The Olympics always has test events to make sure the venues are in working order and everything is ready to go for the Games. We’ve got one too–and that’s the Winter Youth Olympic Games that are taking place in Gangwon, South Korea (and using many venues from PyeongChang 2018!).

Alison has wholeheartedly jumped back into double screening, and her maternal vibe is really coming out for these kids. Jill? Well, she has thoughts about the Youth Olympic Games and is still working through them.

On this episode, we cover Days 1-4, including:

  • What officiating/volunteer job would we want
  • Feed beefs — of which there are many, even though we understand that the Youth Olympic Games are a smaller event
  • A fantastic Opening Ceremony
  • Another great Korean mascot
  • Alpine Skiing
  • Biathlon
  • Bobsled
  • Curling
  • Freestyle Skiing
  • Ice Hockey
  • Luge
  • Short Track Speed Skating
  • Speed Skating
  • Skeleton
  • Ski Jumping
  • Snowboard

Plus, Milan-Cortina 2026 delivers another episode in our slidingnovela. Will Italy attempt to build a new sliding track that will be ready to go for the 2026 Olympics and have a legacy plan that’s better than what happened to the track built for Torino 2006 (that is no longer operational)?

And World Games: Chengdu 2025 has an opportunity for budding graphic designers. Enter their logo, mascot, and slogan contest! The deadline is February 28, 2024, and you can find more details here.

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

Photo: IOC/Ubald Rutar


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 Do not quote from the transcript; use the audio as the record of note.

Youth Olympic Games Gangwon 2024 Week 1 (Episode 321)

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. Anjan Hasio, how are you?

Alison: I’ve been feeling very maternal the past several

Jill: days

Alison: in the best possible way.

Jill: Oh, wow. Well, well, you know, okay, so today we are talking Youth Olympic Games, but we also, you got to stick to the end of the episode because Milan Cortina has another episode in the Bobsled novella. And if you’re a graphic designer, there is a World Games opportunity for you.

Winter Youth Olympic Games 2024 Days 1-4 Recap

Jill: We are talking youth Olympic games today. And I gotta tell you, so this is an experiment for us because we are have been like. Not into the Youth Olympic Games.

Alison: Yes, and my opinion changed when we had the conversation with Michael Wiedak and John Cushing from Anything But Footy.

And they are big fans of the Youth Olympics because they suggested that having the Youth Olympics would allow us to raise the minimum age for participation in the Olympics.

Which I love the idea of. We’ve talked about this a million times. So I said to myself You can’t keep teenagers from competing. That isn’t fair. There are junior worlds and such. So let’s give them an Olympic stage on a more controlled environment, more appropriate to their age, and I can get behind that.

Jill: Yeah, I’m still not into this youth Olympic games. I mean, I get what you’re saying. And I do agree with the having a different minimum age, , and having a different games for them. But there is still so much about this that is.

Alison: Not fun to watch.

Jill: Yes. So, let’s get into it. We are doing like the first four days of competition?

Alison: Yes. Up to and through day

Jill: four. Okay. Great. So, just to remind you that the Youth Olympic Games athletes must be 15, 16, 17, or 18 on December 31 in the year of the games. So, we are talking about high schoolers here. Maybe they just got out of high school. And I will say another draw for us, or for me, is the mascot of Gangwon, Moon Cho, who is born of a snowball that was used in a snowball fight between Pyeongchang 2018 mascots.

Sooharang and Banda B. It inherited the sportsmanship of its Winter Olympics predecessors. You cannot, oh my gosh, best backstory

Alison: ever. These Koreans know how to do mascots. Yes. I mean, Sooharang and Banda B. We’re, I know Bondibi, you were obsessed with Bondibi. Love Bondibi. I adored Su Hurang. So, to have them be related, since they’re using so many of the PyeongChang facilities, this was great.

And he’s got the snaggletooth, he’s got the big head, and there’s been some, as there was from Beijing, there’s been some great videos of

Of Ong getting stuck in doorways, , because he’s got this very, very wide head, so he can’t fit straight on, but when he turns sideways, he’s got these spikes coming out of the back so they bump and they don’t seem to bend very well. And then he’s got the little snaggle tooth, he’s great, and a lot of charm, a lot of wonderful cartoons with him, so yeah, yet again, the Koreans kill it on the mascot game.

Jill: Oh, I, yeah, I’m so excited every time I see him, or any, any form of Mongchoo. they just do such a good job, I love them, and their mascot making abilities so much, it warms my heart, so.

Alison: Especially since in Paris, we’re dealing with hats.

Jill: Right.

Alison: Though you’ll want a hat right now. It is cold. It is windy.

It is cold. They’ve had two snowstorms since the events have started. It is true winter Olympic weather.

Jill: And I do want to say, I saw your post with the picture of the double screen and the notebook and you were all prepared. And I posted on Twitter, shh, nobody tell Alison, but it snowed so we can go cross country skiing today.

And that’s what I’m doing.

Alison: Well, I was sitting at my kitchen table with two screens and my phone. Obviously I was using my phone. So I couldn’t just to cry and keep track because, and I’m going to mention feed beefs, if you don’t watch it live, good luck.

Jill: Okay, feed beefs. Yes, if you don’t watch it live or unless you’re you’re short track or long track speed skating You can’t watch it again. Okay. So

Alison: first of all, there is no feed for alpine or sliding

The only feeds I’ve been able to see so far are short track and long track and ski jumping

Jill: Yes. Okay. So I’m not missing anything except curling. Oh, right, right,

Alison: right. So if you want to watch anything else too bad,

Jill: right? You are on

Alison: highlights. You are in highlights. The problem with highlights, as I discovered today, I cannot play the highlights.

I don’t know why. So the video supposedly is a replay available. It’s a highlight reel. It should be replay available. I go to play. Nothing plays. Right now, I am unable to play anything on the Gangwon website. I can only play it on the YouTube site. So I am reliant on catching it live on YouTube or what is allowed to replay.

