was part of putting food on the table for my. Because of the ableism that exists. And so this was something that I can do. Am I, am I passionate when I’m doing it? Yes. But it’s never one or the other.

And it’s this blend. And so as a Paralympian, I could make a small stipend to help contribute to put food on the table for my family. And that’s something that I’m proud to show up and. It’s not about being number one when there’s so much broken in the system, so I’m gonna keep showing up to try and help be a part of fixing the system so that the next person doesn’t have to do this.

[00:32:00] Jill: I have a very burning question. Competing in the male category. The discus is bigger, but your hands are not. What is that light?

[00:32:10] Ness Murby: Um, So. Yeah, competing. So I’ve got a disc that’s now twice the weight, one K to two K. It’s about two inches broader in diameter, hand size till the same, so I thought that there’d be this, you know, improvement in grip strength and strength overall.

Make the difference and realizing that, okay, I’ve had improvement there, but actually I’m having to learn to throw the discus with a totally different technique. And I wasn’t expecting that. I had no idea. So what we’re doing now is, you know, I’m being told no, no, no strength. Won’t get you far in discus.

And I’m like, but come on. I’ve built my career on powering a one k discus out with brute strength. And now it’s, no, no, no. The way that we work in men’s discs is you have to work with the forces of the discus going around that arc, the orbit of the discus work with it. And that is just something that I never saw.

Because I would’ve thought that I needed way more brute strength to deal with this, and especially with hand size. And so it’s all coming down to physics and velocity and starting from scratch.


[00:33:25] Alison: So I do wanna ask Eva, is it different being an assistant for the men’s division versus the women’s division?

[00:33:33] Eva Fejes: Oh yeah. Mostly I guess just, guys in sport, and I guess I’ll say cis guys in sport because that’s the, the experience is very different to cis women in sport. Just

[00:33:45] Ness Murby: the comradery,

[00:33:47] Eva Fejes: um, The communication through grunt.

And, and like minimal actual speech. But no, the, the guys that we train with are fantastic and really like inclusive and I feel so much more relaxed because I know that ne is so much more relaxed. I think that was the, the big thing that before. I think we were on high alert and totally activated every time we were in sport, anytime we were training or um, competing other than when we were alone.

Eh, we are just, I was so aware constantly of how this was probably really harming ness right now. and that is just the reality, which is why it’s so incredibly real and serious and important that we let athletes compete where they need to compete. it is not a neutral thing.

[00:34:45] Jill: Will there be a

[00:34:46] Ness Murby: season too? I’m definitely competing this year. I’m out to, to work on taking the Canadian record you know, one step at a time. So, um, yeah. I think we are definitely open [00:35:00] to holding the space and continuing to hold the space and fight for space. And that involves visibility, so, yeah.

[00:35:07] Jill: Do you have your competition schedule worked out yet? Because it’s complicated, especially being para is more complicated, but

[00:35:15] Ness Murby: how much, how much do you have to compete there? Um, fair bit. Fair bit. So there’s some Local, like provincial level competitions that are sanctioned by world athletics, to do this journey.

And why the world athletics uh, decision impacts so much is because to be counted within my national sporting organization, I have to compete in meets that are sanctioned by world athletics to be recognized by Athletics Canada. So, That means that I’m doing provincial competitions.

And those are sanctioned by World Athletics. I’m got the Canadian nationals. There’s the potential of world championships and there’s also the Para Pan-American Games in Santiago in November. So it’s a big year. Definitely the change in competitive schedule with the shift and impacts of covid have had an effect.

So this is a big year and next year is no different. There’s also a world championships in Cobe Japan, as well as the Paralympic games in Paris. So there’s a lot of things along the way.

[00:36:16] Jill: Excellent.

[00:36:17] Alison: Thank you so much. It was wonderful to have you back. Thank

[00:36:21] Eva Fejes: you so much. Thank you so much for having

[00:36:22] Ness Murby: us.

Yeah. you know, I really appreciate the opportunity to chat with you and to, to show up, you know, on the couple of years later how life changes.

[00:36:31] Jill: Thank you so much, Ness and Eva. You can follow Ness on Insta and Twitter and check out his website tougher Learn more about the show, transcending on ami, that’s We’ll have links to all of those in the show notes and I gotta say, We watched a few episodes before our interview and it was so nice to be able to talk to my TV friends live.

