The U.S. Paralympic Swimming Trials are just around the corner, so we’re talking with para swimmer Jamal Hill. Jamal is a freestyler, specializing in sprints. At Tokyo 2020, he competed in the 50m freestyle S9, where he won the bronze medal, and in the men’s 100m freestyle S10 class, placing 6th. He was also part of Team USA’s men’s 4x100m freestyle 34 points relay and men’s 4x100m medley 34 points relay.

We talked with Jamal about how he doesn’t breathe (much) during his 50m, how he starts, and his foundation Swim Uphill, which is dedicated to teaching low and middle income people of color how to swim. Jamal’s work has attracted the attention of the United Nations–he’s part of the Office of the Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth program.

Follow Jamal on X, Facebook and Insta!

Don’t go to Paris without your Keep the Flame Alive gear–how else will we find you in the crowds? We’ve got a new TeePublic store link for your merch needs.

Jill recaps her final night at the US Olympic Swimming Trials, which included finals in the women’s 100m free, men’s 200m butterfly, women’s 1500m free (just how dominant was Katie Ledecky?), men’s 200m breaststroke, and men’s 100m freestyle. It was another record-setting attendance night at Lucas Oil Stadium–it’ll be difficult to top this experience.

Also, Mizuno has created some innovative kits for Team Japan’s female athletes in certain sports–you’ll hate the reason why.

LA 2028 has announced some venue changes–if swimming can succeed in Lucas Oil Stadium, it will certainly succeed in Sofi Stadium (renamed for the Games, obvi). Also, other major arenas in town will be used for the Games rather than renovating some college stadiums. And a couple of sports will compete in Oklahoma City.

In news from TKFLASTAN, we hear from

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


TRANSCRIPT

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349-Swimming at the Paralympics with Jamal Hill

Theme Music

Jill: Hello, and welcome to another episode of Keep the Flame Alive, the podcast for fans of the Olympics and Paralympics. If you love the Games, we are the show for you. Each week we share stories from athletes and people behind the scenes to help you have more fun watching the Games. I am your host, Jill Jaracz, joined as always by my lovely co host, Alison Brown.

Alison, hello, how are you?

Alison: As I mentioned to you before we started recording, I had a bit of a test event. This week had to go to a concert super super hot and I learned a few things Yes, bring a towel to sit on not because the seat is wet Because you will sweat through your clothes when it’s 95 degrees out and that’s uncomfortable

Wear shoes that you can take off and put on subtly so that it gives you a chance to dry out your feet good one

And always have a barrette or a ponytail holder with you at all times. Even though I have short hair, it was not short enough.

Yeah, because once you start sweating, that hair on the back of your neck. See, I thought my short hair would have been short enough that that wouldn’t bother me.

But when it’s 95 degrees out, it bothers you. So I have changes. I had a lot of learnings and I’m very pleased with myself.

Jill: I am still worried about what to do with my head. Like visor, sun hat, whatever. I don’t know what to do.

Alison: I have a solution for you. Okay. You need a pith helmet. With a little fan built in. Oh, with a fan built in. Like the French Foreign Legion. The French Foreign Legion had those little hats for a reason.

Jill: Well, well, we still have time to figure it out. So I’m sending you a pith helmet. When I think pith helmet, I think they are like impermeable. And no No, but they breathe. They breathe. There are sections of breathe. All right. well, you know, who also has to breathe, but just once, just once is our, guest this week.

Jamal Hill Interview

This week we’re speaking with Paris swimmer, Jamal Hill. Jamal won bronze at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics in the men’s 50 meter, freestyle S9 class. That is a class for swimmers with coordination affected at a low level in the arms and legs. a high degree of weakness in one leg or the absence of limbs.

Jamal is also the founder of Swim Uphill, a foundation dedicated to teaching low and middle income people of color how to swim. Take a listen.

Alison: Jamal Hill, thank you so much for joining us today. We’re excited to talk to you again.

Jamal Hill: Happy here, ready to keep the flame alive.

Alison: So you are short distance specialist. We were joking about Splash and Dash when we met.

Why does short distance work for you?

Jamal Hill: short distance works best for me, I think, because of my neuropathy. So I have a hereditary neuropathy called Charcot Marie Tooth, and that leads to neurological and muscular fatigue.

So short distances are about as long as I’m able to even hold it kind of sorted together.

Alison: And because of your particular disability, Are you starting in the water or do you dive in? I

Jamal Hill: do. I start, I dive in. I, uh, I start from a diving platform. depending on who you ask though, it’s not much of a dive. It’s a little bit of a topple into the water.

Jill: But I understand that you’ve Worked with coaches to rework your start to give you more power off of the block. So break down how that works for you.

Jamal Hill: Yeah. Um, I wish it was an exact science. my body is a little bit different every day. So with my disease, it’s a progressive, right? So every day is a little bit better and a little bit worse.

Uh, that said, we’ve definitely tried different things. We’ve worked with, , different coaches to, to work out starts that are not as traditional. One we have is kind of called like a slingshot, so imagine a three point stance instead of a four point stance, one hand down and two feet down, and then a one arm is kind of wound up backwards behind me, and I swing that arm forward to help get my legs and my body up into the air and create some forward momentum.

The only tough part about that is Three point stance requires a lot more balance than a four point stance, so even with that, I’m not always able to get away with that just because I’m liable to fall over, so um, I kind of go back and forth between the two and just fill it out on any given day.

Alison: Are there limits to what you’re allowed to do?

Jamal Hill: Limits to what we’re allowed to do? That’s a really great question. quite frankly, uh, I don’t know. You can’t do a backflip into the pool. Like, you can’t start backwards from a diving block. I know that’s against the rules. You have to be facing the water.

and it also has to be, like, it has to be a flat start. So the fisher will say, Okay. Once they say take your mark, you’re not allowed to move anymore. outside of that, there really aren’t any, any rules. You know, you’re not allowed to like do a walking start or a running start or anything like that. Yeah, it’s pretty straight forward.

Alison: Okay, so with 50 m do you breathe?

Jamal Hill: Yes, I breathe. I’ll breathe probably one time down the pool every now and then I’ll throw in a second breath if it’s like just really hurting. But about one time down at the 35 m mark is where I plan to take my breath.

Jill: I’m breathing to the right, for sure.

Jamal Hill: I’m a righty.

Nah, nah, that doesn’t change. Like, as far as the 50 meter freestyle goes, just one time down the pool. If I’m breathing, I’m breathing to the right. You know, in a longer race, double that would be 100 meters. That’s about as long as I get. I might have, , ambidextrous breathing patterns on that.

but just the 50 meter. Yeah, only to the right, just one turn and right back straight down the business.

Alison: Are you aware of where everybody else is in the pool?

Jamal Hill: That short answer is no. It’s impossible to know where everyone is. The race is just too short. You can get a sense of people next to you, from your peripherals. So usually my thing is like, if you can see someone, that means that you’re losing.