On YouTube. That is interesting. So I don’t know if I’m geocached out. I’ve watched too many. I’ve tried clearing browsers. I’ve tried different browsers. I’ve tried different devices, but I am having a lot of trouble streaming directly from The olympics. com

Jill: site, which is odd because I have had trouble getting the videos to go.

It’s like, I have to click a couple of times and then they’re always muted. And then I have to click that until it finally clicks on. But yeah, it’s. I, I find it hard to find the videos, they’ll have them posted, but you don’t know what you’ve seen and what you haven’t seen. And it’s just really tough.

and I understand why they wouldn’t have broadcast and feeds of all of these events, but if you are trying to get. Youth interested? I don’t know. It’s gotta be more than a high, how, how do they have highlight reels and not have a full feed?

Alison: That was my question. Because when we talked to Alexis Schaefer, we had a long discussion with him about how OBS chooses what is filmed and what isn’t filmed.

And one of the issues was you can’t have cameras everywhere. Okay, makes perfect sense. They seem to have cameras that are curling for one sheet. So whoever’s playing on that sheet is who you get, which is fine. You can’t watch four different curling matches at the same time, but if you’ve got highlights from the sliding center, why can’t you just have an uncommentated feed?

Good. Just have a raw feed. Just let me see the camera feed. But again, that costs money and that’s technology. Whereas highlights, you just have bits and pieces, but it feels disjointed. And so, I mean, everything is short track and long track, which is great. It’s right in town. They had the camera set up.

Obviously, it’s easier and cheaper, but a little bit of something else.

Jill: would be good. Especially if you’re trying to grow sports. I don’t know. While we’re on feed beefs with the stuff that you do get commentary on I’m already tired of hearing the phrase making Olympic history because you’re not really making Olympic history You’re making youth Olympic history.

Let’s make a discern between those two.

Alison: I Was gonna say the commentary has been really good. I Got a great explanation of k point I got a great explanation of the difference between long and short track. And I’ve gotten great explanations as to the officiating of Short Track.

Jill: Oh, I’m not going to deny that the people doing the commentary are, they are well trained and well versed in what they do.

I will say that. I can also tell when they have to fill time. And they’re filling time with, they’re making Olympic history, and so and so is only 15 years old!

Alison: See, I haven’t heard that as much. Different events.

Jill: Maybe, maybe, but maybe if I heard it twice, that was one time too many.

Alison: Though once again, I am frustrated with being unable to identify who the commentators are.

Yes. They’re never, you know, as Ali Hogman told us, they’re told not to identify themselves. I wish they would. Because I would like to give them credit, the only one that I, that has identified herself is Vicky Wright doing curling. She was part of the gold winning Team GB. Oh, nice. And she’s been fantastic.

And there is nothing better than two Scotsmen talking curling and saying Korea in a Scottish accent.

Jill: Oh man. Well, With our limited feeds, have you found a volunteer or officiating job you would want to do?

Alison: Well, ski jumping. I found two.

Jill: Okay, because mine is in ski jump as well. Is yours the snowblowers? Yes, it is the snowblowers. Okay, so the

Alison: first day of ski jumping, and we’ll get to that, the weather was horrendous.

It was during the snowstorm. Visibility was terrible. The wind was whipping around and maybe ten to a side. I mean at every step there were One on each side, , I think it was all men, but who could tell they were wrapped up so tightly with a snowblower blowing the snow.

Jill: Yeah, it was like a portable, like a leaf blower almost looked like thing where they could blow off their little section of the track and make it safe for the jumper to go down.

Alison: My second job since you since you would, I think, like to claim the leaf blowing was because it was so cold, the kids would get on to the platform and then sometimes come off because the windsock, a word I learned. I did not know it was called that, where they see the wind, they would wait on, they would come off the platform and stand.

And there was a volunteer who would stand in front of them and block the wind. Aww! So, I think, I think that would be. Probably more,

Jill: more my speed. I would, I would agree. Uh, we will start off with the opening ceremonies. it seemed like they had stuff in two venues. They had the main Ceremonies in the speed skating venue the long track speed skating venue and it looked like they had some other stuff going on in the PyeongChang dome Which we only cut to once when the flame arrived So I don’t know what those people were seeing or if they were also watching the ceremonies just on a jumbotron

Alison: I couldn’t figure it out either, but I did love the use of the long track.

Jill: Yes. Oh my gosh So How they used the Long Track Stadium was they, , had all of the athletes on the infield and they had a runway going from apex to apex of the turns down the length of the infield. And all of the show took place on that infield runway. All of the athletes were seated before the show started.

This really condensed the stage space that you needed to fill and made, you didn’t need as many performers. It was short, it was only an hour and a half. Because the athletes were seated, the only parade of nations was flag bearers. Which we will get to. And, I just love this. It was really, really good and really appropriate for this level of games, I thought.

Alison: And they used the ice. They did have skating.

Jill: we did have a story. Of course. But instead of having a little child that all of the adult Olympic games get stuck with, we had a teenager. And we followed this Again, appropriately. Appropriate. But, you know, note to every other Olympic host, you don’t need to have a little kid for us to be inspired or to understand what the, how the world needs to work , and make it a better place.

Alison: So this is Everyone who was a teenager in the 80s. She wore an oversized jacket and a big sweater, a little plaid skirt, tights, and socks over it!

Jill: And not just over, it was like a letter jacket. Yes. That was,

Alison: I had that outfit, didn’t look nearly as good as me on, on her as it did on the other way. She looked way better than me, but it was fantastic.

Jill: But basically the story was she wanted to be an astronaut and this followed her to school and then just help her realize her dreams and she saw future her by the end. But they had. different elements of the show interspersed with elements of ceremony.

Alison: I thought it was brilliantly done. Again, the Koreans know how to do a ceremony.


Jill: Yes. A lot of, a lot of K pop in there.

Alison: K rap. There was K hip hop on a Zamboni.

There was hip hop dancing. There was a school room scene. They really did an excellent job. of making this Youth Olympic centric.

Jill: Yeah, and it was really fun to watch, and like I said, just having it so condensed just made you be able to take in more,

Alison: One of the things I always talk about with opening ceremonies is I always want them to be time and place.

