Don’t Be Fooled: Doha Is Hot, The IAAF Passes The “Jordan Hasay Rule,” Coaches Are Overrated, The South And South Central Sucked, And Hicham Says Kiprop Can Run 3:24
For your holiday reading pleasure, we’ve got a Thanksgiving Week That Was. We tell you how damn hot Doha will be for Worlds, give praise to Max King, talk about Kiprop running 3:24, discuss Nigel Amos‘s “coach,” and break down the NCAA XC regions.
November 26, 2014
Previous versions of the Week That Was can be found here.
Questions? Comments? Email us.
The big administrative news last week was the 2019 Worlds will be going to Doha, Qatar, not Eugene, Oregon.
We’ve got eight thoughts on it.
1. The Eugene bid organizers deserve a huge thumbs up and an “A” for effort. They put up a great bid but Doha, which lost out on the 2017 Worlds to London, got the win, meaning Eugene very well could win the right to host in 2021.
Having a Worlds in the USA – the dominant track and field nation in the world – needs to happen at some point and Eugene is the best place in the U.S. to hold a track meet.
Eugene has no business hosting Worlds by the traditional criteria – Eugene does not have enough hotels and is a po-dunk town compared to other potential Worlds hosts. Yet Eugene was two votes away from beating Doha to host the Worlds. That is amazing in its own right and the bid committee deserves some major props. Worlds in Eugene would have been a great track meet and the host committee must have gotten that across.
(Please note, we still believe there are far too many domestic track meets in Eugene and think the Olympic Trials should at most be held in Eugene once every eight years).
2. The date of late September/early October for Doha is not a negative to us from a competition standpoint. It might actually be a positive. Having the meet at the end of the season makes sense. We’ve never understood why they have Worlds and then several other DL meets after that.
3. The date of late September/early October is bad for mainstream U.S. media coverage. We had an email exchange with Sports Illustrated’s Tim Layden this week who wrote:
“I feel confident that SI wouldn’t send a writer like me, who also covers NFL and college football, for a 12-day track and field competition in Qatar. It would get minimal traffic on SI.com and no space in the magazine. Just too much competition….If T&F, which is a niche sport, wants attention from the mainstream sports media in the USA, it’s best to avoid the NFL and college football.”
In the middle of August, the sports calendar in the US is dead as football hasn’t started and baseball’s not even in its stretch run yet. Six weeks later, everything is vastly different – football is in full swing and baseball is in its playoff chase.
That being said, the talk about ‘igniting a spark’ for track and field in the U.S. because Worlds is held here is one we (and a ton of people we talked to last week) never bought in the first place. We also don’t think track will suddenly be super popular in the Middle East either.
4. The fact that Doha is in the Middle East, where women aren’t on equal footing with men, isn’t a negative. It’s a positive.
Calm down people, let us explain. Track and field is the most egalitarian sport in the world. In track and field, women are treated very similarly to the way men are treated – much more so than any other sport – soccer, basketball, golf, etc. (tennis is the only one where it’s even close) – and to force the Middle East to watch a sporting event where 50% of the competitors are women should help the feminist cause. The women competing won’t have to wear veils or non-revealing clothing.
Triple jump world record holder Jonathan Edwards summer things up perfectly by saying the following to Athletics Weekly:
“I think the fact that 50% competing are women will be quite something, in terms of the development of women’s sport it’s something the IAAF are keen on and it’s what progressively the Middle East are as well. So I think in terms of competing and positive role models for that, I think it will be outstanding.”
5. The fact that Doha uses a form of quasi slavery to construct much of its modern stadiums is ridiculous.
6. Some are trying to say that Doha bought Worlds. Our thought? We hope they did buy it.
Some are trying to make an issue out of an insidethegames.biz report that part of Doha’s bid “involved a $30 million (£19 million/€24 million) pledge from a Qatari bank to become a new Official IAAF Partner in a five-year sponsorship deal.”
We don’t understand why that would create an uproar.
The fact of the matter is that sports teams are bought all of the time – normally with cities paying much of the bill. Indianapolis bought the Colts from Baltimore with a $77 million stadium, Oklahoma City ‘bought’ the Thunder from Seattle after the Seattle taxpayers refused to fund a $500 million stadium complex but Oklahoma City was willing to spend $120 million.
