Episode 41: USSF Elections, Continued Reports of Sexual Abuse in Sports, and Ski Jumper Lindsey Van
The entire BIAD team is together this week. Shireen Ahmed, Amira Rose Davis, Jessica Luther, Lindsay Gibbs and Brenda Elsey talk about the results of the United States Soccer Federation elections, sexualized violence by coaches in swimming and other sports. Then Lindsay chats with US Ski Jumper Lindsey Van.
The BIAD crew burns what desperately needs to be burned, amplifies the phenomenal women, and share what’s good.
Intro (5:02) the United States Soccer Federation elections (14:37) sexualized violence in sport (28:44) Lindsay interviews US Ski Jumper Lindsey Van (42:16) Burn Pile (55:46) Bad Ass Woman of the Week (57:08) What’s Good (1:01:41) Outro
For links and a transcript…
“U.S. Soccer Federation Elects Vice President Carlos Cordeiro As New President” https://deadspin.com/u-s-soccer-federation-elects-vice-president-carlos-cor-1822896709
“Hope Solo says Athlete Council ‘failed many’ in U.S. Soccer election” http://www.espn.com/soccer/united-states/story/3378822/hope-solo-says-athletes-council-failed-many-in-us-soccer-election
“How Carlos Cordeiro Wound Up Winning U.S. Soccer’s Presidential Election” https://www.si.com/soccer/2018/02/10/carlos-cordeiro-us-soccer-president-election
“Speed Skating Canada investigating as coach takes leave of absence” http://www.cbc.ca/sports/olympics/speedskating/michael-crowe-speed-skating-canada-investigation-1.4489632
“Swimmer Ariana Kukors Describes How She Says Her Coach Groomed Her For Sexual Abuse” https://deadspin.com/swimmer-ariana-kukors-describes-how-she-says-her-coach-1822885618
“It will be a while until the Team USA brand is trusted again” https://thinkprogress.org/searching-for-the-olympic-spirit-in-a-post-nassar-world-7592a8254259/
“USOC Will Not Make Personnel Changes Until After Independent Investigation Into Their Handling Of Larry Nassar” https://deadspin.com/usoc-will-not-make-personnel-changes-until-after-indepe-1822858599
“¿Por qué Perú no participa en los Juegos Olímpicos de Invierno de Corea del Sur?” https://elcomercio.pe/peru/peru-ira-olimpiadas-invierno-corea-sur-noticia-495906
“Anti-Muslim protests in PyeongChang get Winter Olympics prayer room scrapped” https://sports.yahoo.com/anti-muslim-protests-pyeongchang-get-winter-olympics-prayer-room-scrapped-141802474.html
“Fox News VP Bemoans Diverse U.S. Olympic Team: “Darker, Gayer, Different”” https://deadspin.com/fox-news-vp-bemoans-diverse-olympic-team-darker-gaye-1822842926
“Smriti Mandhana guides Indian women’s cricket team to series win over South Africa” https://www.hindustantimes.com/cricket/smriti-mandhana-guides-indian-women-s-cricket-team-to-series-win-over-south-africa/story-9QyV5bI7VbCPyE8YBcen3H_amp.html
Malala Fund’s Game Changers: https://blog.malala.org/game-changers/home
“Briana Scurry Enters National Soccer Hall of Fame after Overcoming Brain Injury, Suicidal Thoughts, and Financial Woes” https://theundefeated.com/features/briana-scurry-enters-national-soccer-hall-of-fame-after-overcoming-brain-injury-suicidal-thoughts-and-financial-woes/
“Laura Gómez, colombiana en Olímpicos de Invierno: “No sé cómo estoy aquí”” https://www.elespectador.com/deportes/otros-deportes/laura-gomez-colombiana-en-olimpicos-de-invierno-no-se-como-estoy-aqui-articulo-737790
Shireen: Welcome to this week’s episode of Burn it all Down. It’s the feminist sports podcast you need. I’m Shireen Ahmed, freelance sports writer and cat lover in Toronto, Canada. And this week I’m joined by the entire team: Amira Rose Davis, assistant professor of history at Penn State and all-around badass; Jessica Luther, independent writer, General Slayer, an author of “Unsportsmanlike Conduct: College Football and the Politics of Rape in Austin, Texas”; Brenda Elsey, associate professor of history and undeniable genius at Hofstra University in New York; and the indomitable and brilliant Lindsay Gibbs, sports writer at Think Progress in DC.
On today’s episode, we will actually be discussing United States Soccer Federation elections. We will be talking sexual abuse in swimming, and we have an amazing interview that Lindsay has done with Lindsay Van, this famous American ski jumper. But, before we get there, we’ve been watching a lot of Olympics. We’ve been seeing everyone’s been really excited. I would like to talk to you about films. Now friends, what inspires you, I mean Amira you’ve talked a lot about Cool Runnings last week, right? [crosstalk 00:01:19] Never had that.
Amira: [crosstalk 00:01:19] Yeah, mon.
Shireen: So, what movies, if any, had inspired you?
Lindsay: Inspired? Well, I don’t understand winter sports, so there’s none that have ever inspired me. There’s some I’ve enjoyed. The Mighty Ducks, for instance, [crosstalk 00:01:38] is classic.
Amira: [crosstalk 00:01:38] The Mighty Ducks is classic.
Jessica: Cutting Edge! The Cutting Edge!
Brenda: Oh, yeah!
Lindsay: He was my teacher at NYU.
Shireen: He what?
Jessica: What? What?
Shireen: I had such a crush on that guy. Jessica, you would love the Cutting Edge.
Lindsay: Well, yeah.
Brenda: I never saw it. I never saw it. But, I like the-
Brenda: No, I never saw. I don’t know. I’m not, like, I usually watch Ingmar Bergman movies and rock back and forth every Saturday night.
Jessica: Of course, you do.
Lindsay: Alright, alright.
Brenda: What’s the one with the guy, he’s, like, a ski jumper in England, and it’s a real tearjerker?
Jessica: Eddie The Eagle. [crosstalk 00:02:15] Eddie The Eagle, whatever it’s called. I don’t know what the movie’s called.
Brenda: [crosstalk 00:02:15] I love that one. I saw that on a plane.
Brenda: Okay, I love that.
Shireen: And did you guys … Have you seen-
Amira: Yeah, I have no idea what [crosstalk 00:02:22] you guys are talking about.
Shireen: [crosstalk 00:02:22] Have you seen the-
Jessica: Hugh Jackman is in this movie, people. It was a big movie.
Brenda: It was great. It was like, it shows how stuffy the IOC is, because in the-
Jessica: Yes, yes, you’re right.
Lindsay: I’ve never heard of this movie. I’ve never heard of this movie.
Jessica: What? Now I’m gonna look it up. I’m looking it up.
Brenda: He’s adorable. He’s like this little kid, and the only thing he wants to do is be an Olympian. So he tries everything.
Jessica: Yeah, it’s just called [crosstalk 00:02:48] Eddie The Eagle.
Brenda: [crosstalk 00:02:48] And-
Jessica: [crosstalk 00:02:50] Eddie the Eagle, with Hugh Jackman.
Brenda: [crosstalk 00:02:50] And he gets … He’s a real guy who eventually competes in the 1988 Olympics, I think?