Like, you couldn’t have this opening ceremony for another event. This was very teenage centric, very Korean, very 2024. Yes. Checked all my boxes. Yes. It was

Jill: fantastic. Yes, and everybody in the audience and the athletes all wore these light up medallions that changed colors. And I wondered if they were controlled by Bluetooth or something because they would change flashing patterns too at different points in the ceremony.

It was really, really interesting


Alison: very cool. And when you looked in the stadium, there were sections that did not have medallions. And I said, Oh, that’s got to be where the press is.

Jill: That and also who did not have a medallion, Teebok.

Alison: The president of Korea did not wear

Jill: his medallion. No, he did not. I noticed that as well.

Alison: I would have worn my medallion.

I will take any opportunity, opportunity to glow in the dark.

Jill: So for the parade of nations, that was also different because all of the athletes were already in the stadium.

They only had flag bearers come out whenever possible. Two flag bearers, one male, one female. Again, we have issues with how to carry a flag.

Alison: And they also came out three together. Yes. So you had three countries coming out. So the Parade of Nations went very quickly.

Jill: It did. oh, there’s my volunteer job.

If you wanted leaf blower back, my volunteer job was getting the flags in order because they weren’t in order. I actually had to pause and go get my flag book because I said, that is not Columbia. I think that’s Qatar. And they’re in the wrong spot. And there were. Multiple, multiple flags in the wrong order.

Alison: I think that was a right to left issue. No,

Jill: it was a back to front because it wasn’t, it was, Columbia was not in any of their, when they got announced, they were not in the row and Qatar was in their place and Columbia came out after in the next row and messed that up.

Alison: Have you ever tried to get high schoolers?

To be in the correct order,

Jill: then they shouldn’t take them out three by three.

Alison: No, but even just in the right order

Jill: of the whole line. I understand. I understand. Hey, have you met me? I can do that job.

Alison: Like trying to organize graduation. Your name is Anderson. Get ahead of Baker.

Jill: Right? No. They, I would, I would get them in line.

So that, that did. Bother me. But I understand that that happens. We also need a better lesson. Kids, if you ever think you’re possibly going to have to hold a flag, let’s start learning how to hold one right now. Just start practicing. Go get yourself a flag and a pole. And learn where the flag hits the ground, because that always bothered me, maybe practice holding with somebody, because that was always fun.

Sometimes they would walk and they’d equally have the flag. Sometimes one of them would have more of the flag than the other, or they would. Potentially trade off and sometimes that happened and sometimes

Alison: it didn’t. And we saw this when they started doing these two man and woman. Yes. For the Parade of Nations where I think this is going to continue.

So we need to have some general instruction. Though I do love all the different presentations.

Jill: Yes, there was one where. And this might have been Cutter, where one, which I think was a man, held the flag and the other had a small flag in their hand. So they both had flags. And then one, which I thought was the best way to do it, one held the pole and the other held the other end of the flag out.

So you could see what the flag was and paraded it down. Excellent job. I’m sorry I didn’t write you down.

Alison: Fashion was disappointing.

Jill: It was hard. Well, it’s winter, so it’s hard. and, none of the cameras focused in on many of the athletes as they came down.

Alison: It was basically a variation on Puffy Jacket, Puffy Pants. Mm hmm. Except, Mongolia came through,

Mongolia came through with their traditional coats and hats with the wonderful fur trim and the beautiful colors. So thank you, Mongolia.

Jill: The torch and the lighting of the cauldron. You have a look.

Alison: I love the Electronic cauldron the digital cauldron. I love that idea But the actual cauldron better than the snow cauldron or the snow flame or whatever that was But it did look a bit like a lozenge

Jill: It did it it is a round in inside the stadium. There was a round Kind of podium and the top was open and that’s where the flame came out in an arc I thought it was appropriate because it was scaled down agreed agreed again if we’re scaling things down because it’s the youth olympic games And we’re keeping it in line.

I thought it was a good good flame

Alison: the torchbearers were all amazing in terms of they were all previous medalists all winter olympians And they had a lot of that enthusiasm and joy That you want to see. And the crowd really responded to them. So they recognized them and knew who they were. And it had that appropriate gravitas to highlight Korean athletics.

Jill: Right. And, and two notes on that. So it was fun to also see some medalists from PyeongChang. Back again, but what I also loved were the two kids who were para ice skaters.

They were para speed skaters. And that made me go, hey Paralympics, can we get speed skating and can we get some kind of skating racing back in the Paralympics? Would be nice. I would bet that that is a hard market to fill.

Alison: You would think it would be a lot easier than bobsled trying to get into the Paralympics.

Jill: Yeah, very true. So you never know. No, but overall, short, sweet, very well done, punchy, , this was a great way to start off the games. I was very excited going in.

Alison: Agreed. And the crowd was very excited.

Jill: Yes, yes. And then we got to the actual coverage that we had to sit through. But we’re seeing some stuff.

We are seeing some sports that are very good. Let’s look at the results

We’ll start with alpine skiing. the Super G event for the women. Gold went to Camille Vani from Italy, silver went to Ava Schackner from Austria and bronze went to Shailene Gender from Switzerland. And the men’s super G gold went to Benno Brandes from Germany.

, silver went to Asaya Sturm from Austria and, , bronze went to Andre Barnash

From Slovakia.

In the women’s combined, gold went to Maja Varoshitz from Austria. Silver went to Georgia Coulomb from Italy, and bronze went to Romy Ayrtel from Germany. In the men’s combined, gold went to Zach Carrick Smith from Great Britain. Silver went to Alexander Oxfords from Sweden. And bronze went to Liam Lillenborg from Sweden.

And okay. So I did watch the highlights on this and I had to watch them a couple of times. So I do love some of the details on this because Zacharick Smith, his mother, Emma was in four Olympics as a skier as well, which is very, very cool. He is one of three skiing brothers, very cleverly, they call them smells.

The Carrick Smith boys, appropriately, I didn’t know I got that, but he was in 27th place after the super G and won the whole thing after the slalom. People did not have very good slalom races, there was another skier named Elliot Vestlund from Sweden who was first after the Super G. He made it down the course, but not quick enough to win the whole thing. And he finished sixth overall.