They are definitively in front of you. but if you kind of are catching a little bit of splash in your peripheral, that means you’re probably like neck and neck with someone. And then if you don’t see anything in your peripheral, that means you are well ahead. Do

Alison: you have a lane that you prefer?

Jamal Hill: A preference of a lane? Not really. If someone said, I mean, I guess like maybe people would say lane four, because that’s usually the top seat coming in will be lane four, and then it’ll be like 3 and 5 will be the 2nd and 3rd seats, and then like, 2 8, I don’t know. You know what I’m trying to count here. so people usually say land 4 just because it’s the top seat, but the reality is, I mean, I guess you can kind of control your reality. If you swim fast, you’ll be the top seat, but they’re all created equally.

Like, as long as you gotta land in the pool. we just gonna we’re gonna make some magic with that.

Alison: Talk a little bit about The kick and how the kick works for you and how you make that happen within your body

Jamal Hill: so with my neuropathy, I have zero percent nerves from my knees to I don’t have 0 percent nerves. They’re there. They’re just not talking to anything. from my knees to the soles of my feet, I have 0 percent nerve capacity.

so it feels like I’m walking around on my knees all the time, so you can imagine kicking. Really, I’m only like kicking from my quads. That said, My stroke is not incredibly driven by the legs, for better, for worse. but the legs do play a really important time. Kicking plays a really important time in terms of timing, right?

So, the arms and the legs have to be perfectly timed at certain parts of the stroke, regardless of, you know, if you have, Nerve ability or no foot or one arm, certain elements of the stroke have to still be timed pretty perfectly. Uh, you know, no difference than like playing a game of dance dance revolution.

You know, like if you don’t hit the side arrow, right? When the side arrow comes over the screen, it goes, And every time it goes, uh, that means that you’re swimming a little bit slower.

Alison: What does that mean for muscle development from the knee down?

Jamal Hill: Muscle development from the knee down is pretty much non existent in my younger years. in my younger, and I know that’s kind of controversial, right? Like, you’re such a young guy, like, I don’t know. but in my younger years, you know, like I tried everything, calf raises, this, that, and the other.

Yeah, muscle development from the knee down is pretty much non existent. you know, it, I’m looking down at my legs right now, like, let me do a, let me recheck and see if anything has changed. Uh, yeah, it’s pretty much, it’s pretty much non existent. So, it doesn’t really matter how many calf raises or, I don’t know, like, lower leg strengthening exercises I do.

There’s not really much muscle development, that said. I do spend a lot of time stretching my feet, stretching my toes. It’s indicative of the disease that I have for the feet to curl. For the toes to curl and the feet to almost look as though they’ve been bound. So I spent a lot of time just trying to keep them open, keep them floppy.

just to kind of have them taken up as much surface area as possible.

Jill: Are you then also kind of limited in what quad strength exercising you can do?

Jamal Hill: I don’t know. Limited is an interesting way to phrase it. yeah, I mean, like, I’m not squatting 500 pounds or anything like that. We usually, like, stay away from, weights and things. But, for what we’ve designed my resistance program to do, in terms of my quads, no, I don’t really have much limitations when it comes to the quads.

it’s more of like this holistic experience, when I’m speaking about the legs, thinking about, okay, balance, right? Like, I’m still going to have to be able to balance because even though it feels like I’m standing on my knees, there’s still a lot of leg down there that I have to consider.

Alison: Growing up, you did a lot of training with able-bodied swimmers, Uhhuh, that was where you were. You, you were focused. How was that helpful? Was that not helpful? How, how do you look at that now in terms of being a Paralympian versus competing against able-bodied swimmers?

Jamal Hill: Yeah, that’s a great question. I mean, I think , the way I feel about it could be summed up to this day.

I’m like, I’ll never try to do my own too much, but like I run, I run an amateur pro team. So people who are Olympic, Paralympic hopefuls, , most of the guys that I train with today are fully able bodied, so from a kid being able bodied to going through my disease, , and then being in the adaptive body, but still training with able bodied persons, even for a lot of that time doing it and nobody knowing that I even had a disability, you know, I really.

A few things. One for me, I think like it just always bred energy of like, you know, no excuses if I’m here and I’m doing this, I just want to do it, you know, not to say that obviously you want to have a fair sport of a fair field or pool of play, you know, in terms of competition. but I also think, there’s just a degree of, I’m here to do it, you know, like, I don’t care.

I want to adapt. I want to learn. , and then also just competing against fully able bodied athletes. I lose a lot, you know, like I get beat a lot pretty much all the time, you know, like from high schoolers Sometimes age groupers kids are fast. You know i’m saying like high schoolers are fast Uh, so what I tell parents is like yo put them in the program, you know, like one thing about it If your kid is the worst swimmer in the club, like he’s only going to be the worst, or she’s only going to be the worst swimmer until there’s a new worst swimmer, there’s always somebody who’s going to be worse eventually.

that goes to say whatever their, adaptive level is, I think that a strong attempt should be made to still just put them in just regular recreation, especially when it comes to swimming, because. There are much fewer adaptive elements and changes that need to be made for someone to be able to swim in an aquatic environment or compete in an aquatic environment if they already know how to swim.

So, yeah, I think just in general, it’s good to get out and compete against people that, quite frankly, are better than you. yeah, like I said, I tell people all the time, like, I lose way more races, like, pretty much I lose 90 percent of the races I compete in. I just Happened to win, you know, the few important ones that are really kind of Memorable, but if it wasn’t for like that other 90%, then there would be no 10 percent for us to talk about.

Jill: going through that, it’s a kind of a mental training as well, isn’t it? Like how does that affect your mental approach to what you do?

Jamal Hill: Yeah. I mean, it depends on the season, right? ‘ You know, a lot of times, if I’m in a demotivated energy or state, getting out there and getting my ASS whooped by some kids.

Helps me get motivated again, you know,

it’s, it’s a good driver, you know, it’s like, okay, I got to tighten it up here. but then even more than that, it’s just mentally, it’s, it’s a mental net positive. You know, I’m never coming to these meets and leaving like, oh man, like I suck or, oh man, I couldn’t have did their lessons. You know, it’s like, it’s all practice, everything, even, even world championships.

You know, and it’s Olympic, Paralympic game. the reality is like, it only matters what you do at one competition every four years. Like, that’s, that’s what the strength of your career, like that’s really gonna be the foundation of the strength of your career. for most people, you know, that are still doing this kind of athletic endeavor.

So it’s just all practice, you know, like I show up, I make mistakes, I get disqualified, I get beat, I have swimsuits tear on me, you know, I have an ugly swim, I practice shaking the hand of the person next to me. It’s all just practice, you know? So I feel like by the time I do get to that 10 percent of races or that 5 percent or that 1 percent of races that early, you know, like.