Jessica: [crosstalk 00:02:56] I don’t know.
Amira: [crosstalk 00:02:56] Hmm.
Shireen: I don’t know. I mean, I was thinking a little more Men With Brooms. Have you guys seen that curling movie? Probably not.
Jessica: I didn’t know there was a curling movie.
Brenda: That’s called Men With Brooms? That’s a real name?
Lindsay: That is got … That is an Onion article, that is not true, that is just not true.
Shireen: It got released, it says 2002, I believe it was directed by Jason Preistley. I could be wrong, but-
Jessica: [crosstalk 00:03:19] Oh my God! Right?
Brenda: [crosstalk 00:03:19] That’s a punk band. That’s a punk band. Men with brooms.
Lindsay: Okay, well, you guys. Can I issue a correction on myself? Sorry, already, I know this is early in the podcast. But it was actually Ice Castles with Robby Benson that was … Robby Benson was my professor.
Jessica: Robby Benson was your professor at NYU?
Lindsay: He taught film at NYU and I ran this club, because why not? And we did all these collaboration projects so I would always invite him to come on the panels and speak and he [crosstalk 00:03:49] loved it some much.
Jessica: [crosstalk 00:03:49] Oh my god.
Lindsay: And everyone would just ask him questions about Ice Castles.
Lindsay: And Beauty and the Beast, because, of course, he was the voice of The Beast.
Jessica: Of course, he sang the … Yes, absolutely.
Amira: Oh, I did not know that.
Lindsay: This is how I prepared [crosstalk 00:04:03] for a career in journalism, everyone.
Jessica: [crosstalk 00:04:03] Alright, cool.
Lindsay: Just so you know. NYU Film School.
Amira: Well, Shireen, I have a question. Will that Men in Brooms movie help me understand curling more? You guys should’ve seen me texting Shireen this weekend for every and all curling questions. I understand that sport not at all.
Shireen: We did a lot of googling. Like, a lot of googling.
Amira: Well, I laugh because by the time I asked, like, five question Shireen was like, [crosstalk 00:04:29] “here’s Wikipedia,” by the way.
Jessica: [crosstalk 00:04:29] No, the rooms were really cool [inaudible 00:04:31].
Shireen: I laugh, cause I try to explain it, it was really good. We only featured men, which annoyed me, but it was pretty good.
But, anyways, I think that’s excellent. And there’s a really cool … What’s it called? Not Cool Runnings, the other one. Don’t you remember all the hockey … The Hot Slap Shot, that’s the name of it, can’t believe I forgot it. The hockey movie. Okay, these are all, I’m Canadian and I realize this.
Okay, anyways, so let’s dive in to our first segment.
Brenda: On February 10th, U.S soccer elected it’s first latino president, Carlos Cordera … Cordeiro, sorry. In the first contested election since 1998. That other century that some of us lived through. And a lot of people don’t realize-
Amira: I think we all lived through it.
Brenda: Well not our listeners, necessarily.
Amira: Oh, okay, you’re right, sorry.
Brenda: Many people don’t realize that their local club is actually governed by U.S soccer, so these elections are, kind of seen in this abstract way, but they affect real grass-root soccer. So, Cordeiro, now, will head up U.S soccer and then the next level is he represents the U.S at CONCACAF and also at FIFA. So it’s a totally vertical structure. The only thing that U.S soccer doesn’t govern in U.S soccer is high school and college.
And one of the interesting things about this election is that it was actually the athletes’ council that opted to vote as a block. They make up about 20% of the voting, and they’re the ones that swung it from Kathy Carter, who was another viable candidate, we talked about her a few episodes … To go for Carlos Cordeiro.
Some background on him. He’s basically just a long-time fan and amateur player. But he served a lot of various roles within U.S soccer. Most recently, vice president. And he’s also represented U.S soccer already on the CONCACAF council and FIFA State Holders Committee. And, I have to say, both those post make me queasy. As well as 30 years of experience working as a banker [crosstalk 00:06:33] for Goldman taxing included.
Shireen: [crosstalk 00:06:33] Well-
Brenda: So, yeah, right? So a lot in the soccer community, a lot of people have complained he’s more of the same. But, at the same time, he’s a Miami Beach immigrant. And he definitely has shown he cares or understands in, at least, the theoretical way, the economic challenges of the talented kids out there that U.S soccer needs to start doing right by.
His mom is from Columbia, his father’s Portuguese, but he’s born and raised in India. And after his father’s death he immigrated to the U.S as a teenager, landed a scholarship to Harvard, it’s pretty a fabled immigrate story. And just the other week on Burn it all Down, I had a full meltdown over the U.S’s loss of talented Johnathan Gonzales to Mexico, and complained about everything to do with their lack of respect for Latinos and other immigrants. So, I kinda feel like this is a hopeful moment, you know? When racist nationalism’s on the rise, when all these politicians are trying to create harmful images of Latinos, it’s kind of a cool thing that a Latino immigrant was elected the head of U.S soccer.
So, that was, sort of, my rose-colored glassed on the situation. But, obviously, there’s a lot to see. Did you guys pay any attention to it? To the election? Or were the Olympics too overwhelmingly cool?
Shireen: Well, I was super interested in how low Hope Solo’s numbers were. And, I mean, she was 1.5% at the end of it, as opposed to his 40-something percent, I believe. Cordeiro’s was like 48 or 49%, and they were very low. I didn’t expect her to do well, but I didn’t expect her to do that poorly, either. Brend, is that right?
Brenda: Well, in the end, he got about 68%. It’s three rounds of voting, so Hope, I think, the highest she registered was in the first round at close to 5% [crosstalk 00:08:20].
Shireen: [crosstalk 00:08:20] Yeah.
Brenda: And then as people start to consolidate their votes into blocks and discuss the results, then it gets, you know, more and more loop-sided with each [crosstalk 00:08:28] round.
Shireen: [crosstalk 00:08:28] Uh huh.
Brenda: So, Cordeiro really pulled ahead, especially of Kathy Carter and Hope Solo, Kyle Martino, those other candidates registered lower and lower. So … But not a huge number, 5%, I think, was the highest she got close to.
Jessica: Like, how different is this guy form the guy who just left?
Brenda: So there’s a lot of debate about that. I mean, the general idea is that Cordeiro was Gulati’s vice president. He is his right-hand man. But, he did announce his candidacy before Gulati said he wasn’t gonna run. So, supposedly, it’s like Grant Long, I’ve seemed to think that that indicated that there was a break, that Cordeiro really saw. And I think it might have been prompted by the Johnathan Gonzales and some other cases about the coach’s attitudes towards, quote, un-quote, minority players.
Lindsay: Yeah, and I mean, I Hope Solo, as we have said, all the caveats to how problematic she can be, but, you know, she did have a lot of good points about how U.S soccer has treated the women’s team, while, you know, this vice president was one of the leaders. And, you know, there’s, I think, reason to be concerned that this was a way to keep, kind of, the political … I would say relationships at the top of the, you know, Viva Soccer World intact, while making a change, kind of, on the face. But, it does feel a little bit more like a cosmetic change than a real change, which is what a lot of people are saying U.S soccer does need.