Alison: Well, how many times have we seen that in combined?

Jill: It’s, it’s crazy.

And the women’s giant slalom. gold goes to Giorgia Colombe from Italy, silver goes to Shailene Zender from Switzerland and bronze goes to Astrid Hayden from Sweden. And

Alison: every time an Italian wins a medal, the announcers will say, She’s getting ready for Milan or he’s getting ready for Milan and you know what? They probably

Jill: are probably are that’s that would be interesting Biathlon Okay, here’s where I have another beef about the whole Youth Olympic Games We get emails from a whole bunch of the National Olympic committees and so Team Canada has been sending daily results and they talked about biathlon and The fact that many of the participants are doing their first ever international competition at the Youth Olympic Games, which again, there’s, I have, I have a lot of conflicting things in my brain that I’m really trying to rectify while, while I watch this, but the idea that the pinnacle.

of youth Olympic sports, or I’m sorry, the pinnacle of youth sports should be the Olympics, right? But if people are fit or are competing in their first international competitions at the games, how much of a pinnacle is that versus, say, having a nice little sports festival?

Alison: We will get to this more when we get to the hockey tournament.

Um, different countries definitely use the Youth Olympics very differently. Do you use it to give international exposure to some of your younger athletes? Do you use it to prep your athletes for two years from now? So I think some of it also has to do with where are they on the, on the pipeline?

You know, where are, do you have a really talented 15 year old who needs exposure or do you have a much more experienced 18 year old? Who’s going to be on the senior tour next season

Jill: well, and. then that makes it a different watching situation. , you have to then set expectations for a viewer or a potential viewer.

Because if we are going to watch kids getting ready for the next level of sports, then we have to know what we’re really seeing. Are we seeing the varsity team? Are we seeing the JV team or the freshmen walk ons come out? It, you know, it, it doesn’t make for a very. Level playing field and, and I understand that everybody’s abilities are going to be different, but if you have somebody who has been pretty seasoned versus somebody who is just like, oh, hey, this is your first international Olympic or international competition ever, that’s going to be very different in their ability to handle things, I would think, and handle the situation and the

Alison: pressure.

And this will come up again when we talk summer Youth Olympic Games. I would think that that again is very different because the winter Youth Olympic Games, we’re seeing a lot of new countries, a lot of countries that haven’t had success at the senior Olympic or regular Olympic or whatever we want to call it.

Right. Or the traditional Olympic level. And so they’re growing their programs. So for winter, I think it’s going to be very different than how the Youth Olympic Games is, is used for summer.

Jill: And then I can kind of get behind as a, as a way for countries to build up a winter sports tradition in a place that doesn’t have one currently or doesn’t have one at the Olympic level or the real Olympic level.

If any of you listeners are going like, I don’t really understand why you’re doing Youth Olympic Games kids. So. Anyway, we’re probably beefing on that. I’m probably beefing on that later.

Alison: It’s our test event. I said this in my post.

Jill: It’s our test event as well. Alright, on biathlon results in the women’s 10k individual, gold went to Ilona Plechikova from Czech Republic.

Czechia? Ooh, the first time I get to say Czechia. Silver goes to Maria Kudl from Germany, and bronze goes to Nayeli Moroti Caveniet from Italy.

In the men’s 12. 5k individual, gold went to, Antonin Guy from France.

Silver goes to, uh, Storm Veitsla from Norway and bronze goes to Markus Sklarnik from Slovakia. Uh, in the sprint, the women had a 6k sprint. Gold went to Carlotta Gotero from Italy. Silver went to Eila Sever from Slovenia. Uh, and bronze went to Polina Putsko from Ukraine for the men’s 7. 5 kilometer sprint.

Another gold for Antonin Guy from France. Silver went to Tove Roysland from Norway and bronze went to Flavio Guy from France. And then they had the single mixed relay, which was, uh, six kilometers for the women and the 7. 5 kilometers for the men. Gold went to France, silver went to Germany, and bronze went to Norway.

Alison: Which means a triple gold medal for Antonin Guy of France.

Jill: And France, France has a really big biathlon tradition, so I’m not surprised to see up and comers

Alison: there. Now, this did send me down a bit of a rabbit hole because I heard the name Roysland related to biathlon, and I said, is there any relation to Marta Roysland?

The answer is no.

Jill: different namespelling. Different spelling,

Alison: but I said, well, maybe that’s a translation thing, and then I got to read some more about Marta Roysland, which was never a bad thing. No,

Jill: and she’s having a baby. But it’s not Tov.

Moving on to bobsled we’ve had the monobob competition they only have monobob for the Youth Olympic Games For the women gold went to Maya Voigt from Denmark silver went to Agnes Campyol from Thailand, their first medal for Thailand in the Winter Youth Olympic Games, second appearance for the country.

So that is awesome to see that, country start to see some results for the effort they’ve been putting in. And bronze went to Mihailia Alexia Anton from Romania. On the men’s side, gold went to, uh, Seo Jae Hwan from Korea, silver went to Jonathan Larimi from Tunisia, and bronze went to Qi Zhengyu from China.

Also, first appearance in the Winter Olympics Youth or Senior Olympics for Tunisia and they got a medal.

Alison: And they have several athletes there. They also have two women monobobbers, an alpine skier, and I believe a, Short track, uh, skater. Hmm. Oh, they do. Yeah. Tunisia sent quite a healthy team to this Olympics, which is exciting to think of these kids coming to Milan.

Jill: Very true. Very true. Curling, we have mixed team competition going on. It’s two groups. in group A, the U S is a top of the board. They have qualified for the next round, , With a six and one record, China is behind them with a five and one record. Japan and Sweden are both at four and two. Norway is at three and three, and it’s not looking good for New Zealand and Turkey at one and five or Nigeria, which is also making a first time appearance.

Uh, they are oh, and six in their competition. but keep hope Nigeria and keep trying. And group B, Great Britain has qualified for the next round at with a record of five and one. Denmark and Italy are both at four and two. Canada, Korea, and Switzerland are at three and three. Brazil, Which I was excited to see Brazil have a curling team.

