Episode 40: Mega Olympics Preview
This week Amira Rose Davis, Brenda Elsey, Lindsay Gibbs Jessica Luther and Shireen Ahmed are all together to go through every Olympic event to be held at PyeongChang 2018. Then Shireen interviews Erin jackson, the first African-American woman to represent the USA in longtrack speed skating- also a phenomenal Roller Derby Jammer and champion in-line skater.
Shireen gives a run down of the incredible Roller Derby World Cup that was held in Manchester, England.
In flaming tradition, the BIAD crew torch the burn pile. We amplify badassery of incredible women, and what’s highlight good in our worlds.
Intro (5:17) Our MEGA OLYMPICS PREVIEW (35:15) Shireen interviews Olympic speed skater Erin Jackson (45:56) Burn Pile (54:14) Bad Ass Woman of the Week, including Shireen shouting out the Roller Derby World Cup (59:25) What’s Good (1:02:41) Outro
For links and a transcript…
NBC’s Olympics coverage: http://www.nbcolympics.com/news-feed
Sports Illustrated’s Olympics coverage: https://www.si.com/olympics
“NFL’s Women’s Summit Misses The Mark” http://thefootballgirl.com/nfl-womens-summit/
“Muslim cleric thinks women shouldn’t watch football because … ‘bare knees'” https://stepfeed.com/muslim-cleric-thinks-women-shouldn-t-watch-football-because-bare-knees-8596
“Retiring Chief Wahoo is just another way for sports to utilize racism for profit” https://www.nbcnews.com/think/opinion/retiring-chief-wahoo-just-another-way-sports-utilize-racism-profit-ncna842811
“Cleveland Indians Will Abandon Chief Wahoo Logo Next Year” https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/29/sports/baseball/cleveland-indians-chief-wahoo-logo.html
Lindsay: Hello everyone, and welcome to Burn It All Down, the feminist sports podcast you need. I’m Lindsay Gibbs, a sports reporter from ThinkProgress and I will be your host this morning, or afternoon, or evening or night, whenever you are listening to this. I want to give an extra-special welcome to those of you who’ve become certified flame throwers by joining our Patreon Campaign, where for as little as $2.00 a month you get access to special rewards such as Patreon-only podcast segments and you get to support independent feminist media and help keep us going, which in turn help us make a dent in the toxic masculinity that is the sports media landscape.
All right. Now that that’s done, joining me today for this special bad-ass Olympics preview edition of Burn It All Down is the entire crew; Jessica Luther, Amira Rose Davis, Brenda Elsey and Shireen Ahmed. Welcome everyone.
Jessica: Good morning, good morning.
Lindsay: Good morning, or afternoon or evening, we don’t know. We’re timeless here. Okay, so I’m really excited to start off this episode with our very first question from one of our $10.00 a month Patreons, or patrons. I always get this wrong, but anyways, Jessica Turner has sent us a question, so I want to kick this off to everyone. She says, “For the whole Burn It All Down team, which sports are you most looking forward to in Pyeongchang?” Shireen, I have a guess. You’re going to be shocked. Women’s hockey, 100%. [crosstalk 00:01:52]
Amira: I did not see that coming.
Shireen: Here’s one thing you might not know. I’m a huge fan of biathlon, like until …
Jessica: Oh, for real.
Shireen: crosstalk 00:02:01], because I used to stan Myriam Bedard, who is obviously a Canadian gold medalist. I think she won three gold medals, and until it was pointed out to me that biathlon is actually used, it’s a militarized form of sport … I actually didn’t clue into that because you’re cross-country skiing and then you lie down and you’re supposed to be poised enough to hit a target. I’m like, “This is so cool,” until my dear friend, Courtney Despa-Szto is like, do you know what that’s used for? Military training,” so I’m kind of stepping away from the biathlon, just focusing on women’s hockey.
Lindsay: All right, that’s fair, that’s fair. Amira, what about you?
Amira: I’m toying. I really like speed skating. I also really like bob-sledding, so I like the kind of fast, death-defying sports. I’m looking forward to both of those.
Lindsay: … Because what is an Olympic’s watch party without a little scare, you know?
Amira: I find myself like leaning when everybody goes into a corner. [crosstalk 00:02:56]
Lindsay: Jess, what are you most excited for?
Jessica: It’s hard for me to pick one thing, like I love so much of this. I got excited the other day realizing I could wake up in the morning and turn it on and watch whatever’s on. Now that you [crosstalk 00:03:09] yeah, I just love it so much, the amount of sport but ah, I have to pick something. I mean I, when you mentioned skiing I was like yes, I love to watch them fly down the hill. Of course, it’s also like watching like car racing where you’re terrified the whole time that someone will get hurt. That’s definitely a part of it which makes me kind of question myself that I enjoy watching that, and of course I’m excited about figure skating. I am that person, so I’m very excited to see how all of that plays out. I want to see Nathan Chen hit all of his quads. I think that will be really exciting.
Lindsay: All right, so Brenda, what are you most excited for?
Brenda: I am most excited for Lindsay Vonn.
Brenda: I think she’s so amazing, even though she dated Tiger Woods. I forgive her and I still have a massive crush on anyone that can come back from that number of injuries.
Lindsay: Agreed, and she’s got good chances to get back on that podium.
Brenda: I know and she was knocked out of Sochi, so it’s time to see her do her thing.
Lindsay: I will literally be holding my breath. That’s what I do during the skiing events and also when they jump during figure skating. I just hold my breath.
Lindsay: If I stay really still, it’ll help them.
Jessica: No ripples, no ripples.
Lindsay: I have to say, I’m a at my heart, I grew up watching the figure skating and I really want to see what happens. I just want everybody to land all of their jumps and be happy.
Jessica: All the perfect skates.
Lindsay: All right, so thank you, Jessica, so much both for your support and for your question. We love it, and all right, let’s get on to the episode. As I mentioned we have our super-sized badass Olympic preview today where we are going to take you through every single sport and kind of give you a little dose of info to take in to get you really excited about Pyeongchang. We’ve had a, and then we have an extra-special interview. Shireen interviewed American speed skater Erin Jackson, who will be making her Olympics debut in South Korea and Shireen will tell you more about her story later. We cannot wait, so look, let’s get started.
Okay so, when we were talking about what this episode should be, I kind of threw out there, what if we previewed every Olympic event, and because my co-hosts are stupid, they didn’t say no, which they could have said no. That’s right you guys, you could have told me no, but they didn’t and so what we are going to do is take you through the whole Olympics and get you started. Obviously we’re going to try and do this in 30 minutes or less, so it’s not going to be a super-thorough preview, but hopefully we’re going to have some fun. Okay Shireen, I gave you the most Canadian sports I could think of, which were hockey and curling, so please, will you get us started?