We had said before the decision was announced that if we were the IAAF we wouldn’t go to Eugene unless Nike came on board as a big-time sponsor. Doha ‘sweetening the pot’ is what happens all the time. Insidethegames.biz reports that “similar deals were part of the bidding process which brought the IAAF title sponsors in Samsung ahead of Daegu’s securing the 2011 World Championships, and VTB, the strategic Russian bank, ahead of the 2013 Moscow World Championships.”
If Doha didn’t bring in more money to the official IAAF coffers there is no reason Worlds should have gone to Doha.
7. Eugene shouldn’t extend the permanent capacity of Hayward Field by much. The IAAF minimum for a stadium for Worlds is 30,000. Hayward Field reportedly was temporarily expanded to more than 27,000 for the US Olympic Trials so getting over 30,000 shouldn’t be a huge problem.
Hayward is due for a renovation which is expected to increase its capacity. Vin Lananna says he’s not sure by how much – well we’ve got some unsolicited advice for him.
We definitely don’t think “Track Town USA” should expand its stadium too much on a permanent basis. If they do, then an average crowd of say 10,000 for NCAAs or 12,000 for the Pre Classic in Eugene will look small. A 30,000 seat permanent stadium would be more than half-empty for every meet except the Olympic Trials, unless somehow a renovated stadium gets a lot more people to attend normal meets in Eugene.
And that bring us to our last point, which gets its own section.
8. It’s going to be hot as hell in Doha.
When Doha was announced as the winner, it quickly came out that the date would be in late September/early October (September 28 – October 6) and therefore heat wouldn’t be a significant factor.
As Alan Abrahamson wrote, “The late September start, they said, means that futuristic air conditioning systems in the stadium won’t be needed – but they (the organizers) have it and, they declared, can get temperatures down in two hours.”
We don’t know what people are talking about.
They need the air conditioning big time.
Shorty after the decision was announced, a great thread was started on the LetsRun.com message board, entitled, “I live in Doha – The 5k, 10k and Marathon will be disasters.”
Some of the stats about the heat in Doha blew our mind. At first we didn’t believe they could possible be true. But they are.
Guess what the lowest temperature recorded in Doha in September during the last ten years is?
Yes. 78. It got below 80 degrees for the low temperature exactly three times in September since 2004:
September 26, 2012.
September 25, 2006
September 23, 2006
But it’s a dry heat, you say.
No it’s not.
This year the average dew point (dew point is a better indicator of how humid it feels as explained here) in Doha was over 75°F for all but two of the days Doha would host Worlds in 2019 (Sept 28-October 6). That’s humid — very humid according to this messageboard poster. For comparison’s sake, the average dew point in Las Vegas – which really is dry – for those same days this year ranged from 23°F to 40°F.
Doha is the desert but it’s on the water. Vegas is the desert – period.
Here is the Doha weather this year from September 28 to October 6 according to wunderground.com.
|2014||Temp. (°F)||Dew Point (°F)||Humidity (%)|
What does it all mean?
Doha, we want to see your state of the art air conditioning system. It will be good for them to get a trial run before the World Cup anyway. The track needs to be air-conditioned for the distance events.
But guess what? The air-conditioning is unlikely to help the 5,000 and 10,000 runners.
In doing some research on the proposed air-conditioned stadiums, it seems as if the air-conditioning is just for the spectators not the players. Also, Populous, the company in charge of building the stadiums for the World Cup, is trying to convince the Qatari organizers to scrap the air-conditioning as it’s too expensive and unsustainable in the long-term according to The Telegraph.
“We are doing away with all the air conditioning kit that is going to cost a fortune to run,” (Populous director John) Barrow said.
Instead, he is proposing wind towers that suck up hot air to create fan-like air movement inside the 47,000-capacity stadium.
“It is part of the building tradition in the Gulf to create wind towers which naturally ventilate. If you have got an air movement which keeps you cool like a fan that makes all the difference.”
More: *Abrahamson: From the heart, Doha wins for 2019
*MB: I live in Doha – The 5k, 10k and Marathon will be disasters
*IAAF claim Doha’s $37 million offer in 2019 World Championships bid was legal and within guidelines
*Stadium air conditioning in doubt for 2022 World Cup in Qatar despite fears over extreme heat
One American Likes Doha Just Fine
Former Cornell All-American Max King found Doha to be his liking as he won individual and team gold at the IAU World 100K Championships by averaging 6:14 pace to win by more than four minutes in 6:27:43.
Great Britain’s Ellie Greenwood won the women’s race in 7:30:48 (7:15 pace), leading GBR to the team title as well.