Shireen: Yeah, I think that’s a huge point. Like, think what Lind’s just said also leads me to believe, rather, that there needs to be women at high levels of executive … Cause executive positions, that means type of federations. And I’m not just saying that because pay-equity issues, I’m saying that just generally because, consistently, men have proven that it’s the same thing coming in and out. Like, Infantino at FIFA is really, truthfully no different. He’s just a taller, shinier headed version of Sepp Blatter, in my opinion.
So, it’ll be really interesting to see what happens. I mean, there was a lot of friction between the woman’s national team and Sunil Gulati so, I think we’ll see what happens. I mean, you know, and see what happens with Cordeiro and see what type of support he garners from different people. I mean, that’ll be very interesting. And to see, actually, as well, what type of relationship goes forward with the professional leagues. I’m really looking forward to seeing that, as well.
Brenda: I mean, in general, I think it’s gonna be really interesting to watch because the “debacle”, quote, un quote, of U.S soccer has so much surrounded the men’s team. And one of the things Cordeiro’s proposed is to have new positions within U.S soccer to kind of remove the power of the executive.
Now, if that really happens, it would actually open up two new administrative positions that, hopefully, women could actually occupy, over women’s soccer. You know, in order to manage, so I think that could be really interesting. I mean, Kathy Carter’s a woman, but, you know, I mean, Clarence Thomas is an African-American and he does nothing for African-Americans, like, I mean, I’m just not sure. She didn’t convince me that she was necessarily any different than any of the men that were running in this case, whereas Cordeiro does speak, you know, a fluid Spanish speaker. I also think he speaks Portuguese, which is really important because there’s a lot of Brazilian communities in the U.S. So, I guess, I just feel like, in this case, there’s reason to be cautiously hopeful?
Shireen: I’m not hopeful, but, okay.
Lindsay: I actually have to say that I agree.
Brenda: Why are not hopeful, Linds? What is it about Cordeiro that you’ve seen, besides the fact that he was vice president? Because, if he wasn’t vice president then people would say he had no experience in U.S soccer. So what, for you, does that?
Lindsay: For me, it’s just kind of, I think, you know, writing about all the stuff I’ve been writing about lately I just don’t have faith in any of the these institutions anymore until they prove to me that I should. You know? So I’m just kind of over giving anyone the benefit of the doubt, or, you know, this cautious optimism. Because I just feel like these institutions are just so corrupt right now, and U.S soccer has just made so many mistakes that it’s no different. And, so, you know, win my trust back.
Shireen: I agree, completely, with Lindsay. I’m not jaded, but I’m super cynical when it comes to type of regulatory bodies, these kinds of bodies. So they’ve gotten prove that they deserve the respect and then I’ll start respecting.
Amira: Bren, do you think that … Is there any evidence to say that he is going to make an effort to grow the game on the U.S side with Latino populations, is that, like, something that he’s indicated or is that anywhere in his platform? Or is it just that he is Latino himself?
Brenda: Yeah, most of what … It’s kind of interesting, I mean, most of what he did, rather than have a splashy PR website, was he visited, I think, eleven different states to visit their youth soccer teams, and talked a lot about how expensive it is. And, the socioeconomic part is what makes it so hard to diversify U.S soccer. And, so his focus on, you know, youth soccer, and visiting those contingencies rather than going to the professional side, which Kathy Carter seemed to be much more interested in doing, would, in fact, be the way to make the game more diverse and to reach out to different populations. Especially Miami, L.A, New York City, you know, where kids of color are playing and kids who have real socioeconomic challenges …
Hope Solo kind of said the same thing, but she doesn’t have any relationship with youth soccer, really. And how many parents, I mean, I’m sorry to say, but how many parents are, like, “Go be like Hope”? It’s complicated, you know, that’s a complicated-
Lindsay: Hope Solo wasn’t the answer. [crosstalk 00:14:13] I just think she brought up good problems.
Brenda: [crosstalk 00:14:13] Right. Right, no totally.
Lindsay: Wait, no, brought up important discussions.
Brenda: I agree.
Lindsay: But I’m not saying, like, Hope Solo should be president.
Brenda: [crosstalk 00:14:18] No, I totally agree.
Shireen: [crosstalk 00:14:18] Yeah, I agree with that too. I don’t think she should … She doesn’t have the diplomacy required to be able to do that. So …
Lindsay: A lot of this relates to our next topic, too. But yeah …
Shireen: So moving onto our next topic. Amira, do you wanna lead us in?
Amira: Yes. Well, yeah, so over the last few weeks we, along with, you know, many reporters have been tirelessly talking about the Nassar case. But I think we wanna take a longer view because, as we have said before, but I don’t really wanna labor the point, while attention has been on Larry Nassar and the failures of U.S.A Gymnastics they are not the only sport in the Olympics governed by the U.S O.S, the United States Olympic Committee that has been accused of, or on the record of, mishandling sexual abuse allegations and actually findings.
And so, we know, for instance, right, that the reason why Rachel Denhollander came forward about Nassar was actually because the IndieStar had written a whole report on U.S.A Gymnastics at large. This summer, for instance, U.S.A Tae Kwon Do was named as a defendant with the United States Olympic Committee I defense along with Marc Gittelman, who was accused of and eventually convicted of grooming three underaged athletes. He would get them drunk in hotel rooms and rape them. They were aspiring Tae Kwon Do competitors.
One of the interesting things there is that they actually removed U.S.A. Tae Kwon Do and the U.S.O.C as defendants. And so, when they eventually convicted him and ordered him to pay 60 million dollars to three of his victims: Yasmin Brown, Kendra Gatt, and Brianna Borden. It was actually him as an individual. Yet people don’t have short memories. And so U.S.A Tae Kwon Do finds itself, again, back in this conversation about rampant and widespread sexual abuse.
Along with that, about two weeks ago, we had a former U.S.A swimmer, Ariana Kukors, who wrote a stern piece against her former coach Sean Hutchison, alleging that he had groomed her for years and had an inappropriate relationship with her when he 36 and she was 15. She says, quote, “I think back on those times now, tearfully asking why no one helped me, why no one stepped in to save me from this monster. It’s still hard to comprehend, but Shawn had perfected the art of grooming. I wasn’t even aware that I needed saving.”
This essay that she penned and put online revealed new information about an investigation that had happened a few years again and that had found nothing. An investigation that she and other critics had said was essentially a shame. She said the investigator asked her, like, 12 questions and it wasn’t really an in-depth investigation, which parallels and lot of information we’ve been hearing around the U.S.A Gymnastics case.
Lastly, we also have in recent weeks a U.S.A speed skater who reported to the speed skating folks in Canada that their current coach, Micheal Crowe, who was formally a U.S.A speed skating coach, had engaged in sexual misconduct with her and other speed skaters in the United States for years. So he is now suspended as they monitor these allegations. And so, this week, our own Lindsay Gibbs wrote a really great article asking this question: What do we do with the Olympic spirit in the time as we just, kind of, discussed where we don’t trust the organizations?
Now, this past Friday, the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, they gave a deadline. They’re opening their own investigation into U.S.A Gymnastics U.S.O.C, but also into these other sports, as well. And so this past Friday was the deadline for U.S.A. Gymnastics, U.S.A Swimming, and U.S.A Tae Kwon Do to provide proof that they’ve handled these allegations in a diligent and in-depth way. The letter to the U.S.O.C and all the committees that they received said:
“The abhorrent abuses that’s associated with U.S.A Gymnastics and other sports are outrageous and to raise concerns about whether the U.S.A Olympic Committee has sufficient oversight mechanisms to protect young athletes from abuse and mistreatment.”
