Sigh. The Tokyo 2020 Paralympic cauldron has been extinguished – but not before some last thrilling competitions take place!
Today’s program includes the final medals being awarded in:
- Athletics – marathon
- Sitting Volleyball
- Wheelchair Basketball
Plus, the Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee put together a fun Closing Ceremony. Paris 2024 stepped up to receive the International Paralympic Committee flag and give a preview of the excitement that will come in 2024.
How’s our Kickstarter? Fully funded, with just a few hours remaining! Thank you, listeners, for keeping our flame alive!
Programming note: We’ll be back to weekly episodes on Thursday.
Thanks so much for listening, and until next time, keep the flame alive!
While attempts have been made to check the accuracy of this transcript, please note that it is machine-generated and may contain errors. Please cross-reference the audio file.
Tokyo 2020 – Paralympics – Day 13
Jill: [00:00:00] Hey everyone, Jill here with a little show note. After we recorded today’s show, I forgot one very important point, so I wanted to let you know before you listened to the show and are looking for it. For the Olympics, I did a little closing montage of clips from our Olympic shows. I don’t have the Paralympics one yet.
Jill: Going into the Paralympics. We didn’t realize just how complex they are as an event. And I also didn’t realize that I would have an incredibly steep learning curve with the software we started using in order to generate the transcripts we have for these shows. So there’s been literally no time in the day to pull the montage together.
Jill: I’m doing that this week and we’ll have it for our Contributor Round Table Tokyo 2020 Paralympic recap show on Thursday. Thank you so much for your patience with us. And now on to the show.
Jill: Konnichiwa Paralympics fans and lovers of TKFLASTAN, and welcome to day 13 coverage of the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics on “Keep the Flame Alive,” the podcast for fans of the Olympics and Paralympics.
Jill: I am your host, Jill Jaracz, joined as always by my lovely co-host Alison Brown. Alison, Konnichiwa!
Alison: Konnichiwa!. I’m so sad.
Jill: I know sad day. Last day of the Paralympics.
Alison: Not our last day in Tokyo. Cause we’re going to do a wrap-up show, right?
Jill: That is correct. We will be doing a wrap-up show this week. but–
Alison: So we’re not saying goodbye to Tokyo quite yet.
Jill: But it is bittersweet because the cauldron has been extinguished and everyone is on their way home. And everyone from the organizing committee has tucked in for a nice long nap.
Alison: Oh, I hope they had a, a nice drink first. Nice little container of sake and will sleep for several days.
Jill: All right, so we have a little bit a sporting action today. We’ve got the closing ceremonies as well, a little bit of news and follow up. The Kyodo News reported that since mid August, about 300 people associated with the Paralympics [00:02:00] tested positive for COVID. So 300 cases with COVID. Most of these were Japanese residents and contractors associated with the Games. You knew COVID would be happening. At least it doesn’t sound like there was an enormous outbreak, but hopefully everyone has had a mild cases and is feeling better.
Jill: And then we’re going to talk a little bit about India today in the results. And we’ve talked about them and their results all Paralympics long because they have been on the podium a lot. According to ESPN, they’ve won five golds.
Jill: Up to now from their participation in the Paralympics has been from, they started in 1968. From 1968 to 2016., They had won four gold medals in that time span.
Alison: We knew we were saying India a lot. So now we you’ve got the facts to back it up.
Jill: Exactly. And officially their total medal tally is 19.
Jill: They’ve gotten five gold, silver, six bronzes. Their previous best was four medals in 1984 and also for medals in 2016. So they have, and we’ll talk in badminton- that’s where we get some more action from Team India. They talk a little bit about, they didn’t meet their medal goal, but I think when you put it in–
Jill: They didn’t, no. When you put it in the bigger picture of how well India did as a team in this Games, it’s just leaps and bounds above what they’ve been able to do before.
Jill: So congratulations to them and to also all the medalists and all the countries, especially the countries we saw on the podium for the first time.
Alison: So many first-time medalists. So many powerhouses like Ukraine, Azerbaijan, that we just don’t get to see that much of.
Jill: And in different spots as well. So that’s been very exciting for this games. We usually have a segment called Feed Beefs. Last day, can’t beef on the feed. And actually there was nothing really to [00:04:00] beef about, I think. They did a standard multi-sport event coverage. We’re cutting to here. We’re going to there. We’re showing you a replay. Here’s an encore performance, everything. They wrapped up the coverage at the end of the day, it was perfectly normal.
Alison: Only took them 12 days and only having five sports happening for them to manage this.
