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“The Dirtiest Race in History” with Book Club Claire

Release Date: September 21, 2023

Cue our History Moment music and our Book Club music because Book Club Claire is on hand for a discussion about Richard Moore’s The Dirtiest Race in History: Ben Johnson, Carl Lewis and the 1988 Olympic 100m Final. The title pretty much says it all–this was a doping scandal for the ages, and the book uncovers the history of the competitors in this race and all of the complexities about steroids and doping at the time.

Book cover for "The Dirtiest Race in History" by Richard Moore.

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If you’ve read the book, we’d love to hear your thoughts about it!

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In our visit to TKFLASTAN, we have news from:

In our Paris 2024 update, Old El Paso’s getting around and Team GB jewelry is a thing. Paris 2024 has released details of Paralympic Day, which will be held on October 8, 2024, as well as details about tickets for the Paralympics, which go on sale October 9. Plus, there’s a new sustainability initiative that’s very interesting.

We also have news from the World Games. Chengdu 2025 has released most of the disciplines that will be contested at the Games. We’ve got the details!

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

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Note: This is an uncorrected machine-generated transcript and may contain errors. Please check its accuracy against the audio. Do not quote from the transcript; use the audio as the record of note.

The Dirtiest Race in History with Book Club Claire (Ep 305)

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’m your host, Jill Jaracz, joined as always by my lovely co host Alison Brown. Alison, hello, how are you?

[00:00:48] Alison: I was great until about two seconds ago when I smacked my hand into the desk just to see we’re playing the intro music.

So, let’s just go to the interview while I shake it out.

[00:01:01] Jill: Alrighty.

Book Club Discussion

[00:01:04] Jill: We are going right to our history moment today, because right now, as we are taping, today’s the 20th of September, and it is the period of time, 35 years ago, where Seoul 1988 occurred. We’ve been talking about Seoul all year long.

And this time we have Book Club Claire with us to discuss the book, The Dirtiest Race in History, Ben Johnson, Carl Lewis, and the 1988 Olympic 100 Meter Final. This race took place on September 24th. 1988, so we’re coming up on that as well in this final spoiler alert, 1st place finisher, Ben Johnson of Canada had a positive doping test.

This meant Carl Lewis from the U. S. became a repeat gold medalist. Britain, [00:02:00] Linford Christie won silver and American Calvin Smith won bronze, but it’s really still kind of a debate on how many people maybe besides Ben Johnson were doping before that race. We’ve got book club Claire here to talk about this book.

Take a listen to our discussion.

Book club.

Claire, welcome back. We are talking about The Dirtiest Race in History, Ben Johnson, Carl Lewis, and the 1988 Olympic 100 Meter final by Richard Moore. What do you got for us?

[00:02:33] Book Club Claire: I have a book about. Drugs, so much drugs. It was quite the interesting book. I mean, on a track and field level, it was fascinating to be able to hear about seasons and them going all over the world and racing, but yeah, steroids are so prevalent and you learn a lot about smuggling them in and the different kinds that they use.

I couldn’t tell you all of them, but at the core is this race. Between Ben Johnson, Carl Lewis, and several other male runners in the hundred meter final of Seoul 1988. And you just find out that not all of them, that none of them are perfect and they all have their flaws. And Ben Johnson was just the one that got punished the most for it.

And not really his own fault, but his coach thinking he could skirt the rules. All in all, I was very enthralled by this book. I loved seeing where everything went, and Richard Moore did a great job telling the story, even though he only really got Ben Johnson’s side of it, he did try to keep it balanced with Carl Lewis’s side, even though he just barely spoke to him near the end.

So I thought it was, I thought it was a good read. I wonder what you both have to think about it. Cause you’re not as much [00:04:00] into athletics as I am.

[00:04:01] Alison: Nobody comes off well in this book. None of the runners, none of the coaches, none of the people involved with testing for doping except Dr. Catlin comes off. Well enough. He was kind of thrown into it, but that I think was the most exciting and not just not come off well in terms of doping, but not come off well in terms of how athletics was run, how corrupt everything was all the under the table payments.

Everybody was coming forth with this beautiful Olympic ideal, which we’ve certainly all talked about. And yet. No one in this entire operation was living up to it and nice that we talk more now about paying the athletes above board because I think that can get rid of some corruption obviously if you’re not paying them under the table.

But it was heartbreaking to think back to watching the Olympics as a kid during the eighties. And knowing how corrupt it actually was.

[00:05:06] Jill: Right. Nobody in this book is likable. The other likable person I would put in is Calvin Smith. And I felt really bad for him trying to run cleanly and just basically getting ignored throughout the whole situation.

But we talk about how the Soviets and the East Germans were all doing steroids and all. And, Other members of the iron curtain, but it was obviously going on in the Western side to everybody was doing drugs and You can’t feed that line because we were kids. We totally bought into the amateurism and this had to be perfect and pure sport and nothing was pure.

And it wasn’t pure because you were paying athletes under the table. It wasn’t pure because, Oh, drugs came on the scene and nobody said, no, we should not be, we really had to run [00:06:00] clean when I was reading it, everybody is so unlikable that it was actually perfect that Richard Moore came from England because he was like that third party person.

