Masomah Alizada

(IOC Refugee Team): Cycling for Hope

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asketball, uSA

Season 3


Masomah Alizada is the first female Olympic cyclist from Afghanistan, and getting to the Olympics hasn’t just been a battle against her own skills and competitors but also against the Taliban. In this episode, Masomah discusses her departure from Afghanistan, journey to Tokyo as part of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Refugee Team, and how she cycles for not only freedom but also for the solidarity of women everywhere. As Masomah says, she shares her story to make sure Afghan women are heard and represented. According to Masomah, ” I’m sure one day, things will change. Now it’s like a dark night, but the light of day will arrive…maybe in some years or maybe in some months, but it will arrive. The rights of woman will be given back. So, we have to be hopeful. I continue to think about the women of my country and say that we will never forget you.” For our listeners who want to show support from around the world, Masomah shares that Afghan women take notice when women from other countries share their stories. “When they see that people in USA, Europe, and other countries don’t forget them, it’s big for the women. Even if nothing changes in action, when women of Afghanistan see that people think about them, it gives them hope.” Contributing experts include Dr. Sima Samar (Former Chair, Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission), Rukhsar Habibzai (Masomah’s friend and fellow Afghan professional cyclist), and Zahra Alizada (Sister).

Contributing experts include:

  • Jennifer Bird (Sue’s Sister)
  • Coach Dawn Staley (Sue’s Former Teammate & Coach, Hall of Famer & Head Coach of the South Carolina Gamecocks)
  • Marina Mabrey (Professional Basketball Player, Dallas Wings)-Zoe & Alex Bird (Sue’s Nieces)

Audio included from the following sources:

  • Women Hooping’s YouTube Channel: ‘Sue Bird Hits Final Shot In New York To Clinch Win, Crowd Gives Standing Ovation Saluting Her Career’
  • WNBA’s YouTube Channel: ‘Best Of Sue Bird’s 3,000 Assists’
  • WCNC’s YouTube Channel: ‘Tokyo Olympics | Sue Bird’
  • Uninterrupted Love Is Manifesto from
  • CNN’s YouTube Channel: ‘WNBA players strike balance between athletics and activism’
  • 60 Minutes’ YouTube Channel: ‘Sue Bird on going public with her relationship with Megan Rapinoe’
  • March Madness’ YouTube Channel: ‘Best of Sue Bird and Diana Taurasi in the Final Four for UConn’
  • ESPN’s YouTube Channel: ‘Marina Mabrey drops CAREER-HIGH 31 PTS as Dallas Wings clinch playoff berth! | WNBA on ESPN’
  • Seattle Storm Official’s YouTube Channel: ‘Sue Bird | Press Conference | Sue Announces Retirement’


Madeleine (Maca) and Tanya are close friends who play for the Australian beach handball team. They both juggle full time jobs: Maca is a lawyer and Tanya a teacher. Tanya also has ulcerative colitis.

Sam Mewis grew up flipping over rocks in the woods of Massachusetts hunting for salamanders, while Lynn Williams grew up on a pecan farm with her “huge family of non-farmers” in Clovis, California. Flash forward and the two are inseparable. According to Sam & Lynn, they’re in a “very serious platonic friendship.” As former roomies who dominated the field together, gone through injuries and covid together, and yes, even podcasted together, they’ve seen each other through it all. As huge fans and supporters of their podcast, SNACKS, we thought it would be fun to have the duo onto Flame Bearers together. So this episode is a bit different than our normal ones, but we’re going with it! This week, soccer superstars Sam & Lynn talk about their upbringings, time in and after Tokyo and getting in front of the mic.

Liu Jiayu’s nickname is ‘Birdie’. It’s what her friends and family call her, and she’s had a soaring career as a snowboard pioneer, inspiring an explosion in popularity of her sport and a brand new generation of Chinese boarders.

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