Jill: But I wanted to talk about the NBC docu series that’s going on right now. I guess part one, it’s a three part series, I believe. Part one was on last week. Part two was on last night and part three will be on tonight and I saw a little bit of this to see what it was. It’s like a Bud Greenspan Olympic film, like full on out. It looks like it’s film. It’s got what is happening at the Games.
Jill: Plus the, like the portraits, the stories of the athletes that you see in standard Olympic films. It’s just, it’s blown my mind that this has been produced. Some of the segments we’ve seen before, but they’re woven in into the movie in like a documentary kind of way.
Alison: And they’re doing this on the fly. Cause this is about this Paralympics.
Alison: So it’s very quick turn around. They’re getting the story. They even show– I’ve seen more parapower lifting in the few minutes of the docu series, then I had all Paralympics long ,and same with, they also showed a little bit of wheelchair fencing cause they showed a little bit of Bebe Vio.
Jill: I’m guessing TaeKwonDo gets shown too because of the Afghani athlete who was in that competition.
Alison: Well, hopefully that’s going to be available on Peacock. The NBC streaming, I hope.
Alison: I’ve seen
Jill: it on, I believe it is also on the streaming on NBC. Check it out if you haven’t seen it and let us know what you think it looks interesting.
Jill: Okay, last time. What volunteer or officiating job would you like? I saw something today, and I [00:06:00] said, I am pretty sure Alison’s going to pick this.
Alison: I want to be a beautiful butterfly.
Jill: Oh! That is not what I thought you would pick.
Alison: I want to be a rollerskating butterfly or possibly a light up cloud.
Jill: Oh that’s from the clothes.
Alison: What did you think I was going to pick?
Jill: I’m picking what I thought you were going to pick. Cause this one’s one was my first choice. And I said, no, I think Alison would want this one. When the flag bearers came in for the Closing Ceremonies, the flags got taken away and lined, up and then they went over to this like Tokyo Tower type building, and they had to put mirrors on it so that the Paralympians would help create the city. They were making a cityscape. And there was a woman there who was holding the bin of mirrored disks that they would attach. And she would be all excited okay, here, take one, put it on the thing.
Jill: Oh, yay. And cheer and everything. And then when the flag bearer was a volunteer, who, because there were many, again, like with the Olympics, some delegations had to leave before the Closing Ceremony. So volunteers took their flags. And when it was a volunteer, it was like here, take the disk, put it on. Okay. Get out. Would be just like, Move along now!
Alison: It’s so funny you bring that up. Yeah. Theflag bearers who came later understood the assignment. The flag bearers who were first, like poor Iceland, did not understand what they were supposed to do. And they kept the camera because they wanted to show the first couple athletes doing this. And the poor Iceland athletes didn’t understand what she was telling them to do. She couldn’t explain it any differently. Clearly there was no mutual language between them. So she’s sort of, miming what is [00:08:00] supposed to happen. And they’re just looking at her like, What?!?.
Alison: And then they finally got it and she applauded them and bowed for them. And they were just like, Now what do we do? And then another volunteer comes in, escorts them away, and you can see the two Icelandic flag bearers looking at each other: I do not know what just happened.
Jill: Right? And they- it wasn’t necessarily obvious that they were putting the sparkle on this tower that would then be erected for the rest of the set. It was easier when you went away. But I think probably the volunteer because she had to be so effusive and explanatory, that became part of her schtick going forward. It was fantastic!
Jill: All right before we to get, before we get to today’s sporting action, this is usually the time in the daily recap show where we tell you about our Kickstarter campaign.
Jill: We’ve been doing this for both the Olympics and Paralympics to help fund our on the ground coverage at Beijing 2022. We did it! We crossed the finish line! Thank you, everyone who has given to this campaign and supported the show. It’s meant so much to us.
Jill: I’m thrilled!
Alison: I can’t believe it. I feel like those kids at the end of the race and there, they don’t know whether to jump up and down or fall down on the track crying. So incredibly grateful.
Jill: Yes, we appreciate this. The campaign is still going for a few more hours if you want to be a part of it and you haven’t jumped in yet. But thank you so much again to everyone who has been on board with this program and supports the show. It really does mean everything to us. If you’d like to check out and see how we did, you can go to kickstarter.com/profile/flamealivepod, and backers, we will be in touch with you very soon with updates.
Jill: All right. Starting off with athletics. It was marathon day, and we had five different marathons going on at once.
Alison: Well, It’s watching [00:10:00] the New York City or the Boston Marathon or London marathon, where all the competitors are going at the same time. And I can’t remember if I said this on the air or just to you, I liked it so much better than the way the Olympics does it with separating the men and the women.
Jill: Yeah, I agree. There were only 66 participants across all five classes, so it doesn’t make sense to split it up into different things and create this big course and block off traffic for very small contingents of people.