But I also wondered how he lived with this. We have often talked about if anybody who has to write a book about Avery Brundage and you have to live with Avery Brundage for so long, I don’t know how he lived with these characters. For so long and all of these people who, you know, when he was interviewing him, he must have had to have a.

Big detector on to know to try to to balance what was the truth and what wasn’t the truth

[00:06:37] Alison: And he did an excellent job in terms of how he presented it. Like you said Ben Johnson, it seemed like was very forthcoming with the details, but they’re from his perspective he only knew so much about what was going on and Carl Lewis didn’t speak but lots of other people did and the way that Moore was able to construct the story really took you inside this world of what was athletics like in the 80s.

You’ve got the boycotts going on in 80 and 84 and even he mentioned 76 and the first athletics world championships and all these changes happening in the sport and then in the greater political world. And then with the development of all the different steroids and growth hormones and what was happening.

So it really took you step by step through this world. That we didn’t know, even though you and I just lived through it, we didn’t know this. And most people, even if they were very into sports, wouldn’t have known this. So if you really want to get that background of that bigger picture of where this race fit into this world, the book was brilliant at that.

[00:07:53] Book Club Claire: And how even the leadership of the IAAF and the [00:08:00] IOC which at that time I believe for IAAF is, Primo Nebbiolo. And for the IOC is Juan Antonio Samaranch and how they are quoted in this book as to saying, Oh no the positives that get. Brought up are going to hurt the sport and trying to cover up the positives that do emerge and.

How that’s just terrible thinking, but that was just in the moment, of this rising tide of steroids and steroid abuse, that’s how they felt that they could fix the problem, which in the long run, you know, 30 years later, we all know that. Steroids harm your body in ways that you might not even imagine.

it’s such, such a tragedy that the leadership was setting this to the side. And I don’t have experience from this from the 80s but I do remember watching the Home Run. Race in 1997 between Sammy Sosa and Mark McGuire and just, being caught up in that energy and enthusiasm and how the whole country was united to see these two guys going at it for this title, which eventually got.

Beat and won by Mark McGuire. And then years later to find out that you were duped, you feel dirty. And I guess, you know, this is called the dirtiest race in history. So, I’m sure that, especially those Canadians, those poor Canadians who, had found their savior, the guy that was going to beat that American did it in such an amazing fashion at that Olympics and a few other times while breaking the world record, and to just be told.

Not even 48 hours later that it was a farce. Oh, you just, how can you keep watching the Olympics after that? Or any sport. Or any

[00:09:50] Jill: sport. Just the way some people use sports as a way to get power for themselves. It’s amazing and it’s really evident [00:10:00] with the leadership of the IAAF and I’m sure there are plenty of sports federations where that’s still an issue today.

You have these leaders who are very egotistical and found a way where they could have power and leadership and influence over a select population and they don’t want to lose it. They want to keep it and to the detriment of sport. that this kind of thing happens. You see it and you still see it all the time.

[00:10:28] Alison: I think there’s this push and pull among sports fans on the one hand. And we talked about this a lot with weightlifting on the one hand, we as sports fans want to see that amazing achievement. We want to see the sprinters break the world records, be the fastest human that we’ve ever seen. We love that accomplishment.

And yet, when it’s proven that they’ve used drugs, we feel cheated and dirty and all those things, but why can’t we have both? And can we have both? Can they lift ever greater weights, but still be clean? I. Feel very strongly. The answer is yes. But there are some people who feel like I don’t care about the drugs.

I just want to see the achievements. And then there’s, of course, the other extreme. And what do we as fans do to feed that monster?

[00:11:24] Book Club Claire: That is why anytime. If going to the athletic sides of things, anytime Ryan Krauser breaks the world record, or, Usain Bolt breaks the world record any of these, Ethiopians or Kenyans that are coming at these distance events and just. Dominating Elia Kipchoge, Faith Kipiagon. I’m like, this is wonderful.

And in the back of my mind, I’m going, is and it makes, just makes me so sad that the events of the past 40 years, I would say 50 [00:12:00] years. Let’s throw the seventies in there because of East Germany. That has really tarnished how we enjoy sports now, and it’s just such a sad thing to, to think about.

And this is such a, it’s a downer kind of book because you’re hearing about this. So you were looking for a book of hope and triumph. This is not your book. But if you want to be educated on a great event in soul, then, find this book at your library, pick it up, read it. It’s good. I want to talk a little bit about.

Charlie Francis and his role in all of this. He took steroids as such a casual thing and he wasn’t alive to speak about this book, I believe. But. When Richard Moore was writing it, he had already passed away. But to talk about it as a coach, what is the best method to help your athletes get better when you know, they’re not going to get better without assistance.

[00:12:57] Jill: that’s an excellent question because Francis was Ben Johnson’s coach. it’s really interesting to read throughout the book, like, Oh, all of a sudden Johnson starts lifting weights. And I don’t know how much prevalence weight training had in this era of athletics, but the gains were so big that, Oh, people just instantly go, they’re doping.