And so, in a time, I ask you, in a time in which concerns about concussions and blackballing and all of this has affected the conversations about how we watch and consume a sport like football, what do we do with the winter Olympics upon us as we watch these displays of Olympic spirit knowing that we have multiple cases of widespread sexual abuse and the lack of the U.S.O.C to protect it’s athletes? How does that affect us watching the Olympics at this moment when we see that they’re about money, brand, and winning over the safety of the athletes?
Lindsay: It’s been really hard for me, honestly, to watch these Olympics with this in the background. There is a one quote that really stuck out to me in my research, and it was from the Washington Post. That, the Washington Post has been really great reporting on rampant sexual abuse within U.S.O.C sports. And there was an exchange, this was when there was a sexual abuse complaint from U.S.A Tae Kwon Do in 2014, and Steven Estey, he was the lawyer for a victim, asked U.S.O.C Associate General Council, Gary Johanson, if it was a top priority for the U.S.O.C to protect its athletes from sexual abuse. And Johanson responded:
“The U.S.O.C does not have athletes”. And the Lawyer, of course, pressed back and said, “Walk me through that. You send athletes to the Olympics, but they’re not your athletes?” And he said, “That’s correct.” And he said, “Why are they not your athletes?” And they said, “Well, they’re nominated by the national governing bodies to the U.S.O.C.” So then, when asked what Team U.S.A. refers to, if not athletes, Johnson responded, “That’s a branding terminology. It’s intellectual property.”
So, you’re watching the opening ceremonies and these athletes, you know, are dressed head-to-toe in “Team U.S.A” gear, marching together, you know, you’ve got Mike Pence there waving down at them, and, you know, Gangnam Style playing, and, you know, it’s just a really weird moment. But at the same time you’re thinking, the U.S.O.C sees this as a brand, they do not see these athletes as individuals they need to protect.
And one of the things in Olympic sports, in one of the ways, that you get to see this continue to happen, that it’s so hard to find accountability. Is that these careers of these athletes are so short, that by the time one group figures it out, they’re done with their career, and they’re on to the next, you know, cycle. And especially with the Olympics being only every four years, you know, the pressure to stay silent and to go with the status quo is just immense.
And, look, we’ve talked a lot of about Larry Nassar and what he did and the abuse during medical treatment. But a lot of what this sexual abuse is grooming, and it’s inappropriate relationships between coaches and underaged teammates. That if you talk to people in the swimming communities say that it was just the norm for years, and it seems like in Tae Kwon Do, also. Like, you know, people just look the other way. They don’t see these athletes, especially young female athletes, as people. They seem them as property. So the fact that they’re fifteen and involved in a relationship with their 35-year-old coach, people [crosstalk 00:22:20] don’t see that as wrong.
Amira: [crosstalk 00:22:20] Precisely, they actually see it as, like, a natural occurrence of dedication. Is that you’re putting your all into your coach. Obviously they’re gonna have a tight relationship, right? This is why it’s so easy to groom because of the way people look the other way in pursuit of gold.
And another stat from the Washington Post that I think exemplifies this kind of long-spread, and long-dated problem is they estimate that over 290 coaches and officials for Olympics sports have been accused of sexual misconduct since 1982. Over 290.
Shireen: I mean, I think what it gets into as well, this sort of culture of this allow-ability. This culture of what’s considered normalized. And, I mean, in some ways it’s trying to push back indifference. I know that with swimming a friend of mine, her daughter swims competitively, and they have to have at least two moms come on the trips with them.
You know, like, and I’ve talked about this before on the podcast. My own daughter’s soccer team, every practice, because her coaching staff is all male except for the team doctor is female, but she only comes on match days. So we have a mom on the bench schedule. So that every time a mom, or like, a female relative, or female-identifying relative has to come and be in that space to prevents this kind of stuff. And the coach said to us in the beginning of the year, I realize this is a big commitment but it’s to protect the girls and to protect us as well. Like to protect the entire team.
And, I mean, it’s not super difficult to get that implemented. And I think that this is something that, you know, sports federations and associations should really think about. Like, no, these are children in most cases. These are young people, they’re young girls, like, why are they not … They’re not a brand. They’re just … It’s so frustrating to think about.
Amira: Yeah, you know, I think a lot of this has made me reflect on my time in high school athletics. And, I mean, this is high school, it’s nowhere near the stakes of some of these competitors that we’re talking about. But, I remember how much access the trainer had to us and to our bodies and how the training room was a place that you kind of knew that you were a little bit on display, and there was this kind of weird relationship there with the trainer. I think about my teammates and some close friends who went on to, you know, play at the collegiate level, and the kind of relationship that they had, in high school, right? With their male coaches, who were supposed to be the people walking them through the process and therefore very close. And so calling them on their cell phones, or having intimate access to how their body was feeling, and all of these things that wasn’t even in this upper echelon of elite sports. Right?
I mean, we were good, okay, but it wasn’t in this upper echelon of elite sports, and I think about even there you saw this permissibility towards the body and towards young athletes because it was always for, like, a pursuit of a higher goal.
Lindsay: Yeah, and one thing I think that’s important to know is that the U.S.O.C president still has his job and there was actually a press conference at the beginning of these Olympic games and this is Scott Blackmun that we’re talking about, and all of the board members were there. Some board members of U.S.O.C, Scott Blackmun is recovering from a surgery and wasn’t able to make the trip to Pyeongchang, but they all just kept saying that he was serving with distinction and that he had done a phenomenal job, and that, yes, they were sorry for the athletes, but that, you know, they felt really bad for Nassar’s victims and … But they said, “Hey, the U.S.O.C didn’t come out of this unscathed, we’ve been receiving a lot of criticism. But, there’s just an incredible lack of accountability.
And you gotta remember the U.S.O.C knew about Nassar’s abuse for more than a year before everything blew up. And it took them until after these hearings for them to call for the entire U.S.O.C board, or, U.S, excuse me, for the U.S.O.C to call for the entire U.SA Gymnastics board to resign. That didn’t happen until after 200 women spoke up. So, I’m just, I’m over it. And, look, I love these athletes and I love rooting for them, and, you know, we should know this happens across all federations there’s problems with this. You know, we just mentioned that Canada hired this speed skating guru who was dismissed from the United States because of these inappropriate relationships and he was leading Canada’s speed skating until, like, three weeks ago.
Like, you know, but it’s just … It’s so sad and it’s so frustrating and I think we, as fans, and journalist, and we just have to kept demanding more accountability because we’re the ones who are gonna be able to report on this and follow this between these athlete regimes or generations, right? Who are gonna be able to tie these threads together, and that they should be able to focus on their sport while the rest of the fans, and journalist, and media [crosstalk 00:27:24] really push for accountability and safety.