Jill: And it’s nice because when you’re, if you’re spectating or you’re volunteering, you know, you have waves of participants coming through and it’s something to look forward to.
Alison: There were a lot of spectators, even in the rain.
Jill: There were. I know they said stay away, but it does make me a little happy inside.
Alison: The Tokyo residents did not stay away. And it was hard conditions. It was raining, it was foggy. It was cold. It was a little tough to watch, to be a spectator. It wasn’t like a lovely sunny day where you could just get a lawn chair. They had to be hardy folk to be out.
Jill: And the bits and pieces that I saw, they roll by tables or run by tables and they’d be like, here’s the sponge table here is the, and it would be empty. And it’s just because I don’t think they needed to have the sponges because they’ve planned for heat and humidity, not 19 degrees Celsius.
Alison: Well, we did get to see the Tokyo marathon course.
Jill: We did, that was nice.
Alison: And it was lovely. Liked it better. Gotta be honest.
Jill: We can’t, I mean, Sapporo was just shoved this race. They didn’t have much time to plan.
Alison: Just in terms of the interest on the side, I felt like Sapporo, all we saw was stores. This I felt like we got to see a little bit more of the city, but we know where the Starbucks is in Sapporo.. And so, all right,
Jill: So we’ll start with the men’s T 54 wheelchair class. Gold went to Switzerland’s [00:12:00] Marcel Hug.
Alison: The silver bullet.
Jill: Silver went to Zhang Yong from China, who got a personal best. And bronze went to Daniel Romanchuk from USA,
Alison: Who I can’t imagine how he could see crossing the line because he had his glasses on and they were all foggy.
Jill: I tried to go back and figure this out because when I heard he won the bronze and I they showed a clip of him finishing.
Jill: But every time I found marathon coverage in the overnight, it was always a women’s wheelchair class or a visually impaired class. I’m not sure I caught him out on the track. Did you see him actually race?
Alison: I did. I did see most of this race. So Hug and Zhang were together. Good portion of the race.
Alison: And then there was this second peloton, for lack of a better word, of a bunch of racers. So Zhang and Hug came into the stadium. They were pretty close together. And then this other peloton with the last two, three kilometers started to spread out, but you still had a few racers coming into the stadium at roughly the same time.
Alison: So it was a good race. All these races, except for the women’s vision impaired were close.
Jill: Yes. Yes. The women’s T 54 wheelchair class was really close as well. Australia’s Madison De Rozario won with a Paralympic record, just a few seconds before Switzerland’s Manuela Schaer, and bronze went to Nikita Den Boer from Netherlands, who got a personal best.
Alison: One second separated-
Jill: oh, geez.
Alison: – silver and gold, and then four seconds separated silver and bronze. They were battling it into the stadium.
Jill: Watching at the end, the camera angle that we saw was head on for the finish line. And you could see Manuela Schaer just smile in a, you got me kind of way. Like well-played, I [00:14:00] didn’t do what I had set out to do, but I tried and you just bested me.
Alison: And in her post race interview Madison De Rozario said, I knew Manuela was right there. I didn’t know how close. And she said going around the stadium, she had two thoughts: that she really wanted to win, but if she wasn’t going to win, at least it was Manuela.
Jill: Oh, that’s nice.
Alison: So there’s definitely a relationship and respect between those two athletes.
Jill: And then the Americans, Tatyana McFadden finished fifth. And what’s Susannah Scaroni’s story?
Alison: Susannah Scaroni was in the lead by herself until about three kilometers to go. And then just faded on the last climb. Couldn’t keep up and ended up in sixth.
Jill: Oh, that’s too bad. Climbs will do it to you. And Tatyana McFadden’s finish was actually quite good considering that after Rio, she had developed blood clots and couldn’t compete. Couldn’t train for about 18 months. So the fact that she’s at these games and still battling and doing entire marathons is really fantastic.
Alison: She ended up with a complete set, a gold, silver, and a bronze, and she is now going to do the full fall marathon series. Yeah, she’s doing Berlin, New York, Boston and Chicago.
Alison: Boston and Chicago are on the same weekend.
Jill: Oh my goodness. Because Boston is usually in the spring and it’s been postponed till fall due to the pandemic, but wow, that’s going to be, I hope she’s got a good massage therapist who can help shake out our arms.
Alison: And a really good travel agent because she’s got to get from Chicago to Boston overnight and prep and recover.
Jill: Not easy.
Alison: Get her a plate of pasta!