Pretty cataclysmic when it comes to a career perspective. There’s not really anything that could go wrong that I feel like could throw me off. I’ve already been to a swim meet and showed up five minutes beforehand and had to rush. I’ve already been to a swim meet and had a terrible start.

I’ve already been to a swim meet and had a suit tear on me. it’s just a matter of, again, kind of having that preparedness to control what I know I can’t control. And to be prepared, you know, should the things that I can’t control become not ideal. , I’m prepared to be able to move with confidence and calmness during these times.

Alison: So speaking of the one race in four years, talk a little bit about your experience in Tokyo.

Jamal Hill: In Tokyo?

Alison: Did you feel like that was, I mean, the result was good, but did you feel good?

Jamal Hill: Yeah, yeah. I mean, it’s tough, right? It kind of gets, that’s a really loaded question. I’ll tell you this, when I, when I finished the race in Tokyo, cause I had two races, I had a hundred meter freestyle, which I swam up a division, a disability class.

So probably for layman, it would be easier to understand, like. It’s like, I fought up a weight class, know, , if you think about fighting and weight classes, like I, I swam up a class, just to kind of get the nerves out and then my preeminent event, the 50 meter freestyle, when I finished that race, the biggest emotion I felt was relief, like I was just relieved.

It was over, even more relief once I realized I had earned a medal. it’s tough, you know, it’s like, there’s a lot of pressure in those moments, you know what I mean? Everyone’s got these dreams, right? Especially on that platform. First, the dream starts off, can I make it to trials?

Can I make a team? Can I make a podium? Can I earn a gold? You know, like, every level, the goal really kind of evolves to the environment. And so, when you finally get there, you gotta think for pretty much most people. At that time it had been five years, right? Cause it’s COVID. So for the last five years, myself and everyone else there, their whole life was built around this, our family, our friends, the local businesses giving us, you know, free lunch, you know, all these people have invested into this five year vision and the harsh reality is it’s competition, you know, like everybody’s going to win to some degree, but like.

Only three people are making it on the podium. That’s just the reality of it. So once that time finally comes, yeah, it’s, it’s, it’s really overwhelming. Like it’s, if I didn’t have such a strong mental performance coach, and team around me to help me throughout that time. And even a lot of those practices that we talk about or those swim meets, if I hadn’t been at these swim meets and like, been able to be like, wow, Oh, Jamal Hill does get nervous, you know, like, this is what I look like when I’m nervous or.

This is how I act when I’m nervous, even if I don’t realize it, it really just helped me be in a place where I’m like, Hey, I’m grateful to be here once in a lifetime opportunity and I’m going to just do my best. I’m going to focus on those things that I can let go of everything else. And yeah, once the race was over, I was relieved.

I mean, coming into the wall, I described to you a little bit, you know, what the perception visually can be. I could see that the person to my left. Had beat me to the wall and I knew I had beat the person to my right. So I was someplace between second and seventh place. but in that moment, yeah, I just, I didn’t wanna feel like, wow, like I’m really a winner now.

I won a medal or dang, I’m really a loser. I didn’t win. So when I touched the wall, I just, I just kind of congratulated myself. I knew I had swam the best I’d ever swam, even without seeing the time and. Yeah, I planned on just like leaving, shaking my opponent’s hands and leaving the pool and not even looking up at the scoreboard.

I didn’t want to know. but then I heard my teammates calling my name from the stands. So that’s a pretty good indicator that you’ve made the podium and lo and behold, there was Jamal Hill. Rolls Gold Medal, Team USA, third place. And, uh, yeah, it was, it was just relief. It was, that’s, like, I wouldn’t even say joy.

Like, I don’t even know if I was happy. It was just relief, like, man, whew, you know?

Jill: How does that build up compared to the build up for Paris then? Because now you’ve done it and people know what you can do and you only have three years and no COVID.

Jamal Hill: That’s a great question. I would say leading into Paris for other people, definitely, even, even going into Tokyo.

I’m kind of like the not so underdog, you know what I mean? Like, I don’t know what the, I don’t know how else to say it. Like, I’m like the not so underdog. I don’t think people ever expect me to like, they just expect me to do good. You feel me? Like, it’s not like, oh, this is the reigning champion, world record holder, like, gold or nothing.

But then it’s also like, oh, but like, it’s Jamal though, you feel me? So like, he could win gold, but like, We expect him to do good, like, we expect him to at least be on the podium, like, it’s, you know, any given day, he’s gonna get that job done. So I think that’s probably like the outside perspective, kind of like the not so underdog, you know, like, I’m Team USA’s best chance, for sure.

but for me, yeah, I’m really kind of chilling, you know, I would say, at this point, I’m thinking about Paris 0%. Going to Tokyo, one thing I learned is when it comes time for that race and you know, those last two, three days before all those emotions and excitement, you’ll have an influx of it.

You don’t have to try and like, man, you know, manufacture it in advance. so that’s kind of the farthest thing out of my mind. The only real excitement I have for Paris is that my parents, my family will be there. they’ll be able to see me compete. They’ll be able to see me compete and earn gold. but yeah, other than that, you know, you just, you got to show up and take it day by day.

yeah, you know, like Jamal five, six, seven years ago would have been telling you, Hey, check me out in Tokyo, 2020, check me out in Paris, 2024, check me out in LA, 2028. I’m gonna have 16 gold medals. but, you know, this Jamal is just like, I mean, it’s gonna be what it’s gonna be. You know what I’m saying?

Like I’m showing up every day. I’m putting in the work. when the time comes, you know, I’m not gonna accept anything less than what I deserve. And I’m just happy that people I love will be able to be in an auditorium and experience it first hand.

Jill: What help do you get from old Jamal to current Jamal? In terms of that mindset. Say, time is always time, isn’t it? Oh, so then you can relate when we say, oh, look at these kids. They’ll figure it out one day, right? Like I said,

Jamal Hill: it’s just time. If you, and this goes for everybody right like we live life and like we all have these amazing plans Well, maybe not all of us the people I hang out with usually have amazing plans though So they’ve got amazing plans and and they’re gonna do this, you know whether it be family or personal or spiritual or career, you know, the The, the dimensions that actually make up, what would be a wealthy life, right?

but then, you realize, man, if I really had it all figured out, if I really knew all the answers, if I really, like, there would be no point, right? Like, if, if it was just what I say goes all the time, if I just knew what was gonna happen tomorrow or the next five years, there would be no point. You wouldn’t have to live it.

It would already be, you know, so I don’t say that to say everyone needs a compass direction, you need to be moving towards one thing about Jamal. I tell you, if you’re not on that, then you need to get on something, you know, like you need to get on something. choose a direction, you know, and like, understand that once you have those goals in those direction, you know, like, 1, 2, 3 degree adjustments are important, but when you span 1, 2, 3 degrees out over a lifetime, you’re talking about completely different lives here.