And I wonder if you see that there and after Moscow, 1980, I wonder if you’re just talking a lot and I granted the Canadians did not go, but those Olympics are apparently also not very clean from what we understand. And so then you have this prevalence that, Oh, well, it’s just within athletics.

I don’t know.

[00:13:45] Alison: I think something that Ben Johnson is quoted as saying throughout the book is really important because he said. A sprinter like me is born and more talks about what steroids, the [00:14:00] effect of steroids on training, that it allows you to train more, it allows you to recover better. It doesn’t make you faster directly that there’s this indirect effect of steroids.

It’s not like weightlifting. My muscles get bigger. I can lift more. And he uses an example, I think, and I can’t remember which athlete it was where his muscles got bigger, but his tendons got weaker. So he kept getting hurt. From using steroids, but I think it goes back to that question of the Olympic ideal because on the one hand, we’re told that Olympians are not born, they’re made, that it’s all about how you train and dedication.

Michael Phelps talks a lot about that, that yes, I was born with these talents, but lots of people are born with talent and it’s what you do in training that makes the difference. So which side are we believing? Because if it’s a sprinter is born, not made. Then steroids don’t matter. And why do we care about steroids?

But if an Olympian is made not born, then it all matters with steroids. So I think Ben Johnson felt like he was trying to say, it didn’t matter that I took steroids. I still would have been this amazing sprinter and he probably would have, he seemed to have worked very, very hard, but then why’d you take the steroids?

[00:15:20] Book Club Claire: I think a lot of that has to deal with, that’s what your coach says. You listen to your coach and you do what they say, especially at a young impressionable age. You trust your coach on everything. And that’s why some of these athletes now that are getting busted, even though the steroid policies are so stringent, are getting busted because they just trusted their coach and they, that their coach said that this was going to be okay, that they’re going to, report it or this is on the not banned list and you just, and eventually that just becomes habits so that if something does go wrong, you’re very.

Unsure of why, because [00:16:00] my coach said 10 years ago that this was fine. So there’s a lot of trust. your coach turns into your parents and you’re, you trust your parents, coach for everything. And I think that had a lot to do with Him as not everybody has it needs to like insert father figure, but in Ben Johnson’s case His father stayed in Jamaica while he and his mother and his other siblings emigrated to Canada So if there was that missing link and sometimes that fills the void sometimes something else fills the void coaches When I hear about the Valieva case with figure skating, going to that, it makes me less angry for Valieva and more angry with the coaches and the Russian Olympic committee that they just allow this to happen.

And she’s caught up in it and her name and Ben Johnson’s name are tarnished forever because of not something they voluntarily did. By their own willpower. It’s something that was brought in from adults who suck. So

[00:17:10] Alison: pardon the language,

[00:17:12] Book Club Claire: but it’s true.

[00:17:13] Alison: It’s such a complex picture and that’s what I think the book is very interesting. You see that Charlie Francis and Joe Douglas and all these, like you said, adult figures who are saying, I want you to be the best. I see you working so hard and I’m going to help you. And what that help looks like, I think actually in that case in this book, Carl Lewis comes off the worst because he comes off as so calculated that nobody could have just given him drugs and drugs without him realizing.

We’re making that decision. Whereas Ben Johnson comes off, not very smart, not very educated, very trusting, very [00:18:00] unworldly. He just wanted sex drugs and rock and roll and all the ladies. I love that whole section of the book where Ben Johnson is talking about. And the author’s talking about all the women in Ben Johnson’s life, that he had many girlfriends and I loved that euphemism.

He had many girlfriends and every time Ben Johnson talks about it, he says the ladies, like that’s how he refers to it. But you get a picture of this kid from Jamaica who just wants to be a rock star, whereas Carl Lewis. Everything was calculated, everything was prescribed, and nobody was shooting him with anything that he didn’t know exactly what it was.

[00:18:40] Jill: Yeah, he comes off as very cold, and I didn’t necessarily realize how much the media did not like him. And I remember him from 1984 as a hero, but now, even 96, I remember him as a hero. Now I, I don’t know what to think of him, and I can’t imagine he wasn’t totally innocent. But you can’t prove it and he’s not talking to anybody and I don’t think you’ll ever know.

And I think it really comes across as he wanted to capitalize on all his fame and the way he conducted himself and his, the way his team conducted themselves. Cause it’s not just him, it’s the whole team where they were all standoffish and all sounded pretty demanding and it all backfired. You get the sense of ego in there, like, Oh, I’m the most talented runner and jumper.

I’m also going to be a great singer and a great actor. And Oh, no, Carl, no.

[00:19:41] Alison: I remember not liking him. Okay. Which is funny because I was a kid. So why didn’t I like him? And I guess that was probably influenced by that media disdain. And you compare both Ben Johnson and Carl Lewis to someone like Usain Bolt.

Who is just as arrogant and just [00:20:00] as full of himself. And yet, how can you dislike Usain Bolt? He was always so good to his fans and so charming. And even his competitors were like, Oh my God, we get to run against Usain Bolt and get beaten so badly by him. And what is that from? I don’t know. I mean, I don’t know what that difference is.