Shireen: Curling, people, curling. Hold onto your seats now. I did a little bit of historic research and before, all of these fun facts. Did you know that 90% of the rocks used in curling are actually, they hail from Scotland? I did not know this, and now you know. The Olympic rundown for this, each team has four players plus their subs or extra players. Now this is the seventh time curling is actually occurring in the winter Olympics. This is the first time they’ll have mixed double teams, which is a really big deal.
This is the first time, as I said, there’s coed pairs. There are 13 different countries participating in Peyongchang; Canada, China, Denmark, Finland, Great Britain, Italy, Japan, Norway, the Olympic athletes of Russia, South Korea, Sweden, Switzerland and the United States. Now, I would be remiss to add that Canada usually wins everything in this Lily White sport, followed by Sweden closely. Switzerland is up there. USA is ranked fourth or fifth or somewhere off the podium.
Now, I think what’s really important about this, there’s this cute story that I’ve found. There’s a lot of hub in Canadian media, sorry buzz, in Canadian media about this following the teams. The Canadian women’s national team is actually based in Ottawa and they spoke with Jen. The captain of the curling team is called “the skipper,” which we’ve also referenced before, which I love.
Lindsay: Can you give us a little, I’m sorry, just, I’m a dumb and American. Like you said, we’re not on the podium … a very brief overview of what exactly curling is?
Shireen: Okay. No, this is really important because a lot of people don’t actually know, so you’re on the ice with brooms, a special type of broom. Think of like a Swiffer broom and so what you’re basically trying to do is actually very similar to trying, you’ve got the circles in the ice that are put in, and what it is is you are trying to knock out other people’s rocks from that. It requires an incredible amount of strategy, patience and communication with your teammates.
The skipper will lead off very very eloquently and in a dignified manner, gliding off and pushing the rock towards the center of the ice. This is what’s happening. I’m so taken with this sport, I’m like drunk on curling right now, so what happens is the other teammates, the sweepers, will literally sweep because you can’t touch the rock other than after the skipper let’s it go. If your broom touches it, that’s considered a penalty. You have to guide the rock to the center and you essentially knock out other people’s rocks from the circle and try to get yours as close to the center as possible. That’s the objective here, so it’s really fascinating and I just think it’s really good because it’s a really calm sport but it gets you super excited.
Now the story about this that I was telling you is that they spoke with the Canadian women’s team now, the four of them, they spoke with Jennifer Jones who won gold in Sochi. She’s a skipper and her advice was, “It will be loud. Cheering fans will be really really loud, so communicate different and effectively.” They’re also selling beer at the venue, which beer and curling might be a little, you know, it gets people a little excited and she said, and I think this quote is fantastic, “It’s great for the sport. It’s great for curling, and to have more people get excited about it and change the dynamic and bring more people into the venue.”
I think this is really interesting when athletes are talking about what they need to do at the Olympics, like via another international tournament because it’s different kind of fans. YOu’ll have different fans, and the culture of curling is quite understood in Canada, but in South Korea it might not be the same thing, so you have to adapt how you play so it doesn’t affect your strategy and stuff. I think this is really sound advice for all athletes. I mean, in addition to their athletic talents, they have to understand what their environment is in which they’re participating, and curling is very much part of that. Yeah, so I’m excited.
Lindsay: Let’s move on to hockey really quickly. You got about 90 seconds, Shireen. Tell us about hockey.
Shireen: Okay, 90 seconds, hockey, okay hockey first started, was featured in 1920 in the summer Olympics ironically.
Lindsay: I asked you to be quick and you start in 1920. Okay Shireen, I don’t think you understand.
Shireen: No, I’m just giving you the background. Okay first of all, really quickly, Canada man ranked first, Russia second, Sweden third, Finland fourth, USA fifth. Currently it’s following IAHF rules, which are not the NHL rules. There is much less body-checking in the Olympics. Women quickly, USA is ranked number one, Canada number two, Finland number three …
Jessica: All right, all right, all right.
Shireen: Hang on, hang on. I’m not done yet. Russia fourth, Sweden fifth … however, going into the pre-qualifying Olympic tournament, Canada beat USA three times. Go Canada go! I’m done.
Lindsay: All right. Whoo! Okay, all right. Let’s go.
Jessica: Well done, well done.
Lindsay: We gave you the sledding sports, and you have five whole minutes to talk us through bobsled, luge and the skeleton, take it away.
Amira: Okay, like many black people or perhaps other people, I don’t know, my introduction to bobsledding comes of course through the 1993 Digi Film, Cool Runnings, which is still available on Netflix and I still can hear the chants of “feel the rhythm, feel the rhyme, [crosstalk 00:11:28] it’s bobsled time!”
Jessica: It’s bobsled time.
Amira: Exactly, so not only is the Jamaican back in the winter games, it’s a women’s team this time. We also have the Nigerian women’s bobsled team who we’ve talked about on this show before, and on the US women’s side in particular it’s also the place, arguably one of the essential places where you’ve seen an increase in diversity in the Olympic games, definitely due to, in large part, the conversion of track athletes to push-starters on the bobsled.
Like we said, there’s three different sledding events. Bobsled is the one where they have the car, I’m just going to call it … the sled, but it looks like a car. You push it. You run and push, you jump in. They have brakes, and as you’ll soon learn, this makes them very distinct that they actually believe in having brakes at a thing moving downhill at the speed that they’re doing. Back in 2002, Vonetta Flowers became the first African American to win a winter gold ever. That was in bobsledding and just four years ago, in Sochi, of the 103 women on Team USA, only five were black and all five were bobsledders.
You definitely see this as a place in which there has been more diverse bobsled teams put forward. This year seven out of nine women on the US women’s side bobsled teams are black, and on the men’s side you have an increased amount of men of color in bobsledding events as well. For bobsledding, all my eyes this year are back on Elana Meyers-Taylor, who is in her third Olympic games. She won bronze eight years ago. She won silver four years ago in Sochi. Her husband’s actually an ultimate on the men’s form and bobsled team, but it’s so, if you listen to them talk about it he’s like, “I’m happy to have the experience, but I’m really there to support her.”
She’s the person with the kind of dream and the drive, and also Elana has been really one of the central people personally recruiting for this sport, and so she’s been, she’s an African American woman. She’s raised in Chicago and she’s been personally going into cities and different high schools and colleges and saying, “Hey, you’re coming out of college and you were a track star.” She played softball. “Do you want to train? Come get into the gym with me and train,” and a lot of people in bobsled credit her just as an individual with one of the reasons we’re seeing such an increase of diversity in this sport, and that is largely my bobsledding preview.
Bobsledding is by far the calmest of the three sledding sports. I’ve been terrified reading about the other ones, most notably skeleton, which is insane. Everything I read about it just terrifies me more. You’re literally, this is the sledding event if you see it, where you’re laying on your stomach, right? You’re laying face-down on your stomach on this little sled with only a helmet, and your sled can go up to 90 miles per hour, and this is what’s insane, there’s no brakes. There’s no braking mechanism. Essentially what you’re doing is you’re holding on for dear life and you don’t ever, like it’s a game, it’s a sport of mille-seconds, so you barely want to turn right? You don’t want to rock at all because everything slows you down.