King, who was a steepler in college and has an 8:30 pb, is as tough as they come. King stopped competing at Cornell the year before LetsRun.com co-founder Robert Johnson started coaching the Big Red. While Johnson never coached King, he has followed his career fairly closely and always thought it was a shame that they didn’t have a 10,000 or even marathon steeplechase as he’s better suited for long distance events and he’s tough enough to do something crazy like a 26.2 mile steeple (King once famously pinned a bib number to his bare chest at Cornell). One thing people forget about the steeple – it’s a very short event.
It’s hard to run a lot faster than 8:30 in the steeple when your mile PR is 4:05.
One other thing about the race in Doha. It was started in the evening so the racers could avoid the hot, humid conditions as much as possible – so there you have it – proof that Doha isn’t just a dry heat.
The IAAF Passes The Jordan Hasay Rule
Doha wasn’t the only signficant administrative news coming out from Monaco last week. The IAAF also got rid of the ‘B’ standard when qualifying for Worlds. Now everyone with the ‘A’ will go and then the fields will be filled out based on a descending order list (sort of like how it’s done at the NCAA level).
It was reported by the Daily Relay that the US (and Canadian champs) automatically get the ‘A’ standard. While we wish that was true, we don’t believe that’s the case. The ‘Area champion’ automatically get the A.
One thing that no one seems to have noticed (we are calling it the ‘Jordan Hasay Rule’ as it clearly outlaws the type of race that got Hasay to Worlds in 2013).
Performances achieved in mixed competitions in track events will not be accepted. Exceptionally, in accordance with IAAF Rule 147, performances achieved in events of 5000m and 10,000m may be accepted in circumstances where there were insufficient athletes of one or both genders competing to justify the conduct of separate races and there was no pacing or assistance given by an athlete(s) of one gender to an athlete(s)of the other gender.
In case you forgot, Hasay had a slew of male pacers in her qualifying attempt.
Colorado And The West Are Super Good, The South Central And South Are Awful
One parting thought. The regions are far from even. Below we compare the men’s regions against each other and against Colorado.
If you scored the Colorado team against the entire regions, they’d have beaten all but two regions.
Check out below how the regions stack up. The West was dominant as it went 1-2-4-12-17. The South Central and South were horrific. The South had zero All-Americans and just one guy in the top 100. The fifth person from the South was just 185th in the race.
West – 36 (1, 2, 4, 12, 17)
Great Lakes – 72 (8, 10, 13, 19, 22)
Colorado – 80 (5, 7, 9, 24, 35)
Mountain – 96 (3, 11, 15, 31, 36) (this is without Colorado runners)
Northeast – 165 (26, 30, 34, 37, 38)
Southeast – 181 (23, 25, 32, 48, 63)
Mid-Atlantic -204 (18, 27, 46, 56, 57)
Midwest – 222 (14, 16, 52, 69, 71)
South Central – 495 (6, 51, 142, 145, 151)
South – 698 (80, 112, 152, 169, 185)
Thanks to 8:58 steepler David Melly for the idea to score it.
Race Of The Week – India Is The Place To Be For The Half Marathon
Many of our American viewers were obsessed with the NCAA Cross Country championships. Many of them likely missed the race of the week.
The AirTel Delhi Half Marathon, which handed out $185,500 in prize money and bonuses this year, has quickly turned into one of the best – if not the best – half-marathons on the planet. It certainly did not disappoint this weekend.
Heading into the weekend, the record for most sub-60s in a single half marathon was six. That record is now nine – yes nine — as nine men (eight Kenyans, one Ethiopian) achieved in a single race what only one American has done in history – break 60 for 13.1.
The race set world records for places six, seven, eight and nine. The top eight in the race even broke 59:30 – a feat which only 48 people in world history had done heading into the weekend.
The winner was Guye Adola, the 2014 IAAF World Half-Marathon Championships bronze medalist, who took down World Half champ Geoffrey Kamworor in course-record time.