Yes. Usain Bolt, clearly. See, I shouldn’t say clearly, but seems to be an honest, genuine, decent human being. And that comes through. And how do you get that? I can be so egotistical and full of myself and doing the stupid lightning pose and naming his kid lightning bolt. And yet we love him. And we, and the media had such disdain for Carl Lewis for very similar things,

[00:20:50] Book Club Claire: right?

[00:20:51] Jill: And it’s interesting. And the, and Richard Moore gets into a little bit of the question of his sexuality. Nobody knows the media thought he was at least behind the scenes. They thought he was homosexual and that’s very much a time where homosexuality was disdained.

[00:21:09] Book Club Claire: It’s going to be a light word in our

[00:21:11] Jill: society.

But and Carl was never going to tell anybody anything about it and he was just going to be his own person. But. Whatever his own person was, it just didn’t have the same warmth and connection with the community that he thought it had. And I don’t know, and maybe, I’m not saying that Carl Lewis took steroids either, but I wonder what, and I don’t think Richard Moore got into it too much or was able to get into it, if he even, that was part of his outline, what steroids do to you mentally.

We don’t know how they affect your brain, how they affect your personality in as much. We, I think we do know some of that today. You, you talk about roid rage, but we don’t necessarily know how they affected these athletes at the time.

[00:21:59] Book Club Claire: [00:22:00] I’m glad you guys pivoted to Carl Lewis because I did not have. That bad of an opinion about him that might be an age difference I think something to consider when comparing Carl Lewis to Usain Bolt is the time period like you mentioned, you know Questioning his homosexuality in the 80s compared to now.

I mean right now It wouldn’t matter in the slightest for most people, but back then most people would have been incredibly turned off by that. and also at that time, I mean, yeah, it’s the 80s. It’s not the 60s, but, you know, black man taking the stage and acting arrogant, almost Michael Jackson, like, was something that may have turned off some people to him, whereas Ben Johnson didn’t seem as out there. I mean, yes he did love the big life. But he did probably at that time seemed more like a humble personality just because he wasn’t sure how to deal with the media at first and eventually came into it.

So, I came across Carl Lewis in 96 when he was doing his swan song, I didn’t know any of the 1980s stuff or even the early 90s. When he, I think there was some suspicion of him at a race of testing positive, even in 1 of his 1 of the trials where, you know, someone tested positive. Nobody really knows who it was because the leadership.

Down to, maybe it was him, who knows? But still at the same time, I respected him for, maybe I just have a thing about coaches, but he just seemed very independent and I respected that where he wasn’t going to be duped by his coach. His coach was going to be a partner.

With him, and I think Joe Douglas did a decent job of that in the long run, but man I don’t know. I think I respectfully disagree with you guys on this which might just show the differences in our histories, but it is interesting to see him. [00:24:00] Be very arrogant in 84 and then all of a sudden the media kind of loves him because he’s the, the second banana and 88 and it’s like, oh, we like, you know, kind of makes me think of Michael Phelps, how.

Oh, wait, 12, 16 and you know, it’s that kind of thing, but I did want to build you up to tear you down. Yes. And that’s, that’s why I despise the media so much. And I’m so thankful that podcasts like these and other ones that you have pointed out Do try to do a fair and balanced portrayal instead of just, you know, the guy with the cigar in his mouth saying, Hey, how do we take this guy down?

See, you know, that kind of terrible way that you, okay, how am I going to get more clicks or how am I going to sell more papers? You know? So it’s nice. It’s nice to have that nowadays. But at that time they were looking to tear him down and find every single little thing to nitpick.

And maybe that was just the influence on

[00:24:53] Alison: this book.

[00:24:54] Book Club Claire: I got a guy I want to cover. Oh yeah. Yeah. Who? Okay. So he kept popping up and I’m going, why does Richard Moore keep bringing up this dude? Cause he’s there and he’s gone. He’s there again, and he’s gone.

He’s with Carl Lewis, and then he’s with Ben Johnson. When I’m talking about Andre Action Jackson, when he made the appearance in the sample room after the 88 games, my mind was blown. I’m like, Oh, that’s why, that’s why he’s been here. And it’s, I don’t get surprised by a lot of these books, but that was.

That one finally got me. Well, just

[00:25:35] Alison: the whole process of how this happened, just how the whole process of drug testing was done, was amazingly informative and wild to me. Yes.

[00:25:47] Jill: Well, okay, so, First, explain who Andre Action Jackson

[00:25:51] Book Club Claire: is. He’s essentially just a business guy who makes these connections with these athletes in various ways [00:26:00] and just, pops up when they’re on vacation or when they’re competing.

And the main. Point in this conversation is, was Jackson spurred on by Lewis to give Ben Johnson something in his beer because Ben Johnson needed to drink a lot to produce a urine sample following the hundred final. And in this sample room, it’s supposed to be medical guy and the athlete.

And that’s it, except there’s a picture of Action Jackson in the room having beers with Ben Johnson. And even Ben Johnson says, sometimes it’s, yeah, he was there, sometimes it’s, oh, no, it was just, it was just Ben Johnson and there’s a picture to prove it. So, the question is… Who is this guy? What did he do?

And he’s just this giant enigma. I don’t think he got interviewed in this, but he just kind of disappears after that, if I recall correctly.