Jessica: Is this the one where you’re, are you head first?
Amira: You’re head first.
Jessica: Oh, okay. Oh my god. I don’t even want to think about it.
Amira: Yeah exactly, so what you do to turn is literally drag your big toe on the ice for corners.
Jessica: Shut up.
Amira: It’s actually, if people want to read more about this, a really great article that just came out in the New York Times this week called, “Why Skeleton Racing is so Brutal on the Body.” That brings us to the last event, which is the luge, and this is the one where you sit up on the sled. Again, there is no brakes, though, and so you’re sitting up on the sled and you get your own push by rocking back and forth and then you start going down the hill upwards of 100 miles per hour, and you’re leaning back. Again, it’s a one-person, you know you’re going to be kind of turning. I’m showing you this, like you can see me, in the luge right now when I’m recording, but that is the last sledding event.
For this one I do have an individual story that I did want to draw attention to to close this out. That is the story of Shiva Keshavan who is in his sixth Olympic game, from India, and the last two Olympic games he’s been the one-man Indian team. He grew up in the Himalayas and got recruited into the sport during the 90’s when they wanted to diversify the sport and increase their number of countries participating in the winter Olympics. This is what I’ll leave you with, so he goes to this training camp as part of expanding the country’s representative event, and they start by showing all of these people at this kind of introductory training camp, luge highlights, but then all of the best crashes, which I don’t know about you guys, but it wouldn’t be my kind of recruitment method.
Then what they did to bring it full circle is they screened a very special movie, yes, Cool Runnings, so even though I just at the beginning about Cool Running being my entry to the sport, it seems like for many Olympians that we’re going to be seeing competing in the next two weeks, it was also their inspiration for picking up the sled as well.
Lindsay: All right, Jess. You get to preview all of our X Games-type sport, the snowboard and the freestyle skiing, you are on the clock. Take us through it.
Jessica: All right, so I’m going to do my best. I’m not going to touch on every single thing. Freestyle skiing and snowboarding, like Lindsay said, these are basically your X Games events. Each one has five. I’m going to start with the halfpipe because this is definitely the best known of all these sports. Both snowboarders and skiers actually do this event. As competitors go down a half-pipe, they launch off the edge of the course into the air where they do tricks.
I think the best-known half-pipe snowboarder is still Shaun White from the US, the red-haired kid. He’s now a 31 year old veteran. He won gold in 2006 and 2010, but finished fourth in Sochi, so he’s going to be up against Scotty James from Australia and this Japanese teenager, Ayumu Hirano … and Hirano who’s actually a silver medalist in Sochi, he recently won X Games where he was the first person, you guys, in competition, to do back-to-back 1440’s, which means once he launches he rotates four times in the air before landing. He scored a 99 out of 100 on that run. Then on the women’s side, let me just say, Chloe Kim, Chloe Kim.
Jessica: Chloe Kim.
Jessica: She’s 17, Korean-American and the best in the world. She was the best woman to ever land back-to-back 1080’s which are three rotations in the air. She did that in competition. She recently won the gold at X Games. She edged out Arielle Gold. Maddie Mastro took the bronze. Kelly Clark finished fourth. Kim, Gold, Mastro and Clark are the four women competing for Team USA in snowboard halfpipe, so you could see them sweep a podium.
I just want to quickly mention about Kelly Clark. She’s 34. This is her fifth Olympics. She won gold in Salt Lake in 2002, and bronze in both Vancouver and Sochi and to put it this way, she’s been competing longer than Chloe Kim has been alive.
Jessica: Okay, so now let’s talk about the moguls, which is a free-style skiing event, and you’ve probably seen this. It’s the one where the individual skiers go downhill, full of little bumps, so their knees are like coming up to their chin the whole time, or at least it looks that way, but then twice in the middle of their run because why not, they have to jump off of ramps and do mid-air tricks. The skiers are trying to do the fastest route they can, because that factors into your overall score, how fast you go, but then also your skiing form where you keep your knees together, and what you do in the air when you actually do your tricks.
It’s really intense to watch it because it’s all so fast. The guy to watch in moguls is this Canadian, Michael Kingsbury, who’s dominated as of late by, he won 13 straight world cups, but he has yet to win a gold medal. You should be on the lookout for Japan’s Ikuma Horishima, who beat Kingsbury only a few weeks ago, breaking that 13-win streak. On the women’s side, you will see the name DuFour a lot, because there are three of them competing, Justine, Chloe and Maxime. These three Canadian sisters took gold, silver and 12th place in Sochi, respectively.
All right, still going. Here we go. The next event is slope-style. Both snowboarders and skiers do this one. Like moguls, it’s one at a time. They do a downhill run, during which they jump on and off of rails and do tricks off of ramps and walls. It’s one thing to see the snowboarders do this, but the skiers ya’ll, they will go down the hill backwards sometimes so they can start their jump in that direction. To repeat, in slope style they ski backwards, and this is the event that the American, Gus Kenworthy, will compete in. Yeah, Kenworthy, who got silver in ski slope-style in Sochi in 2014. He came out publicly the next year, and you maybe want to Google pictures of Kenworthy and his boyfriend, Matt Wilkas, just to see them for research purposes. You’re welcome.
Okay, so the next two events are similar. One is the aerials and skiing, and then the new event is “big air” in snowboarding, but they’re basically the same thing. One competitor goes down a hill and then up a huge ramp, and while in the air they do a series of twisting tricks. They’re judged on their take-off, form in the air and landing. In snowboarding, Canadians Max Parrot and Mark McMorris who was nearly killed in a back-country snowboarding crash in British Columbia last March, they’re the favorites in the “big air.” World number one, Anna Gasser of Austria, is the first woman to get a perfect score of 100, which she received last March, so she’s someone to watch.
All right, finally, last but not at all least, I saved this to the end. I cannot recommend the snowboarder skier cross events highly enough. It’s fucking wild, it’s wild, and you must watch these, the cross-events. A group of racers start at the top of the course, they stand behind a barricade that opens when the horn blares and then they race. They race, y’all. The first across the finish line is the winner. They go up and over jumps, around corners, do jumps while taking corners. They fly down the hill at high speeds. Ski cross can top up at 35 miles per hour. Snowboarders can get up to 30.
They fight for position, but they can’t intentionally pull or push anyone else. They crash. The whole thing is so thrilling. American snowboarder Lindsey Jacobellis has won 10 X Games gold medals, but she crashed in the last three Olympics. In Sochi, you should go watch the gold medal run from Sochi. She had a huge lead and then crashed out on her own just before the finish line. It was horrible, so I’d love to see her win this year. One of the top female competitors in ski cross is Georgia Simmerling from Canada, who, you guys, already has a bronze medal but she got it in team pursuit cycling in 2016 in Rio.
Amira: Oh my god.
