Flame Bearers: Keeping the Fire Burning spotlights women Olympians and Paralympians who sought to compete in the Tokyo Summer or Beijing Winter Olympics and Paralympics. In this season, we discuss what happens AFTER the Games, when the fans and cameras go home. We’re going beyond the glamour to see how these women stay focused when the focus isn’t on them.
Flame Bearers is the first and only global storytelling platform for women Olympians and Paralympians. We celebrate the journeys of unsung athletes alongside household names. We use sport as a conduit for social justice issues and provide action-oriented analysis of the issues closest to their hearts.
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-Apple Podcasts: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast...
-Google Podcasts: https://podcasts.google.com/feed/aHR0...
Learn more about Flame Bearers here: flamebearerspodcast.com
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Athlete Follow Up: Manasi Joshi (India): Looking Ahead to Paris
We met Manasi Joshi in Season 1, when she discussed losing her leg, rehabbing through badminton, and disability policy in India. Today, we follow up with Manasi since our last conversation in the fall of 2020. We discuss her rise to world #1 in both parabadminton singles and mixed doubles and her hopes for the Paris 2024 Paralympics. She also discusses receiving India's Arjuna Award from the President of India (one of the highest sporting honors in India celebrating 'outstanding performance in sports and games'.) That said, when asked what she's most proud of, Manasi' said it's her approach and mentality: "I think to be able to navigate the situations that I've been through, post injury, post picking up a sport. And I'm proud of speaking up for my own rights and the rights of people who are just like me... Right now I'm proud of taking a huge leap of faith without thinking what I'll get in return. I left my job when my sport was not even in the Paralympics. I just wanted to play and push myself."
Contributing experts include Kunjan Joshi (Manasi's brother), and Rajendra Kumar (Manasi's Coach).
Media clips from the following sources were used:
-Pavel Dobynin's YouTube Channel, '07 05 WS SL3 Group B Manasi Girishchandra Joshi VS Oksana Kozyna 2'
-Ability Foundation's YouTube Channel, 'Manasi Joshi - Recipient of CKAA 2022'
-Republic World's YouTube Channel, 'Manasi Joshi & Pullela Gopichand Speak After Her BWF Para Badminton World Championship Gold'
-Para Sport's YouTube Channel, '#MondayMotivation with Manasi Joshi'
-limp_noddle YouTube Channel, 'Badminton practice background noise'
-Sound Effects YouTube Channel, 'Ambulance Siren Sound'
Sneak Peek: Manasi Joshi
Sneak peek of our upcoming episode with Manasi Joshi, #1 in Parabadminton singles and doubles. This episode is an Athlete Follow Up with Manasi, who we spotlighted in Season 1. If you would like to hear Manasi's backstory, go back and give her original episode a listen.
Manasi's full episode launches 2/2.
Liu Jiayu (China): Prioritizing Happiness in the Half-Pipe
Liu Jiayu goes by Birdie because of the height she gets in the half-pipe -- she FLIES. That said, it hasn't always this way. Liu Jiayu started snowboarding at age 11 when the sport didn't really exist in China, so she didn't have people on the mountain she could copy or learn from...she spent her first day falling down the mountain: "It was the kind of day I'll never forget" she says.
Flash forward to today, and this 6x World Cup Champion and Olympic silver medalist, is the face of snowboarding in China. She's an Olympic veteran, having competed in four separate Games (2010, 2014, 2018 and 2022), and was the first woman to win an Olympic medal in snowboarding in the history of China (Silver, PyeongChang, 2018). That said, what's most important to Birdie, is having fun and using the sport to grow.
In today's episode, Birdie shares about her greatest role model, her grandma, and her prioritization of happiness. "Love yourself. No one else is you, so you have to be the one to have the confidence to be happy with who you are."
Production Team's Favorite Quote: "Everybody is the same. Nobody is higher or lower. You just do you." This was our team's favorite quote because it encapsulates Liu's deep humility, which can sometimes evaporate with success. Not for her.
Contributing Guest: Susan Brownell (Professor, Anthropology, University of Missouri-St. Louis, China specialist).
Media clips from the following sources:
- FIS Snowboarding YouTube Page 'Liu Jiayu | "I'm happy to win in China" | Women's Halfpipe | Secret Garden | FIS Snowboard'
- Sportsnetwork YouTube Page 'Snowboarder Liu Jiayu wraps up from Universal Sports'
- CGTV's "Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics: Chinese Olympian Liu Jiayu shares thoughts on snowboard training and upcoming Winter Games," 11.28.21, https://news.cgtn.com/news/2021-11-28/VHJhbnNjcmlwdDYwNzEw/index.html
- "China's 'Birdie' Liu Jiayu: Facing her fears and ready to rock," Ken Browne, 1.26.22, https://olympics.com/en/news/liu-jiayu-snowboard-china-olympics
- Cyrus Janssen's YouTube Page 'How Will China Perform at Winter Olympics? Liu Jiayu Could Win Snowboarding Gold'
Sneek Peak: Liu Jiayu
We heard from quite a few of you that you liked our sneek peaks of upcoming episodes, so given our bi-weekly publishing schedule, we'll drop trailers for who is next in the off weeks.
Next week we spotlight Chinese snowboarding phenom, Liu Jiayu. Here's just a bit of what you can expect.
Tune in next Wednesday, January 18th for her full story!
Alejandra Aybar (Dominican Republic): Swimming Through Adversity
We met Alejandra when she did a Flame Bearers social media takeover in the lead up to the Tokyo Paralympics, showing us a day in her life. Alejandra now shares her more including how she went from not knowing how to swim to Paralympian in 7 years. "In 2015 when I started swimming, there was no national para team...so I was responsible for 100% of the resources to compete and train. I had to work 9 hours per day, and after that go and train." She also opens up for first the first time about her traumatic experiences with her former coach, and what she's been doing since Tokyo.
We hear from two of Alejandra's best friends, one who was in Alejandra's swimming rehabilitation program 7 years ago (Bethania Diaz) and one who befriended Alejandra after reading her inspiring story in a book (Josephina Dieguez). They share who Alejandra is when the cameras aren't there, and a bit about what her journey means to them and other Dominicans.
Contributing Experts include Bethania Diaz (Alejandra's Friend) and Josephina Dieguez (Alejandra's Friend). Thank you to teammates Marissa Potter and Elizabeth Michael for their help with this episode.
Media clips from:
-Esta Noche Mariasela's YouTube, 'Alejandra Aybar, ingeniera y nadadora paralímpica: nos habla de su condición y sus logros en la vida'
-Telemicro's YouTube, 'Alejandra Aybar, Futura medalla de Oro Juegos Paralímpicos 2021 - Zona 5'
Photo credit to Ricardo Piantini Hazoury
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Holiday Break & Sneak Peek of Alejandra Aybar
We want to honor Alejandra's story to the best of our abilities, so because of the holidays and New Year, we will publish her episode next Wednesday, 1/4. That said, here’s a bit of what you can expect.
Tune in next week for her full story!
Well done. Nice to hear real life stories of athletes especially form diverse countries.
Open and Honest and Awesome stories!
Love the transparency and willingness to share these stories!
I love it!… and also now want to go kick some butt!
This podcast is great! I love learning about all the ins and outs of these different sports, as well the athletes themselves. I’ve gleaned details I wouldn’t have known before and amazing new perspectives. On top of that, Jamie does an awesome job of asking pertinent, meaningful questions. It’s we’ll produced and mixed, and very enjoyable listening. :)