[00:27:03] Jill: Well, what was also amazing that it took, I mean, in those details, you saw the struggle of Richard Moore and how he was. Trying to get all of the pieces of the story and trying to find out what the truth is.

And I don’t think he got to where the truth was in anything as hard as he tried. This story is so complex and so gray and nobody’s going to tell the truth because we all got egos and we’re not going to admit anything. Did it take 25 beers to produce enough urine to test Ben Johnson? Really?

[00:27:38] Alison: Well, when we talked to Kathy O’Connor, who was the doctor in Torino, and she talked about taking the athletes into drug testing, how strict everything was, how they couldn’t go to the bathroom without someone with them, how everything that they ate had to be from that room.

And the system at this time [00:28:00] was a little looser. I mentioned Dr. Catlin at the beginning, who was basically… running the whole show in 84 and was one of the only experts. And he had just kind of taught himself how to do this. And just that he would talk to athletes after their tests came back positive, with the bee samples.

And it makes you realize how wild west this was and how. Somebody like Action Jackson, who ended up being like a diamond dealer with a mink coat, could be involved. It was so strange. And we did get a couple appearances by Dick Pound in the book, basically saying, You don’t want to know what was going on back in the day.

If you think it’s bad now, this was unbelievable.

[00:28:51] Jill: And there was other scientists talking about Dick Catlin trying to figure out how to test for stuff who, talking to somebody else who was like, Oh yeah, I just brought home all the urine samples from Moscow, 1980. Like, Oh yeah, I’ll bring this home.

And then trying to F using that to figure out how to test for X, Y, and Z, it’s just amazing how

[00:29:16] Alison: that all works. And how he doped, one of the doctors doped the other doctor with a different steroid that they knew they weren’t getting in the tests. So it’s like, take this, give me a urine sample, and I’m going to take your urine and figure out how to find what I know is in there.

And I’m thinking, This is not the scientific method. I mean, why is this urine flying all over the world? But it was how, you know, this is pre WADA. This is before. We’re dealing with, this is the impetus for the creation of WADA and you don’t create something if there isn’t a problem and man, Action Jackson was a problem.

25 years. Yeah, I like that too. He was a big guy. [00:30:00] He

[00:30:00] Jill: was a big guy. I also love the bit about Ben Johnson and the ladies when he’s telling one, Oh you know, that other girl, yeah, she, I just, I’m not going to be with her. You’re the only one for me. She goes, why is she sitting in your

[00:30:11] Book Club Claire: car?

[00:30:12] Alison: She’s

[00:30:13] Book Club Claire: drinking the 25

[00:30:14] Jill: beers. How he balanced all those women. I don’t know. He needed

[00:30:18] Alison: steroids to keep up with all the ladies he was with. Okay.

[00:30:23] Jill: Okay.

[00:30:23] Book Club Claire: Okay. We’ll stop for you right there before we get in explicit on our podcast. Any final thoughts?

[00:30:33] Jill: This was a really good book. I have to say it. It was a really good book.

It was complex. A lot of characters involved. I really think this was a good read and a. An important moment in history, an important time in sports history to try to dissect and find the truth. And Richard Moore did a great job. This was a really good read. It’s a tough read! And like you say, it’s not uplifting, but it’s a good, good book.

[00:31:02] Alison: I have a lot more sympathy, strangely, for Sebastian Coe now than I did before I read this book. I have been critical of Sebastian Coe as the head of World Athletics, the child of I. AAF. And now having read this book and understanding the history so much better of what he came into, the worlds that he competed in, the things that he saw as an athlete, he was you know, an 80, 84 athlete, makes me understand the way he runs world athletics now much better.

He had to deal with the wild west and he would never want to see world athletics go back to that. And we as fans never want to see. Athletics go back to that. And we have come so far. This book reminds me about how far we’ve come and how far we still need to go.

[00:31:57] Book Club Claire: I am an athletics fan. It is [00:32:00] my favorite sport in all of the world.

So of course I’m going to adore this book for what it brought. I’m sad that it, we had to read it because it’s featuring steroids and Shadiness, but it’s fun for me to read something where we get to put athletics in the spotlight. I’ll say that the book itself, he wrote it very well. So if we can find any other Richard Moore books, I would not be opposed.

I know he probably has a ton of other stuff. This is a book though. I read a lot of fiction, so I like my story to be wrapped up neatly in a bow and all of the loose threads to be tied. So, to come to this and to find that a lot of things are still not completely resolved, you kind of just have to keep that in mind, that you’re not going to get the complete story from this book, but you are going to see how, as much as he could uncover while still getting…

Not the complete story, but I did. Yes. This was a good book to read. I enjoyed picking it up at night and I’m glad that you guys did too.

So I guess that means that we can wrap up the 1988 segment

[00:33:14] Jill: Claire thank you so much interesting way to celebrate the anniversary of Seoul Um, as it goes on right now, 35 years ago, but what do we got next?

[00:33:24] Book Club Claire: We have a winter Olympic book, one that has been on my list probably since we started doing this, which has been a shocking amounts of years. I keep going, it’s like, has it been like five years?