Jessica: That’s pretty cool. All right, so that’s it for freestyle skiing and snowboarding. That’s barely a scratch on the surface. I actually left a sport out, but you can’t, I mean I just can’t wait to watch them. They’re going to be thrilling.
Amira: Also, I just Googled Gus Kenworthy and his boyfriend, and wow, wow, wow, wow, wow.
Jessica: You’re welcome, you’re welcome.
Amira: Thank you.
Lindsay: All right, I’m going to take it over here and take on the more traditional skiing events where we have alpine skiing, nordic combined, ski jumping by Avlon and cross-country skiing. Whew. All right, let’s start with alpine skiing, which is I think what most people think of when they think of the Olympics. You have 11 different competitions. You have your speed events, downhill and super-G. You have your technical events, slalom and giant slalom. Then you have a combined event and all five of those events, both men and women compete in individually, and you also have a new team event which is coed teams of four, which will face off against each other in a single elimination bracket. Love that.
Okay, so for the men this is going to be dominated by Austria, Norway and Switzerland, which is really no surprise there, but for the women you have, this is where Lindsay Vonn will hopefully get back to the podium after missing Sochi due to injury. You also have Mikaela Shiffrin, the prodigal daughter of US Skiing who could win three gold medals. She’s favored to win three gold medals and she could also potentially even medal in Super-G, even though she’s only competed in that twice this season. She’s still good enough that she could medal in that.
Lindsay: I’m really excited to watch all the skiers. It should be a blast. Then you have your biathlon, which combines cross country skiing and rifle shooting. Shireen was talking about that a little bit at the top of the show. It’s quite fascinating. You have sprint, individual pursuit, mass start and relay, and what I really love is that how each athlete fares in sprint and individual events determines how far behind he or she starts in the pursuit event. Even though these events are separate, they use your scores to kind of put them together, which is really fun.
Lowell Bailey is a 36 year old who has a chance to become the first US gold medalist in the biathlon. Biathlon is the only winter sport in which the US has never won a medal, but Lowell Bailey actually won the world championship last year. Next we have cross country skiing, which is pretty much the same as just normal skiing except it’s flat. You’re not on an incline. You have 12 events total within cross country skiing, six for women and six for men. Professional racers average 15 miler per hour for continuous distances up to 35 miles. That’s ridiculous.
Jessica: Wow, that is ridiculous.
Lindsay: That’s absolutely ridiculous. Jessie Diggins is looking to become the first US women’s cross country skiing medalist and second US cross country skiing medalist overall since 1976. One of the things about cross country that does bother me, and it’s the same in biathlon is that you have different top distances for the men and the women, and we see this in other sports across the Olympic field where, you know, women will do a 3000 whereas men will do a 5000. It just drives me crazy because it’s so arbitrary.
Amira: It’s based on these kind of outdated tropes that women are too fragile for long distances. This was the ban on distance running. We see it both in the winter and the summer Olympics, and this is such a vestige of outdated sexist thought.
Lindsay: Speaking of outdated sexist thought, no sport gets that as much as ski jumping. Let me read you a quote about why they did not allow women’s ski jumping into the Olympics.
Jessica: Yes, please.
Lindsay: This is a quote from years and years ago okay, from a Russian ski jumping coach. He said, “If a man gets a serious injury, it’s still not fatal, but for women it could end much more seriously. Women have another purpose, to have children, to do housework, to create hearth and home.” That quote is from way back in 2014, which was a [crosstalk 00:27:07].
Jessica: Oh my god.
Amira: To create hearth and home, are you serious?
Lindsay: You know how much hearth and homing we do. There’s so much of that.
Amira: What in the world? Why are people just …
Lindsay: That was in 2014, a month before Sochi, but in Sochi, ski jumping did finally debut for the women. However, if you think there’s gender parity now, you’re mistaken. The women are still only allowed to jump on the normal hill, which is 95 meters, and not the large hill, which is 125 meters, and that also means they’re not allowed to be in the team competition, so the men have three ski jumping events which is normal hill, long large hill and team event, whereas the women just have the one, which is the normal hill. Also, this means there’s no women’s event for the nordic combined. With the nordic combined event is cross country skiing and ski jumping and that’s only for men.
There’s no women’s event, so this is just all really really sexist and I would like to quote Lindsey Van. She’s one of the three women jumping for the US in 2014. She was one of the big pioneers of the fight to get ski jumping included in the Olympics, and she was just talking about there’s all this worry about women’s ovaries. I love this quote from her. She said, “It just makes me nauseous, like I kind of want to vomit. Like really? I’m sorry, but my baby-making organs are on the inside. Men have an organ on the outside, so if it’s not safe for me jumping down, that my uterus is going to fall out, what about the organ on the outside of the body?”
Yeah, I think that’s pretty good logic. Why aren’t we worried about the men’s …
Brenda: It’s amazing.
Lindsay: … baby-making organs if we’re really worried about the babies? Anyways, I’m not going to get into all the favorites. I am going to say, root for Sarah Hendrickson at the US and that’s all. I’m not going to do Nordic Combine because like we mentioned, sexist. Okay.
Brenda, can you finish us off with the figure skating and the speed skating?
Shireen: Wait wait, I just wanted to add in that that quote you quoted was mind-blowing for me, because I, like it was mind-blowing … the quote about the organ on the outside, because in so many facets we see women, like it’s one of the reasons women weren’t allowed to drive in Saudi Arabia for so long, because someone used to say it would hurt their ovaries and do this to their whatever. It’s just, no one ever used that logic, which is super simple and super accurate. I’m really, right now I’m like mind-blown.
Lindsay: About the men’s organs being on the outside?
Lindsay: So why aren’t we more concerned, yeah.
Lindsay: It’s true and it makes uh, sexism, okay. All right, Brenda.
Brenda: Figure skating, everybody’s kind of, it’s a crowd-pleaser, right? A lot of you probably know a lot more than I do, because it’s the most artistic and intimate, it’s like gymnastics. You can see every detail of the bodies of the athletes and they can really showcase their personalities, right, because they get music this year, and the first time with lyrics, which evidently was a big controversy in figure skating, so you know some people may have missed that there’s a team event now since 2014, since Sochi, that combines the four events; women, men, pairs and ice-dancing from the 10 qualifying countries. There’s a collective medal too, again, kind of like gymnastics.
For the first time in a while, like we’ve already said the US men have a shot at the top and I’m currently like, all of you probably being torn to pieces by Nathan Chen. His Super bowl commercial, have you guys seen his Super bowl commercial?
Jessica: Not yet, not yet.
Amira: No, not yet, not yet.
Brenda: Okay, so you haven’t lived. Basically it juxtaposes two versions. It’s got the men’s ice hockey team watching him as he practices, so it’s got kind of two versions of masculinity. It shows him thumbing through his glittery costumes and bench-pressing weights and falling, and how the ice hockey guys are kind of looking on in admiration, and it’s really a great commercial because it doesn’t, it’s not deroging either version, right, but it’s presenting two different expressions of athleticism. It’s very nice and with it, but he’s got some tough competition.