Jessica: [crosstalk 00:27:24] Yeah. Yeah, I mean, this is all, like … Listening to you talk about this, Lindsay, it just sounds exactly like the N.C.A.A. And their own relationship, and I think that should ring true for a lot of people who listen to this and the way that we’ve talked about the N.C.A.A, you know, doesn’t have accountability because they don’t have to. It’s not their athletes, those athletes belong to the schools and they just, you know, oversee those programs, and that has always bothered me.
And the other thing that, you know … When the thing came up this week about swimming, I saw people saying, you know, swimming is next, and I thought, “Is it really?” Because there was … It’s a wonderful piece, but it’s horribly difficult to read in Outside Magazine, a few years ago, about the swimming. And, like, I don’t even know if I ever read the whole thing cause I had to read it in chunks because it was so upsetting to read. And it was so much about all of the stuff and maybe we’re in a different time now, that’s what we all keep saying, and maybe things will be different going forward? But I’m with you in my cynicism on how much we’re gonna change. Cause, like, we don’t seem to really care no matter how much people speak up.
Shireen: Next Lindsay takes us into an amazing interview with Lindsey Vans. Linds?
Lindsay: Yeah, I’ll let the interview kind of speak for itself here, but she was great. She was a pioneer in the sport and she’s retired now and is watching the Olympics from home just like we are. But we talked about her battle to get ski jumping into the Olympics and her experience in Sochi and what it’s like flying through the air.
Hello everyone I am so excited today to be joined by Lindsey Van, Lindsey is an icon of ski jumping. She won the very first gold at the women’s ski jumping event at the Nordic World Ski Championships in 2009, which I believe, in layman’s terms, means you were the first female ski jumping world champion? And she was the leader of the fight to get ski jumping into the Olympics, which first happened in Sochi back in 2014.
Lindsey, thank you so much for joining us. I need to start with something very basic. What is ski jumping and how does one get into ski jumping?
Lindsey: Well, thanks for having me. Ski jumping is … Actually, a very old sport, and very traditional sport, and started out in Norway, and has moved all across the world since then. It was in the first Olympics in 1924.
Getting into ski jumping, well, you have to live near a ski jump. And start out on very small jumps. I’m talking, like, 2 to 5 meters. So when I started ski jumping I started jumping over a hay bail.
Lindsay: Oh, wow.
Lindsey: And work on, like, basic technique, and then you work your way up to bigger hills as you gain experience with the technique.
Lindsay: How old were you when you first started ski jumping?
Lindsey: I was 7-years-old.
Lindsay: Oh, wow. That is amazing. So at what point did you realize, “I’m really good at this. This is awesome, but there aren’t enough opportunities for women in this sport and I want to take on that cause.” What was that journey like?
Lindsey: That’s a very loaded question. I don’t know if I … You know, probably watching the `94 Olympics in Lillehammer. I was realizing there weren’t women jumping. I don’t know when I decided, “Oh, yeah, this is the cause I wanna take on!” It kinda developed into that.
You know, jumping after many, many years and starting to get, you know, the top of competing in my country and it just, kind of, I just kind of fell into it, like, this sport needed to move forward, it needed to progress and somebody needed to do it. And, you know, as much as I could look around and see, “Well, who else is gonna do it?” There’s wasn’t a whole lot of options, so it kind of fell on me and a bunch of the other women around the world. Like, ranked in the top 10, top 20 in the world.
Lindsay: One of our favorite quotes here, we read this last week was from you and it was when you were talking about this fight, and you said … There were all these men that were telling you, who seemed just very concerned about women’s reproductive organs, you know, just so concerned. And, you said, “I’m sorry but my baby making organs are on the inside, and men have an organ on the outside, so it’s not safe for me jumping down then my uterus is gonna fall out, well what about the organ on the outside of the body?”
We read that on the show last week and our readers loved it, and we loved it. But, is that the most … I mean, what are the most ridiculous reasons that people gave you throughout the years about why this was not the sport for the woman?
Lindsey: That was probably the most ridiculous. But, like, that it was just dangerous from a medical standpoint of view. Or more dangerous for women because we’re more fragile, you know? It was the idea, you know, from 70 years ago. More than 70 years ago, and, you know, people are still bringing it up and it kind of felt like they’re bringing you back to the stone age.
Lindsay: Right? And, it’s like, I mean, it’s not a safe sport for anyone really. Like, you know, you’re jumping off of really high meters. Like safety is not, you know, you wanna make it the safest sport you can but it’s just so weird that that’s where you would draw the line for [crosstalk 00:32:59] safety.
Lindsey: [crosstalk 00:32:59] Yeah. Actually it’s the second safest sport in the Winter Olympics.
Lindsay: Oh, wow, that’s amazing! Why do you think that is?
Lindsey: Because everything is so controlled, because it is a very dangerous sport. But, everything is so controlled. The wind is measured, the hill is very well prepared, they have all these guidelines and requirements they have to make. And a ski jumper has to be very experienced to get to that level, and it takes years and years of training to even jump on the Olympic-size hill. So, it’s not like you’re just going out there and chucking your meat with no idea what you’re doing, it’s very high level of experience and everything possible to be controlled, is controlled. Every variable they can.
Lindsay: I love that. I think one of my favorite things learning about ski jumping and watching it is that there’s not the same gender divide that there is in a lot of sports. I know that you actually held the, if I’m, correct me if I’m wrong, but I think you held the record for a while on the mountain where the Vancouver Olympics were going to be contested. Is that correct? Like over the men and the women. There was a time where you had jumped the farthest.
Lindsey: Yeah, I held the hill record. And the hill that they used for the Vancouver Olympics until the very last jump of the Olympics where the gold medal winner beat the hill record.
Lindsay: Wow, and that’s amazing because you weren’t allowed to compete in this Olympics because the I.O.C had, once again, said ski jumping is not allowed, even though you guys had filed a gender discrimination lawsuit … How frustrating was that, watching from the sidelines? And being like, “I would’ve won the silver for the men at this event.”
Lindsey: Yeah, no, it’s very frustrating. When people bring up the gender divide and every competition you prove it wrong. I mean, you look at the distance of the men and the women jumping on the same hill and they go about the same distance. So, when the bring up the argument it’s kind of ridiculous because, like, you can take any other sport and compare the men and women and, yes, they are very different. And I’m not saying that we could compete with the men, we have to have a little bit more speed because of strength and stuff. But, essentially, from a spectator point of view it doesn’t look any different.
Lindsay: Right. Do you think that the fact that the gender divide is so minuscule in looking at the results is a reason that there hasn’t been more progress for the support? A reason that maybe these stuffy, old white men that rule all of the sports everywhere aren’t really excited to get progress in the gender progress here.
Lindsey: Yeah, for sure. That was my theory a long time go. And, I believe it even more so now because I see our sport progressing more but I don’t see anymore people that are controlling the sport, you know, bringing up the distances that are about the same. So, it’s hard to see that, and it’s like they wanna ignore it, and the gender divide is so close in ski jumping, and I think that is the problem. Because you take one of the original extreme sports and you let women do it, okay? Women jump as far, well, how do people see that?
Lindsey: Is it as extreme if women are doing it at that level? I kind of think some men would not think so, but I don’t know, that’s my theory. I mean, I don’t think anybody in power is ever going to admit that or even recognize that as a possible outcome for their decision, but who knows?
Lindsay: I mean, yeah, we can speculate based on what we know. That probably has something to do with it. It probable scares the establishment a little bit.