It’s crazy, but it’s called Speed Kings. It’s about the 1932 winter Olympics and the fastest men in the world. So we are going to be talking all about men’s bobsled. So it’s going to be fascinating. I don’t, we haven’t done a bobsled book yet. I don’t [00:34:00] believe. And I’d love history. So, you know, going back to the 1930s.

I’m very excited to read this, so I hope it’s just as good as the book that we just read. It was written by Andy bull bull, like the animal. So pick it up, read it with us. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

[00:34:19] Jill: Thank you so much, Claire. You can follow Claire on Insta at Light the Cauldron and Twitter. She is at Cauldron Light. We will have links to those in the show notes. If you would like to purchase any of our book club selections, go to bookshop. org slash shop slash flame alive pod. We earn a commission from any book purchases made through that link and those go to defray the costs of our travel plans.

for Paris 2024. Also, a couple of other reminders. We will be at the Olympian show October 12th through 15th. That’s coming up. I’m

[00:34:55] Alison: ready.

[00:34:56] Jill: I’m ready. I’m so excited to see everybody. We’ve got our pins. We’re going to have some fun. Talking with and meeting people. Oh, I’m really excited to see everybody again.

I know

[00:35:08] Alison: we haven’t been able to go to an Olympian show since before COVID.

[00:35:12] Jill: So that is at the Hotel Marine MDR. Marina Del Rey, it’s a double tree hotel that is located in Marina Del Rey, California.

We’ll have a link to that in the show notes. We’ll also have a link on our website, flamealivepod. com. Also a reminder that Paris is coming. And so is Our Kickstarter,

[00:35:32] Alison: because so are the bills,

[00:35:36] Jill: We will be having a fundraising Kickstarter to help us get to Paris. So be on the lookout for that coming, probably end of October, beginning of November.

We’re working out the details and we’ve got some great incentives for that. Also a special thank you to our patrons who keep our flame alive on a month to month basis, special message, got a contract four days late, got a contract. That’s all I’m going to [00:36:00] say. If you’d like to know more, check out flamealivepod.

com slash support to find out how you can become a patron and know what the heck we’re talking about as well.


[00:36:08] Alison: Welcome to Shook Plus Don.

[00:36:14] Jill: This is the part of the show where we check in with our team, Keep the Flame Alive. These are past guests and listeners who make up our citizenship.

of Shukla San, our very own country. What’s going on first?

[00:36:26] Alison: So at the Nike Prefontaine Classic, Wanda Diamond League Final, Katie Moon took home the win with the meet record of 4. 86 meters. So she is the Diamond League champion for the season.

[00:36:40] Jill: Awesome job Katie. Throughout September, race walker Evan Dunfee will be hanging out with the Richmond Centre for Disabilities at Running Club on Tuesday nights where he’ll share tips for stretching, speed walking, and jogging.

And Evan is also the new walks coach with the University of British Columbia track team.

[00:36:58] Alison: Lukka Jones is competing at the 2023 ICF canoe slalom world championships in women’s kayak. The heats are on September 21st and the semifinals and finals are on September 23rd. She’s also doing kayak cross and that’ll be on September 24th.

Listener Brittany, who apparently loves spreadsheets has posted some more information about this on her spreadsheet that she shares in our Facebook group. So please take a look at that.

[00:37:28] Jill: Yeah, that spreadsheet is pretty awesome. Ryan Shane is competing at the U. S. Short track Ryan chains competing at the U.

  1. short track championships and youth Olympic Games qualifier in Utah this weekend, September, 22 through 24th

[00:37:44] Alison: and team Schuster is competing at the shorty Jenkins classic in Cornwall, Ontario. They get started today while we’re taping and competing through the weekend, September 24th.

[00:37:54] Jill: And speaking of listener activities Patrick from Chicagoland went to [00:38:00] Austin and found an exhibit underneath the football stadium at the University of Texas there for Texas Longhorns who were Olympians.

He’s got pictures and videos on the Facebook group, so check that out.

Paris 2024 Update

[00:38:13] Alison: Jam el, old El Paso .

[00:38:24] Jill: Oh, we’ve got some news from Paris 2024. So we talked the other week about how old El Paso was sponsoring the Australian Olympic Committee. Well, I happened to be on Team GBS site. This week and found out they also sponsor Team GB. So I want some cross country crush promotion here.

[00:38:43] Alison: All I’m saying is, depending on what Old El Paso is doing, this could be a very gassy Olympics.

[00:38:49] Jill: Oh, ho ho! Also, other notable Team G sponsors include Aldi, Birdseye Green Cuisine, and Whole Earth Peanut Butter. So, UK listeners, please keep your eyes peeled and let us know what you are seeing. For Team GB promotion, Paris 2024 promotion at these stores. Also exciting for Team GB. Did you see this?

[00:39:10] Alison: I saw this and I feel like depending on how they do these designs, they missed out on a great opportunity.

[00:39:16] Jill: So first off, Mappin and Webb has created they are a luxury jewelry company in Britain.

They have launched an exclusive Team GB collection of fine jewelry.

[00:39:28] Alison: Yes. And one of the images they posted was an enamel and gold necklace of the English lion. Why did you not do that in rubies and

[00:39:37] Jill: sapphires?