Jill: And then the second type of marathon we had was for visually impaired runners. That was the men’s T 12 class. You could run [00:16:00] with or without a guide. Gold went to El Amin Chentouf from Morocco. Silver went to Jaryd Clifford from Australia, who ran with guides, Vincent Donnadie and Tim Logan, and bronze went to Horikoshi Tadashi from Japan.
Jill: And then in the women’s T 11 and 12 class, which is combined, gold went to Michishita Misato from Japan who ran with guides. Shida Jun and Aoyama Yuka, who set a Paralympic record. Silver went to. Elena Pautova with guide Gigorly Andreev from RPC, and bronze went to Loouzanne Coetzee with guides Erasumus Badenhorst and Claus Kempen, and they’re all from South Africa. She set a world record for the T 11 class.
Alison: So marathoners can use up to three guides in the race so that they can switch off.
Jill: Much like we saw in the 1500?
Alison: Yes. Watching Michishita win was so fantastic. Getting that Japanese medal in the marathon on the last day. That’s what you hope for. That’s the moment. And she’s all serious when she’s running. And then at the end, she’s laughing and crying and just a little talk about a pocket rocket.
Jill: And I noticed on the their medal ceremonies, not all guides got medals during the ceremony because Michishita tried to give her guide the medal. At first, they tried, she tried to do the, I give you the medal. You give me the medal, but at that ceremony, they weren’t giving guides medals. And I saw an, a, it was either this one or another ceremony where the guide was getting a medal. And And I, I didn’t understand, like, why is it. One set with a guide, not getting a medal and one is, but that was because I’m, this is me speculating, but I’m pretty, it’s an educated guess: one guide through the race.
Jill: I imagine that if you have more than one guide, they wait and give all the guides medals at the same time.
Alison: Just like they do [00:18:00] in relays. When, if you’ve swum in the prelims of relay, you get the medal later.
Jill: That is my hope that’s what happens. The final marathon we had was a men’s T 46 running class, which was an upper body impairment.
Jill: Gold went to a Li Chaoyan from China who, set a Paralympic record. Silver went to Alex Douglas, Pires Da Silva from Brazil, who set an area record, and bronze went to Nagat Tsutomu from Japan, who was thrilled. The two Japanese men who won bronzes were just like all over the moon beyond excited to be able to achieve this at home.
Jill: We’ve wrapped up play in badminton. We had wheelchair classes for most of the competitions. So we started with women’s doubles, WH1 and WH two class. These are wheelchairs, so they play on a half court. Gold went to Satomi Sarina and Yamazaki Yuma from Japan. They beat Liu Yutong and Yin Menglu from China, and bronze went to Sajirat Pookkham and Amnouy Wetwithan from Thailand.
Jill: In the men’s doubles WH1 and WH2 class, gold went to China for the team of Mai Jianpeng and Qu Zimo who beat Korea’s Kim Jung Jun and Lee Dong Seop. Bronze went to Japan’s Kajiwara Daiki and Murayama Hiroshi.
Jill: In the men’s singles, w H two class, gold went toKajiwara Daiki from Japan. Silver went to Kim Jung Jun from Korea, and bronze went to Chan Ho Yuen from Hong Kong. Japan did nicely on the last day.
Alison: They definitely bumped their standing on the medal table.
Jill: In men’s singles, S H six class. This is a standing class for athletes who are short of stature. Gold went to Krishna Nagar from India. Silver went to Chu Man Kai from Hong Kong, and bronze went to [00:20:00] Krysten Coombs from Great Britain. Again, when I saw this, I got all excited because India is atop the podium again. And we know that they’ve just crushed it compared to previous Paralympic games performances. This is their second badminton gold, and Nagar had said that India had committed to winning five to six medals and they won four for badminton. In one sense, you go well, you didn’t achieve your goal, but by golly, the whole team has done great. Let’s not discount how fantastic the team has done.
Alison: And I’m glad to see India having those kind of, of reach goals.
Alison: Because we, we know from reading Abhinav Bindra’s book that sometimes sport gets the short shrift in India and doesn’t get the support it needs. So to do so well and fall a tiny bit short may actually be the best combination of outcomes for them to get more momentum and more money.
Jill: Exactly. In the men’s singles SL4 class. This is a standing full court, low level impairment to both legs or one side class. Gold went to the reigning world champion Lucas Mazur from France. Silver went Suuhas Yathiraj from India, and bronze went to Setiawan Fredy from Indonesia.
Jill: And then the women had one singles match today. It was the SL four class. Gold went to Cheng Hefang from China. Silver went to Oktila Laeni Ratri from Indonesia, and bronze went to Ma Huihui from China.