They are at 1 and 5 and Germany is also at 1 and 5.

Alison: I have been watching a lot of curling because I can. Because that’s what’s on the feed. Lots of matches on the feed. But it has been a lot of fun. And one thing I’ve noticed much more in the youth game is you see real personality differences between the countries.

Oh really? And I can see where it then gets to the senior team. So, for example, The Korean team, the Skip, is Kim Dae hoon, and he is like the captain of the debate team. He’s not overly arrogant or aggressive in his Skip qualities. He’s very, cheers them on, but is serious. But the enthusiasm of the team, I see where the Garlic Girls are coming from.

You know, the stars of Pyeongchang. I can see how these kids in a few years are going to play like them. Switzerland, on the other hand, just yells at each other in French and German and sometimes English. And I have seen Swiss adult curlers in a much more mature way do the exact same thing. Interesting.

And the Italians, the Italians have several players from the same club as uh, Stefani Constantini, who won with Amos Mosner, the gold in, , Pairs. And there’s this one girl on the team who’s the daughter of the coach who plays just like Constantini. Oh, nice. And I, I’m like, there she is, the next girl coming up.

So it’s. It’s fun to watch them, having watched so much curling in the last two Olympics, not having watched it before, kind of seeing the personalities come through and the kids are just, they’re amazing at this age, at this game and the Shell game and the, it’s also fun to watch the coaches where they just look at them like, no, don’t, don’t do that shot.

Please don’t. And the kids do it anyway, and the coaches just shake their head like, yeah, they gotta learn.

Jill: Moving over to freestyle skiing, we have ski cross on the agenda. For the women, Gold went to Uma Cruz. Ein from Sweden, silver went to Morgan Schutt from the USA, and bronze went to Lina Thalmann from Switzerland. For the men, gold went to Niklas Höller from Germany, silver went to Janik Sammerer from Austria, and bronze went to Måns Abertsen from Sweden.

I think I watched a highlight

Alison: of this. I was trying to watch the highlight.

Jill: Uh, moving over to hockey, we have a three on three tournament, which I thought was going to be the only hockey, but we are getting a full strength hockey later on in the games. men and women both have an eight team tournament.

So records right now Latvia, is undefeated. Uh, Austria, Denmark are both five and two, Kazakhstan and Poland are four and three. Great Britain is two and five, Taipei is, Chinese Taipei is one and six, and Spain sadly is oh and seven. The semi finals have been set, it is Latvia versus Kazakhstan and Austria versus Denmark.

On the women’s side, the Hungarians are undefeated. China is at 6 1, Korea and Italy are both 4 2, Turkey is 3 4, Australia is 2 5, Mexico is 1 6, and Netherlands sadly is 0 7. And the semi finals for that will be Hungary versus Italy and China versus Korea.

Alison: So couple notes on three on three hockey, there is three 16 minute periods, only two minutes between the periods.

Oh, okay. It goes really fast, and it is played cross ice. I did not know what that meant. I did look it up. It’s the width versus the length. Right. So in other words, you can play two matches on a standard size rink at the same time.

Jill: Yes, I did notice that they were playing multiple games at the same time.

It does go very fast. It’s a very, uh, it’s a smaller game, but it’s exciting also, again, to see countries that you don’t think of having a winter tradition in this tournament because that looks like here’s a way to get in with this hockey three on three. We can cobble together a team that big.

Alison: Well, you’d be surprised how big these teams are.

I think it’s 13 players.

Jill: Which I’m not surprised because you’re constantly switching lines still and you, with the game that short. little time in between periods. You probably do still have to have more line there. You have to have a lot of players just to be able to have everybody have fresh legs by the end or everybody be able to be standing at the

Alison: end because you only get two minutes between periods, right?

Jill: The hockey sixes will start soon. That is a six team tournament for both men and women. , For the women, it’s going to be Japan, Norway, Sweden, France, Germany, and Switzerland. I’m surprised we don’t have a US team to be quite honest, uh,

Alison: or Canada in the women’s tournament. Wow,

Jill: that’s

Alison: amazing.

And I, and I went back in history, the US have never sent a women’s team and they have a U 18 team that goes to the U 18 world championships.

Jill: Huh. I wonder why they don’t think this is important. Interesting. , for the men, it’s Czechia, Slovakia, USA, Canada, Finland, and

Alison: Korea. But the U. S. and Canada do think the men’s tournament is important enough to send a team.

Jill: Interesting. Moving over to luge, Full competition has taken place already. So, uh, luge is just two runs. I think that’s the same case for all sliding sports at the youth Olympic games is that they are two runs versus four runs that you would have at a For the women’s singles, uh, gold went to Antonia Piechmann from Germany, silver went to Alexandra Oberstolz from Italy, and bronze went to Maria Riedel from Austria.

In the doubles, uh, gold went to Italy’s Alexandra Oberstolz. Oberstolz and Katharina Sophie Koeffler from Italy. Silver went to Maria Riedel and Nina Lerch from Austria. And bronze went to Lena Riedel and Anna Lerch from Austria.

Alison: Yes, so there’s two pairs of sisters. The younger sisters compete together.

The older sisters compete together. They said because of age and size. Interesting. That they pair better and the younger sisters beat their older sisters. I’m not going to say, yay, younger sisters, but yay, younger sisters.

Jill: In the men’s competition, in the singles, gold went to Italy’s Leon Hasselreder.

Silver went to Paul Socher from Austria and bronze went to Philippe Brunner from Italy. It is the second medal for bronze. Bruner because he also got gold in the doubles where he paired up with Manuel Weissensteiner. Uh, silver went to Latvia, the team of Janis Grudulis Borovus and Eddins Edward Sepulis and bronze went to Louis Grunevich and Maximilian Kurt from Germany.

Alison: Manuel Weissensteiner is the son, excuse me, of Gerda Weissensteiner, who won the individual Luge gold in 1994.

Jill: Aww, nice to see that tradition. Can you imagine the

Alison: pressure though? You have not won a gold. I have a gold. Do you have it, Gold?