Yuzuru Hanyu, right, the Japanese skater is a defending gold medalist and world champion and Javier Fernandez from Spain is a beautiful skater. He’s a Real Madrid’s fan so we don’t need to root for him at all, but all three of them are doing things that weren’t done three years ago, which is throwing up four, five quadruples in their programs and stuff, so it’s pretty awesome.
In the women’s slot as far as I know, my favorite is Evgenia Medvedeva, this Russian woman, who jumps with her hand over her head, [Omash 00:32:00] and Brian Boitano, and in pairs the US, there’s only pair in figure skating. It’s Alexa Scimeca-Knierim and her husband, Chris Knierim, and they’re only about 14th in the world, so they may or may not medal but who knows? They’ve overcome a number of personal tragedies. Both of them have had multiple surgeries because of grave, grave injuries. They fell in love on the ice after four years of partnering and married in 2016, so it’s pretty adorable, and sometimes they skate to Metallica, which is awesome. Keep an eye out for them.
As the show has already gone over, the North Korean pair … they’re the only North Korean athletes, Ryom, Tae Ok and Kim, Ju Sik are the only Korean athletes that qualified in the conventional manner. They have so much pressure. Remember we featured them in A Day in the Life. I actually sang in that episode? They’re so amazing and they’re being hounded by the South Korean press. I can’t imagine the pressure on them from all sides, so that will be really exciting. Also, a shout out to pairs figure skating Harley Windsor, who’s going to be the first indigenous athlete to represent Australia in figure skating, and yeah, and he and his partner, Ekaterina Alexandrovskaya are also an amazing story. They haven’t had the money of other figure skaters. They were ranked really low, huge underdogs, and they delivered this stunning free program in Taiwan to capture the gold in junior titles.
Okay, so that’s figure skating and I’m just quickly going to go through speed skating. I’m petrified of speed skating. I watch it. I watch it through these fingers over my eyes in between, right? The Dutch are like machines that dominate this event and are expected to do much the same this year, so no surprise there. In the US there’s a really fun rivalry between Brittany Bowe and Heather Richardson Bergsma, who as kids competed against each other in in-line skating, so they’ve known each other for a very, very long time. They’re both romantically involved with Dutch speed skaters, crossing the lines, crossing the lines. Heather married Joris Bergsma, who gold-medaled in that long-ass men’s 10,000 meter and Brittany’s dating Manon Kamminga, who they’re a hit lesbian couple in the Netherlands, so if you want to take out a cute instagram, that’s definitely it.
Brenda: In short checks, speed skating, just the one thing that’s pretty cool is Park Se-yeong, who had two gold medals in Sochi for the winnings, has switched to long track, so you win two gold medals and then you’re like, “You know what? I’m just gonna change this all up,” and I just really admire that. She switched. A lot of the South Korean women are heavily favored, so it could be a really big party for the home crowd. Yeah, so I’m really excited now for speed skating. Just one final thing. There’s a new event, the mass start, where instead of doing the two skaters where they qualify by time … there’s 24 skaters that start at once for 16 laps. People fly all over the place and yeah, I’m even more frightened than usual, and really excited.
Lindsay: That is amazing! I cannot wait! All right, speaking of speed skating, this week Shireen interviewed Erin Jackson. Shireen, do you want to tell us a little bit about that interview?
Shireen: She was amazing and I was so happy to talk to her. We talked a little bit about her, what she’d studied, where she’s going … a little secret that a lot of people might now know about her is they laud her for being an incredible addition to Team USA long track speed skating, and that is relevant to a lot of other things we’ll talk about today.
I’m so excited to have long track speed skater and roller derby phenom, Erin Jackson, on Burn It All Down Today. Erin, thank you so much for being on the podcast.
Erin Jackson: Yeah, no problem, happy to be here.
Shireen: You’ve been described as a bad-ass in-line skater, hard core roller derby jammer and you actually, one of the things that was most amazing, out of the many things, not just the academic achievements and the physical accomplishments, was that you actually made the Olympic team, the first African-American woman representing the USA in long track speed skating, but that was four months out after you actually started the sport?
Erin: Yeah, so what a lot of the media outlets are leaving out is that I have like a really extensive background with in-line skating. Yeah, it’s been like four months combined on the ice, but I’ve been in-line skating pretty much my whole life.
Shireen: Yeah definitely, you’re like a world championship experienced, wasn’t it the Eleven By In-Line Championship medalist that you were as well, like 11 times?
Shireen: You’re definitely amazing in the skating and I think it’s just because skating on ice, can you tell me a little bit where the difference is in terms of in-line skating via the ice, because I probably you know, I go to Scooters every once in a while and I can keep myself up, but I feel like I would fall flat on my face on the ice. Was that transition, it was clearly not difficult for you, but could you tell us about it?
Erin: Yeah, it was pretty hard going into the sport just because like I said, I’ve been skating my whole life. It was kind of hard to imagine that I found a type of skating that I couldn’t do, because when I first went out there it was a little rough … but yeah I think just that feeling of being behind in the sport and not really keeping up with people, I think that really pushed me to go to some extra training sessions and just really try to figure it out, because the main difference is the technique.
Especially the way I skate on in-lines, I’m a pretty light-footed, quick-footed skater and that style of skating doesn’t really work on the ice. It’s more like the pressure and having powerful pushes and all that stuff, so yeah, I’ve really been trying to work on my technique and finding out how to adjust to be a better ice skater. I feel like I’m still learning, I’m still going to the beginner classes and all that stuff, so I’m just figuring it out.
Shireen: Is it more like a glide? For those of us that aren’t familiar necessarily with speed skating … I mean I’m Canadian. I follow a little bit of speed skating like it’s a national pass time to follow ice sports here, but is it more of a glide as opposed to the shorter stride that you would do in in-line skating? Is that kind of, because that’s what it looks like. Is that true?
Erin: Yeah, that’s correct and that’s mainly, or it’s one of many things that I’m struggling with now is the glide. I was working on that yesterday, skating with the rest of the national team, just trying to follow their steps and lengthen out my glide a little bit because I have a pretty short stride at the moment.
Shireen: Yeah, but considering you started four months ago, I think we can be pretty forgiving about it. Is there something particularly that, was it just you woke up one day and were like, “Hey, I’m going to try this,” or was it anything specific that kind of drew you to that?
Erin: No, I’ve been thinking about it for a while. There’s pretty consistent flow of in-line skaters over to the ice, so it’s been something that’s been on my radar for a while, but I wanted to, most important finish my degree before I thought about anything like that, and then my whole college experience was pretty crazy because I was doing two other sports at a high level between in-line and roller derby, and then I was doing full semesters and summers at school. When I finally graduated I just took a year and a half to myself to just enjoy the life that I was missing out on in college. After that I was like okay, let’s try this ice thing.
