Sled hockey player Monica Quimby holds medals in her outstretched hands.

In two years’ time it’ll be almost time to say good-bye to the 2026 Paralympics in Milan-Cortina (can you believe it?!). What event finals come at the end of a Winter Games? Sled hockey!

Women don’t compete in sled hockey at the Paralympics–yet. That may soon be changing, thanks to growth of the sport around the world. Veteran Team USA sled hockey player Monica Quimby joins the podcast to tell us the latest developments in women’s sled hockey and its path to Paralympic inclusion.

Monica began playing sled hockey in 2012 after competing in paracanoe. By 2014 she was on the US Women’s Development Sled Hockey Team and eventually got on Team USA, winning gold with them at the 2022 and 2023 Women’s World Challenge. Monica also plays with the Tampa Bay Lightning’s sled hockey team, which she led to the Southeast League Championship in 2023.

While women’s sled hockey is not yet in the Paralympics, Monica is one of the driving forces behind getting the event into the Games. In 2025 women will be competing in the first Women’s Sled Hockey World Championships, a major stepping stone to getting in the Games. Will we see women’s sled hockey at Milan-Cortina 2026, or will we have to wait until 2030 to see the sport get its Paralympic due?

Follow Monica on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and TikTok. You can also keep up with her at MonicaQuimby.com.

If you’ve tried sled hockey, we’d love to hear your experiences with it. Better yet, if you can get Alison onto a sled, let us know!

In Paris 2024 news, our Paris Viewing Guide has been updated with all of the latest Games information–get your copy here! Also,

  • The flame lighting ceremony in Olympia is getting a makeover.
  • The Opening Ceremonies has a start time, and NBC announced its hosting team.
  • Some Marathon Pour Tous bibs are up for grabs (enter by March 18).
  • The International Paralympic Committee has released its guidelines for neutral athletes at the Games.
  • TBach had a few words to say about Russia.
  • Team Australia released its kit.

NBC also announced its hosting team: Mike Tirico, Kelly Clarkson, and Peyton Manning. They’ll be at the Trocadero for the ceremonial portion of the event. Today Show hosts Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb will be on one of the bridges to comment on the Parade of Nations.

Do you think Peyton Manning used this as an audition to get the gig?


In news from TKFLASTAN we have updates from:

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

Photo courtesy of Monica Quimby.


TRANSCRIPT

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.

328-Sled Hockey with Monica Quimby

[intro 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: I am so excited because of our interview today.

Jill: Oh, yeah, right?

Alison: We all know this is one of my favorites

Jill: I know and we got to get you out there I someday someday we need to try the sport.

We need to try the sport we do have a lot of Paris 2024 news today Uh, oh, and a throw down. IPC throwing down the gauntlet. Oh, that was good.

Monica Quimby Interview

Jill: But first, in two years time, it will be almost time to say goodbye to the 2026 Winter Paralympics in Milan Cortina. But what comes at the end of the Winter Games?

Sled hockey finals. Oh, best day of the games. Women do not compete in sled hockey at the Paralympics yet, but that may soon be changing. And today we have veteran Team USA sled hockey player Monica Quimby here to tell us all about the developments. Monica began playing sled hockey in 2012 after competing in para canoe for a little while.

And by 2014, she was on the U S women’s development sled hockey team. She eventually got onto team USA winning gold with them at the 2022 and 2023 women’s world challenge. She also plays with the Tampa Bay Lightning sled hockey team, which she led to the Southeast league championship in 2023. While women’s sled hockey is not yet in the Paralympics, Monica is one of the driving forces behind getting the event into the games in 2025, women will be competing in the first women’s sled hockey world championships, which is a major stepping stone to getting into the games.

We talked with Monica about the development of the women’s game and its path to Paralympic inclusion. Take a listen.

All right. Monica Quinby, thank you so much for joining us. We’re so excited to talk sled hockey with you. So we know that women can compete in sled hockey at the Paralympics, but like only three women have done so. And we were in Beijing and we saw China’s attempt at putting a woman on the rink. Do you remember that Alison

Alison: Don’t remember it cause she was only on the ice for about five seconds.

It was so sad, but What’s the reality of women playing in the Paralympics this very moment on a mixed team?

Monica Quimby: Yeah, the reality is right now that the Paralympic team is a co ed team. So our women’s team right now is the U. S. Women’s Development Team. That’s how it’s technically written. And it is, there’s actually an extra spot even. So you can have an extra person on your roster. So there’s… It’s not like it would be taking a man’s spot or anything like that. It’s definitely, and there’s been some women in the past that have been competitive enough to be on that team and to be in that spot right now, it’s kind of showed as like the token, right?

The token female. And they get on the ice a little bit and they skate around and they make some social media posts about it. And that’s it. So, we’re really trying to grow the women’s side, both nationally and internationally, so that we, we are a parallel big team.

Alison: Yeah, I would think in the US and Canada, that’s particularly difficult because of the level of sled hockey. I mean, they’re exactly,

Monica Quimby: yeah, they’re very competitive. Yeah. It’s definitely gotten to that point. So probably about 10 years ago, there were two or three people that have in the past that were females that would have been able to make that, that men’s Paralympic team.

And they have been on the developmental men’s team, men’s team. See, you say you even like, that’s what you equate it with because we haven’t been a representative in the United States. There has been no female represented on that team.

Alison: Do you think this might be a way to get more countries involved in sled hockey?

Because one of the things that we saw in Beijing was that there was such a huge difference between the U. S., Canada, and then kind of everybody else. And I think it’s really hard to field a team in some of these smaller countries.

Monica Quimby: Yeah, they definitely have to join in as a mixed team before you separate to be a men’s and a women’s team.