Where does ski jumping go from here? Because, as you mentioned, there’s the normal hill. So women are allowed to compete on the normal hill, and I use that word “allowed” very clearly. Because they’re capable of competing also on the large hill, but they are not allowed to compete in that event at the Olympics. They’re also, then, not allowed to compete in the team competition, which the men have. And then that means Nordic Combined, which is a cross country skiing, and ski jumping combined event, is also not open to the women. Do you see any of that changing in the future? Or do you fear that people are gonna say, “Oh, okay, well at least they’re ski jumping in the Olympics, like this fight is over”?
Lindsey: No, do you think it’ll change eventually? I think it’s gonna take time, I think it’s gonna take a lot of really pissed off people bringing up the point over and over again. At this point, since our first Olympics was in 2014 and this is our second time we’re in the Olympics, I feel like a lot of the competitors and the people within the sport are trying to stay low and, you know, appreciate what they have and don’t wanna push too hard right now. But I don’t see that lasting very long.
I hear athletes talking, I hear officials talking about large hill competitions. And we do have large hill competitions in the World Cup.
Lindsey: And, we train on these hills all the time. I mean, not me, I don’t jump anymore. But, these women train on these hills all the time and compete on them quite often as well, and I think, eventually, it’s gonna get to that point where people are frustrated and wanna see the sport progress, and I guess they’re just gonna have to take enough pissed off people to get to that point.
Lindsay: Right. Just keep yelling at them, right? Keep pushing.
Lindsay: Let’s talk about the competition this year. I think, unfortunately, by the time we air this, just due to, you know, timing and the timezones, by the time this goes up on Tuesday morning the competition might be over. So I don’t wanna go too far in-depth, but who are the ski jumpers watching now that you really enjoy, and who do you like to watch jump?
Lindsey: Are you talking women, or men, or all or-
Lindsay: Let’s talk women and then if you have any men, you know, we can give them a little attention, too. But not too much.
Lindsey: Women, we have a team now from the U.S. Sarah Hendrickson, Abby Hughes, and Nita Englund. They’re in the middle of the pack, right now. I hope they’ll do better, but we’ll see. But the ones tow watch now are Carina Vogt, German girl who’s the Olympic champion from 2014. Sarah Takanashi from Japan, Yuki Eto from Japan, Maren Lundby from Normway, who’s been leading the overall World Cup all year, and Katharina Althaus from Germany who’s been doing very well, as well.
Lindsay: That’s awesome. What’s your best memory from Sochi? From, you know, finally getting that moment to take off and fly at the Olympics?
Lindsey: Whoa, that’s a loaded question. I mean, the whole experience was pretty amazing. Walking in the opening ceremonies was like no other experience I’ve ever had in my life. I think I cried the whole time. I actually think I blacked out. And even watching last night I was in tears, and it’s just the emotions that brings back is crazy, and then I was watching the men’s competition today, and I could see how nervous they all were.
You know, they’re on the world stage, and it’s a different atmosphere, and it’s heavy, and, I guess, just to participate there was amazing and knowing that we got our sport there and it was a dream of mine from, you know, 7-years-old to be able to compete there and I guess standing at the top of the jump and realizing, “Oh my God, I’m here, it’s happening right now.”
Lindsay: What does it feel like to be flying in the air? Is there any way you can describe that to a scaredy-cat like me? Or to a person whose never taken off, what does that feel like?
Lindsey: No, you know, I’ve tried to put it into words so many times, and there just really aren’t words for it.
Lindsey: And I think that is part of the draw of the sport. And what appeals to a lot ski jumpers is that you can’t explain it, but it’s so addicting and you just wanna keep going and trying again. I guess the best way I could describe it would be, if you put your hand out the window at 60 miles an hour, and you move it around a little bit. You’re gonna feel every little movement is, like, magnified on your whole hand, and your hand will start going in different directions. It’s like that on your whole body. [crosstalk 00:41:26]
Lindsay: [crosstalk 00:41:26] Wow.
Lindsey: But, plus, with skis, so you honestly feel like you’re flying. You’re in control and you can manipulate your body however you want to try to gain more lift, and that’s the closest thing I can explain it to.
Lindsay: That sounds amazing. Well, listen, thank you so, so much. We will be watching the ski jumping. I know you are retired now, which is unfortunate, but your mark on the sport will definitely last forever. And thank you so much for joining us on Burn it all Down.
Lindsey: Alright, thanks a lot. It’s a lot less stressful being retired, that’s for sure.
Lindsay: You don’t get more stressed watching? I get so stressed watching.
Lindsey: I do get stressed watching, and I was watching the men’s event this morning at 5 o`clock screaming, and I definitely woke up some people in my building.
Lindsay: That definitely happens. Alright, thank you so much Lindsey.
Shireen: Now onto our favorite segment, The Burn Pile. Brenda do you wanna go first?
Brenda: Sure, so I have a pretty quick and sparkly burn, I don’t know how [crosstalk 00:42:28] to say that.
Brenda: Just sparkly. It’s like a spark to a flame and it’s not all that intricate and it’s easy to understand. The Peruvian Olympic committee was founded in 1924, it was approved by the I.O.S.C in 1936, so it’s an old institution. And they have a couple of athletes this year, too, in particular, that qualified to go to the Winter Olympics. And one of them is Ornella Oettl. She, actually, is an Alpine skier, and her younger brother had represented Peru in 2014.
So she comes from a long history in line of athletes. She has a Peruvian mother and a German father, and she took a year off of university to qualify. What has happened is that the Peruvian committee decided, just, not to register her. Yeah, did no fill out the paperwork.
Lindsay: Oh my god. Yeah.
Brenda: Yeah, way to go dumb-asses. And they basically … Right. I mean, this is, again, this is almost a hundred year institution that is perfectly capable of doing this, and it’s not only for her, there’s one other athlete as well. But they registered for the Winter Games in 2010 and 2014, this isn’t something they’re not able to do, and, yeah, I wanna burn the bureaucracy that is perfectly capable to work like a machine when it comes to keeping women, and working-class, and people of color out of their ranks. And then is totally, just, you know, elitist and also inefficient when it comes to registering athletes that have qualified for the Olympics.
It’s heartbreaking, my, you know, sentiments go out to both of those young athletes who won’t get a chance to compete for no other reason than the Peruvian National Olympic Company just, you know, phoned in. Phoned it in. Couldn’t show up for work that day. They had one job.
Amira: [crosstalk 00:44:37] That’s ridiculous.
Brenda: [crosstalk 00:44:37] One job! Yeah, so burn it.
Amira: Yes, burn that.
Jessica: Yeah, so my burn pile is sports adjacent this week. So Brett Stephens, he’s a conservative columnist at the New York Times. He decided that he needed to dedicate his latest column to defending Woody Allen from Dylan Farrow, who has repeatedly maintained that Allen, who was her adoptive father, molested her when she was a child. You already know what he says. He calls Farrow’s credibility into question, talks about false accusations, and writes such mind-bending lines as, quote: “It’s precisely because Dylan’s account plays to our existing biases, that we need to treat it with added skepticism.” So, sure dude. Also, I just, I want to say its worth noting that nothing has happened to Woody Allen.