Jill: It’s one of those where, oh no, we don’t put any pressure on them. They just want to do it by

Alison: themselves. I mean, he probably spent his whole childhood at the track.

Jill: Could have. Oh my goodness. Can you imagine? Team Relay for the Luge, Gold went to Italy, Silver went to Latvia, and Bronze went to

Alison: Austria. And I do want to mention in Luge we keep talking about countries being introduced to sports.

Who has meddled in this youth? , Olympics in Luge, Italy, Latvia, Germany, and Austria. Powerhouses in the sport. Yeah, powerhouses. So, this is not one of the sports that is getting expanded through the Youth Olympics.

Jill: moving over to short track speed skating, which I did watch. a fair amount of. I’ve watched all of it.

We’re going to start with a women’s 1500. , gold went to a Yang Jingru from China, silver went to Li Jinzhi from China

and bronze went to Inoue Nonomi from Japan. This was a wild race.

Alison: You can watch this race on YouTube. It is one of the replays. You must go back because Yang Jingru just Took off on the first lap, basically lapped the competition, sat in the back of the pack, but was actually in the front. Yes. And never looked back.

And in short track, 1500 meters is the longest race they have at the youth Olympics. Usually the first several laps, everyone’s sizing each other up. And Yang just said, no. And no one ever caught up to her. There was a little bit of a move made, but she’s like, I’m in the lead in the back of the pack. And I think it confused everybody.

Jill: It did. And it was an interesting and kind of genius race strategy where you have. And I wonder if it is something you will see at other games or events where people start thinking about, well, maybe we do this a little bit differently. Yeah, she took off. It took her a few laps to get back to the back of the pack and everyone else was just like, well, I’m doing my race, which, you know, that’s what you do.

You have to, you do skate your race and you have your strategy, but you do also have, uh, you have to react to the people. Around you and by putting herself in the back of the pack. Yes, she exerted all the energy at the beginning, but then she could just conserve everything because by the time it was time for everybody else to speed up.

It was too late for them to get to her.

Alison: I wonder if this will only work on a junior level because senior more experienced skaters could be would see through this and react to it better.

Jill: Never know. Over on the men’s side, gold went to Korea’s Joo Jae hee, silver went to China’s Zhang Zhi hee, and bronze went to Korea’s Kim Yoo sang.

For the women’s 1, 000 meter, Gold went to Li Jingzhi from China, silver went to Yang Jingru from China, and bronze went to Polina Omolchuk from Kazakhstan.

Alison: Now if you’ll notice, it’s the reverse one too, from the 1500 meters. And in the final, the Dutch skater, Angel Doleman, crashed out of the final.

She was penalized. She was taken out. She crashed out of all of her short track races. But don’t feel bad for her. We’ll get to Duan.

Jill: In the Men’s 1000 Meters, Golden went to Zhang Xinyi from China, Silver went to Mohamed Bozdog from Turkey, and Bronze went to Kita Raito from

Alison: Japan. This was a wild race.

Because Zhang Bohao was originally the winner. You know, if you just watch the race. And the referee of short track, I think I have seen him more than any other of the competitors. Because there has been so many crashes at short track, which we’re used to. But I think the rules here are a little bit different into when they restart and when you penalize and not penalize.

But Zhang. Was penalized out of the gold medal. Mm mm. Oh, Zhang

Jill: Bohao. But not Zhang. Yeah, Zhang Bohao.

Alison: Excuse me. Zhang Bohao was penalized out of the gold medal because he crashed into the Korean skater who actually crashed twice, one in the original, one in the restart, and still crashed out. Similar thing happened in the B final.

Uh, Lucas Koo from Brazil was originally thought to be the winner. He was penalized for crashing into Brit, uh, Willa Murray. Leaving, uh, Hungarian Dominic Mayor as the winner. So there was a lot of noise, shall we say, in the stadium. A lot of gasping. But I do want to mention, uh, Mohamed Bozdag. The first Winter Olympic medal here for Turkey.

And the first one in short track speed skating. He was so excited. It was adorable. His coaches were jumping up and down. He was yelling things I didn’t. No, but such an excited kid. It was great to watch

Jill: in the 500 meters for the women gold went to on a philosophy Gold went to Anna Falkowski from Poland, silver went to Kang Min, in the women’s 500 meters, gold went to Anna Falkowski from Poland, silver went to Kang Minjin from Korea, and bronze went to Chung Jaehee from Korea. And in the men’s race, gold went to, Sean Bokshon Schway from USA, silver went to Zhang Jinghi from China, and bronze went to Dominic Ghergely Mayor from Hungary.

Alison: And Sean Sway was soul born and immigrated to the United States. So they treated him like a native son in the crowd. It was pretty exciting.

Jill: Very nice. Very nice. And sadly, like one of the races just ended in tears for the women. I don’t remember if it was 500, but the, there was a Hungarian skater who just.

She did not have a good event because I think she was expecting or hoping to medal and just things were happening to her right and left and she just ended one race sobbing and that was not fun to watch.

Alison: It was the 500 and both the Korean skaters were crying and I don’t know if it was because they didn’t win and they felt so much pressure being at home or if it was just overwhelmed with emotion but it is hard and this goes back to what I said at the very beginning of the show.

to see these kids start crying either from joy or from frustration or emotion. All of a sudden they look so little when they cry. They do look so young.

Jill: Also, where did they look young in the long track speed skating? Oh, this is where when I turned this on, I said, this is why we don’t watch the Youth Olympic Games.

Is because it, I mean, it was not good. I turned it on and the, and I don’t watch a ton of speed

Alison: skating. Yes, you do. You do watch a lot. You watch a lot more speed skating than the average bear. Well, the

Jill: average, yes, but, but I’m also not a speed skating junkie. But first thing I watched was a 500 and immediately it was, Oh, the technique is horrible.

And because they’re kids, they don’t have a great technique. They’re so far behind the world cup standards. When you got to the end, it was getting better, but boy, that was tough to watch. You really saw how young and inexperienced these athletes were and it really reminded of me of I’m an adult and I don’t have kids in high school.

So therefore I don’t watch high school sports.