You know what I mean? So in the short term, a 1, 2, 3 degree shift is, you know, It can seem inconsequential. However, again, when you take that across 30, 40, 50 years, you know, you’re on the opposite side of the world. You’re on the opposite side of the universe in terms of maybe what your vision for your life was.

So, I think that’s just like kind of what I stay conscious about. And then even something I mentioned earlier, people will laugh at me a little bit, but All the stuff that I say, I usually take it from old people. I take it from old heads. They say it and I’m like, oh, that’s good. That’s mine. You know, I’m going to be repeating that.

but one of my mentors said to me recently, he said two things that I thought were really profound. He said, number one, if I could go back in life and fix every mistake that I ever made, The only thing that would happen is, I would make a whole new set of mistakes. And I was like, that’s powerful, you know, because how often do any of us dwell on what we wish we had known before we knew it, right?

So if we could go back and I could just change everything, trust me, you would live a lifetime and you would still want to go back and change it all again, right? and then the second thing that he said to me was. It actually was about youth. It was about age. And so I joked about this earlier. Uh, his advice to me was like, Jamal, you know, you’re about 30 right now.

People are going to lie to you. They’re still probably going to be lying to you for the next five years. Like, you are not young. You’re younger than me. But like, you’re not young. Maybe if you’re lucky, you’ve already lived a third of your entire life. so if I just came up to anybody and I said, money is easy, right?

Everybody speaks money. If you had all your money and I came and I took 33 percent of your money, you would probably be like, that’s not a little bit, like, that’s a lot. That’s more than Uncle Sam for some people, you know what I mean? Um, so that’s, when you ask me again, like, what’s changed? Like, just kind of having that perspective of like, okay, yeah.

Again, you know, like, 70, we all know, like, the older you get is not young, but also just kind of challenging this notion that And especially just the way times, the way today’s world moves, 30 years is not really that young, 20 years old, I hate to tell you, like, you’re really not a kid.

You’re never going to have life all the way figured out. You still got a lot of experiences, but it’s like, you got to be moving in some type of direction. You got to be moving with purpose. You can’t just be aimless. Like I’ve got time. I’m only in my twenties, you know, I’m only in my thirties or I’m only in my late teens then.

And I just think that’s just something that, actual young people, at least in our society, in our culture, that’s not something that that that’s put in front of their face. I feel like they’re usually taught, like, oh, you can get started later. Like, which is true, but time is of the essence and later isn’t always promised.

Jill: This is a good time to ask, what is the bumper sticker on your son’s seat?

Jamal Hill: Oh, success is my duty. So I don’t even, I don’t even got to look up. I already know. Success is my duty, so. Yeah, this is, I’ll put this up like, Otto’s probably like, if I’m 30 enough. I’m a, I’m very financially responsible. So I like nice things, but I have them for a good amount of time.

I’ve had this car maybe at least like, I don’t know, six to eight years now. So this was like. 23, you know, 22 to 24 year old Jamal, I’m like, I need to be reminded every single day. Whenever I open up my moonroof, like, I’ll look up and it’ll be there, so, it’s there, it’s subconscious, but. Yeah, I think success is all of our duty.

but again, like I said, success comes, in as many strokes for as many folks as there is. And there are dimensions of life obviously outside of competitive swimming or financial endeavors. and I’ll be the first one to tell people. Personally, I, I think one of my greatest wealth in life right now, like money or otherwise, anything, is my relationship with my partner.

You that’s something that again, had you asked me five years ago, that’s, I mean, I probably wouldn’t even put it on the list. You know what I mean? Like, just because you don’t necessarily have the appreciation for certain things. So, yeah, success, success is what you make it.

Success is going to be how you define it. and just know that, the finish line is always moving forward, So every goal that you accomplish and every Paralympic medal that you earn, man, just, just try and enjoy it as good as possible. Cause looking back on it never feels the same.

You know, you asked me Jill, like, you know, kind of coming into Paris, you already been here before, like going into Paris, all the things that were motivated me, then they don’t motivate me no more. You know what I mean? Like I’ve already been signed by the biggest swim brand in the whole world.

I already did a deal with Speedo already been on that Paralympic podium. I’m already the fastest person in U. S. history. I already know I’m going to make the team. Or like, there’s so many things that on the first go around were a mystery. I had to prove it. I had to show that it was real. And now on this time around it’s like, how am I defining success?

You know, like what’s getting me up and keeping me going? Cause, if you haven’t been there, a lot of that ignorance, creates a fantasy. Which really helps drive fanatic behavior, which in some ways is necessary. But after you’ve lived it in real life, and you got the real life to go with the fantasy, Okay, but now how do I get crazy about this again?

Because I know the reality. Like I know what’s waiting on me on the other side. So, you know, I want some of us waiting on me on the other side, but I don’t want all of us waiting on me on the other side. But I still got to get there, you know, I still got to cross that finish line. I still got to honor myself and my journey and all these people.

so what’s the why? What’s the why now? How is that why of all?

Alison: What did getting signed by Speedo change for you in terms of your day to day reality?

Jamal Hill: Yeah, that was great. in terms of my day to day reality, I was eating out more. I

Alison: mean, did it just take that pressure? I mean, like

Jamal Hill: I would say this, like it definitely, so number one, definitely like when I got signed by Speedo, it definitely took a level of financial pressure off for sure. I would say like my experience in Olympic Paralympic space is not traditional, I’m a hustler, you know, so it’s like one thing I may not always have the most but like I’m never not gonna have nothing You know what?

I mean? Like I’m never just standing by, you know rubbing my hands waiting on, you know A rich a rich grandfather named Speedo to come and sign me for a check, you know So, I think that was the main thing just kind of like it changed It changed some of my day to day. you know, it definitely changed my savings account.

Like I said, I’m a, I’m a real kind of just frugal guy. So it changed my savings account a lot. and it also kind of, it changed my athletic performance in the pool. Cause I was getting performance incentives for breaking records. I think I went out and broke like, in my two years with Speedo, I think I might have broke like 23 records.

You know, like I was just, I went crazy. That’s a crazy, you know, so like in one year the most records I broke was I think 17 or 18 records. so I just went absolutely berserk. but then, so everything has duality and this is something that I speak about. You know, it’s like, for all the great that came with Speedo, there was a lot of drawback that came with Speedo.

you know, like when you have a dream and you have a fantasy, we only ever envision the positive, right? Like, it’s gonna be like this, great, like, none of this would matter if I could just have this amount of money. and yeah, that’s just kinda not how life works really, you know? So, after I had that experience and, and again, like, I’m a little bit more known in the swim world now.

things like this, like that, it just, our vision for the future and kind of like how I wanted to see my career grow and, and the things in swimming that I was also affiliated with from the Swim Uphill Foundation, which is an internationally recognized organization by the United Nations and things like that.

yeah, I just kind of realized like swimming is just, I mean, well, you know, like swimming is just not a big money sport, you know, it’s like, that’s just what it is. so even me, I think when I was signed with speed, I was probably like a top 10 percent earner and all of swimming and all of the world.

and you know, without going into small details, you know, I was like, for, you know, like a very, like a high five figure, very low six figure contract. yeah. And the reason why I ended up leaving was just because. It was pretty much going to be the same thing for my whole career, and it was going to be absolute exclusivity, you know, and so just understanding my responsibility to the Swim Uphill Foundation.