Men’s Results With Prize Money
1. Guye Adola Idemo, ETH 59:06 PB/CR* USD 27,000 + 7,500*
2. Geoffrey Kamworor, KEN 59:07 20,000
3. Mosinet Geremew, ETH 59:11 PB 13,000
4. Cybrian Kotut, KEN 59:12 PB 8,000
5. Stanley Biwott, KEN 59:18 6,000
6. Stephen Kibet, KEN 59:21 5,000
7. Abraham Cheroben, KEN 59:21 4,000
8. Jonathan Maiyo, KEN 59:28 3,000
9. Kenneth Kipkemoi, KEN 59:43 2,000
10. Kinde Atanaw, ETH 1:00:17 1,000
*Course record/USD 7500 bonus; previous 59:12, Atsedu Tsegay (ETH), 2013
In the women’s race, half marathon world record holder Florence Kiplagat (65:12 this year) showed she quickly recovered from a third-place showing at the 2014 Bank of America Chicago Marathon as she beat current world half-marathon champion Gladys Cherono by one second in a tactical race.
Women’s Results with prize money
1. Florence Kiplagat, KEN 1:10:04 USD 27,000
2. Gladys Cherono, KEN 1:10:05 20,000
3. Worknesh Degefa, ETH 1:10:07 13,000
4. Belaynesh Olijira, ETH 1:10:08 8,000
5. Cynthia Limo, KEN 1:10:09 6,000
6. Lucy Kabuu, KEN 1:10:10 5,000
7. Tadelech Bekele, ETH 1:10:17 4,000
8. Beatrice Mutai, KEN 1:10:26 3,000
9. Alice Kimutai, KEN 1:13:46 2,000
10. Preeja Sreedharan, IND 1:19:03 1,000
For all of those of you who think coaches make runners, please read this article.
A high school geography teacher coached Nijel Amos to 1:41 and Olympic silver. As Amos explains,
“My coach had been my geography teacher but he didn’t have any qualifications (to coach). So I changed coach and moved to South Africa.”
Did David Rudisha Try To Psyche Out His Competition At The 2012 Olympics?
We’re sure many of you didn’t read the Nijel Amos article by the IAAF that was up on the website. It was a great read. We were really struck by this quote from Amos about the 2012 Olympic final.
“When I got to the Olympics it was the same. I knew Rudisha was in really top shape. In the call room before the race he told us he was going to cross [at 400m] in 49.2. He said to us young guys, ‘If you want to die, follow me. If not, then stay back.’
“So I knew he was going to go fast and I thought if I can just follow him and stay in the race I could finish well.”
It fascinates us that Rudisha would tell runners from other countries what he was planning on doing. We knew he’d told his fellow Kenyans but not everyone else. Was he telling them out of hope that they’d stay back and not challenge him for gold (of course one could argue that the best way to beat him would be to stay back and hope he blows up)?
Hicham El Guerrouj Thinks Asbel Kiprop Can Run 3:24
1,500 world record holder Hicham El Guerrouj was full of praise for Asbel Kiprop when El Guerrouj was asked at the IAAF meetings in Monaco if anyone could break his world record of 3:26.00. El Guerrouj said the following:
“However, the only athlete I currently see capable of breaking it is Asbel Kiprop.
“He has everything you need. He’s tall, he’s got a long stride, he has strength, he’s strong mentally; perhaps he needs to work a little on his technique but he’s the only one I see who has the characteristics. In fact, I think he could go under 3:25.
“It won’t be easy but he can do it.”
Quotes of the Week (that weren’t quote of the day)
I – “For me (the 2012 world junior title and 2012 Olympic silver) was very special. When I won the world junior title it was just six months after my grandmother died. I lost my mum when I was three and I never knew my father so I was raised by my grandmother.
“So I told myself that if I win, I win it for her. Since that day, everything I’ve been winning I’ve been winning for her, not for me.”
– Nijel Amos talking about how all of his wins are for his grandmother.
II – “Walking out of the airport (in Doha) at 9pm was a complete shock to the system and I was definitely not prepared for Doha’s hottest day in ‘oh so many years.’
“Opening the door was like walking into a human furnace. It genuinely felt like the sun was directly in front of my face, within touching distance. My first track session was at seven in the evening as the sun set but, even so, it was over 100 degrees Fahrenheit.”
– Scottish steeplechase runner Eilish McColgan writing about training in Doha this May.
Weekly Free Coaching Advice
Have you ever thought about going to altitude to train or sending an athlete to altitude to train if you are coach? If so, we suggest you read Steve Magness‘ blog post last week on what altitude does to your brain. Magness spends a lot of time talking about the work of Perry Renshaw, a University of Utah neuroscientist, who “posits that when coming to altitude, people experience an increase in dopamine and a decrease in serotonin.”