So, in making his case, this is what I wanted to get to. Stephens writes, quote: “If Allen is, in fact, a pedophile he appears to have acted on his evil fantasies exactly once. Compare that to Larry Nassar’s 265 identified victims.” No, no, no! You do not get to use the collective voices of those victims against someone else speaking out. You don’t get to say that one victim alone isn’t credible simply because they’re the only one. And that’s disputable with Allen, anyway, given, you know, his wife.
But, for so long, plenty of Nassar’s victims believed they were alone. Plenty of them didn’t understand what had happened to them. They couldn’t name it. And now that people finally care about Nassar’s victims after shrugging and yawning at them until they collectively spoke out on camera in a week-long airing of the violence that they faced, because they existed at the intersection of multiple failed institutions. Now that people finally care, you don’t get to use them as weapons in your backlash against me too.
I don’t wanna ever see this again, ever. Don’t do that. Burn that shit.
Shireen: Torch it, torch it!
Amira: Burn it!
Amira: Yeah, this week, us on Burn it all Down, as well as some other people have been drawing attention to the increased diversity at the Winter Games, having a conversation about out athletes at the games. And apparently, for some, this conversation is a terrible example of political correctness run amuck. In a column written by Fox News executive editor John Moody, entitled “In the Olympics, let’s focus on the winner of the race, not the race of the winner.”
He had, yeah, the whole article is just, you know, a dud, as you would expect. But, in particular, there’s one line that I really had to burn, and it’s this: “Unless it’s changed overnight, the motto of the Olympics, since 1894, has been ‘faster, higher, stronger.’ It appears that the U.S Olympics Committee would like to change that to ‘darker, gayer, different’.” And, I just, what a historicism, first of all. 1884, it has been “faster, higher, stronger”, but in 1932 both Tidye Pickett and Louise Stokes, black women track runners, made the Olympic team but were left out of competition because they were darker and different.
That same year, German runner Otto Peltzer competed in the games only to be arrested 2 years later and sent to a concentration camp because he was gayer and different. So don’t get on a high horse and act like somehow acknowledging these histories, and the fact that we still have a huge disparity in access to Olympic sports and to representation … I just, everything about this … And you can tell that it was even a terrible column because, guess what? Fox News removed the column.
Lindsay: Oh my God!
Amira: Like how terrible of a column do you have to be to get Fox News to remove the post saying, quote: “It does no reflect the views or values of Fox News.”
Amira: That’s the level-
Shireen: Oh my gosh.
Amira: Yeah, it was from the executive editor.
Lindsay: Oh my gosh.
Amira: So, you know, but the thing and the reason why I wanted to burn this is people may not be using that phrase, “darker, gayer different”, but there’s a lot of things along the line that seem to reflect this idea that by somehow saying, “Hey there’s not a lot of people of color in the Winter Games,” is, quote, un-quote bringing the race into the conversation or dealing with, or noting that people are still not recognizing out athletes or saying, “Oh, we’re somehow, you know, being politically correct run amuck,” or whatnot. No, this is just dumb and I can’t believe we’re still having this conversation. I’m burning it.
Shireen: I’m gonna go next, but I’ve actually started thinking that I want “darker, gayer, different” on a T-shirt. I think that’s an amazing slogan. It’s just, I would love it and, you know, if my friends LGBTIQ community were, like, cool with it like I would just love it. I think it would be amazing.
Anyways, my burn is regarding Olympics as well. So we’ve been seeing, you know, beautiful montages and how, you know, the parade of nations, everyone comes together, so I saw an article last night, about the Pyeongchang officials canceling a Muslim prayer space because of anti-Muslim protests. So, what happened was, I think a couple of countries, I know Pakistan has a delegation and they just requested that there’d be a multi-faith prayer space. Which, to be very honest with you, as someone who’s participated in university, and trying to create a multi-faith prayer space, it just really ends up being Muslims using the space. Like, honestly. You had a couple of people who’ve shared it with the Buddhist communities, but it usually ends up taking the space.
So they decided to, actually … This group, and I’ll read this from this article: “Much of the hostility has flowed from the Pyeongchang Olympics Gangwon Citizens Islam Counter-Measure Association.” Like, you can’t put that on a mug or on a button because Gangwon Citizens Islam Counter-Measure Association, a relatively new group that pushed a petition against a prayer room via Google. So, the petition, which stokes fear about radical Islam in the South Korean Provence of Gangwon has collected more than 56,000 digital signatures.
So, in this articles it also goes on to say that the pressure was so much on the officials of that place that they were unable to perform their duties. So getting hit with a digital petition, I mean, you know really had them resigned to do nothing but cancel the space. And, for me, that tells me about a little bit of cowardice on a part of those officials. Like, not everything is gonna be easy. But, you know, I just sort of, I’m a practicing Muslim, and I, you know, keep my eyes open. I really hadn’t heard anything about, you know, Islam proliferating in such a radical way in Gangwon, I just, I don’t know I never heard about it, but whatever I could be, I could, you know, be ignorant to it.
So, anyways, that, I thought, was really sad, considering part of the spirit of the Olympics is to appreciate and let people celebrate their differences. And, I mean, I guess everyone’s welcome, but not if they wanna pray. So, I mean, this could be easily avoided. Muslims can pray in corners, I’ve prayed under stairwells, it’s really not that difficult. You just, you know, find a space, face towards Mecca, and off you go. So, you don’t necessarily need a room, but, I just, I don’t the tone of this, I think it’s unfair, and I wanna burn it.
Amira: Burn it!
Lindsay: Okay, first of all, I just wanna make a clarification. I’m sorry Shireen that I was not listening closely to you, because in this little chat here … For all of our listeners we have a little chat box that we use while we’re recording to keep track of, like, who’s talking next and everything. And after Amira’s section about “darker, gayer, different”, Brenda, who is a professor, I should mind you, types in our chat box: “Who is gray? Like old people?” So we-
Brenda: Darker, grayer, different.
Lindsay: So we’ve all been just crying laughing, and I would just like to clarify in case any of our listeners were confused, it was gayer, gayer, not grayer.
Brenda: We love the grays [crosstalk 00:52:51] and the gays.
Lindsay: [crosstalk 00:52:51] But we do love the older Olympians as well, but, we don’t want to displace the gay Olympians who are breaking, you know, boundaries. Whew, okay, alright, that was so good. Sorry, I’m still crying. Okay. But, I would just like to very quickly, though, rage on James Dolan who is the owner of the New York Liberty, the WMBA team. Who announced a few months ago that he was going to sell the New York Liberty, which was a little confusing.
Because, on one hand, I would like James Dolan to get far, far away from anything I like. That would be great. But, on the other hand, I really like the New York Liberty at Madison Square Garden in New York City. It’s a historic franchise, and it seems like he did what you’re not supposed to do, which is announce that you’re selling before there’s a buyer, or, you know, buyers interested.
So that was bad. So there’s been a few months of radio silence, and then … ThE WMBA schedule was released this week, so we knew that, well, presumably they have to know where New York is playing, right? So, we should have some sort of an answer. Well, it turns out it is the worst case scenario for the New York Liberty. What’s happening is James Dolan is keeping the New York Liberty cause he couldn’t find a buyer that would pay what he wanted. But, he’s moving the team to a stadium arena in Westchester that seats five thousand.