I couldn’t in good conscience sign away my career and sign away this mission to help a million people learn how to swim every single year. For 100, 000, you know, that’s not going to help us accomplish our mission. So, that’s what it was like. That was some of the amazing positives.

and then that’s what it was like, that was some of the drawbacks that was like, wow, ultimately ended up deciding this next chapter of my swim career. Will not be with that company

Alison: give the plug for swim uphill because it’s a great organization I was reading up about it and it’s just it’s so wonderful

Jill: And how you got hooked on the UN how did like the UN calls me and says hey

Jamal Hill: It was funny. I was actually I was hosted so I do a lot of things in aquatic space, you know not just Swim Uphill teaching lessons, but we also support instructors, we support lifeguards, we support aquatics directors and managers, and so, um, what I do is, and one of my entrepreneurial endeavors to, to support the aquatics industry, we reach out to key people around the world, influential people around the world, and I leverage who I am to get interviews with them to essentially interview them and bring their insights and information Back to directors and leadership in the aquatic space to improve their facilities and their services the community And so I reached out to the onboard youth of the United Nations for an interview And we got the interview and in the months to follow her team Kept sending me about this United Nations position for young people and in my thought I’m like, okay Yeah, like, you know, I’m like, late 20s, mid 20s, but like, I’ll send it to like, we got high schoolers, college students, I’ll send it out, I’ll send it out, and eventually they were like, hey, can we just get on the call with you, we got on the call, and they’re like, Jermone, we need you to understand, according to the United Nations, a young person is anyone from like, 22 to 35, that’s how young people are defined internationally, I’m like,

Alison: if you ever see who’s in the United Nations, they’re

Jamal Hill: like, no, you’re still a young person until you, until you 36, 37, so like, oh, they’re like, yeah, so we want you to apply to do this. We want you to come in to have this office. And I’m like, oh, well, you should have just said that, you know, cause I was missing like the subliminal there.

but that’s. That’s literally how it happened, like I reached out for an interview and then after we got connected and they learned about me and what I was doing, I was invited to be a part of, I think what may have been the last cohort of young leaders, for the United Nations in which they take, 17 young people from around the world and we hold this office for two years.

so that’s how the United Nations thing happened.

Alison: And what does that actually mean and what are you doing?

Jamal Hill: that’s a really, really great question. So I think the first thing that we do as a part of this office is we have an undying commitment to our specific causes and organizations.

so just think about, Our project is still what we’re doing, but now we’ve set it on top of this table. That is the United Nations, right? so that’s first and foremost. , second to that is intercollaboration, like I said. , these are some of the 17 youngest and kind of like most inspirational, forward, politically moving, exciting.

There’s only two people from the U. S. one of them and another one, her name is Alyssa. She just joined the NASA astronaut program. These are the type of young people and figures around the world. So being able to collaborate and to really like combine efforts, right? So it’s a great play for international, campaigns and things like that.

Specifically speaking to the United Nations, we’re obligated to come into New York, which is where the United Nations headquarters is, uh, about once every year. And when we’re there, ultimately we’re doing speaking engagements and we’re really there to like kind of pull and be. The voice of young people, which, as you said, the United Nations, don’t quote me on this, but the average age is definitely over 50, a hundred percent, you know, so, so we’re really there to, again, be advocates.

, no different than any other person that is holding some form of political office. I’m nothing more than a speaker or an amplifier. Of the international constituents of young people

Alison: what does life look like for you between now and the end of life? Oh, that’s

Jamal Hill: easy. Yeah, between now and then I thought you were gonna give me like the five year. I’m like, oh, honey. Um, no,

Jill: no.

Jamal Hill: Yeah, that’s easy. We got a lot of press, a lot of media, you know, I do pretty good with press and media. I feel like all throughout the quad, but there’s nothing like the last two months, right?

Like now is when the athletes really matter. So, um. We got that. we have some Uphill Foundation programs going right now. So right now we have a program called Swimming Out of Poverty. we’re essentially teaching 60 kids, from inner city Los Angeles who are literally on a This is gonna sound crazy, but they are literally on a trajectory to end up on Skid Row, statistically speaking.

80 percent of Skid Row, so Skid Row for those of you who don’t know, is the homeless mecca of Southern California. it’s a collection, it’s a downtown area, and it’s where all of the government programs and assistance is located downtown. And so, it’s like, if you’ve ever seen Tent City in Los Angeles, that’s Skid Row.

Most people don’t know this. 80%, this is a quote, this fact, fact check this, factual. 80 percent of the people living on Skid Row, 80 percent of them come from this small pocket within the city of Los Angeles. They come from this small pocket in South Central Los Angeles. so when I found that out, I was blown away.

I’m thinking It’s people all over, it’s people from this city, from this city, from this state, no 80 percent of them are from, and I’m not saying LA County, from a very specific section in the city of Los Angeles, so, long story short, these kids that go to school in that community, , 80%, most of the people that they’re around will end up on Skid Row.

And, what we’re doing is, we are collaborating with the school, uh, and we are giving them swim lessons throughout the whole month of May, and it’ll culminate, the last day of school is the last day of May, it’ll culminate on June 1st with the Learn to Surf Day. We’ll take them all to the beach, we’ll pretty much rent out the Santa Monica Pier Beach, and they’ll have surf lessons, there’ll be 120 kids at that, but that’s a big thing.

Trials are happening in June. And then, yeah, just a lot of media, a lot of interviews are pretty much planned on being in the city. Otherwise life is pretty much regular, you know, like train, work, recover, investigate new opportunities, plan what I’m gonna do after I finished swimming in Paris, you know, what, what cafe I’m gonna go.

Okay. Get a glass of wine at, that’s pretty much it.

Alison: I’ll send you the list of what I found, Jamal.

Jill: I’d love to know about the classification process for you, because we’ve talked to other, para athletes who have visible disabilities and you have one that’s not visible. So what is that like going through the initial process and how often do you get

Jamal Hill: That’s, that’s a great, that’s a great thing, uh, that you just said there, Jill, and, um.

You’re like, you’re pretty much right. I’m gonna just like tweak it a little bit. So technically I do have a physical disability, right? Like I don’t have a, I don’t have a limb deficiency. Uh, but I do fall into, so in the Paralympics, there’s only two types of athletes, physical disability, cognitive disability.

so in swimming, , pretty much, you know, there’s 14 classes. So S1 to S3 or four is going to be the most severely physically impaired. So that might be like, , a quadriplegic or someone in that space from about five to four, maybe like five to seven is usually going to be some type of like, a, like a small person, some type of, like some type of like stature, disability or, or maybe again, like maybe they only have use of their body completely from their waist up.

eight to 10 is going to be your least physically disabled, so I’m a nine having neuropathy. and then 11 to 13 is visual impairment and 14 is a cognitive impairment. I get retested every two years. I get reclassified internationally every two years. Because I have a progressive disease, for some people they get classified one time and it never changes.