So I think that that’s where we’re going to be able to grow the game, right? And it’s also so you have somebody to play with, so you have to have teammates to play with, and Men, women, it, you know, those mixed teams, we all play on mixed teams when it comes to our regional teams. So, for example, I play for Tampa, Florida, and that is a mixed gendered team.

There’s only one other female besides myself on that team as currently, so that’s kind of how the sport is until you get to those higher levels. But we also need females that are trained at that higher level. And to get there, you have to train with men. Truthfully.

Jill: do you feel a difference when you’re on a, a mixed gender team versus women’s only team?

Absolutely. Both in like the spirit and also the play of the game. Well, how is, how is that all different?

Monica Quimby: Yeah, so the vibe completely changes when it’s all female, we’re all in it. It’s a sisterhood. It’s a community. It’s definitely more like a bunch of sisters and just, a family and rising people up when you are playing on a mixed gendered team and you are the only female or one of the only females, there’s a stigma.

I mean, that’s just how it is. There is a huge stigma, especially if like myself, I’m also on the women’s, developmental national team as well. the expectation is Monica, the female, but at the same time, I’m expected to score the goals or make all the defensive plays or, there’s this higher level of expectation, but not the same level of respect.

And that’s what’s really difficult, honestly. ,

Alison: what’s different physically, for a female player versus a male player or is there a difference?

Monica Quimby: I think that it’s size. I think size is huge when it comes to physicality, right? Like men are literally built different. So when they’re going to come up and they’re going to hit you, it’s going to be, it’s going to be hard.

It’s going to be hard and it’s going to be. Aggressive. I think sometimes they pull off and they pull away a little bit if you’re a smaller female, but at the same time that’s part of the sport, especially if you get into those higher tiers and you’re in that tier one, that tier two team, they don’t care if you’re a male or female, if you have the puck.

You’re going down.

Jill: in that same sense, because men tend to have smaller hips and women, are they tippier?

Monica Quimby: They are honestly like tippiness in a sled. It’s all about your core. So there’s a lot, the majority of the upper level men’s team players are double amputees, and that’s because their center of gravity is so tight, right?

And so they’re really able to turn. So what they’re doing is they’re skating extremely fast so that that tippiness gets offset by turning.

Jill: That’s interesting.

Alison: Well, I was amazed when I was watching all these games in Beijing, how much the players use the tippiness. That they almost purposely kind of fall off to a side on, is it on one blade then or sort of half the blade to execute those turns that they’re not trying to stay.

Monica Quimby: Yeah.

So you’re constantly, it’s so much core. It’s so much core. And so you are, your blades are, they can be anywhere from two inches apart, which is pretty wide in our sport, two to three inches, pretty wide apart. But if the two blades are pretty close, like an inch to a half an inch, you’re literally just maneuvering at the point where.

you could easily fall over but that’s also how you’re getting that, that turning radius to be able to grab the puck and go.

Jill: In developing the women’s team, so you started playing about 10 years ago? Yes. Right, okay, so what was it like when you first started and how have things evolved in terms of game play?

Monica Quimby: It has evolved so much in the last decade. Honestly, the speed is just, it’s incredible. The speed, also the sticks that we’re using, the equipment has evolved as well.

I think that the game overall and Yeah, it’s definitely, it’s becoming younger and younger and faster and faster. And it’s so exciting to watch and it’s so exciting to grow the game. And I absolutely love being a part of this movement. It’s just so much fun. And I love just seeing it, continue.

So

Jill: being like the mom, do they call you the mom? Do they call you the grandma? No. Oh, good, good. But I mean, it’s funny because, I go, oh, wow you’re 37, you’re kind of old for a sport, but not really, because elite athletes have longer and longer careers these days.

Do you find , that age is just a number?

Monica Quimby: I feel like it’s an honor to be on this team. I think it’s an honor to be a veteran. That’s kind of what they call you, if you’ve been on the team for a while and you’re one of the older people, you’re one of the, you’re a guiding force. And it’s so great because you’re able to calm down those younger players that are going to go take that epic shot, or they’re going to jump in line, and like, I am the biggest cheerleader too, like I absolutely love to pump people up, I love to get people going, and continue the game like that’s the best part is to keep that energy up.

And I think that’s what’s so great about team sports is that everybody plays a role, every single person. And you can’t all be the goal scorer. You can’t all be the best defenseman but everybody a hundred percent plays a role.

Alison: So I asked this question many years ago when we talked to Taylor Lipsett about the men’s game.

Are there goons? In women’s sled hockey.

Monica Quimby: I would definitely be considered a goon in sled hockey. Absolutely. Absolutely. Yep. I love hitting. That’s actually what, what got me a spot in the very beginning. They’re like, Oh, all right. She likes full contact. We’re going to keep her. And here I

Alison: still am.

Jill: how is it recruiting new people?

Because already you’re dealing with a small pool of potential athletes anyway, that every pair of sport is trying to get. So what is it like recruiting and how hard is it to convert somebody?

Monica Quimby: honestly, when it comes to nationally, we have Two really big competitions. We just had the NHL sled classic and our team, the Tampa Bay Lightning, hosted it and we won the tier four championship, which was amazing.

Woo hoo. Had to throw that in there. The second competition that is our largest competition, which is called Disabled Fest. And so that’s seven tiers, there’s, like 3, 000 players that come, like it’s a huge, huge, huge event. That’s where you look and observe the other teams, look at the other players.

That really gives you some insight of, some players that were like, Hey, you should definitely try out for the women’s team. And that’s one of the biggest ways that we recruit is. Honestly, at those tournaments and also from other sports. I’m going to be honest. That’s actually how I came to the sport was that I was on the pair of canoe team and I was recruiting people from sled hockey, and then I literally jump ship.

