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Worried about post-Olympics blues? These podcasts promise to keep the flame alive

Amrita V Nair | Updated on August 06, 2021

Nothing off limit: There is beauty and hope to be found in watching these men and women push their physical boundaries to achieve extraordinary feats   -  REUTERS

Inspired by the Tokyo Olympics, here is a round-up of podcasts that celebrate sports and those who devote their lives to the pursuit of sporting greatness

* BBC’s Sporting Witness is a weekly podcast that has bite-sized episodes that recount the story of a history-making moment in sport

* Hosted by professional basketball player Kareem Maddox, The Greatness tells the stories of Olympians from all over the world

* Hosted by journalist and producer Ed Knowles, the Olympic Channel Podcast is the official podcast of the Olympic Games

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Even amidst a pandemic, even during a time of continuing bleakness and despair, the Olympics exert a kind of hypnotic allure. Perhaps during a time when humanity is coming to terms with a formidable reminder of the fragility of our bodies, there is great beauty and hope to be found in watching these men and women push their physical boundaries to achieve extraordinary feats.

Inspired by the ongoing Olympic Games 2020 at Tokyo, Active Voice brings you podcasts that celebrate the men and women who devote their lives to the pursuit of sporting greatness.

Sporting Witness

My favourite from this list is the BBC’s Sporting Witness. This weekly podcast has bite-sized episodes — usually nine minutes or less — with each episode recounting the story of a history-making moment in sport. These stories can range from the controversial, such as the infamous “Hand of God” incident in football and the heart-wrenching, such as PT Usha’s ill-fated quest for an Olympic medal, which she missed out by one-hundredth of a second, to the jubilant such as Abhinav Bindra’s journey towards winning India our first ever individual Olympic gold. Each story is told in the format of an interview, often with the sportsperson themselves, and is interspersed with archival recordings that truly bring the past to life. The podcast has over 300 episodes till date, all of which are available here.

The Greatness with Kareem Maddox

Hosted by professional basketball player Kareem Maddox, The Greatness tells the stories of Olympians from all over the world and what the Olympics means to them. Produced by USG Audio, the podcasting division of NBC Universal, it features Maddox in conversation with these sporting greats as they talk about their journey to the Olympics and the broader impact and cultural significance of their achievements and experiences. In a recent episode, for instance, swimmer Sylvia Gerasch talks about her participation in the Soviet-organised “alternate Olympics” called the Friendship Games that were held in 1984 in which she represented East Germany. Later, due to growing unease at being used as a political tool in the Cold War, Gerasch deliberately underperformed for a time, before returning to form to represent a unified Germany in the 2000 Olympics. Maddox delves deep into the broader historical and social significance of the Games with all his interviewees as he does with Gerasch, while also uncovering the personal triumphs and tribulations that shaped their sporting careers. The podcast was launched in June this year and new episodes are released weekly. Listen here.

Keep the Flame Alive

First launched in 2017 under the name Olympic Fever, the now renamed Keep the Flame Alive is a podcast devoted to the Olympics and the Paralympics. Hosted and produced by passionate enthusiasts of the Games, Jill Jaracz and Alison Brown, the podcast covers myriad aspects of the Olympics and the Paralympics — from mascots to marketing to medals — all through fascinating interviews with Olympians and Paralympians themselves as well as with sports historians, journalists, and other experts. Due to the wide array of topics covered, the podcast is both a source of true delight for long-time fans of the Games and a great starting point for Olympic neophytes to understand what all the fuss is about. The podcast has over 200 episodes released till date with new episodes released weekly. At the moment, however, episodes are being released daily as the hosts provide day-to-day summaries and discuss the highlights of the ongoing Olympic games. Listen here.

Olympic Channel Podcast

Hosted by journalist and producer Ed Knowles, the Olympic Channel Podcast is the official podcast of the Olympic Games and is produced by the media division of the International Olympic Committee. First launched in February 2018 during the PyeongChang Winter Olympics, this podcast delivers inspiring interviews with some of the greatest Olympians from all over the world. These celebrated athletes and sportspersons talk not only about their physical training and the technical aspects of their sport, but also about the mindsets and emotional skills that allow them to compete under high pressure and at such an elite level. With new episodes released weekly, there are over 200 episodes of the Olympic Channel Podcast to catch up on, including conversations with renowned champions such as gymnast Simone Biles, sprinter Usain Bolt, and figure skating legend Yuzuru Hanyu. Interviewees often provide extraordinary insights into their journey towards excellence and the lessons they have learned along the way. Many of them are candid and open about the hardships that they have had to overcome to achieve greatness and their stories and perspectives hold lessons in motivation and fortitude that are universal. Listen here.

Amrita V Nair   -  BUSINESS LINE

 

Amrita V Nair is a freelance writer, public policy specialist and podcast enthusiast

Twitter: @amritanairv

Published on August 06, 2021

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