Jill: And we finished the competition with the mixed doubles, SL three to SU five classes. This is a combination of either an SL three and SU five athlete or two SL fours. Gold went to Susanto Hary and Oktila Leani Ratri from Indonesia. Silver went to Lucas Mazur and Faustine Noel from France, and bronze went to Fujihara [00:22:00] Daisuke and Sugino Akiko from Japan.
Alison: I wonder if the Indonesians did the gold medal dance like the Olympic badminton players.
Jill: And they’ve had a pretty good day today as well. It’s nice. Because China has been fairly dominant in this competition and in table tennis, but today is really a nice mix of different athletes from different countries.
Jill: In shooting, we had one more competition for the Paralympic games. It was the mixed 50 meter rifle prone, S H one class. These athletes can support the weight of the rifle, and they shoot from either a sitting or standing position. Gold went to a Veronika Vadovicova from Slovakia who set a Paralympic record. Silver went to Anna Normann from Sweden, and bronze went to Juan Antonio Saavedra Reinaldo from Spain.
Jill: We had the gold medal match for the women’s sitting volleyball competition. Oh, man!
Alison: This was a match!
Jill: Fantastic. And did you watch the NBC feed or the OBS feed?
Alison: The NBC feed.
Jill: Which was so exciting.
Alison: Kari Miller -Ortiz tried to control herself and then just didn’t bother anymore. And then Tannith White got equally as excited. There was a lot of yelling from the booth. It was like Rowdy Gaines and Scott Hamilton, the skating commentator got together in the booth. And yeah,
Jill: It was a great match. USA beat China, three to one. They were up two sets. And China came back and won the third set. So they went to a fourth, and it basically was, don’t discount China; don’t count them out. They could very, definitely come back and take this. But USA held fast, they rallied and they pulled out the gold medal victory. So they repeat as gold medalists.[00:24:00]
Alison: The last point was on a service ACE by a girl who had not played the rest of the game. And she’s all of 20 years old.
Jill: Yeah, that was amazing. I think she had come in before to just serve. So she served her point, got the point and then came off the court again, swapped out. So yeah, it was when we were watching it, we were just like, we knew she was coming in to serve and she was a great server.
Jill: We didn’t expect that the serve she hit was going to be an ACE and it was just like, wait, that happened. That was fantastic.
Alison: It was like that goalball overtime that was over in one throw. We were all prepared. We were sitting in for this long slog and then all of a sudden it’s over and, oh my goodness, what just happened, but really good play again in the gold medal match.
Jill: Great. And long rallies. Sometimes it was just the both sides just would manage to come away with making the ball go where they needed it to go. And I think China had issues in the beginning, were getting called on lifts or getting called because you were on the wrong side of the two meter line, that kind of thing.
Jill: And those mistakes added up real quickly for them early on. But then when they rallied and got, they regrouped and came back and were very solid in that third set, but not enough time, not when the US can also. Rounding out the podium. Gold went to USA. Silver went to China and bronze went to Brazil, who beat Canada 3-1 yesterday.
Jill: In the men’s wheelchair basketball competition. Another great game. Japan started off really strongly, like hitting shots. Their field goal percentage at the beginning of the game was phenomenal.
Alison: The commentator made a point of saying that it was like big brother, little brother playing basketball.
Alison: And his point was Japan as a young team. It’s relatively new on the international scene as a powerhouse. [00:26:00] And they kept hitting shots and kept hitting shots in the first half, were so amazing, but the big brother USA, which sounds dismissive, but I got his point was like, Nope, not quite no. We’re going to pull out a little bit, just that one little bit better.
Alison: The more experience, the being able to come back from behind. And it felt like that in a way, once he gave that analogy, I said, oh, I see what you’re saying, because Japan had so much enthusiasm and so much energy and so much, I’m just going to throw it all out there and try shots that nobody else should take.
Alison: And the US was very patient and just waited. Okay, you’re done. Now I’m going to show you how it’s done. And then Japan was like no, I can do this. I could do this. And that. Everything at it and get ahead again. And then the US would just patiently come back. It was really fun basketball and two very different styles again, which I love on the international scene.
Jill: Very nice. So yes, the US did beat Japan 64- 60. Very tight match. Japan at the end. Just like the tears from some of the Japanese players were just heartbreaking. But you did win a silver. But, excellent game. Excellent tournament. Wheelchair basketball was just a lot of fun to watch. The bronze medal game also happened prior to this one, and Great Britain beat Spain, 68 to 58. And it’s sad. There’s no more competition left.
Alison: No more of those pretty medals and flower arrangements.
Jill: But we did get an lovely closing ceremony.