So, oops, I fell in love with sled hockey and the rest is history.

Jill: Did you find that? some of the skills transferred over well, or did you have to use your body in a completely different way?

Monica Quimby: Both sports are really upper body. I think the biggest thing, so I was an athlete before I got paralyzed.

I was a skier and worked my way up and I was pretty proficient, pretty good at it, I would say. And I think that having the athletic mindset is the biggest. That I had is that I knew how, how to train, you know, you can definitely have transferable skills between the different sports, which is really great.

But I think the biggest thing was going from a leg dominant sport. Skiing to a arm. All my sports are now arm dominant, so I had to learn completely different muscle groups and how to train, how to do the strength training, how to do the weights, all of that a little bit differently because now I’m using my, my arms as my legs.

Alison: I don’t know how to ask this question to make it make sense. So pardon me if I stumble. Is there a significant difference that you see where people are athletes? and then become para athletes as opposed to somebody who grew up with a disability and then gets into para athletics.

Monica Quimby: That’s a great question.

I feel that the people that grew up with a disability, were born with a disability, or acquired one young, they do have an advantage because they were able to develop those muscle groups, those upper body muscle groups, a lot sooner. That was my biggest learning curve, is that I had to, I had the mindset, but then I also had to make sure the body followed.

Alison: Was there a, talk about mindset, where you go from para, canoe where there’s a very set path to the Paralympics and then jump into sled hockey where it’s, especially for women, not so clear.

Monica Quimby: Let’s just say I love a challenge and that’s, if the road’s a little bit difficult, I’m probably going to do it.

And I absolutely, the reason I stayed with this sport, it wasn’t because. it was going to be easy and honestly, making it to Rio for 2016, I probably could have, and I decided to stick with sled hockey because I’d rather play a sport that I love and be part of something that I believe in. And I really, I loved pair of canoe, but it just, it was an individual sport.

It didn’t have that same camaraderie, that family aspect that shiver down your spine. When you. Hear the national anthem and sit on the blue line. Sorry. That’s like, it’s literally the, that is a feeling that is like no other that you get to wear with your sisters, the team USA logo on your chest, your names on the back, and you’re representing your country and playing a sport that you love, there’s no better feeling.

Jill: So in that team USA Jersey. Competing against other countries, there’s not that many who can field a full team yet. how have you seen that grow? Because right now when you had the Women’s World Challenge this fall, we’ve got USA and Canada and Great Britain can hold teams. And then it’s kind of the rest of the world.

But, we’re looking at a World Champs in a couple of years for women. So, within a couple of years, we should be able to have several countries that can field full teams. What is that like right now? What is that dynamic like in the rest of the world?

Monica Quimby: So it’s really exciting because people are jumping in and people are definitely on board.

That’s the best part is that people get excited about sled hockey. It’s one of those sports that just gets everybody wanting to be involved. I’ve been on a bunch of the calls and to develop these international teams and it’s happening, it’s happening. And that’s the best part is that knowing that in 2025, that official world championship and to be a part of something.

Like this is incredible. And to be able to help the other countries. So we actually did a sled drive. We got over 25 sleds and we were able to donate them to the other countries. So those ones that were on team world, we were able to give them a handful of sleds. And they were able to bring them back with them so that they would have the equipment.

So that’s one of the biggest things is that we’re trying to find what their needs are and how we can help.

Alison: Oh, I have so many sled questions. Sure. So,

Jill: so many sled questions.

Alison: How customized is your sled versus those sort of generic sleds and how easy is it to switch it off to somebody else?

Monica Quimby: So mine is completely molded to my body.

So it would not be able to ever be switched unless you’re the exact same size as me. And honestly, if you gain or lose five pounds, you definitely know, you can tell the difference because it’s just like a prosthetic and that’s where I got it fitted, was at a prosthetic company and they literally, I laid on my tummy.

And they molded my butt and, that’s how you get that, that for the sled. And I actually had something additional that’s added to it. I had the first, first one to do a high back on a USA sled, because at the time I was still trying to develop those lower back muscles. And I was constantly using just like shoulders and triceps and biceps and just pulling myself along.

Well, once I did that high back, I was able to find a strap basically to aid my paralysis. So I was able to come back up and every time I did a stride, I was able to lift myself back up, which really helped in the beginning.

Alison: How expensive are the sleds?

Monica Quimby: So, they’re about, it’s 1600, and, which actually for adaptive sports isn’t that bad.

Yeah. For a fully adapted sport. So, the sled itself is usually between 700 and 800, and then the mold is extra. So, it can be anywhere from, 750 to 1000 for that molded. part of the sled. and then the sticks are, about 300 for the pair. Really?

Jill: Yeah. Wow. How long do they last?

Monica Quimby: They last until you break them, which, uh, in a full contact sport is pretty often. they’re carbon fiber, but they’re definitely, you know, you’re hitting for your full contact. You’re hitting other people, you’re going for the puck, you’re trying to dig it out of the boards, all of that kind of stuff.

You need to have a backup pair, for sure.

Alison: How hard is it to travel with the sled?

Monica Quimby: it’s not that bad because Most people can take it apart and put it inside their hockey bag. Mine, because of the high back, I actually just put it on top and they look at it and they’re like, what is that?

Uh, how does that work? And then they asked me if it’s a wheelchair and I’m like, no, not exactly, but it is adaptive equipment. And they’re like, where did the wheels go? Like watching the wheels turn in people’s brains. When you’re at the airport. It’s one of my favorite things.

Alison: What are you wearing on your feet in the

Monica Quimby: sled? Great question. So they’re hockey boots that the sled, the skate is just cut off of. So that’s just, you know, you can remove the rivets and then it’s just that hard boot. The biggest thing is to protect your feet.