I did watch it because it was on

in the women’s 500, which was painful. Uh, gold went to Angel Doleman from the Netherlands, so good for her for being able to do both events. Oh, uh, just wait. Uh, silver went to Jung Hui Dan from Korea and bronze went to Sasabuchi Waka from Japan. In the Men’s 500. Gold went to Finn Sonnenkob from Germany.

Silver went to Mika Johan Klevstuin. Silver went to Mika Johan Klevstuin from Norway. And bronze went to Shing So Nung from Korea. And we had the 1500, which was like watching paint dry. I felt so bad for the commentator. This is I think where I heard a lot of and they’re just 15. Oh boy. This was tough.

People were slow and, and I, and granted I get it. They’re younger athletes. This is probably very appropriate where they should be. But why are we putting that on a stage with cameras and making it a big event? Like you should be watching this because it’s, it’s, yeah. It’s not fun. It’s not fun. Gold went to Angel Delman from the Netherlands again.

Silver went to Liu Yongqi from China and bronze went to Hannah Mazur from Poland. For the men, Finn Sonnenkalb from Germany won again. Silver went to Pan Baoshu and from China and bronze went to Kuba Sota. Bronze went to Kubo Sota from Japan.

Alison: Okay. The reason we put this on the world stage is two reasons, possibly three. Angel Doleman did some of these races in the same day. Wow. She was literally running across the street and going back and forth between short track and long track. And as a Dutch skater, that’s a big deal that she is not specialized in a one particular race at 17 years old.

So I think that’s great for such a high pressure situation. If you are a skater in Netherlands. That’s, that’s a rough go and I’m glad to see her have even just short track and long track because sometimes these kids will be specialized and this is, you’re a 500 racer at 12 and this is the rest of your life.

Then if you saw Hannah Mazur on the podium, the bronze medalist, she was the classic bronze medalist. She was so excited. You probably just extended her career and possibly will see her have a senior career. because of this boost. I mean, that’s how much of a reaction she got. And the way Finn Sonnekalp celebrated both his gold medals made me so happy.

He was such a teenager who worked really hard. He may be arrogant in person. I would be surprised. He seems like a great kid. And again, Germany on, on long track, not necessarily. You know, their strongest event, maybe we will see that change because other kids will see his success.

Jill: They might. They might see his success.

Come on, he was adorable. They might see his success because that’s the one feed you can get. Fair enough.

Alison: And it was fun to watch them when they did a really good race or they were making personal bests. More than some of the other events because you could really see the reactions.

Jill: Yeah, I mean, he was fun to watch when he won.

But it did not, for me, it did not make up for a lot of JV junior varsity competition. You just hate kids, Jill. I don’t hate kids. But, again, I’m not sure. No, you’re right. I’m not sure this needs to be a thing. You’re right. Not sure. Still, I’m working on it. I’m working it out. Skeleton. Uh, skeleton for the women, gold went to Maria Vojts from Germany, silver went to Darta Niemanne from Latvia, and bronze went to Laura Legere from Latvia. Men’s, , gold went to Imels Indriksson from Latvia, silver went to Jaroslav Lavreniak from Ukraine, and bronze went to Shin Yeon soo from Korea.

Skeleton always seems to have a more variety than just the Germany, Austria, Italy. Sliders.

Alison: Latvia. We could have seen where they trained if they had awarded an Olympus to Stockholm

with sliding in Latvia.

Jill: All right, moving over to ski jumping, as we said, was windy and cold. Very windy. Lot of, it took a long time for this competition, for the singles, better for the team event. Which is good. Women’s normal hill. , gold went to, uh, Talia Budlaj from Slovenia. Silver went to Josie Johnson from the USA.

And bronze went to Ingvild Sinofje Midskogen from Norway. I have a beef on fourth place. Fourth place went to Aneska Indrakova from Czechia. Who was also at Beijing 2022. I say if you have been to the Olympics, you do not get to go back down to the Youth Olympics. There are two youth Olympians competing here that were also at Beijing.

I get that. They make the, I get, they make the age We need the age.

Alison: We need to raise the age in the Olympics. That’s the bottom line. You should not have 15 year olds. Competing at the Olympics,

Jill: but she is also on the World Cup circuit. So should, should she be on the World Cup circuit? No! But I was not happy to see that.

I just, I think if you’re going to have a Youth Olympic Games as a, a stepping stone to the Olympics, you don’t step down. You know, LeBron James skipped college to go play pro basketball, but he didn’t go, Hey, let me sign up for the semester so I can play March Madness. You know, he didn’t do that. He couldn’t do that.

I don’t think they should be allowed to go back down.

Alison: I’m going to make it happier. Josie Johnson has been getting a ton of press. A nice press about how well she’s handled this silver medal. Apparently, she, uh, imagines Taylor Swift and the reputation dance when she gets nervous. She’s been really charming on Instagram.

So, yay for Josie Johnson. Who is going to be going to the Junior World Championships. She was just named to the team.

Jill: Oh, that’s nice. For the men’s normal hill, gold went to Ilya Mizernik. from Kazakhstan. Silver went to Nikki Hummel from Austria and bronze went to Lukas Lukaszczyk from Poland.

Alison: Lukaszczyk was leading in the first jump, in the second jump, he jumped.

108 meters, which under the conditions was farther than anyone else. The crowd was going, crowd, it was a very small crowd because it was very cold. I could hear them though. On this one jump, the commentator was going wild and then he fell on the land. But even with that fall, he still ended up in third place.

So that’s how

Jill: far he went. Nice. Nice. This was another one. Where you just saw the people down at the bottom of the rankings just were Babies, I guess you could

Alison: say they looked very young their technique was a little rough There was big differences like you would see jumps Over a hundred meters and then jumps at like 60.

Yeah. Yeah. There’s a big difference between the top and bottom.

Jill: Right. And that I did not like. mixed team, gold went to Slovenia, silver went to Norway, and bronze went to Austria. The

Alison: Slovenians were so far ahead that the last jumper could have just knocked on and they still would have won. And so that means it was a double gold medal for the women’s champion, , Taha Bodlej.