Alison: Lovely. It really was lovely. And it was so different than the opening ceremony, which you want. And it reminded me a lot of London. The Olympic closing ceremony, because it just felt like we are just going to throw all sorts of crazy things, and you don’t know [00:28:00] what’s happening, and there’s a lot of light and flash and isn’t it fantastic. And you just sit there, sort of like, I have no idea what I’m watching, but it’s awesome.
Jill: Yeah. It was tons of light, color, music everywhere. The athletes were already staged in the middle of the field and which I thought was a smart decision. And then later on in the show, they brought in the flag bearers to have that honor as well and be part of the ceremony.
Jill: But they did a whole thing where, just lots of dancing, montages.
Alison: Milly Tapper made an appearance in the opening montage, which I loved. I was so excited to see her. Did you wave? I waved.
Jill: I was like, MILLY! Children singing, which is always what you want.
Alison: The costumes were across between the Pillsbury Doughboy and the Stay Puft marshmallow man from Ghostbusters. You always want to see singing children, and they were beautiful and lovely, but those costumes distracted me. But costumes, my goodness, the costumes!
Jill: Very cool. Tons of work went into them because they were all very different. It was like they wanted to portray regular Japanese people in everyday life wearing regular clothes, because they were showing the Shibuya crossing intersection, which is very busy and vibrant and a place where you see a lot of different stuff everywhere you look. They got that feel with just so much to look at and you can’t take it all in.
Alison: And then there was all the people in costumes who were the beautiful butterflies and they led clouds. And I did not understand everything that was happening, which to me is what a closing ceremony should be. The closing ceremony should just be so much light, so much color, so much joy and this had that.
Jill: And then they brought in these [00:30:00] buildings, and by buildings- I heard Ahmed Fareed say something about old kimonos being repurposed to make these. I’m not sure if I understood that correctly.
Alison: I heard him say that too. And it almost the way he said it was the kimonos from the opening ceremonies, the costumes for the opening ceremonies, but I didn’t quite understand how that would work. So we’ll have to look into that a little bit more because they did have a soft look to them, like they would have been billowy.
Alison: So I could see that it could have been made from fabric.
Jill: But they were very cute because they were just, they were billowy and puffy and skyscrapers.
Jill: And then as we said, they had a Tokyo Tower and then they had another tower that was bedazzled by the flag bearers. And there was a lot of dancing and music with people who couldn’t make music necessarily. And percussionists in wheelchairs who had drums on their wheels and pads on their bodies that were different cymbals kind of things. It was just a lot of fun.
Alison: Did you cry when you saw the Afghan athletes?
Jill: I didn’t see them to be quite honest. I missed–
Alison: Yeah, the two Afghan athletes brought in the Afghan flag. Started to cry.
Jill: It’ll get ya. I hope they get to their next destination safely.
Alison: The best moment for me. They did a special thank you to the city volunteers and the facility volunteers. One of the women had a service dog. This service dog had a volunteer uniform.
Jill: That was fantastic. They also had a little montage with all the volunteer stuff, and it was basically like every job we wanted to do which involved cleaning.
Alison: I was really surprised in that montage, how much of the security positions they showed? Cause they showed someone using like a medal detector to check for bombs under a car [00:32:00] and I was surprised that they included, we all know that happens, but that they would highlight some of those things. The cleaning. Yes. And man, there was cleaning going on that we did not even know about.
Jill: Oh, I know. All I could think was in 25 or 45 years when people go back to look at this, cause they’ll have plenty of video from these games to look at, and they’ll look at this montage and go… What was going on with all of this cleaning of the balls and tables?
Alison: You know, sort of like how you and I would look at pictures of air raid drills, where kids would go under their desks. And that’s more our parents. And it’s so strange to look at and be like, oh, what did you think duck and cover was going to do for you in an atomic bomb? And I wonder if that’s going to be the look at this games: what did you think spraying the ping pong table was going to do for you?
Jill: We didn’t know any better right now. But I just thought of that as just a historical moment to recognize. It’s going to be interesting to look at these games in the future.
Jill: The handoff between Tokyo and Paris. Oh!.
Alison: First of all, both mayors were so fierce with their dress.
Jill: Oh see, I thought Governor Koike from Tokyo, stunning. Oh, her dress was so stunning. And then I thought, Anne Hidalgo, who is no fashion slouch and her dress was lovely, but then it was, I thought it was like the ankle pants of dresses.
Alison: I loved the color.
Jill: That color was beautiful. It was like a peacock blue. And just very stylish and it was elegant. And when you saw it up close, you saw details that you didn’t see far away, but Governor Koike just wore this very flowing black and white geometrical gown that up close, the fabric was puckered a little bit. [00:34:00] So it flowed and billowed even more. It was so elegant.