, but because my disease is progressive, I get reclassed every two years. you know, just in terms of classification, what I would say is it’s not a perfect system because it’s being worked by people and people are not perfect. so everyone’s going to have bias. I believe that classifiers do their best.

They have a very challenging job. , especially when it comes to people like me, I feel like just because. as unbiased as they want to be, there’s going to be some natural bias, right? Like you said to yourself, you look at me like this dude is shredded. Like what’s going on? Like, you know, and so that, that definitely, that poses a challenge, you know, like that poses a challenge that I have to overcome, right?

Because now I have maybe 90 minutes. To help this stranger understand what a lifetime of disability has been like for me and how it truly affects me every day, regardless of how they perceive it visually on first sight. so that, that’s really my experience and that’s a responsibility that I communicate to my teammates, you know, just in classification.

I’m not one to speak on it too much, but I know a lot of people believe a lot of cheating goes on in classification. I think cheating just goes on in general, you know, so I don’t think it’s fair to, like, choose out classification, but what I do tell my teammates is that, like, the same way that people can cheat to try and, you know, be disabled when they’re not, I need you guys to be really conscious of cheating the opposite way, and cheating the opposite way means you’re so used to, like, trying to be a superhero in real life, And like, always blending in, never needing nobody to help you.

You know, now, you know, all these things that people with disabilities, me being one of them, build to cope with, right? In regular life, right? Not, not wanting to be a burden, not wanting, wanting to blend in. now you’re here, all those things that you tried to hide your whole life, You have to show them here.

Like, if you don’t show them here, that’s cheating too. You know what I mean? Like, now your competition will probably be happy about it. but what you’re doing is like, you’re cheating yourself, you’re cheating your team, and ultimately, you’re cheating the movement, because disability doesn’t have any one shape, size, color, or ability level to it.

It’s gonna look differently and affect everyone differently, so, cool. The best thing that any of us can do is just be transparent with those journeys and those struggles and understand again that like classifiers have this near impossible job of again and in 60 to 90 minutes, they’re trying to quantify an entire lifetime of disability into a competition, so you can compete against other people who’ve had similar experiences and challenges.

that said, again, it’s not perfect. I’ve met people. One thing about classification. It’s a learning experience. Like, I’ve met everyone I’ve ever met that’s gone through classification that said, they F’d me this time and they got it right this time. and I think that just speaks to it. It’s like, it’s as fair as it can be.

it’s like life. I don’t think life is specifically picking on any one person. That’s it. Sometimes it’s fair. Sometimes it’s not. That’s what makes it fair.

Jill: Excellent. Jamal, thank you so much.

Thank you so much Jamal. You can find out more about Swim uphill@swimuphill.org and uh, on Facebook X and Insta. It is at FA Swim uphill. Jamal will be competing at the US Paralympic trials this Thursday, June 27th in Minneapolis Finals on Saturday and Sunday will be aired on CNBC in the us

Check out our new TeePublic Shop

Alison: We have some updates for our Tee public shop. So our affiliate link has been changed. So you’ll see some new links. We got a new link and that we’ll have in the show notes, but this provides more support for the show. Anytime you buy any of our merchandise, so get your t shirts, get your hats. Would you like a keep the flame alive hat for your.

Paris trip. I might need one of those. You might need one of those and we’ve got a couple new designs up specifically for Paris. Yes, I’ve been having some fun making some Paris designs. Oh, this is gonna be exciting. I will have to check this out or just go straight keep the flame alive logo so we can find you in Paris.

Jill: Very important. I know a number of you will be there and it will be helpful to be able to pick you out among the crowds of people that will be swarming around the city.

Alison: So, our Tee Public Shop, there is a link, as I said in the show notes, there is a link on our website flamealivepod. com and there’s a cute little graphic in the middle there that links right there and you can get all your fun T shirts and merchandise.

US Olympic Swimming Trials Recap

Alison: I’ve

Jill: seen

Alison: a pool.

Jill: Well, the swimming pool was beautiful. Well, I don’t know

Alison: how to do past tense now, Jill. Come

Jill: on! Well, you know, the swimming pool is beautiful, no matter, I think, where you go. A swimming pool is a very lovely thing. How about that?

Alison: When we are in Paris, I am going to live in the moment because I cannot speak in future or past tense.

Jill: All right, we do have last update from the U. S. Olympic swimming trials. Uh, which I stayed late. I meant to wrap this up last week, but I did stay late on Wednesday to see what happened in the finals. Uh, first off we had women’s a hundred meter free final top four finishers go to the Olympics because they will compose the relay.

And I think the top two get to do the individual event. That would be Kate Douglas, then Tori Husky, Gretchen Walsh, and Simone Manuel and 0. 69 seconds separated. First place from fourth place. It was really, really fast race. Everything ended so quickly. that was really, really cool. That was the first time Simone was making the team again.

So people were just beyond thrilled for her. There’s so much love for Simone in the swimming community. That was just great to see that. That, uh, she has made a comeback because she’s gone through some stuff over the last several years. Then we had, uh, men’s 200 meter fly final. 17 year old Thomas Heileman won, which was very cool.

Then I think he’s going to be the youngest member of the team. I think so. There were some pretty young people there at trials, but did not quite make it. So. I think you’re right. And he’s, he’s our young person we’ll see how he does in the pool at Paris, then the event that I had to stay for, which was the women’s 1500 meter free, uh, I wanted to see how Katie Ledecky did because she was so dominant in her prelim heat, she was still dominant here.

I thought Katie Grimes would be a much closer competitor. Because of Katie’s ability to Katie Grimes is a ability to do distant swimming, but Katie Ledecky beat her by 20 seconds, which was just unreal to me.

Alison: I wonder if it’s really a competition for second place. Like Katie Grimes is saying, I can’t beat Katie Ledecky.

I just have to beat everybody else. So is she saving herself a little bit? But yeah, not that Katie Ledecky doesn’t win races. Normally by 20 and 30 seconds.

Jill: Right. But Katie Grimes also beat the third place finisher, Ashley Twitchell, by just under 11 seconds. So that is, also a pretty big distance when you think about it.

I am still so impressed that Katie Ledecky can go that fast and maintain that for maintain that dominance for as many years as she had so I’m looking forward to seeing what she does in Paris there. It was very cute when they got their Medals and they get to say we’re going to Paris. They say it was like Katie Ledecky.

I think Katie Ledecky Whisper, there was a whisper in the ear of, Then they said, Katie Squared is going to Paris.