Jill: Oh, that’s nice. That’s how you say that. over in Snowboard, the Women’s Snowboard Cross. Gold went to Noemi Widmer from Switzerland. Silver went to Maya Lee Ifrate Danielson from France. And bronze went to Lea Costa from France. On the men’s side, Gold went to Jonas Chollet from France, silver went to Anthony Shelley from Canada, and bronze went to Zion Bethonico from Brazil.

Alison: Whose brother Noah competed at the last winter Youth Olympic Games, also in snowboard cross. They are the Brazilian snowboard cross team. He has continued to compete and I think they’re trying to qualify for Milan.

Jill: What really bothered me was. I, I saw the highlight of this race and Cholet and Shelley were way far ahead of the other two.

And I believe an American was fourth in one of these races and was just like, Ah, rats. But the idea of seeing Brazil on the podium was awesome. But you could not see him finish the race because the highlight cut out. And did not show him. Not that I’m bitter about it.

In the mixed team cross, gold went to France team number one, silver went to France two, and bronze went to Australia one. It throws back

Alison: to the old days of bobsled, where they used to have Germany one, Australia, there was no Australia, Austria one and two.

Jill: Very nice. Very nice.

Alison: When they had Czechoslovakia teams one and two.

Jill: So that wraps it up for our first chunk of Youth Olympic Games coverage. You seem to be enjoying it. I’m having a great

Alison: time. You’re just mean.

Jill: I will take that. I might be mean. I’m enjoying watching some of it like when you can’t tell how inexperienced the athletes are or , or the lower level of capabilities, it’s fun to watch like short track is short track that there’s not a whole bunch of difference there, but the speed skating just, there were so much difference in the ski jumping.

There was so much difference and not getting to watch a whole lot. I haven’t really tuned into much curling, but, uh, there’s so many countries with a curling tradition. That you’re gonna see a lot of decent curling as well. I’ve seen some really good shots on highlights I will say that it’s been a lot of good

Alison: curling

Jill: so but when you have such a difference, it’s just it’s not fun

Alison: figure skating is coming up.

Can I have

Jill: thoughts about that?

Milan-Cortina 2026 Update

Jill: Anyway, we do have to get to the latest episode our latest installment of our bobsled novella ahead of the Youth of Olympic Games, the IOC executive board met and their meeting included briefings of upcoming games, and they have been very adamant that Milan Cortina not build a track, and they said, we will have a definite answer to that by January 31st.

Alison: But somebody knows a guy. Yeah,

Jill: right. So, Quotidiano reported that a developer has come forward to bid on the project, because if you remember in the last time, nobody wants to build this thing, but Italy really has a lot of pride in wanting to have a bobsled track, even though they demolished the one that they were going to renovate, and the one they built for Torino 2006.

That’s right. It’s no

Alison: longer. We got the pride in the bobsled.

Jill: Right. No longer functional. they still want this track to be built and have the competition in Italy. The IOC says, no, let’s have it someplace else. So a developer has apparently come forward to bid. This would be the Pizzarotti group from Parma.

And I had to Google translate with the article and it’s a little confusing, but it sounded like the tender would start at 81. 6 million euros. For track that you got a track record of not. Making your tracks last very long, Italy. The actual cost of the project would be probably over 120 million euros.

Part of the next steps include vetting whether the company actually exists, would be good, and can do the work and the time allotted. They would also need an exemption from the IOC to deliver by mid November. Because, because that’s when the IOC wants it. They want it done this year because you have to have test events.

Well, obviously a track ain’t getting built that quickly. So they would ask IOC for an extension to have a March 2025 deadline and final delivery by October 2025 and have a test event then. Can you imagine like four months you realize that your track’s not really great? I mean, like the, the March deadline would be this pre homogelation stage, which they.

That’s pretty much is the track okay and safe, but the test event a few months before the actual Olympics, what happens if it’s not ready to go?

Alison: Then you better know another guy.

Jill: So we’ll know by the 31st. I was so fascinated by that. Oh, novellas, you are not letting me down. You know,

Alison: the Italians were not going to let this go. It would have been okay if they could have put it very far away. In Italy, but the idea of it going to another country was just not going to fly. No,

Jill: there’s a lot of pride there.

So we will see what happens. We’re close. I mean, we haven’t even gone back to the issues with the GABA. In, er, the issues with the GABA at Brisbane 2032. We’ve just let that one sit for a while, but there’s stuff going on with that too.

Alison: We can have one novella at a time.

Jill: I know, and the surfing novella is pretty wrapped up, so bobsled novella,

Alison: taking over.

Nona needs to watch her stories. She has a favorite. Right now it is

Jill: Milano.

World Games 2025 Update

Jill: We also have some news from the World Games. The Chengdu 2025 organizing committee is looking for logo, mascot, and slogan ideas. So they’ve been having a national contest, but they have decided to open it up to international submissions.

They are looking for ideas and designs from art and design students, professionals from design companies, or independent graphic designers. You can participate individually or as part of a team. Deadline is February 28th, 2024. We will have a link to more information and how you can participate in the show notes.

I think they might be looking for a mascot idea. Because of the Koreans, well, you remember that panda that was dancing at Birmingham, that very, very sad, angry panda.

Alison: He looked hungry,

Jill: throw him some bamboo. But if you decide to, . Enter the competition. Please do let us know and uh, we will cheer for you. If you do decide to enter the competition, please do let us know. And that is it for this episode. Let us know what you have been watching from gang 1 20 24.

Alison: You can connect with us on X Threads and Instagram at Flame Alive Pod.

Email us at Flame Alive Call or text us at two zero eight three five two. Six, three, four, eight, that’s two, zero, eight, flame it. Be sure to join the Keep the Flame Alive podcast group on Facebook, and don’t forget to get our weekly newsletter filled with other fun stories about this week’s episode.

Sign up at flamealivepod. com.

Jill: Next week, we will be looking at the remainder of the Youth Olympic Games. We have still a lot of sports on the docket. We’ve got some freestyle skiing, some ice skating will be starting up. So, and we got more hockey and curling, so be on the lookout for those. Thank you so much for listening and until next time, keep the flame alive.