[00:36:54] Alison: Well, you know, I wave at everybody when I see them on the television, so the friends in the box actually spoke back to us.

[00:37:03] Jill: It was very nice.

Seoul 1988 History Moment

[00:37:04] Jill: That sound means it is time for our history moment all year long. We are looking at the Seoul, 1988 games as it is the 35th anniversary of that event It’s your turn for a story. What do you

[00:37:21] Alison: got? So we did women’s gymnastics, now we’ve got men’s gymnastics.

I’m gonna try a lot of Russian names today, so please don’t stab me if I get this wrong. And also I heard a lot of these pronunciations, how they were said then, and some of them have changed how we acknowledge them. Oh, interesting. So, fair warning, I’m gonna screw this up, but I’m gonna try hard. The Men’s gymnastics competition featured what they did, in fact call the Dream Team the men’s team from the Soviet Union Dimitri Zeev, Vladimir Artem Valen, and Vladimir go.

All held world titles, either in the all around or in indiv individual apparatus. And the Soviet Union for years had dominated team competition, and they did so at Seoul, winning by over five points, which wow doesn’t sound like much, but when you’re talking tenths, it makes a big difference. And in the all around competition, the Soviet Union swept the podium, Artema won gold. Lukin won silver, and Baloche won the bronze, and each man received at least one perfect 10 in the finals going by the old scoring system, and their final scores were separated by 1500th of a point. Holy cow, Soviet men won half of all the medals available in the competition. Whoa. And as we’ve said before, this would be the last Olympics for the Soviet Union with the country collapsing in 1991.

All but one of the Soviet men’s team left the country in the early nineties. Four of the six emigrated to the United States and became coaches and ser Sergey Koff went to the reunited Germany and became a. Hmm. And the most famous of these, certainly to American listeners, is Valari Lukin, who coached his daughter Nastia Lukin to Gold in 2008.

Unfortunately, Lukin seemed to have brought the Soviet style of coaching with him, and he. Was investigated by the United States Center for Safe Sport for verbally and psychologically abusing gymnasts, including fat shaming, racist comments, and pressuring girls to train and compete when they were seriously injured.

Nastia has never said anything against her father and has only been very, very publicly supportive, but these stories went. Several [00:40:00] gymnasts and across generations. So unfortunately, the dream team, not so much dream coaches. Sorry to end on a sour note.


[00:40:11] Alison: Welcome to shk.

[00:40:19] Jill: it’s time to check in with our team, keep the flame alive. These, along with our listeners, make up our citizens of Shk. Plak are very own country. First off. Team Schuster competed at the B K T tires and OK Tires World Men’s Curling Championships in Ottawa. They finished in eighth place with a record of five and seven.

Do you know who won?

[00:40:44] Alison: I think Scotland won Scotland. Maggie Shea and Stephanie Roble sailed in the Princess Sophia Trophy in the Bay of Palma, Spain and finished fifth. This starts the 2023 World Cup season, which are the qualifying events for the Olympics. Regatta

[00:41:01] Jill: KK Tom Scott competed in the North American Cup in Las Vegas this weekend, and he qualified for his fourth Pan-American Games

[00:41:11] Alison: skeleton competitor.

Shannon Galia raced in all eight races of the North American Cup circuit this year. Got the overall third place title, which gave Malta its first international podium. So

[00:41:23] Jill: excited about that. in Other news, Running coach and sports announcer. Jeff Whiteman and his wife are walking the surname. They walked 98 miles around the aisle of white in three days.

[00:41:38] Alison: Does that mean the aisle of man

[00:41:39] Jill: is next? You know, he joked about that, but I would not be surprised.

[00:41:43] Alison: Then.

1976 Women’s Olympic basketball team has been selected for induction into the Naysmith Basketball Hall of

[00:41:50] Jill: Fame, which I consider them Shani since we’ve read. Oh, absolutely. Congratulations to Dr. Victoria Jackson, who recently got married,

[00:42:01] Alison: the Conroy Independent School District in the Woodlands, Texas dedicated, the Laura Wilkinson Natatorium last weekend.

Oh, that is exciting. I want them to start, the kids just start calling it the. Oh, that would be cool.