Alison: Now this, well, we’ll talk about it when we talk about the Seine, but this will Grimes because she also qualified for open water swimming. Yes. And how is this going to work for her on the schedule if they have to move that open water swimming some distance away?

Jill: That will be something to look for.

Definitely something to look for. Katie Ledecky did say, have something to say that really touched me when she said, look, They, they asked her basically like, how do you keep going? And she said, well, just don’t be satisfied. We’ve always got to try to do better. So that really impressed me there. Women’s 200 meter breast semifinals are 46 year old Gabrielle Rose finished last in the semifinals.

She was 9. 21 seconds off of first place, but she was still so amazingly proud of what she accomplished. And. using her platform to encourage women who are older, maybe mothers to find time to exercise, build strength. Cause it’s amazing what you can still do. what a great story she was in that comeback.

She was, but I think she’s happy to go back to coaching her kids and not having a grueling training regimen. It sounded like the last year, she really put herself through a lot of work to get to Trial shape men’s 200 meter breaststroke. Matthew Fallon got an American record with his swim. And then the night ended with the men’s hundred meter free final.

That relay team is going to be Chris Giuliano, Jack Alexi, Caleb Dressel and Hunter Armstrong. And it was funny because they were doing the little standup bit with the camera for the audience, , in house. Caleb came in third place out of the four. And, he was talking about, well, it took under 46, 48 seconds to make this team. Then he was looking up at the board at the same time, and then he realized that The top six finishers finished under 48 seconds. And he was like, Whoa, top six under 48.

Jill: It was really that, that moment of just genuine shock and surprise and awe of how fast the men have gotten. That was pretty cool. Attendance there. It was the largest crowd yet at Lucas oil stadium. 22, 209 people were there and you could hear every moment of them.

Alison: Well, that hundred free. At least on television, just was such a joy to watch the camaraderie and the appreciation of each other as swimmers and poor Rowdy Gaines, I thought I was like, please protect Rowdy.

Don’t give this man a stroke. He got, and then later that following day for the 50, both the men’s and the women’s. With the 50 meter, Rowdy, get some rest. that was a really exciting trials and he did fabulous as always. And such joy in US swim trials. So much joy, which is, makes it such a great event and you got to feel that.

Jill: Yes, exactly. And it was funny in some of the press conferences you heard, started to hear over and over again, okay, it’s time for training camp because the swimmers will go and train for about three weeks together. And I. Think, but don’t quote me. I believe they’re going to Croatia and they’ll have their camp there and everybody who has been to swim camp before Was very excited to go back and to hang out and they work very hard But they also get to relax and they make friends and they they just have a really good time hanging out with each other And you could see how much even as even though they compete against each other How much everybody really likes being around each other and that is very cool.

Paris 2024 News

Swim Swam.com reported Katinka Hossu from Hungary did not qualify for her sixth Olympics. How is she still swimming? Um, she is still swimming, she was trying to go for number six, unfortunately did not make it. So that has been a big name in the past. So if you were looking to see what was going on with her and she sadly will not be in Paris.

, other Paris news that was interesting that I saw in Le Monde is, , some female Japanese athletes will be wearing innovative kit. developed by Mizuno. It’s a fabric that prevents infrared photos from highlighting underwear and bodies of athletes so that photographers cannot take explicit photos like during competition.

So the kits will be used for volleyball, athletics, and table tennis for sure.

Alison: Fantastic that they came up with this. Disgusting that they needed to.

Jill: Yeah, and, apparently the, I mean, it’s sad that this is a problem that women go out and compete and then they somehow discover that their pictures of themselves while competing are being circulated on porn sites because of this infrared photography technology.

So good on you, Mizuno. We talked within the last week of episodes that the opening ceremonies have been rehearsing on the sand. They’ve been rehearsing the boat parade. The latest rehearsal has been postponed because there has been heavy rain over the last few weeks and the river is flowing at five times its normal speed.

Oh,

Alison: there goes

Jill: the American team rushing by. Well, then that just made me wonder what happens if you. aren’t able to practice this at all, and what happens on the day of the ceremonies if you have a fast flowing river? What do you do? Do you have a plan A. 5?

Alison: I guess the teams just speed on by and you hope for the best.

Someone, someone catch the Algerians. They’re heading back home.

Jill: It’s the fastest opening ceremonies on record. Uh, not surprisingly, the rains have also negatively affected the water quality of the Seine. So, again, we are seeing many headlines about that being an issue. Um, I think in the next few weeks, Anne Hidalgo is scheduled to take her dip, her promised dip in the Seine.

Alison: I’ve been a fan of Anne Hidalgo through a lot of this planning, except for this.

Jill: You don’t think the mayor should, should,

Alison: No, I think the mayor should. But I just think this whole plan was. They needed a better plan B. They needed a realistic. in place concrete plan B for the SEND not being clean enough.

Jill: Yeah. I wonder if they went and looked at Rio and said, well, they didn’t really have a plan B for their really poorly polluted stuff. And it went okay. So maybe this is going to be okay. I don’t know. I don’t know. If they have plan B’s and they’re just not sharing them, maybe that’s one thing that they don’t want to get into it.

Alison: Fair enough. But hopefully they have some fun plans. And I hope we’re not going to kill the mayor by throwing her in the Seine. Can you imagine if she got sick? Oh, they would be hiding her, like if she got some rash or something. We would not see her for days. And all of a sudden, like her gorgeous dresses, she’d come out like with a turtleneck in June.

Mayor Hahn, what has happened? The end. I mean, it’s not funny, but it, we have to just laugh at it because what can, what else can we do? And we just worry about the athletes. That’s what we’ll do. And that doesn’t help anybody.

LA 2028 News

Alison: Exciting news out of LA. New venue plan. I’m, I, I’m surprised they released this now a little bit, but also not.

Jill: I wonder if some of it was Um, the swimming trials were so successful in a football stadium that they wanted to get ahead of just tons of tons of speculation about this.

Alison: So the new venue plan takes into account, they’re going to use fewer temporary stadiums and venues.

They’re going to avoid doing some renovations to existing stadiums so that in general, the There’s going to be a lot of cost savings. I saw a lot of numbers getting thrown around because they were counting cost savings and revenue increases and mixing them together So take with a grain of salt some of the dollars that you’re seeing because I saw anywhere from 10 million in savings to a hundred million of cost benefit When you combine savings and increased revenue, so it’s going to cost less, they’re going to make more money in this.

So the big move is that athletics will be moved to the first week. The end swimming move to the second week of the calendar because they’re going to put the swimming in SoFi Stadium, which is going to be amazing, which means up to 30, 000 fans will be able to get tickets for every session of swimming.

The reason they have to make the move is because the opening ceremony is in SoFi and they need that extra week to actually construct the pools, which makes perfect sense. So this is actually going to be huge. I mean, I can’t remember. a time where this was the schedule? No, I can’t either. So will that help swimming, hurt swimming with athletics, vice versa?