Alison: But wasn’t it so Tokyo and Paris? In just
Jill: It was!
Alison: In their fashion statements. It felt very much like Tokyo handing over to Paris. And I didn’t notice this at the Olympics, but I thought today, I wonder if this is the first time it’s been two women involved in the handover.
Jill: That could be, I would not be surprised. But then the Paris presentation. Oh!
Alison: Killing it again!
Jill: Yes. And I thought it was better than the Olympic one, to be honest, I did.
Alison: Much shorter.
Jill: It was shorter, So in the beginning, they had a dance troop that included people of all levels of ability. But they were all seated and so that they could all be seated with those who were seated in wheelchairs. And they did a kind of a dance with their arms and forearms and hands. And at the end, they ended up spelling Paris 2024, which I just loved this whole thing. I thought it was very cool to watch.
Alison: Very clever. And they made a point of saying that exactly 15% of that troop were people with disabilities, going with the We the 15 campaign.
Jill: Yes. And then they moved back outside to the Eiffel Tower and had another, let’s crowd around and have a DJ. The DJ had ALS. And so he controlled his turntables and computer setup with his eyes. He had a voice adapter with that. So he could speak every now and then with it. And that was really amazing to see. And they had some dancers and some breakdancer type things and acrobatic type stuff going on. And it just was lovely.
Alison: And then at the end, they showed the Eiffel Tower CGI’d with a prosthetic. So that one is the standing legs of the tower was a prosthetic. And then the CGI ‘d Paralympic flag.
Jill: Which [00:36:00] looked very much CGI compared to–
Alison: Not as good as the Olympic version that they did. But yes. Did you have the same reaction to the Paris event saying, oh my God. Put your masks on people!
Jill: Yeah, but again, yeah, that was my big problem with the Olympic version was that it was a big crowd of people, but it was a lot of fun.
Jill: I’m so looking forward to Paris because based on the competition here and the level, the of competition and the abilities of these athletes, Paris is just going to be phenomenal.
Alison: And I hoping we will get many more countries coming because no COVID, we hope and traveling, being easier to Paris versus Tokyo, I hope.
Jill: But I’m hoping that the French people are inspired to just put on a great games within budget.
Alison: Ahmed Fareed was ready to go to Paris right now.
Jill: He was, he really was. Is somebody from NBC listening because remember how we said Hashimoto Seiko never got any airtime on these opening ceremonies. Oh, they would go to commercial and they’d come back and they show stuff. Or they’d tell you while we were away, this happened. And this time they actually showed Hashimoto Seiko, giving her farewell speech.
Alison: And gave a little translation as she was speaking, which is, my thought all along was because she was speaking in Japanese, they just couldn’t be bothered. But now, put a little effort in there, NBC. Thanks.
Jill: And then your favorite Andrew Parsons got up to say his speech.
Alison: What was really funny was his enthusiasm was not being matched by the crowd. I think the athletes are probably, they were a little exhausted. I don’t think the weather was terribly nice. I think it was still cold and damp and he’s, wasn’t this the greatest games ever?
Alison: And then you’d hear a smattering of applause. Like I’m cheering for you, Andrew. [00:38:00] At the beginning, he says, it’s a great games. What more can I say? Then he went on to talk another five minutes. I’m like, apparently a lot, Andrew.
Jill: Oh, I’m sure he has a lot to say anything. He’s a talker. He’s an effusive, passionate talker.
Alison: And I don’t mind it.
Jill: He’s right. They were a great games. It was so sad to see the cauldron go out.
Alison: And this one, the musical run-up to closing the cauldron. Cause they did this beautiful version of “What a Wonderful World” with multiple musicians and singers and people of different abilities. And then the children’s choir comes in and then just, they continue to play a few final notes with the piano and close the cauldron.
Alison: And I thought the Olympic cauldron closing– it’s the same cauldron– killed me the first time? The way they did the music this time, they played with my emotions.
Jill: They did. Oh, it was really emotional and heart warming and heart wrenching all at the same time,
Alison: Felt very final. Like we really are saying goodbye to Tokyo.
Jill: It was fun. Tokyo, you did a great job with what you had,
Alison: Man. How they pulled this off. Still? I’m going to be in awe of this whenever we look back on it. You know, we look at history, this is going to be one of those, I still can’t believe it happened, probably.
Jill: And to pull it off. And we know that the organizing committee has to close up shop basically. So they’ll be around for several more months, at least to the end of the year. And I’m, I know we’re just going to hear stories of how much these games cost. And who’s paying for what? And I just, I hope that doesn’t overshadow the [00:40:00] magnificence of what happened in the competitions for both the Olympics and the Paralympics.