[00:42:17] Jill: Wouldn’t that be cool? That would be so cool. And the Delta Jones of Jason Bryant will be announcing at the 2023 European Wrestling Championships in Croatia, April 17th through the 23rd. We would like to give a special thank you to our patrons and supporters who keep our flame alive.

If this show provides value to you, please consider supporting the show financially. We put out our Patreon bonus episodes mid-month, so one is coming up soon and until Paris 2024. They will focus on rule changes in the sports that will help you watch them better. And there’s some big stuff changing, so it’s been a lot of fun to be able to do some deep dives with our patrons.

More info slash support.

Paris 2024 Update

[00:43:00] Jill: Bok bo. We have news from Paris 2024. reported that the opening ceremony will use 140 to 170 boats in that parade of nations.

[00:43:20] Alison: That doesn’t sound like very many for the number of athletes. Involved.

[00:43:25] Jill: They must be big. And I wonder if they will have multiple countries on some of these boats.

Well, they’d have to. So, you know, you’ve got something like Team France on the big boat, the, then you’ve got like a pontoon with, you know, ESWA, that, that’s my vision and that’s not a good.

[00:43:49] Alison: Well, that’ll be interesting to see how they do the camera. Like do you go around the boat, the single boat and highlight each team?

[00:43:59] Jill: That’s a good question. Do they, will they have cameras on the boats? Each of the boats. But I mean, you’re only gonna show a little bit. I think drones will be in big, big use here, It looks like the boats are going to leave from the east side of Paris near Avery, and then the parade will be from the Alster Litz bridge to the Truco de.

And Frank Shu reported that when Greece arrives at the Cero, cuz they’re the first team in the French team, probably won’t have left yet.

[00:44:28] Alison: Well, we’ve heard that with the Parade of Nations, that sometimes the teams are kind of lining up and standing there for a couple of hours because it takes so long.

So who, you know, Greece is always first and the host is always last, and you just stand around and you know, so many of our athletes have told us about sneaking snacks in their uniforms for the opening ceremonies, cuz you’re just standing there for such a long time.

[00:44:51] Jill: So I’m curious is the, the details will make it more and more exciting.

Also exciting is that team u s A has announced that it will [00:45:00] have a hospitality house this year. It will be at p Broyard, and this year, Unlike past Olympics, it will be open to fans. Usually this is a friends and family house where they can, where athletes can go and hang out with their loved ones and have a, a space where they can hang out without.

You know, having to deal with the public and deal with media too much. But this year they’re gonna have fans because we haven’t had fans at the last two games, so they just feel like celebrating. Fans will have to buy tickets. Currently, those are sold through on location, and it looks like you have to buy hospitality house tickets as part of a ticket bundle.

So I’m not sure I, I’ve asked. If you can buy single tickets, I have not heard back, but we’ll keep looking at this. For those of you who want to go to hospitality houses, have you looked at some of these plans for some of the houses that we’ve been talking about? Not

[00:45:54] Alison: really. Okay. I can’t think that’s far in advance,

[00:45:58] Jill: but like these places are big.

So it, it seems like they have these big buildings that they just take over like Team Germany looks pretty big. Team USA looks pretty big. It’s gonna be impressive. I think the

[00:46:11] Alison: hospitality houses are kind of losing what they were supposed to be.

[00:46:14] Jill: The, the, let’s your introduce your culture.

[00:46:18] Alison: Let’s introduce your culture.

Let’s have a nice place for our fans and our athletes to have some time with each other. and be our team together. And now it’s just become an open party, which means there’s gonna be a V I P section because that need is still there to have a country’s athletes, country’s fans, co friends and family of the athletes have a spot.

So are they just gonna have another spot so that the hospitality house just becomes another

[00:46:48] Jill: spectacle? I dunno. It’ll be interesting to see. I mean, I think a lot of times when we think of Hospitality House, my mind goes right to Heineken house, which we’ve heard as a party because it’s sponsored by Heineken.

But I, I wonder if, you know, you still have those cultural elements, especially in the types of food that they have. There and, and who knows, maybe they have some other cultural elements involved. But we shall see what it’s like in Paris.

[00:47:16] Alison: Yeah. Will they let the press in? That’ll be the question. I’m sure.