So fun fact, I’ve broken the same foot twice because my boots were too fitted. And due to my paralysis, I have some, osteoporosis, but so now I have what are, they look like clown boots, to be honest with you. They’re like a men’s 10, they’re the largest boots. So you can see me from a mile away for sure, but I haven’t broken a foot since.

So I call that a win.

Alison: Now, could you feel it or did you just see it?

Monica Quimby: Oh, I saw it. I definitely, I, I, I can’t feel it, but I definitely, when I, when I hit, I hit hard and I was like, well, there is something wrong with my foot

and then you take it out and it’s like purple and swollen and you’re like, yup. Okay, confirmed. And then, the funniest part, they put it in a walking boot. I’m not walking. So,

Jill: when you get an injury like that, because you can’t feel it, What is rehab like for you? Or like, can you get back on the sled fairly quickly?

Monica Quimby: Oh, I got right back at practice the next week. I mean, it’s as long as you’re careful. I mean, really if your teammates understand that, you’re healing an injury and if it’s one that you can still transfer. So that’s the big thing. The boot can still stabilize the foot enough so that you can.

Lightly play, if you will, but if you break a femur, or obviously an arm, injury, or anything like that, then you wouldn’t be able to play, but I guess I got a good injury, so.

Alison: DO you run into a problem getting in and out of ice rinks, not being accessible?

Monica Quimby: Ooh, that’s a great question. So, especially internationally the rinks are really, they’re not.

It’s up to, the code in the United States, but at the same time, it’s so important to play in those rings to give exposure to sled hockey. So a lot of the times we’ll just suck it up. We’ll suck it up for the game, honestly, so that we’re able to grow the game so that we can show other people that this is a sport that’s not only worth playing, but worth watching.

Jill: What are some of the aha moments you see in athletes coming up as they try to learn the sport?

Monica Quimby: Oh, that’s a great question too. So I absolutely love working with the kids. Like my face lights up anytime that I work with the kiddos from Wheelchair for Kids, which is one of our local groups. We also did a try Sled Hockey for Free Day at the NHL Sled Classic here in Wesley Chapel, Florida, and.

I mean, I’m lighting up right now. Like, I can’t help it. Like, I absolutely… Love seeing them be able to pass the puck to themselves underneath the sled for the first time. Or the biggest one is when they’re able to pop up from falling over because it’s really difficult. And honestly, the kiddos learn it way quicker than the adults do.

The kiddos are able to just pop right back up and they’re so resilient. And. Sometimes it takes a little bit where I’ll be like, push, push, push. And they’ll take the stick and they’ll, cause there’s ice picks on the bottom. And so they’ll drive that in and they’ll push on the one side to push them up. And I’ll just take the nose of the sled and give them a little, you know, and pop them back up.

But as soon as they start getting that, that’s the biggest thing is, learning to pop back up after you fall over. And I think that that’s just. That’s the biggest thing. And also when they score goals, they’re so cute because our goalie, just looks like he’s ready and totally ready to go.

And then they just like sneak one in and I cheer so loud because I’m like, ecstatic. Like, you know, scoring a goal is, such a incredible feeling as a kid. And even as an adult, like that’s the best feeling, right? It’s like, ah, I scored a goal and they’re so cute. I love it.

Alison: Where are the resistance points for growing the sport more?

Monica Quimby: So I feel the resistance points right now is financials, really, especially in the other countries, is gathering those resources and that’s why it’s so important for us to continue the calls so that we’re able to give them that support and be like, Hey, this is what we’ve done in the United States.

This is what, Canada’s doing. So that’s the biggest thing is Being able to help each other. Cause really we have to, be able to help each other so that we’re making it to that world championship on the road to the Paralympics.

Jill: How long has this world championships been in the works?

Monica Quimby: It has been in the works for, I would say 12 or 13 years. I mean, it’s definitely been a long time coming. I think when we decided to have the U. S. Development women’s team. And we started to branch off because this is when we found out that we weren’t going to be able to play with the men’s team kind of thing.

And so that’s when things branched off. And Erica Mitchell at the time. Now it’s Erica McKee. She’s the one that started . The whole revolution and that was the biggest thing and she was, they basically were like, okay, you’re not going to make the team, so go make one of your own. And that’s exactly what she did.

She’s a pioneer.

Alison: So I was stuck on a bus with a bunch of people from world para hockey in Beijing. It’s also it’s part of a much longer story, but they were just amazing people and really, really great. And I’m wondering, and I’m hoping they are really, really great when it comes to supporting the women’s team.

So let’s talk a little bit about the Federation’s work.

Monica Quimby: Absolutely. They’re super supportive. They were so excited when we were Submitting bids for the women’s world challenge for next year. They’re like chomping at the bit, which is fantastic. , they really want to see the sport continue to grow.

They’re really on board with it. And yeah, they’re really great to work with. And everybody has the same end goal in mind, which is the best part. And I think that it’s so important too, that we’re really getting support from the World Para Ice Hockey. We’re getting support from USA Hockey. We’re getting support at the Classic, we get support from the NHL even.

And I think that really bringing all those… Together is really what’s going to make this sport continue to grow

Alison: good because they were great to be stuck on a bus with.

Monica Quimby: Yeah. Oh, and they’re hilarious too, which is the best part. They were wild, man. Oh, absolutely. The hockey world. That’s just like. You’re gonna have a good time.

If you’re stuck on a bus, it better be with a bunch of hockey players because you’re definitely gonna laugh and have fun.

Jill: So of course the NHL is supportive here in the United States, but do they provide support in other countries as well? Because they do have a lot of non US players playing for them.