Jill: And I hope it doesn’t overshadow how much it meant to these athletes to get to compete, because it’s been so hard for them to do what they do and to have your job your role, your purpose in life taken away because of the pandemic is very hard and frustrating. So it’s nice that the games could happen in some way, shape or form. May not be what we thought, but they happen.
Alison: You know, after the marathon, when they interviewed Susannah Scaroni, she said, even when we were watching the Olympics, we weren’t sure, because we knew what we had talked about. She reiterated, if something went wrong, they were going to cancel the Paralympics. And she said, until I got on the track, I didn’t believe I was going to get to compete.
Alison: And I think a lot of these kids felt that way, that until they work in the venue and the competition was happening, there was always that chance that they were going to shut it down. And the fact that they made it through yes, 300 COVID cases is no joke and not to be excused and not to be pushed aside.
Alison: And yet it could have been so, I mean, what they were predicting was thousands of COVID cases, people bringing COVID back home, all across the world, this was going to be a worldwide mega spreader event. And it was not either the Olympics or the Paralympics. Amazing job Tokyo.
Jill: So well done. We knew that these were going to be a phenomenal games, different phenomenon than what we originally thought when we said the first time, oh, there’s one year to go. And the first time we said it’s an Olympic year.
Jill: Phenomenal nonetheless, and it’s nice that Paris is only three years away because of the inspiration [00:42:00] that the athletes, especially here in the Paralympics, the inspiration that these athletes had given and getting to watch these competitions. I’m so glad we get to watch them again in three years and not four, because I think it’s gotta to be hard to find some para sport to watch in the meantime.
Jill: Maybe it’ll get better, but I, again, it’s going to be like, oh, I love modern pentathlon. I watch it once every four years. And now you can just add, oh, I love sitting volleyball and wheelchair rugby and goalball. Watch ’em once every four years.
Alison: Do you think someone will let me try wheelchair rugby?
Jill: Oh, I’m sure
Alison: I really want to try it.
Jill: Oh, oh, I’m getting on that one. I’m getting on it!.
Jill: I would
Alison: totally do that. Go really fast crash into people. Of course, I’m like five feet tall. So they would just be like a little girl. We don’t have a wheelchair that small.
Jill: Oh no, They would find something they’d get something to fit you, please!
Jill: Make it happen!
Jill: That sport encompasses all point values. And they’d want you on the team because you would give them the extra half point.
Alison: I know. I’d give them a lot of points because my skill level would be very low.
Jill: You would be the half pint who gives the half point.
Alison: Fair enough.
Jill: Okay. That does it. I keep wanting to talk, but there’s like, the cauldron’s out..
Alison: Yeah, that’s why we do a wrap-up show, Jill, so we can come back every few days and we sleep on it–
Jill: and find another hour of stuff to talk about because that’s not going to be hard.
Alison: So not hard. I got a list. Do you want to see my notebook? Stuff we have not talked about over 12 days. I’ve got notes.
Jill: Excellent. A quick shout out to our Patreon patrons. Thank you so much for your ongoing contributions that support the shows financially. . Extremely [00:44:00] grateful to our patrons who have stepped up and been there for us for a long time. And also for the ones who came on during the Olympics and Paralympics that bumped us up to be able to offer transcripts for the show, which we’ve been enjoying during the Paralympics, and we’ll keep going forward and we’ll be filling in some backlog as we have availability for that. And it’s so exciting to be able to be a more accessible show.
Jill: And it’s also horrifying to know how we talk. So thank you patrons for helping us see our run-on sentences and our incomplete sentences. And thank you listeners for putting up with this garble. I don’t even know, like I look at this and go, do we make sense? Are we speaking English?
Alison: We’re like the Icelandic athletes and the Japanese volunteer. Somehow we managed to communicate what the assignment is, and the patrons understand.
Jill: Yes. So thank you, patrons. If you would like to be a part of that, you can go to patreon.com/flame alive pod.
Jill: And for the last time from Tokyo, it’s time to say sayonara. As always you can email email@example.com, text or voicemail us at 2 0 8 3 5 2 6 3 4 8. That’s 2 0 8, flame it, we are at flame life pod on Twitter, Insta, and Facebook. And don’t forget if you have not joined the, Keep the Flame Alive Facebook group, please do so because we have a lot of fun. It’s been so much fun hanging out with the group during the Paralympics.
Alison: Listener Kaori has given us lots of “from Tokyo” pictures and stories.
Jill: you’ll find that and much more there. We’ll be back on Thursday with our regular weekly show schedule again. So as we go out to music by Mercury Sunset, thank you so much for listening. And until next time, keep the flame alive.