What does that mean? Well basically, altitude can make some people depressed and others happy. Magness believes those that get depressed won’t run well at altitude. If you are someone with a tendency towards “anxiety, mood disorders, depression, etc.” then Magness believes you “might have a much harder time adjusting to altitude” as “mood disturbances will predominate.” On the other hand, those who may need some more dopamine, but have plenty of serotonin to spare, might thrive at altitude. They might be the outdoor adventure seekers who need the high of another hit of dopamine to keep them going.
Running Will Ruin Your Knees … Never Mind
This is an excerpt from a Scott Douglas article on Runner’s World.
“Here’s something to cite if you find yourself at Thanksgiving dinner being told ‘running will ruin your knees‘: Regular running at any age not only doesn’t increase your risk of developing osteoarthritis in your knees, but might prevent the condition, suggests research presented last week at the annual meeting of the American College of Rheumatology …
“Non-elite running at any time in life does not appear detrimental, and may be protective’ in regards to developing knee osteoarthritis, the researchers concluded.”
Good And Bad Doping News
Thumbs Up to the PRRO Championship circuit – which includes most of America’s top road races – for coming down hard on doping. As David Monti explains:
The PRRO Championship Circuit, in conjunction with the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), has strengthened its commitment to a drug-free sport by funding pre-competition drug testing at all five of its events. The pre-competition testing is conducted in addition to the race-day testing that the PRRO Circuit has funded for the past decade. Pre-competition testing may be administered to any athlete in the field. Since it’s conducted a few days prior to the race, it represents a significant deterrent to any runner who might be tempted to take a performance enhancing drug in advance of the race with the expectation that the drug will have cleared the system by race day.
“This is one more way the PRRO Circuit is working to ensure that our elite field of runners is competing on a clean and level playing field,” said PRRO President Don Kardong. “When there’s prize money on the line, we believe races like ours need to make sure no one is getting an unfair advantage.”
The 2014-2015 PRRO Circuit includes the Boilermaker 15K in Utica, New York; the World’s Best 10K in San Juan, Puerto Rico; the Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Mile in Washington, DC; the Lilac Bloomsday Run 12K in Spokane, Washington; and the AJC Peachtree Road Race in Atlanta, Georgia. The 2015 Boilermaker on July 12, 2015, will serve as the PRRO Championship at the conclusion of the 2014-2015 PRRO Championship Circuit.
Thumbs Down to World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) President Sir Craig Reedie for saying the following to insidethegames.biz about the possible criminalization of doping:
“While the law has proved itself to be an effective tool in the fight against doping, no athlete in Italy has ever been subject to criminal prosecution. That’s the way it should be.”
A Few Parting Random Thoughts
Before we get you out of here, here are a few rapid-fire thoughts we had.
It was good to see three-time world champ Vivian Cheruiyot return to competition for the first-time since giving birth on October 2013. In Kenya, she was third in a domestic XC competition, some 24 seconds behind Alice Aprot Nawowuna – the younger sister of 2010 world cross-country champion Joseph Ebuya.
- IAAF Weekend XC Roundup: 3-Time World Champ Vivian Cheruiyot Returns From Pregnancy With 4th Place Finish In Kenya XC Race
Thumbs Up to the Denver Post for sending reporter John Meyer to cover the 2014 NCAA Cross-Country championships in Terre Haute, Indiana. The Post was the only out-of-town major newspaper in town.
The Internet – where most people give away their content for free – has really hurt the mainstream coverage of our sport. While eating breakfast one morning in Terre Haute, a LRC’s Jon Gault was reading a complimentary copy of USA Today. He looked up from the paper and said, “What do you think would have to happen at NCAAs for USA Today to write an article on the meet? I think someone would have to die in the middle of the race.”
Rojo replied, “USA Today used to be how we followed the sport. Dick Patrick (the USA Today Olympic writer for 23 years until 2008) was the man and the only way we really followed the sport.”
- Denver Post: Mark Wetmore: “This is probably our best team ever.” Blake Theroux: “We train harder than anyone in this country.”
Denver Post: Stanford’s Elise Cranny “Pretty Disappointed” With Her 12th-Place Showing
- Denver Post: Goucher, Ritz, Torres Rave About This Year’s CU Team
- Denver Post: Wetmore Before Conference On CU Legacy: “If I manage this group of young men and they run what they probably can run, it will be the best team we’ve ever had.”
- Denver Post: Wetmore Says Adam Goucher Helped Jump Start CU Program
Just as was the case at D1 XC, the favorites also came through at the DIII level as #1 North Central (men) and Johns Hopkins (women) got the titles.