Monica Quimby: So there were some Canadian teams that were at this NHL sled classic. And so they were under those Canadian jerseys. And so definitely in the United States and Canada, we have that support and we’re trying to, that’s again, why it’s so important to have this visibility in these other countries so that they know that, Great Britain is here to stay and, the Asian countries and the European countries.

And, getting that outside support. To help them, really.

Jill: So in the Olympics in Beijing, Czech Republic did amazing. And so that is boosted hockey there. Do you see a trickle down effect when hockey does well in a country? Does that trickle down to?

Sled hockey too?

Monica Quimby: Absolutely. I think that, especially if you’re the host country or you’re the host city, I think that that’s so huge because it really proves the fact that, we did it here. We did it on home ice. That’s such a big bragging right. I think that. Because they continue to win, it’s definitely like, Oh, I really want to watch this sport.

Right. They’re, multi gold medalists. That’s amazing. Let’s check this out. Like they obviously are really good. And I think that people are going to watch a sport, especially if you excel at it. I think if the country excels, that’s something that they’re going to want to watch, that they’re going to want to support.

, that they’re going to , continue it.

Jill: Paths of the Paralympics. We know you need so many countries to be in, you know, we know like world championships is necessary, but with a world champs coming in 2025, is 2030. A reality is, is that

attainable?

Monica Quimby: We’re still shooting for it. We’re still shooting for it. We’ll definitely know at the world championship when we make it there.

We’ll definitely know, is that 2030 bid going to happen? I think that we’re. All pulling our weight, I think that everybody is in high gear and understands the magnitude of how important it is to make it for 2030. If not, it would be 2034, but I think if we continue on the trajectory that we’re on right now, it’s definitely a possibility.

Good,

Jill: Paralympics needs more sports. It’s so much fun! So much fun, and we’re like, well, there’s not that much.

Monica Quimby: Yeah, no, it’s it’s true. It’s true. And I think it would be amazing to showcase the sport.

Alison: What’s your favorite play? What is your signature move?

Monica Quimby: Ah, you’re gonna make me give it away

Alison: Anybody watched film and it’s your signature move.

They’re gonna know

Monica Quimby: yeah, so I really like I’m very aggressive in the back door for sure. So I love being able to, if I’m put up as a wing and I’m definitely aggressive by that goalie to make sure that it goes in for sure. That would be my big thing. And I love to skate by and then also use my legs as a screen and flip it over my legs.

That’s another great one too.

Alison: I love The passing under the sled. Yeah, the stick handling involved in that is, is so impressive to

Monica Quimby: me. Being able to like use both hands just being able to be that ambidextrous. And I think that that was such a learning curve because everybody wants to use their dominant hand constantly all the time.

And so knowing that not only do you have to use both hands to skate, but you need to use both hands too. You know, carry the puck, shoot the puck, make a pass, get a pass, is, I think, another huge learning curve because you’re not accustomed to using your non dominant hand.

Jill: so in practices, is there a lot of training for non dominant hand?

Monica Quimby: I focus on it. Yeah, I definitely focus on it. I actually I even have a stick that’s completely there’s no blade It’s completely cut off. And so it’s just for pushing if you will and so that’s like a great way to Train yourself to catch the puck with the other hand and to make sure that you’re it’s so the biggest thing too Is that?

You have to push with the other hand. So that’s the biggest thing. So you kind of have to flip your brain. Kind of like brushing your teeth with the other hand. Technique. and really… Make sure that you are able to to be able to do that. Yeah, I can’t do that

Try brushing your teeth with the other hand, it’s

Alison: very awkward. I had hand surgery. So I had to use my non dominant hand So I would hold the toothbrush and move my mouth

I’m impressed when people can do sports that require the non dominant hand to work

Monica Quimby: Oh my gosh, that’s great. You can’t really do that with sled hockey. I can’t be like, okay. No, I don’t think that would work.

Alison: How much coverage are you getting in sled hockey, male and female overall?

Monica Quimby: I think that we’re getting decent press coverage.

I think that media, when it comes to, you know, newspaper. I think that we need to be broadcasted on TV more. I think that there was only like 60 hours of Parasport that was broadcasted this year. I think that putting that on more of the, you know, the ESPN channels, more of the Olympic channel, et cetera.

And I think that just. Giving, again, that visibility, right? And not putting us on at only 2am or 4am. Putting us on, during primetime. And so that everybody can watch. And that it’s part of the quote unquote mainstream. Sports.

Alison: What can the ordinary fan do to support women’s sled hockey?

Monica Quimby: So the biggest thing to support is to, continue to share, continue to come out and see the sport.

, if there’s any way that you can donate or if you have resources to be able to do so, I mean, that’s the biggest thing we love to do. Try sled hockey for free days too. So contacting your local sled hockey team and being like, Hey, let’s put together something. And that’s really great. It’s visibility on both sides.

And it can be a really fun activity, honestly, for organizations, for corporations to get in the sled and try something new. I want to get in the sled. Come on down. I’ll put you in. I want to get in the sled. I’ll throw you in. Let’s go. I won’t hit you hard yet. But I’ll let you get your bearings.

Alison: This is actually a serious question. So I am, I am very short. Does height when you’re sitting make a difference?

Monica Quimby: So it doesn’t. It doesn’t. Because honestly If you’re short and your legs are shorter, you have a better turning radius. So that’s why the double amputees are, better at the turning, better at the give and go mentality.

So, I think it’s an advantage. We’ll get you a little shorty sled. We’ll shorten it up, we’ll get you, you’re good to go.

Alison: Get me a kid’s sled is basically what I do for all

Monica Quimby: equipment.

Jill: Anything that we missed that you want to talk about?