Shireen: For those of you that don’t know, Erin actually studied material science and engineering at the University of Florida, so it’s not as if that course load was easy at all in any capacity. That’s, have you always been able to balance your academics with your, you just make it seem seamless, the academic portfolio and the rigors of being a very dedicated athlete?
Erin: Well yeah, I actually, honestly I’m a pretty lazy person so it kind of helps to have a really busy schedule because it keeps me on task and keeps me flowing from one thing to another. I mean if you take out the fact that I didn’t get much sleep through college, the rest of it wasn’t too bad because I just kept a busy schedule.
Shireen: Right. The other thing I was going to ask was that because you’re so busy, do you have like self-care practices or downtime? What do you do to take care of yourself after all of this stuff?
Erin: Yeah, I’m a pretty quiet person. I keep to myself. I have a lot of down time anyway, but yeah, just making sure that I have some time to relax and just watch Netflix.
Shireen: What are you watching right now?
Erin: You caught me off guard with that question. Now I’ve got to think. I’m finishing up with American Horror Story. I’ve been watching it like very slowly. American Horror Story, the Hotel season … I started Stranger Things not too long ago and then just some other ones that I’ve been watching over the years …
Shireen: That’s amazing.
Erin: I love Suits and New Girl and Gotham.
Shireen: Cool, that’s awesome. Yeah, I’m catching up with mine. I just finished The Crown, but I’m going to watch it all over again. I know those, like I keep trying to say, “Decolonize your mind, Shireen,” but I keep coming back to these British royal shows. I don’t know what that’s about, but just a question on sort of the racial dynamics in terms of roller derby. I’m in Toronto and there’s an amazing derby scene here, but it’s not as diverse racially as, that they’re trying to make the league. Was that your experience as well, because you were one of the top jammers in the United States? Did you see that? It was a little more diverse, and then going into speed skating where it’s the same issue. We don’t see many people of color necessarily in those sports.
Erin: Well yeah, there’s not much diversity. Yeah, I notice it from time to time. It doesn’t really stand out in my mind as a thing, but yeah, I definitely notice it every now and then.
Shireen: Do you think that just you being out there opens up sort of some ideas for other kids? Have you, do you have an opportunity … I know you might not now but on the circuit, to see other young girls of color, young boys of color sort of looking at you going, “Wow, I think I can do this too?”
Erin: Right, so I haven’t had much time in that light, but it’s been just a couple weeks that it’s kind of been brought to my attention that this is a pretty big thing, right?
Shireen: Yeah, you’re a very big deal Erin. Let me tell you, you’re a big deal.
Erin: Yeah, something that I’ve said to a few other people you know, I realize people kind of look to people who look like them, like in terms of what they feel like they can do, so when people watch the winter games and roller derby and other forms of skating, they might not see a lot of people of color out there, so yeah, it’s just, I’m looking forward to being one of those people that other young kids and people of color can look to and say like, “Hey, she’s out there doing it so we have some representation, so this could be a thing for me as well.”
Shireen: Absolutely, and do you have any advice for anybody who’s sort of reluctant and may not be familiar with those winter sports and like, “Should I do this? Should I try?” that are just a bit hesitant. Do you have any advice for those folks?
Erin: Yeah, just like get out there and do it. Don’t let things like that hold you back. You know, even if you feel like there aren’t many people like you out there, it’s always nice to be a first.
Shireen: Yeah, and speaking of firsts, we’re all totally rooting for you at the Olympics for everything. We’re very excited, so you have a campaign right now selling t-shirts and fund-raising. You want to tell us a little bit about that?
Erin: Right yeah, so this was all, it all happened pretty quickly and I had to really think about okay, I have to change all my plans. I have to try to get out to Korea. I have to try to get my family out to Korea, so …
Erin: Yeah, I started a t-shirt fund raiser to raise some money to get my dad out there, because one of the first things he said was, “Yeah, I’m going to go into my retirement account so I can go out there.” I was like, “No, let’s not do that yet. Let’s see if we can raise the money.” I don’t want him to use all his retirement money to get out there, so yeah, the fund raiser’s been doing really well.
I’ve raised enough money to get him out there and then luckily, my twin cousins are going to make the trip as well just because I was kind of worried about my dad traveling internationally by himself and he needed to get an expedited passport and all that, so they’ve been kind of taking care of the passport and the travel and everything, so I’m really excited that they get to come too. I’m going to just keep raising money and try to fund their trip as well.
Shireen: That’s amazing, and just so you know, a couple of our team members from Burn It All Down have already got your t-shirts. You don’t ship to Canada, so I had to send it to my colleague, my cohost for her to bring it to me. I was like, “Are you discriminating against Canadians? Is that what’s happening here?”
Erin: I’ve had a lot of messages from people. They’re like, “Oh, you don’t ship to where I live,” and all this stuff. I’m not handling the shirts at all. It’s going through another company.
Shireen: Yeah, for sure.
Erin: I’ve asked them a couple times and just like through the system that we’re using, they’re not able to ship outside of the United States. Maybe in the future that can be something that I can explore. I just didn’t have time to handle it myself.
Shireen: Of course.
Erin: Someone else was like gracious enough to handle it for me, so I’m taking what I can get.
Shireen: For sure, but you know what? I won’t feel sad, because if you write, “I love you Shireen,” on the back of your suit while you’re racing, I’ll be okay. That’ll be okay. No, I’m just kidding. No, that’s, we wish you all the best. I think that’s amazing. I’m so happy. We’re actually going to put a link and tweet out your fundraiser as well because I think that’s really great, and hopefully by the time folks are hearing this you’re probably already going to be in Korea, so I mean I think … What are you looking forward to the most for the Olympics, personally?
Erin: Really the whole experience, just getting out to Korea for the first time. Really looking forward to walking out in the opening ceremonies and then of course, for my race, it’s kind of toward the tail end of the games so I’ll have a lot of time to adjust to life out there and adjust to the track and all that, and then when I’m done I guess the experience just continues, being able to watch other sports and yeah, just really enjoying it all.
Shireen: That’s amazing. Well, we wish you all the best. We’ll be following you closely, and thank you so much for being on Burn It All Down. We appreciate you and we just think you’re amazing.
Erin: Well thanks. Thanks for having me.
Lindsay: All right everyone. We have a big episode today, so we are going to try and fast forward through these Burn Piles, but let’s, but we still need a burn. We don’t want to stop burning. I’m going to start actually with the NFL’s Women’s Summit, which Diana Moscovic said in her Dead Said piece, “The mindless pandering that was always meant to be.” Natalie Winer, who is a writer from Bleacher Report that I love was there, and she said that it, her tweets from this were incredible. “The tweets were things like the owness is not entirely on you to solve sexism.” There were pink pillows and flowers surrounding the women’s summit …
Jessica: Oh no.
Lindsay: There was a cookbook handed out at the women’s summit.
Jessica: Oh no.