- North Central Men Win Their Third DIII National Title In Last Four Years St. Olaf’s Grant Wintheiser won the individual race. *Results *Full Race Replay *USTFCCCA Recap
- John Hopkins Women Wins DIII NCAA Title 3-Peat Stevens Institute’s Amy Regan won the individual race. *Results *Full Race Replay
Thumbs Down to 2013 NCAA 60m champ Aurieyall Scott (10.96 100 PR, Central Florida graduate in 2014), who was arrested last week for unarmed burglary after punching a Walmart store manager in the face twice after he approached Scott for having stolen some items. Not good.
Other News Of Note
France’s Renaud Lavillenie And New Zealand’s Valerie Adams Crowned IAAF World Athletes Of The Year Lavillenie broke Sergey Bubka‘s longstanding pole vault WR while Adams continued her unbeaten streak to 56.
*LRC Archives: *Lavillenie *Adams
Quotes Of The Day & Last Week’s Homepages:
Note: To see a particular day’s homepage, click on the hyperlink of the date. The hyperlink below the date on the quotes will take you to that particular article – not that day’s homepage.
“I knew if I wanted to have a good chance of winning that I was going to run it hard. I didn’t want to leave it up to the sprint finishers, I didn’t want to go out slow. … We got to 2-K really fast and the girls kind of eased off and I was like I’m not doing that because that leaves it up to questions. I wanted it to be a true hard race … I was just, like, ‘Get to [the] finish, get to the home-straight and finish it off.’ It was so hard the last finishing straight with the wind in your face. I was like just get there!”
– Iona’s Kate Avery talking after her dominating win at the 2014 NCAA Cross-Country Championships.
“They’re a close bunch of guys, like brothers, and they’ve gone through a lot together: the arduous training, the sacrifices on the weekend, etc. There’s a bond, and they wanted to do it for each other …
– Mark Wetmore after his Colorado team impressively repeated as NCAA champions. Wetmore called this his best Colorado team ever and Jorge Torres agreed.
– Adam Goucher, talking about the #1 ranked CU Buffs, who will look to become the first Mark Wetmore team to defend its title on Saturday. At Friday’s press conference, Wetmore downplayed talk of making history.
“The Glasgow final was the hardest of my life. I couldn’t sleep the night before because of all the pressure. Everyone was saying: ‘It’s you against Rudisha.’ At the Olympics, I was just a young boy and no one expected anything, but in Glasgow I was the big hope. But then I looked in Rudisha’s eyes and thought he is just another athlete and I can beat him.”
– Botswana’s Olympic 800 silver medalist Nijel Amos talking about this summer’s Commonwealth Games where he beat David Rudisha by .3 seconds. This contrasts heavily to Amos’s first Rudisha story from London 2012: “In the call room before the race he told us he was going to cross [at 400m] in 49.2. He said to us young guys, ‘If you want to die, follow me. If not, then stay back.’”
“I have done investigations after Rita Jeptoo’s doping case came out and I have found that there is a cartel of doctors going round giving the athletes these performance-enhancing drugs. With the athletes being pushed to run faster times, there will be a tendency of some of them being tempted to dope.”
– Boston marathon champ and Louisville grad Wesley Korir talking about why he’s going to try to introduce a bill that makes doping a crime in Kenya. We only wish Korir were an elected official in the US, where doping steals way more money every year but politicians do nothing except raise outrage when Roger Clemens was questioned.
– Vin Lananna, head of Eugene 2019, after Doha, Qatar was selected to host the 2019 World Championships.
“I covered the first 11 official outdoor worlds. The best two were in a relatively small (40,000-seat) venue in Helsinki, Finland, where the most revered athlete in the country’s history is a distance runner, Paavo Nurmi, whose statue sits outside the stadium. (In Eugene, coincidentally, there is a similar touchstone: Pre’s Rock, where legendary distance runner Steve Prefontaine died in a car crash.) Even with dismal weather at the second Helsinki worlds, 2005, attendance was good because people have a deep connection with the sport. … There are few places in the world more beautiful for a track meet [than Eugene]. It may be a small town compared to Barcelona, but the worlds would be big time in Eugene. And a dream come true.”
– Olympic writer Philip Hersh in the Chicago Tribune talking about Eugene’s bid to host the 2019 World Championships. The decision by the IAAF is due today as Eugene faces Doha, Qatar and Barcelona, Spain.
Questions? Comments? Email us.