Monica Quimby: I think talking about like encouraging women to play sport, I think if we talk about that a little bit, , especially disabled women, because, doing it both competitively at the elite level and recreationally is so important and. I think that that just needs to be touched on because I really want other women to know that even if you’re just coming out to play for fun, that it’s such a great activity to come do and that even though it’s a men’s, you know, there’s a bunch of guys there and whatever, you’re still going to have a great time.

You’re going to love it. There’s women at all the competitions. We really easily connect, it’s an important thing to mention is that, to bring, bring more women to the sport and working out in general, just being active, women have a hard time being active, especially the older that we get.

And it’s also community. It brings people together.

Jill: How hard is it to get people over that hump to get women over that hump of trying it?

Monica Quimby: Trying to get women to come out to sport sometimes is really difficult because of all the other things that they have going on in their life.

Cause some people have kids. And jobs and that kind of thing. And they see it as just like, Oh, well, I just don’t have time for that. It’s like, make time for yourself. You gotta make that time. And it’s so rewarding. It’s such a great community. like I said, it keeps you active. it gets you to work out.

And , you get to have fun. I mean, you, you get to hit people. I mean, working, you can do that in everyday life. , full check , is an awesome perk.

Jill: How much. Aggression do you get to receive from people having a bad day?

Monica Quimby: Right? I mean, you can technically call it anger management, I guess.

In a healthy way, as long as the check is good. , as long as it’s a body check, , then you’re good to go. And, , I think that it’s just… It’s fun, it’s really fun, and I feel, personally, it’s the closest to an able bodied sport that I have ever felt. And I think that’s also why I stayed, is because it is full check, because it is the same game as upright, because I can independently get on and off the ice, I don’t need somebody to, either carry my equipment, drag it through the snow, or, I can’t bring the boat to the water or whatever.

I can a hundred percent do it on my own. That is such an incredible feeling to have that independence and freedom back again, that I used to have when I was a skier and to be. To keep pushing yourself that there is that option for that elite level, but that you can also be wrecked too. You can also just play for fun.

You can have your kiddos come out, you can have your family come out. They can try it, you know? And I think that that’s such a big thing is that it really. brings the community together.

Jill: Excellent. Monica, thank you so much. Absolutely. We are so excited that the sport is developing.

When I saw the news about world championships coming, I got a little teary. So really hoping and pulling for the sport to be able to be in, in 2030 in the Paralympics , and get bigger because it’s so much

Monica Quimby: fun to watch. And I can’t wait to see the women on the ice. I think that it’s just so important to, to continue to pushing and that this mission isn’t over and it doesn’t.

, it’s not going to end anytime soon. And I love being a part, like being a part of something when it’s an up and coming and it’s, you know, it’s a startup, like it’s such an exhilarating feeling. It really is. It’s so much fun to , be a part of it.

Jill: Thank you so much, Monica. You can follow Monica on Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook, and TikTok. And X, she is at MS Wheelchair M E, and she also has a website, monicaquinby. com. We’ll have links to all of those in the show notes.

Get the Keep the Flame Alive Paris 2024 Viewing Guide

Jill: Oh, you know, we’ve had some. Team announcements for Paris 2024.

Alison: And we have updated the Paris 2024 viewing guide with the hockey schedule, the water polo pools, some updates to the swimming schedule and some details on gymnastics. And there’s been a few tweaks of times of things. So that is all in the Paris 2024 viewing guide and that’s available at Amazon and we will have a link.

In the show notes.

Jill: Yes. So if you do not have your copy, get yours today. If it’s electronic. So you will get updates as we get updates to the schedule and you will also get results after the games, we will totally update that with the results. So you will have a complete history of what went down at Paris, 2024.

Check it out. Amazon. com.

Paris 2024 News

Jill: Bonjour! Oh, lots of news from Paris, of course. The flame lighting ceremony is getting a makeover! This is kind of exciting. Why? Well, you know, it’s time to shake things up a little bit. Okay. But it doesn’t sound like it’s going to be a huge makeover. it’s still going to be a ceremony and they’re still going to use the , parabolic mirror to light the flame.

But according to frankshu. com the music is going to be modernized and the costumes are updated. Have you seen the pictures of these costumes?

Alison: I have not, but I’m going to look at it right now. Ooh.

Jill: Okay. they’ve either been white or light blue in the past. Now they’re switching to black and white, or maybe it’s a gray and white.

But from the looks of them, though, the women’s look like Greek columns, the different styles of Greek column that, and their dress will be like a sheath it looks like. that is kind of exciting news. It’ll be a little different. Actress Mary Mina has been chosen to be the priestess who will light the flame and That ceremony is coming up soon almost a month away. It’s on April 16th. Oh, we’re getting so close

Alison: Stop stop

Jill: The opening ceremonies are Has a start time that will be 7 30 p. m. Paris time on Friday, July 26. They chose that time to allow maximum use of outdoor light and also be able to end at night. My guess and hope is that there’s fireworks and that you would like them in the dark.

Alison: So, I found out that sunset at this time in Paris can be as late as 10.

Wow! That it’s, you know, that it stays somewhat light until 9. 30 at least sometimes 10 depending on, which day we are, which is bizarre because even in the longest day of the year where we are in Eastern United States. You don’t see light at 10 o’clock, so this is going to be a whole different experience.

So I think the very end, so it’s about three hours, right? It will be just dark. It’ll be that edge of darkness where you can do fireworks.

Jill: Right. And it will be that glowing twilight for a good chunk. Oh, it’s going to be beautiful. If you are watching on NBC. The hosts have been announced. Mike Tirico, my boyfriend, will be the main host, but he will be joined by Kelly Clarkson.

And Peyton Manning. What?