Maybe they have different levels of this

[00:39:41] Alison: necklace. Maybe it’s coming. I mean, we will see more pictures as this collection is released, but usually the lion is red and blue, obviously the colors of their flag. And I want to know if they stole my idea about the stackable bracelets. Remember before Tokyo?

Yes. I said, you need [00:40:00] five bangles, all different Of the colors of the Olympic rings, because there’s diamonds and all those colors, so we’ll take a look and then we can sue them for.

[00:40:09] Jill: Copyright infringement. Oh yeah. That’s how we’ll get to Paris. I see. I see. No, that’s not how we’ll get to Paris because we will be using the proceeds to pay for the lawyer that we would have to hire.

So and also I remember you had stackable rings. I said stackables.

[00:40:26] Alison: Yeah. I said, I mean, it’s such an obvious thing to me that you make jewelry. It’s a ring. It’s a circle. It’s a color that lots of stones come in. How has nobody done this before? I think you’re missing a. I was going to say a golden opportunity, but more like a colored gemstone opportunity.

[00:40:44] Jill: We have more details on Paralympic Day. This will take place October 8th at the Place de la Repub at the Place de la Republique in Paris. Chuck Flestani, Matt Stutzman, is going to be on hand. He, there will be opportunities to meet him and many other para athletes from Team France. Looks like you might be able to try some sports if you want.

They’re giving away tickets. It’s going to be a Big, big celebration there. And that is leading up to October 9th, the day that tickets go on sale for the Paralympics. So they will have 2. 8 million tickets total for these games. 80 percent are designated for the public, 20 percent go to hospitality and other stakeholders, like National Olympic committees, International Federation sponsors, that kind of thing. Half of the tickets that go on sale will be 25 Euros or less. 500, 000 of these will be 15 Euros. So that is really good. If you’re looking at attending the games on the budget, they said no final event will cost more than 100 Euros.

Which is

[00:41:49] Alison: amazing and fantastic.

[00:41:50] Jill: Mm hmm. Ceremony tickets are more expensive. The opening ceremonies will go from anywhere between 150 and 700 Euros. Closing [00:42:00] ceremonies will be 45 to 450 Euros.

[00:42:04] Alison: This is fantastic in terms of these numbers. And you know, additionally, the hotels, as compared to the Olympic timeframe.

Mm hmm. Will be more reasonable. So if you felt like going to the Olympics was out of your budget, please go to the Paralympics. It’s, it is equally as exciting. You will see equal sporting events. You will see me screaming like an idiot at wheelchair rugby. That may be a deterrent.

[00:42:32] Jill: You will see Chuck Aoki speeding away from Alison as fast as he can because she is screaming.

[00:42:39] Alison: I mean, the excitement and the energy and the spirit. is there, and it is so much more reasonably priced.

[00:42:47] Jill: And I know it’s part of the reasonable prices are likely because they want to keep building a tradition of, and culture of, parasports in France. But the other great thing about this is London is not that far away.

And the rest of the UK, not that far away, and they are already have this amazing culture of Paris sports and Paris sports fandom. So I am anticipating some great knowledgeable crowds at these games. It’s going to be so much fun. for the tickets, they’re doing the digital platform, just like the Olympics, but there is no draw process.

All the tickets go on sale on October 9th. it’s going to be first come, first serve. Paramarathon and paracycling road events will not be ticketed. So you can see those for free. You will be able to purchase up to 10 tickets per sports session, up to four tickets for an opening ceremony, up to 10 tickets for the closing ceremony and up to 30 tickets per account.

So they, they do want to make sure that a lot of people have options to see a lot of events. This 30 ticket limit for the account is separate from the Olympics. So if you are attending both you start over with 30 tickets with your [00:44:00] Paralympic account. Paris 2024 is also putting together two different kinds of ticket pass packages special to the Paralympics, which are Pretty cool.

The first is a discovery pass and for 24 euros, you would be able to see. Multiple sports on the same day. So what they did was clump together two sets of venues. The first is Center Paris, which is the Grand Palais, where wheelchair fencing and para taekwondo are. The Champ de Mars Arena for para judo and wheelchair rugby.

The Eiffel Tower, which is blind football and Invalides, which is archery. Then the other cluster pass is for South Paris. That’s three venues within the South Paris arena, which will host Boccia, para table tennis and goalball. So you buy this pass and on that one day you can go and see. As many sports as you want in your cluster.

So you could really, that’s fantastic. You could really go they had an example in the media kit where you could go see like wheelchair fencing in the morning. You could go see wheelchair rugby midday and go back in the evening for para TaeKwonDo.

[00:45:09] Alison: And a lot of the Eiffel Tower events seemed to be happening in the evening.

So you’re gonna be sitting in front of the Eiffel Tower watching. blind football, which you love.

[00:45:21] Jill: I’m so excited about seeing blind football.

[00:45:23] Alison: With the light, with the Eiffel Tower lit up behind you. Can you, it’s gonna be epic. I know where I’m gonna be.

[00:45:34] Jill: So if you have one of these passes, You don’t get a seat assigned to you, you will, there will be a reserved section at the venue.