So that’ll be interesting. Another big thing, softball and canoe slalom will be in Oklahoma City.

Jill: I’m not surprised about the canoe slalom because they do have a training center there, an Olympic course available. That makes me happy that they are utilizing that instead of building something new in LA, which.

ideally for the sport, you want to have more venues, but Southern California also has an issue with drought. So why put a water heavy venue into a place that probably can’t support that realistically and, and, and keep that open longterm. Softball made me a little sad because I really wanted to see it in Dodger Stadium.

I thought, Oh, we’re moving. I mean, granted the universe, it’s going to be at the university, right? Right. Right. Yes. And powerhouse and softball. Great. They’re going to have a wonderful softball stadium, but I really wanted them to have a bigger venue. Cause I think the market’s there.

Alison: I do like that. At least if you’re shooting a sport out of LA, you’re going to have two sports so that people could go to multiple events if they decide to travel to Oklahoma city.

Gymnastics is going to move to the crypto. com website. Arena, which is the current basketball, uh, Lakers and Kings and Sparks home. And then basketball is going to move to the Intuit Dome, which is going to be the new home for the Clippers, but that’s under construction and won’t get opened until the end of this year.

Far out. So instead of they were going to renovate some things at UCLA and USC, nope, we’re just going to use what other people are using. The most difficult part when you’re looking at this stuff. Is none of the LA 28 official documents use the current names of stadiums and venues. They don’t call it SoFi.

They don’t call it crypto. com, which you expect. So for the rest of us normal people, it was very confusing. I had to go through the venue plan and then look at a lot of media articles to figure out what was what. In real life, be prepared to get lost in LA because nobody is going to know where anything is.

And your maps. com is going to have the official name, not the Olympic name.

Jill: Because, right, because the, naming rights are advertising and the Olympics famously does not have advertising as part of, the stadium plans that that’s happening in Paris, too, because Bercy Arena is not. That’s not the regular name.

That’s what the name that we know, but finding it on a map is a little bit of a different story. I’m like, Oh yeah, that’s, that’s called something else. it’ll be interesting to see how this, how they rename these to be Olympics and Paralympics friendly, but, I’m glad they did a revamp of the venue project just because if they’re reusing existing stuff besides pumping money into things that may not need a ton of renovation.

They’re not pumping money into things that may not really need renovating, but they’re renovating it just because of the Olympics and they want it to be fancier. this will be a nice way to reuse stuff and kind of stick a little bit better with that, uh, Olympic, Agenda 2020 plus five.

Alison: They’re also using a lot of legacy stadiums.

So you will see, I believe it’s, artistic swimming is taking place in a venue that was used for 1932. Very nice. So you will see a lot of that. So there, they are leaning into the history as well. So if you want to take a whole look at this venue plan, it’s at the LA, 28, 22, 23. Site, it’s highlighted on their homepage.

We’ll have a link to that in the show notes, but be prepared that SoFi Stadium is not SoFi Stadium.

TKFLASTAN Update

Welcome to Shookfastan.

Jill: It is the time of the show where we check in with our team, keep the flame alive. These are past guests and listeners of the show who make up our citizenship of Shookfastan. Big week in trials.

Alison: Right. So now the U. S. Olympic trials in Track and Field have started. We have a few people there.

Deanna Price finished second in women’s, a wild women’s hammer throw competition. So she qualifies to Paris. Kenny Bednarik finished second in the men’s hundred meter with a personal best. He also qualifies for Paris in that event. His men’s 200 meter will be on Saturday, June 29th. will compete on Sunday, June 30th in women’s pole vault.

Jill: So I did watch, I had some of the track and field trials, just, I was following online. And then I was able to watch for the men’s 100 meter and a, the hammer throw, I just could not follow what happened because Brooke Anderson, who is Got the world lead or had the world lead fouled out on her first three throws and could not continue on.

So she amazingly is not going to Paris. Deanna finished second, which is great. I’m so thrilled for her that she is, seems to be healthy again and is throwing well.

The woman who placed first is, , Annette Echikunwoke, who placed 12th at the 2022 World Championships. As she had been trying to compete for Nigeria and because she’s Nigerian American, , that did not work out. And so she came back to compete for America and is now going in as the top American headed into Paris.

It was just an amazing competition that I did not see if they showed hardly any of it on TV. Seems like maybe it was on Peacock, but the focus on track in the track and field trials seems to be ongoing.

I don’t want to say poor Kenny. I love the fact that Kenny is one of our people because. He just seems like an afterthought to the announcers. Otto Bolden was like, oh, and Kenny Bednarik is a sleeper.

Alison: A sleeper? I mean, I realize this isn’t his best event, but yeah, I was, I was pretty annoyed because they talked much more about Christian Coleman who, um, finished fourth.

And I’m like, dude, Kenny has an Olympic medal. He’s one of the best relay runners in the world. Why wouldn’t you think he’s a factor here, right? Nevermind how well he was running in the previous rounds. I mean, yeah, everyone wants to talk about Noah Lyles and rightfully so. I mean, he is expected to be the best in the hundred meters, but.

Kung Fu Kenny came for them and said, excuse me, I’m here. And was such a gentleman in the post race, interview. He knows how the media talks about him. He’s not stupid. He’s very aware. We, we spoke to him. He knows exactly what the press is saying and that he gets forgotten. And he’s like, yeah, I just ran my race.

I’m like, yes you did. And you beat everybody but Noah Liles. Look at you.

Jill: Right?

Alison: That’s

Jill: You go, Kenny. I’m so excited for him. So excited that he qualified in that. Hope he does well in the men’s 200. at swimming trials, Bobby Fink won the 1500 meter free, 12 seconds ahead of second place. And also, book club Claire and listener Brittany got to spend some time at the trials and listener David was there cause he, found me in the media center, which was awesome.

So lots of shook for Sonny’s at. , swimming trials, which is really great to see.

Alison: Andrew Capobianco won the U. S. diving Olympic trials in the men’s three meter springboard. Which means he is headed to Paris. Also headed to Paris is B boy Jeffro, who qualified through the Olympic qualifier series. And congratulations to Tom Kelly, who at Ski Utah’s Yeti Awards, received the President’s Award for his work in skiing.

And that is going to do it for this episode.

Jill: Let us know what you think of Paris swimming.

Alison: Find us on X YouTube and Instagram at flame alive pod send us an email at flame alive pod at gmail. com Call or text us at 2 0 8 3 5 2 6 3 4 8 That’s 2 0 8 flame it chat with us and other fans on our Facebook group.

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Jill: On Thursday, we are going to talk gymnastics and we’ll have a variety of gymnasts that we spoke to at the Team USA Media Summit. We so hope you enjoyed this episode.

And if you did. Tell a friend about the show. Thank you so much for listening, and until next time, keep the flame alive.