We’ll link to the story. They announced this on Jimmy Fallon’s show, The Tonight Show. And the Hollywood Reporter covered it. And I believe Kelly said, look, This is a weird pairing and you’re never going to see it together again.

Alison: Well, on the one hand, it does make sense because Kelly Clarkson obviously is a very successful talk show host.

Her interviews are a lot of fun. And I think they’re trying to bring that together. Every woman touch, to the ceremony and If you saw Peyton Manning on Saturday Night Live do the Emily in Paris bit, I think that was his audition for this.

Jill: Okay. I did not. We will have to get a link to that one too. But at least it’s a little different and at least Mike Tirico will be there to hold down the fort.

Alison: Hang on people. It’s going to get wild, but don’t worry. Mike Tirico will steer the ship safely down the Seine.

Jill: Right. So that trio will be positioned at the Trocadero at the end of the parade, where the ceremonial aspects of the show are going to be. Today’s show hosts Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb will also be part of the team covering the show and they will be positioned on one of the bridges on the Seine to report on the athletes parade and any pageantry that’s in the river by them.

Alison: So go ahead. And going back to the time, this makes so much sense because since the whole parade is not in a stadium, you don’t have artificial light available. So we’re going to be able to see the athletes sailing down the scent. It’s got to be daylight. Right. So I’m glad they pushed it earlier and that’s why they’re planning it, not us.

Jill: Right. And speaking of early, NBC’s coverage will start at noon on NBC and Peacock. I’m sure that’s noon Eastern just to make sure there’s time. Make a day of it.

If you are looking for a bib for the Marathon Portois or the Paris 2024 10k on August 10th, World Athletics is giving away 20 slots, but you have to act quickly.

They are doing a drawing for five men’s and five women’s bibs for each race. That’s total of 20 bibs. Uh, you would be responsible for getting to Paris and staying there. The only prize is getting an entry. So you can register at the World Athletic site by 5 p. m. Central European time on Monday, March 18th.

So you’ve only got a few days. We will have a link in the show notes and if you win. let us know. And please send pictures because I’m dying to hear what people’s experience in this phrase is like.

So we also have news from the International Paralympic Committee who has published its regulations for neutral Paralympic athletes, i. e. Russian and Belarusians, at the Games.

Alison: Andrew Parsons was not a Fooling around.

Jill: they are tight. and you have to remember that Russia and Belarus were escorted out of the Paralympic Games in Beijing.

And that was kind of a long process because they originally were going to stay because that’s what the IPC constitution dictated, but the tone in the village was such that they had to remove them from the games. At Paris. membership decided that they would be allowed to compete as neutrals.

This will be individual athletes only, no teams. They will be vetted to make sure they have not actively supported the war in Ukraine. This is athletes and their support personnel. They will be wearing IPC approved uniforms that will not have any national colors, flag, country name, national emblem, symbol, or designation.

The ban on all this national colors and emblems extends to hair coloring, skin coloring, jewelry, hair shaving, nail polish, hair bands, shoes, stickers, patches, and more. bags. They will not be allowed to have any national mascots with them. They will compete under a white flag with black lettering spelling out NPA for Neutral Paralympic Athletes.

The flag is only going to be used for TV graphics and during any medal ceremonies. Medal wins will not show up on the medal table and gold medalists will hear the Paralympic anthem. They will not be allowed to participate in the opening ceremony. Or have a flag bearer at the closing ceremony. And I believe they will not march in the closing ceremony either.

They will not be allowed to make any statements during the games on behalf of anyone other than themselves as individuals. And the National Paralympic Committees of Russia and Belarus must reimburse the IPCs for any costs involved with the neutral team, i. e., we are not paying for them to be here.

You have to pay up.

Alison: This was something. And I think we need to remember, because a lot of things have come up about Israel being sanctioned or the U. S. being sanctioned or other countries that are involved in military conflicts around the world. The problem with Russia is that In the time between the Beijing Olympics and the Beijing Paralympics is when Russia invaded Ukraine.

Thus, Russia and Belarus broke the historic Olympic truce. So they violated the truce. code of ethics and the contract that they have with the Olympics and Paralympics. So it is not punishment for having a war. That’s not what the Paralympics is talking about. It’s punishment for violating the truce. Um, which makes it different than Israel, the United States, or any other country that’s been involved.

And one of the things that we’ve talked about in the past is that the IOC has been very soft on Russia because they didn’t want to upset them. The IPC has had no qualms with upsetting Russia. They have said, this is not okay, and we’re not going to catch out to you. I’ve got to say, I am so impressed with them walking the walk.

They’re not just saying, Oh, Russia, you did bad, tsk, tsk, tsk. They’re saying, guess what? There’s consequences. Not for just you as a committee, but for your individual athletes, you need to stop and think about how you’re behaving in this Paralympic community.

Jill: Right. And they’re also abiding by their constitution, which said membership has to vote on whether or not these Paralympic committees are expelled.

And they were allowed to stay in. They have certain so that means they can still have athletes there. They just now have a lot of Regulations to follow for their athletes to be at these games.

The IOC

this was kind of interesting because the I the International Olympic Committee had a media call that they invited certain big media to including the Associated Press who reported that A teabag went off on Russia a little bit because Russia keeps crying about how they are the victim in this and they don’t understand.

Teebox said that Russia forgets that they caused the problem in Ukraine handily and quote, what is also remarkable is that this aggressivity is coming from the very same government that was behind the scandalous manipulation of the anti doping system before During and even after Sochi, end quote.

So the IOC executive board is meeting next week and we understand that one of the items on their agenda is whether Russia and Belarus Will be allowed to participate in the opening ceremony.

Alison: We’ve talked a lot about Thomas Bach fighting for athlete participation because he was an athlete during the 1980 boycott.

