The Big Listen ended production in May 2018. While this site is no longer updated, all the content remains available for archive purposes.
Hey, pals! Not sure if you heard, but the Olympics have started. Which means that for the next two weeks, I’ll be glued to my T.V. and computer watching sports I know absolutely nothing about like Nordic combined and short track speed skating. And I can’t wait!
Yes, the Olympic Games are fraught with issues — displacement and debt being the most pervasive. And then there’s the doping and the commercialization and the weird nationalism. Those are all issues to be reckoned with. But at their core, the Games are about athletes excelling at a singular task, be it skeleton or skiing. And seeing the blood, sweat and tears on full display is why we tune in.
We wanted to give a nod to the Games of the XXIII Olympiad in PyeongChang, South Korea with a little Olympic extravaganza. And what better way to do that than by chatting with actual Olympians?
Madison Chock and Evan Bates are representing Team USA in ice dance. It’s their second time competing in the Games as a pair. They won their spot on the team this year by medaling at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships in January.
The two have been skating together since 2011. But in 2017, there was a development — Bates professed his love for Chock. Squee! The two have been dating ever since. Both say their relationship has added depth to their skating routines. If nothing else, it’s made those intimate gazes and handsy lifts less awkward.
In addition to being elite skaters and romantic partners, Chock and Bates are also big podcast fans. It’s a long flight to South Korea — 14 hours give or take — so there’s a lot of time to listen to podcasts.
Tell Me More Stuff To Check Out!
- Broomstackers — Every four years the phenomenon called “People Who Know Nothing About Curling But Want To Try It” happens at ice rinks around the country, spurred on by the Olympic television coverage of this obscure sport. Some of those people who go to learn-to-curl events — like Ed Scimia — get hooked. And sometimes they go on to make podcasts about curling. Scimia is the host of Broomstackers, a social curling podcast. So if pushing a 42-pound granite stone down a sheet of pebbled ice sounds fun to you, Scimia’s got you covered.
- The Podium — Since we are currently in the golden age of podcasting, it makes sense that podcasts would be part of NBC Sports’ coverage of the PyeongChang Olympics. The Podium is a daily show that gives listeners the Olympics inside scoop. It’s hosted by veteran sports broadcaster, Lauren Shehadi, and it promises to get the stories behind the Games. Also in the show’s feed right now are a bunch of Olympics preview episodes. So if you want to get acquainted with the Games quickly, this is a great first stop.
- Edge of Sports — Host Dave Zirin is one of the most astute sportswriters around. He’s also one of the most skeptical. Particularly about the Olympics. In 2016, Zirin wrote a book called “Brazil’s Dance with the Devil: The World Cup, the Olympics, and the Fight for Democracy” about the negative repercussions of the Rio Games. Zirin argues that every Olympics sit on these three pillars — debt, displacement and the militarization of public spaces. He doesn’t pull any punches when it comes to the problems with the Olympics. But he’s also a sucker for the thrill of victory and agony of defeat.
- Very attractive listener recommendations: Chitheads and Adam Ruins Everything
Do you have a podcast recommendation you’d like to share with us? We want to hear it! Give us a jingle on the Pod Line at 202-885-POD1 and leave a message. Then we’ll put you on the radio and you’ll be famous.
Thanks for listening, pals! ‘Til next time…keep listening, America.
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