Now, the Liberty usually attracted ten thousand fans at their games in the Madison Square Garden. So, not only is he just keeping the team, even though he’s the worst person and has sexual harasser Isaiah Thomas running the team, as the team president. But now he’s moving I away from where most of his fans access, and he’s going to drive down the profit and the, you know, market for the team by making it in a limited capacity. That is absurd and it pisses me off.
Now, the did announce that the women will still play a few games at Madison Square Garden, of course they’re all daytime games, which means they’re the games that nobody can go to other than cam-kids. So, James Dolan, I hate you and I would like to quote our friend, Howard Mendel who runs The Summit, which I write for sometimes and we’re big fans of. Let’s just quote him, he says, “So to review, Dolan declared, he was selling the Liberty before finding a buyer, driving down the potential sale price, and ultimately choose not to sell, because no one met his asking price. Now, he’s keeping the team running, but entirely of his own accord, ripping it away from its traditional home and making it far more difficult for fans of the team to watch. With attendance set to plummet by definition. Eroding the fan base, making it more difficult for him to find someone to meet his sale price. On the plus side,” Howard says. “Isiah Thomas still has a job.”
Amira: Dang, burn it.
Shireen: Now, on to celebrating some incredible women. Jess, you wanna take us to the honorable mentions?
Jessica: Yeah, so honorable mentions this week. We have Shruti Mardana, who scored 135 off of only 129 deliveries, and assured that Indian qualifies for the next cricket world cup. Venus Williams, who played her 1000th career singles match on Saturday and it was a victory for the U.S in the Fed Cup. Malala released a list of game-changers. It’s a group of young women who are not only champions in their chosen sports, but also champions of social justice. The list includes indigenous runner Tracy Leoust, who was our guest way back on episode 12 of Burn it all Down. And Brianna Scurry, who has now officially been indicted into the U.S soccer hall of fame.
Shireen: And, can I get a drum roll, my friends?
This week’s woman of the week is Laura Gomez, the lone woman representing Columbia at the Olympics in speed skating. And was only notified seven days before the start of the Olympics that she would actually be attending the winter games in Pyeongchang. Gomez is a recognized inline skater and only began speed skating a year ago. So that’s incredible.
Lindsay: We will be rooting for you!
Shireen: Let’s talk about what’s good in our worlds. Linds, you wanna go first?
Lindsay: Yeah, sure. I have to say that I’m just excited that February is trucking along. I’m ready for this month to be over, I’m ready for the cold weather to be over, and so the only positive thing in my life right now is that time is moving forward.
Shireen: Amira? What’s good in your world?
Amira: Well, I don’t know, Jess is coming, this week, to State College. So I am thrilled and that’s really the biggest thing that I’m looking forward to. I’m just so happy. I also have a few talks this week. Jules Boycoff and Minky Warden, and Teresa Rumsemilar on the Olympic talk. Ones in New York, one’s at American, so it’s gonna be a very busy week. And, least anybody forget, Black Panther premiers Thursday night, officially on Friday the 16th, we are now less than a week away from the blackest movie being released in the middle of Black History Month, and I am absolutely thrilled. I have my outfit ready, I have my Wu Tang Wakanda pin, I am so ready.
Lindsay: Wait, Amira, American? Does that mean you’re gonna be in D.C this week and you didn’t tell me?
Amira: I am! I am. Lindsay, can I see you, too? Oh! Now I have two something goods.
Lindsay: I don’t know, you didn’t tell me, so we’ll have to think about it, but …
Amira: Oh, hush. I will text you. We will make it happen.
Shireen: I’m gonna go next, just so every body knows, before we started recording, Canada’s women’s hockey team finished five-nothing against the Olympic athletes of Russia, so we’re good. I know everyone’s stressed out about that like I am. I also am coming off an incredible 3 days with Brenda in Montreal where we had tons of fun, got some Le Canadian swag, met some really cool people, and just generally have a incredible time in the blizzards of Montreal. So that’s basically where that is. Women’s hockey is keeping me super happy, and I also am watching those montages. Just today I saw one of the narrated by Jim Carey, I know, bear with me, I know, Jim Carey. But, it was the words of Gore Downie, Canada’s celebrated and recently passed away tragically hip singer. So, it just, it made me cry, so I’m watching those. Who did I forget? Brend?
Brenda: I have good things, sometimes. I’m going to see the gender-bending singer BORNS in Brooklyn this week, which I’m pretty excited about. And, also, I don’t know if you guys remember Valentine’s day, making Valentine’s day mailboxes and card in your class? So, back before Valentine’s day got depressing, creepy, or, I don’t know, awesome for some of you that are really lucky in love. But, you know, as a third grader my daughter has, you know, a real sense of friendship about Valentine’s day. And, it’s a super cool construction project, so we’re making her mailbox, and then we go through all of her friends, and she writes out cards to everyone, and I think that’s really great and special and cute.
So I’m excited to be doing some arts and crafts that I can actually manage. Because I tried to make a volcano last semester, and it was a real bad deal. I mean, you know I put forks in the toaster, so imagine what happens when I try to make a volcano. But I can do [crosstalk 01:00:41] a-
Amira: [crosstalk 01:00:41] Brend, that’s-
Brenda: What? Yeah.
Amira: That’s so funny, cause I literally, like, that’s the opposite of my something good. I’m in Valentine hell with three class lists.
Brenda: [crosstalk 01:00:51] I like it!
Amira: [crosstalk 01:00:51] And I’m so over it. So if you wanna do my kids, like I have, you know, three Valentines lists that I will send to you.
Brenda: I do, I even like those lacy white construction paper things [crosstalk 01:01:03] that you put behind the heart.
Amira: [crosstalk 01:01:03] Oh! Awful!
Brenda: I love it! I feel like, “Oh! They’re so cute!” And it’s before love goes all wrong for them.
Shireen: So, Jessica?
Jessica: Yeah, so, Wednesday is Valentine’s day, but Tuesday is Gal-entines day. So I wanted to say Happy Gal-entines Day to all my gals.
Jessica: Today is actually the 19th anniversary of the day I met Aaron.
Jessica: Who’s my husband.
Jessica: So, that’s pretty cool, we’re inching up on the two decades here. And then, of course, I’m very thrilled that I get to see Amira this week.
Amira: [crosstalk 01:01:38] Woo hoo!
Shireen: [crosstalk 01:01:38] That is awesome. And I just want to take this time now to thank our flame throwers, who have contributed to our Patreon campaign. And, those who don’t know about it, what happens is you pledge a certain amount monthly, as low as two dollars and as high as you want, to become an official patron of the podcast. In exchange for your monthly contribution, you get access to special rewards, and with the price of a coffee a month you can get access to extra segments of the podcast, a monthly newsletter, an opportunity to record the burn pile, only available to those in our patron community. So far, we’ve been able to solidify funding for proper editing and transcripts, but our hoping to reach our dream of hiring a producer to help us grow the show.
Burn it all Down is labor of love and we all really believe in this podcast, but having a producer to help us grow would be amazing. As would be the opportunity for us all to meet and go on the road for a live Burn it all Down.
On behalf of Amira, Jessica, Lindsay, and Brenda, I’m Shireen and that’s it for this week.