[00:47:20] Jill: yeah, that’s a good question. Yeah,

[00:47:21] Alison: don’t say that so fast. What, what happens in Heineken House stays in Heineken

[00:47:27] Jill: house? John Lester from Associated Press wrote an interesting article about the progress of the cleaning up of the send. And we’ll put a link to this in the show notes cuz it’s worth a read.

And like we have talked before when we talked about Atlanta 1996, this is another one of. Public projects that would’ve taken a lot longer, but you’ve got the deadline of the Olympics to make things happen. So, city hall officials said it would’ve taken many more years to fund this effort. It’s gonna, it’s costing 1.4 billion euros right now.

And that includes going after homes and houseboats that were emptying sewage and waste. Directly into the river. They’ve also been improving sewage treatment plants and wastewater treatment facilities. So the water quality has improved to the point that there are more types of fish in the river than the few that could survive living in sludge.

I’m always impressed that, you know, it’s survival of the fittest man, and you’ve got stuff that will just survive in anything.

[00:48:32] Alison: The cockroaches of fish have basically all that survived in the sun up until now. But it’s, isn’t it amazing how quickly the nature can recover when we take care of it?

[00:48:42] Jill: well put the area where the swimming events will take place, has had good quality tests, they’ve said. there is a test event this summer on August 5th and sixth that will yield more results and then hopefully in 2025 in the summer, they will open the river to everyone for swimming again.

[00:48:59] Alison: So I remember when this was first announced, I, I made fun of this. I said There’s no way the sin is gonna get clean enough, quickly enough, and I will absolutely admit that I am wrong. So, listener, Dan and I are making plans to go swimming in the sin While

[00:49:15] Jill: we are there. I will, I join you if they let us, I would love, I would love to have some swimming going on there.

I wonder if that will be a possibility. That, or they’re just like, no, we’re dealing with the Olympics only now and come back next year. also, if you are worried about getting around Paris next year, if the, cars and taxis and buses and the metro are too overwhelming, or maybe there’s a strike, biking may be an option.

A f p has reported that there will be 55 kilometers of new bike lanes called Olympia Lanes that will be completed by July, 2024. So this will include 30 kilometers of lanes within the city of Paris, and then another 25 kilometers of lanes in Sodini where the, athletic stadium is climbing is out there.

[00:50:00] Swimming is out there, and you’ll be able to bike from some of the Paris venues to some of the venues in Santa.

[00:50:06] Alison: Outstanding. That goes back to the sustainability and why you host cuz. Now here are two projects in the city directly related to the Olympics that will have long-lasting benefits to the people of Paris.

[00:50:19] Jill: exactly. There’s going to be more bike parking made outside of key venues as well. So you will have a place to put your bike. And if you are coming into Paris as tourists, there is a city bike rental plan called aib, they plan to add 3000 bikes in time for the games. So they will be able to meet higher demand,

[00:50:39] Alison: you know, who won’t be demanding a

[00:50:41] Jill: bicycle.

Oh, you, oh, we gotta get

[00:50:43] Alison: you on a bike. I don’t know how to ride a bicycle. We tried and I, I couldn’t

[00:50:48] Jill: do it. You were very, very, very close. We have to make this happen because biking is fun.

[00:50:54] Alison: I missed my chance when I was seven. I guess

[00:50:56] Jill: you can learn. You can still learn. I believe in you. Okay. I really would like

[00:51:01] Alison: to learn.

[00:51:02] Jill: Well, on that hopeful note, that will do it for this week. Let us know if you have seen transcending and what you think of it.

[00:51:09] Alison: Email us at Flame live pod Call or text us at (208) 352-6348.

That’s 2 0 8 flak. Our social handle is at Flame Alive Pod. And be sure to join the Keep the Flame Alive Podcast Group on Facebook. End. Don’t forget to get our weekly newsletter filled with other fun stories about this week’s episode. And you can sign up for

[00:51:39] Jill: Yeah, and you’ve been talking about the Magnificent seven in the newsletter The musical because the musical has started it’s run in Flint and book Club Claire and I will be going to see that this weekend.

So we will report back in the newsletter what that was like. So excited. So, we will also be back next week with interview. I’m, oh, this was so much fun. We talked with Katie Nija. Who won gold in the pole vault at Tokyo 2020. So look forward to that and look forward to learning about the sport of pole vaulting.

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