He was a West German and he ended up missing out on getting to compete. So he’s always trying to find a way to get these athletes in. But finally dad has hit the wall with these people disobeying and not following the rules And constantly crying victim, I think Thomas Bach has finally said, I have done everything I can to get your athletes to these games and you keep screwing up we give you an inch and you try and take a mile.

You’ve got to respect us and work with us and they’re just not doing it. And why are we surprised? But the Russian team, I mean, Belarus kind of follows along. You know, with whatever Russia does in so many ways, but specifically here, it’s really Russia that is causing this situation and they’re just not playing ball.

And I’m sure what they want to do, and I’ve heard other people say this, they’re not going to come. And then they’re going to cry saying, you locked us out.

Jill: And it all comes back to, it’s your own fault.

Alison: You know, I hope for the athlete’s sake that isn’t what happened because I too remember the boycott. And I too want athletes.

Um, not to be the victims in all of this, but the Russian Federation is just not making this possible. And it’s heartbreaking.

Jill: And it’ll be interesting to see because they’re coming up with their own games to make up for this fact that their athletes are, a lot of their athletes are not going to the Olympics.

But I wonder what amongst all the propaganda that’s going on within Russia, what the athletes feel about the Olympics. right in this moment and what will they feel years after, hopefully this whole situation will be over soon, but even in the, the years after with time to reflect on the situation, what just, what will people realize and what would they feel towards the Olympics and towards their country?

Alison: It’d be interesting to see how the Ukrainians are welcomed to Paris.

Jill: It will be, definitely.

We’re going to end with some kit news. Australia released its kit. Always love good kit news. Again it is green and yellow, which is traditional colours for Australia. also features artwork by Indigenous artist and boxer Paul Fleming and artist David Bowson, who is from the tourist straight islands.

So they’re going to have some indigenous artwork as components of the kit. Fleming’s design is called Walking Together and it is a nod to the way the Olympics, unite people from all countries, backgrounds and cultures Boson’s artwork has elements of traditional and modern ways of life in the islands

And lines in the design will converge on the don, which is an important cultural item in this area. They’re designed by Asics, uh, which is a Japanese company and they also feature a Japanese arrow pattern called Yagasori, which represents strength, momentum, and determination.

Okay. And for the first time there will be ladies get a dress, right? That’s really cute. It is cute. They get a dress for wearing around the venues and As rugby sevens captain Charlotte Caslick said in the unveiling ceremony, it’s not a boy’s uniform that didn’t fit us properly

Alison: We’ve been talking a lot about that women in sports trying to make things work.

And it’s just a cute, it’s like a little tennis dress, a little longer and just looks so comfortable and you throw this on and you look stylish and such a nice option. Yes. So cute. Can I get one?

Jill: Exactly. For what you want walking around Paris.

Alison: It looks perfect. I wonder if it has like little shorts underneath it so you don’t get the chub rub.

Jill: Good question.

Alison: Oh, but they do have little shorts that you could get with it. Oh,

those are cute.

Jill: Nice job, ASICS. Give pictures for the show notes. This is not it for Australia Kit. Still to come are their Opening Ceremony Uniforms and Trek Uniforms.

TKFLASTAN Update

Alison: Welcome to Shooklastan.

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 our very own country, Shooklastan. First up, decathlete Jordan Gray was here in Cleveland for a fundraiser benefiting Heaven to the Yeah, a nonprofit that provides resources for athletes in underrepresented sports, particularly women’s decathlon.

Alison: Annika Malasinski finished 20th in the Women’s Nordic Combined event at the Oslo World Cup. She will be competing at the Trondheim World Cup in Norway on March 17th.

Jill: Uh, we’ve been noting that McKenna Geer has been getting herself back into competition shape and she won team bronze at the World Shooting Parasport World Cup in India.

Alison: Stephanie Roble and Maggie Shea finished 11th at the 49 FXer World Championships. They will be sailing at the Princess Sofia Trofeo at the end of March.

Jill: Brendan Doyle finished the season at the top of the men’s skeleton rankings in the North American Cup.

Alison: Sydney Collier scored a personal best with the debut of her new freestyle routine at the Atacan Global Dressage Festival in Wellington, Florida this past weekend.

Jill: Luuka Jones has been named to her fifth Olympic team and she will represent New Zealand in K 1 and kayak cross events.

Alison: Kristi Wagner was picked to join the U. S. rowing Olympic selection camp.

Jill: Shooter Kim Rhode dropped the puck at a recent LA Kings vs. Senators game.

Alison: I’m sure she got it right on target too.

Jill: I know. She was practicing. I saw it on social. She was dropping, clay targets.

Alison: Jacqueline Simoneau and Alison Levine were named two Canadian women changing the game for women and girls in sport by the Toronto Star.

Get in Touch!

Jill: And that will do it for this episode. Let us know what you think about the developments in women’s sled hockey.

Alison: Find us on Xthreads and Instagram at flamealivepod. Send us an email at flamealivepod at gmail.

com. Call or text us at 208 352 6348. That’s 208 flame it chat with us and other fans on our Facebook group. Keep the flame alive podcast group and sign up for our weekly newsletter with even more Olympic and Paralympic info. You can do that on our website, flamealivepod. com.

Coming Soon

Jill: Speaking of sports that aren’t in the Paralympics, the U S does not compete in blind soccer, but they will have a place at LA 2028. they’ve been working on developing a team. So we are talking blind football with Molly Quinn, who is CEO of the U S Association of Blind Sports, and they are responsible for the development and governance of the U S.

football team. We’re looking forward to that conversation and hope you will join us for that. Thank you so much for listening. And until next time, keep the flame alive.