Lindsay: There was a cookbook and [crosstalk 00:46:52] handed out at the women’s summit. Michelle Tofoya had a particularly great women’s summit. She is a great NFL broadcaster, but she said apparently during the women’s summit that she always wished she was as pretty as Maria Munez. She also said, gave the advice, “Do not worry about your gender, ladies. If you make your gender an issue, then it will be an issue for everyone,” so the owness is on the ladies not to make your gender an issue.
Jessica: Oh, we should just stop making it a thing.
Lindsay: Yeah right, that’s the way to solve all of this.
Jessica: Now we know.
Lindsay: I’m going to end this with Natalie’s all caps tweet which says, “WE ARE COMPARING OVERCOMING SEXISM TO TOM BRADY’S ULIKELY ASCENT TO BECOMING THE GREATEST QUARTERBACK OF ALL TIME AND I’M HAVING A MELTDOWN,” so we’d like to throw the entire NFL Women’s Summit into the burn pile. Burn.
Group: Burn! Burn it!
Amira: Yeah, you know real quick, I’m just basically burning the displacement and havoc wreaked on local communities during big time sporting events, so the Super bowl that’s happening today, the eve of when we record, or the night whatever, you know what I mean … but one of the things that’s happening is a lot of homeless youth, particularly homeless youth of color are being displaced. They’re shutting down transit lines, and I don’t know if you know, but Minnesota’s cold.
Jessica: Real cold.
Amira: When you shut down transit lines, it takes away a huge place that people use to shield themselves, especially if they’re homeless. In addition to that, there’s been extreme rise in the number of police forces on the ground, and again Minnesota is a place that’s had it’s issue of policing against black and brown bodies, Philando Castile for instance, Jamar Clark, and then you also have ICE people agents on the ground reportedly in Minnesota when you have a high refugee and immigrant population, and so as everybody’s consuming the game or the commercials or the halftime show, Hashtag Justice for Janet, the other thing that’s happening that I’m burning is that there is this all too familiar story of local people on the ground being hurt and harmed and displaced by big time sporting events, so I’m burning that.
Lindsay: All right, Jess?
Jessica: Yeah, so on Monday, January 29th, 2018, the Cleveland Baseball Team announced that they would no longer use the racist caricature of Chief Wahoo on their uniforms starting in the 2019 season, so the major league baseball statement about it said that the team has finally agreed that, “The logo is no longer appropriate for on-field use,” except I guess during the 2018 season where they’ll be wearing it, but still good, mostly I guess.
I don’t know, Simon Moya Smith an Oglala Lakota and Chicano journalist wrote an op ad for NBC news site, Think, in which he pointed out, “They haven’t banned fans from wearing red face and headresses at the field. They haven’t abolished Chief Wahoo and they haven’t apologized for enabling racist behavior, nor creating a hostile environment for Native Americans in Cleveland and in Ohio. On top of all that, the team’s going to hold onto the trademark and they’ll continue to sell merchandise with Wahoo on it.”
The New York Times explains it this way. “They will not relinquish the trademark and will still be able to profit off sales of merchandise bearing the logo at the stadium and in the Cleveland area. By maintaining the trademark, the team with the supervision of MLB retains control of the proliferation of the logo. If it relinquished the trademark or announced the intention never to claim its protections, another party could legally assume control of it or use the logo in other ways.” Use the logo like what, they’re going to sell gear just like the team is doing? I saw someone suggested they should just give the logo to a native tribe and let them figure out what to do with it.
Okay, so two more things to note. One, I think I saw the racist image roughly 20,000 times this week. The media kept using it in articles about how it’s no longer appropriate to use this racist image, so anyone see the irony in that? Then number two, Roger Goddell took less than 24 hours to publicly say that the Washington NFL team is still cool with their racist-as-hell team name and it’s not going anywhere. I’m glad that Chief Wahoo won’t be on uniforms anymore starting more than a year from now, but everything else about this, especially unending excuses for why native mascotry and why racist imagery gets to stay, needs to burn. Burn it.
Brenda: I am going to burn the Chieftans of South American football, soccer because basically there’s a tournament that starts two months from now and it’s the women’s Copa America Feminina. It’s all of South America and because they have such little resources, so few resources for women and so little support for them, it is the tournament that qualifies the women for the Pan American Games, the Olympics and the World Cup all at once and this is, the men get years to qualify for these things. It’s now two months out. They don’t know when and where the matches are.
Brenda: The Chilean National Stadium was denied them because it costs money and they said they could only hold this tournament, so Marta can only play in a stadium that’s free. The Chilean National gods-that-be of soccer said, “We don’t have the money to rent out the National Stadium.” Who’s it for? Who are the taxpayers paying it for, if not for their national team. It’s an outrage. No television station has taken up the rights, even though they’re for free. Yeah, yeah, and so you know what, and this isn’t just Chile. Any of these countries, national federations or Cuomo Ball, could actually step in and support this but none of them have.
I was on a phone call with the women’s national players and they are really excited about the coach and the tournament, but very disappointed that there’s been zero publicity, so I would like to just continue to burn and it’s almost a weekly thing, but it’s so shocking the shitty-ass attitude and sexism of South American soccer.
Group: Whoo, burn.
Lindsay: All right, Shireen, quickly wrap us up.
Shireen: My burn is I saw a story go through about a Muslim cleric in India that actually said that he didn’t think that women should watch men’s football, soccer because women would lose their shit over looking at the knees. The knees, because this is what we all go for. Now I know this is a situation where women in my community are super used to us saying, “Oh well you know there was all these restrictions placed by interpretive misogyny from faith,” but my problem is knees are not the first thing I look at. I’m sorry. I feel like he’s totally misinformed here and also, I’m trying to make lemonade out of lemons so the whole idea of women being consumed by the knees of the men which is why, never mind the beauty of the sport and the elegance of the way the beautiful game is played … so my take on this, as much as I want to burn these comments and this is something that happens incessantly to isolate women from sport, is okay fine. We won’t watch men, so can we start watching women? Let’s amplify the women’s game, so on the one hand I’m like, “I hate you and I hate this interpretation,” and be, “Let’s make the most of it and amplify the women’s game.” I want to burn that. I want to burn trying to use faith to keep women away from sport because it’s not okay. Burn.
Lindsay: All right, after all that burning, let’s lift up some amazing women. I want to start this segment a little bit differently with Shireen telling us about the Roller Derby World Cup. Shireen, take it away.
Shireen: I’m so excited about this. Thank you so much to a bunch of people. Lady Trample, who has actually won the MVP in 2017 World Championships. Was Wasupinme from Manchester, UK England where the World Championships are currently happening. Team USA versus Team Australia will be in the finals, and that will be live stream via BBC and I’ll be retweeting a link so anyone wants to watch, and also the great folks at Frog Mouth who provide the kits for I think a majority of the teams participating, they sent a really cool primer for what to look for when you’re watching Roller Derby.
A couple things, USA won the last two World Cups, but this time Australia might be favorited. There’s 30 teams, including Team Iran which had to change their name to Team Irn, and I burned this a couple months ago.