So when you get there, it’s then first come first served for seats. So it’ll be interesting to see how this plays out and how many of these passes they sell, but that’s a really cool way to experience the games on a budget. The other option is a family offer. So if you buy two adult tickets, you get up to two tickets for 10, [00:46:00] for kids for 10 euros.

This family pass does not apply to. The discovery pass, it also doesn’t apply to the opening and closing ceremonies.

Kids need to be under 12 on the day of the event, and there’s a limited quantity of these family offers available, so they’ll be available in real time depending on sports and sessions chosen. Also, if you buy tickets for the Paralympics, there will be an option to donate 2 euros to Secours Populaire Francais.

This is going to be at the checkout process. When you buy tickets these 2 euros will be bundled up and will give underprivileged people the opportunity to go to the games. there will also be hospitality packages available. They will have some with shared lounges with a reception area for bringing your clients with you and showing them off at the games.

And there’s also going to be fan kits, which is geared toward the broader public. And we’ll find out more information about that, what that really entails. So lots of exciting things about tickets.

[00:47:00] Alison: I think they’re doing a fantastic job with coming up with these packages, especially that family package, because there is nothing.

It’s more fun at a sporting event than having a whole bunch of little kids there discovering a sport for the first time. Remember in Tokyo where we had no fans, obviously, and they brought school kids in, right, right. And how it even as a television viewer, it changed the energy because you could hear these little kid voices cheering for the athletes.

And there’s nothing more honest than a 10 year old at a sporting event. Laughter. Laughter. And that can be good and that can be bad. Most of the time, it’s really, really good. And one of the big complaints that I have seen on a lot of the groups talking about tickets for the Olympics was there were no discounted children’s tickets.

And how frustrating it is that if you’ve got a family… The cost. Mm hmm. And if cost, and I’m going to say this [00:48:00] again, if cost to bring your family, please look at going to the Paralympics because it’s the same venues. You’re going to get to go to the Grand Palais. You’re going to get to see events in front of the Eiffel Tower.

The sport is amazing and you can afford it and really enjoy the trip.

[00:48:19] Jill: it’s going to be exciting, Also, a piece of news from the art news they are reporting that material from Christo and Jean Claude’s Arc de Triomphe wrapped work, which was in 2021. That material is going to be recycled and repurposed for use during the games.

This is really cool. So the Arc de Triomphe had been wrapped in fabric and rope for a period of time. They’re going to be turning that into possibly shade structures, tents, things of that nature. So it’s a way to reuse some material that was used a couple of years ago. Fashion upcycling.

World Games Chengdu 2025 Update

[00:49:00] Jill: We also have some World Games news.

The, it’s surprising to me, like the World Games is coming. Really quickly, I know we’ve got Paris next year, but then it’s going to be, oh, my gosh, it’s the world games again.

the organizers and the international world games association have agreed on most of the disciplines that will be at Chengdu 2025. This is like events within a sport. . Birmingham in 2022 had 58 disciplines. Chendu will have over 60. So new to the program will be Dragon Boat Canoe, cheerleading, Palm point fighting for kickboxing, beach, COF ball, para dance, moto surf for powerboating, powerlifting classic, freestyle inline for roller sports, free diving for underwater sports and sanda for wushu. And then jujitsu and free diving will have events for disabled athletes. And the number of para [00:50:00] sports on Chengdu 2025 program is going to increase from one to four.

So that’s exciting for para athletes, not yet decided are disciplines for air sports, gymnastics, para dance, and water ski and wakeboard. And the plan, this is, they’re going to have 5, 000 athletes at these games. This is Bigger than the Paralympics, because the Paralympics will have 4, 400 at Paris 2024.

[00:50:25] Alison: Wow, that’s, they’re really up in the game

[00:50:29] Jill: here. So I’m very curious as to what this will look like, what this means for the future of the World Games. We’ll see. And

[00:50:37] Alison: also what this is going to mean for… our ability to watch it. I mean, one of the reasons it was so easy to watch in Birmingham was that the time zone was the same for once for us.

After Tokyo and Beijing, we were so excited to not be up at four in the morning, but we’re going to be up at four in the morning to watch. Stuff from Chengdu again, it’ll be interesting to say. I hope this means that we’ll get some more

[00:51:02] Jill: coverage. I hope so as well I hope they do well on streaming and We’ll have to start looking into what the plans are for that.

So that is going to do it for this week Let us know what you think about the dirtiest race in history. Is it? Really dirty.

[00:51:19] Alison: You can connect with us on X and Instagram at Flame Alive Pod. Email us at Flame Alive Call or text us at (208) 352-6348. That’s 2 0 8. Flame it. Be sure to join the Keep the Flame Alive podcast group on Facebook, and don’t forget to get our weekly newsletter filled with other fun stories about this week’s episode, you can sign up for that at flamealivepod. com.

[00:51:48] Jill: Next week, we will be back with another interview. We are talking with Erin Aldrich Shaen about the mindset of an Olympian. Erin competed at Sydney [00:52:00] 2000 in the high jump, and we all are We, we know Sydney is one of our favorite summer Olympics.

So we are excited to talk to her about those. Thank you so much for listening and until next time, keep the flame alive.