Jessica: Oh that’s right.
Shireen: Yeah, because of the problems they face, and Korea as well. There’s a great non-colonial aspect to this. There’s an indigenous team from all around the world highlighting [inaudible 00:55:29] and indigenous girls and the crisis in US and Canada. It’s made up of 22 women. One of the, Mick Swagger … I mean this is really interesting. Derby players all have cool names, so her name is Mick Swagger and she is in charge of the Team Indigenous and her quote is, “The main points of our mission statement is to do with being from borderless nations and we want it to reflect a traditional way of people gathering for ceremony, for trade, to dance, to socialize, to share community and culture.” I think it’s also really important to note that Team USA takes a knee for the anthem every time.
Lindsay: Love it.
Shireen: Yeah, and WFTDA recognized the first day of the tournament was Black History Month ensured this is the read podcast with three black women who play with Team USA, including one of our very own Erin Jackson who we interviewed for long track speed skating. Erin Jackson is actually a famous derby player as well, so that kind of ties in with our over interview.
A couple quick take aways. WFTDA is one of the most progressive federations in the world. You can play in the gender category in which you identify which means non-binary gender [inaudible 00:56:36], they’re more than welcome. There are absolutely no clothing restrictions. You can play with hijab. You can play without hijab. You can play whatever you want. It’s incredible, as long as there’s no jewelry to hurt people. There’s no women’s side or men’s side. The sport was created by women for women in gender fluid and non-binary folk, so it’s really incredible.
Lastly, I think this is really important. One of their major tournaments was supposed to be held in the USA, but following the Muslim ban that Trump invoked, they decided to change the location to protect the athletes from all over the world, and they were one of the first sports federations to come out to talk against that. I think that’s really important. I’m a huge fan of derby becoming one. I want to wish all the participants really well. We tweeted the New Zealand team which goes by the indigenous name Aotearoa. They were doing the haka and I just fell in love with that, so yeah to the derby. Congratulations to all the achievements and I look forward to seeing more.
Lindsay: That’s amazing. It’s amazing, thank you for that. All right, continuing on, I wanted to give a quick shout out to the survivors of Larry Master abuse who continued to speak out in court this past week. He had another sentencing hearing in Michigan for separate criminal charges in the last sentencing hearing, and it was inspiring to see more and more women come out. The number of victims is now up to 265. Thank you women for continuing to speak up. We just support you indefinitely, as long as you need whatever you need, we’re here and sending you love. Can I get a drum roll for bad-ass woman of the week?
Lindsay: All right, it is to quote Jess, “Holly Fucking Rowe.”
Lindsay: We love you. Holly Rowe is one of the best broadcasters in the world and she’s also fighting cancer at the same time, and she tweeted … you’ll see Holly Rowe doing all sorts of things, but she especially loves women’s basketball. She tweeted earlier this week, “Dear America, I apologize in advance. One of my cancer treatments side effects is a rash. You call it South Carolina. The biggest women’s basketball game of the year. It’s on my face, delightful. Pretend you didn’t notice. Glass half full, scan on Tuesday shows progress but I look hideous doing the best I can.” We would like to say, “Holly Rowe, you’re fucking beautiful every day. You’re an inspiration. You’re an inspiration, not just because you’re fighting cancer, and that’s incredible, but just because you’re really great at what you do and you’re out here repping for women in sports media and for women in sports on a day-in, day-out basis, better than anyone in the industry, so thank you, Holly Rowe.”
Shireen: Yeah, Holly.
Lindsay: Whew, all right guys. What is good this week? Shireen?
Shireen: I’m really excited about a couple of things. First of all, the Arab Women’s Sports Tournament is happening in Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates now, and two of my really good friends, one a former guest, Bilqis Abdul-Qaadir is there playing with a club from Mogadishu playing against a friend of mine, Indira Kaljo. Both of these women were pivotal in breaking down the FIBA ban and the Hijab ban and they’re both there playing, and I think that’s spectacular. Then, the most exciting thing for me is I’m going to see Brenda in Montreal this week.
Lindsay: Love it!
Shireen: Brenda got snazzy new boots for indoor. We’re going to go play some soccer and we’re going to go meet some women’s hockey fans, so that is really exciting.
Lindsay: Love it. All right, Brenda?
Brenda: Yeah, I’d like to echo that. I’m really excited to see Shireen and I’m planning on having a clinic from her and getting better at soccer and getting some really good selfies because she’s great at that and it will help me look good, hopefully, so I’m really looking forward to actually having hip photos of myself that I can share. Really quickly, Pussy Ryan announced their concert, their first US tour, their concert line-up. It’s really exciting. They’re coming to Boston on the East Coast and I’m thrilled because I really admire what they’re doing.
Lindsay: All right, Jess?
Jessica: Yeah, what’s good in my life is I love this podcast called, “Still Processing.” Each episode’s a conversation between two New York Time’s writers, Jennifer Worth and Leslie Morris. They’re brilliant. They did an episode two weeks ago that I specifically want to tell people about. “We have a right to be mad,” is what it’s called, and they threaded together Ed Sheeran being left out of the major Grammy category, the reaction to the babe.net piece about Azeezan Sorry, the Women’s March and Nasar’s victims reading their statements in court. It is so smart. You will get smarter listening to it. They are so good at what they do. The podcast is still processing. It’s great, go listen to it.
Lindsay: Love it. All right, Amira.
Amira: Yeah, happy Black History month guys. I’m a historian, and so every month is Black History month as it should be.
Amira: It’s 11 days before Black Panthers premier. It’s never too early for a countdown. I’m very hype about that. I’m really touched by Randy Moss’ tears of joy to be included in the Hall of Fame, and because here at Burn It All Down, we know that sports and hearth and home can all go together, I’m happy that I spend this entire recording with Zachary on my lap and minimal distractions.
Group: Aw, hi Zachary.
Lindsay: We love you, Zachary.
All right. Building off of Amira’s seeing Randy Moss’ tears, my favorite moment of the week happened really just in the last 24 hours when Terrell Owens got into the Hall of Fame, finally…
Lindsay: Jason Whitlock tweeted, “Congrats man. Yes, I wasn’t a supporter, but I sincerely hope this brings you joy, peace and a new level of respect. You were a tremendous football player. Be a good teammate to your fellow Hall of Famers.” Terrell Owens responded to Jason Whitlock, “Kick Rocks.”
Amira: Isn’t that really the best way to respond to Jason?
Lindsay: It’s just perfect. All right.
Jessica: Hall of Fame tweet, Hall of Fame tweet.
Lindsay: Hall of Fame tweet. All right, thank you all so much for listening to this super size, super packed Olympic preview episode. You can support us on Facebook, on Twitter. You can go to our website, burnitalldownpod.com and of course, our Patreon campaign. All right, for Shireen Ahmed, for Amira Rose Davis, for Brenda Elsey, for Jessica Luther, I’m Lindsay Gibbs, keep throwing those flames.