Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Doha Daze

*USA Team Practice
*Oregon Journalism Class #Ducks in Doha!
*Heat Concerns as Marathon Approaches
Hammer Favorite Deanna Price with Husband/Coach JC Lambert
USA Team Practice, Qatar Sports Club

Team USA held an open practice at the Qatar Sports Club in downtown Doha Tuesday. The heat index was 113, and even as the sun went down and the temperature dropped, the humidity rose from the mid-50s to mid-70s to keep the heat index squarely at 113 until practice closed at 9:30pm.

 While not specifically set up as an interview opportunity, Ryan Crouser, Kara Winger, Deanna Price, Brooke Andersen, Joe Kovacs, Mason Finley, and Rudy Winkler all were kind enough to share a moment with University of Oregon School of Journalism student, Brett Taylor, and Trackerati

Taylor interviewed Winger and Crouser, and while my role was to help guide Taylor through the process, he surely didn't need any help from me. Taylor is part of track and field writing's future as a member of Lori Shontz's University of Oregon School of Journalism track reporting class, four members of whom are on site in Doha with Shontz. Taylor was well-prepared, integrated new questions into the flow of the conversation, and was respectful of the limited time the athletes had - a star in the making. I'll have more on the remarkable Shontz and her students as we move through the Worlds experience.

It's insanely humid here in Doha. While preparing for this trip, it was a big surprise to learn that the humidity is as challenging as the heat - and together they produce worrisome if not downright dangerous heat index measures. 

Yesterday's USA Track & Field team practice was open to the media. The heat index at the 5:00pm start was 113. As the sun went down (sunset about 5:30), the humidity went up from the mid-50s to mid-70s, so the heat index when we left at 9:30 was still near 113. Heat index today? 108 with 80% humidity. Marathons and race walks in this? Spectators out on the course in this? This is dangerous.

I have particular concern for fans. Imagine having someone special to you in the 50k walk, which will take 4 hours+ for women and men. People may lose sight of caring for themselves and get into serious heat-related trouble. This has an ominous 'this can't end well' feel.

Lori Shontz's University of Oregon School of Journalism Class
meets with IAAF writers/editors and social media gurus 
Michelle Sammett and Bob Ramsak 
at Team USA Practice in Doha, Qatar

l-r Alex Castle, Lori Shontz, Nate Mann, Brooklynn Loiselle, Michelle Sammett, Bob Ramsak, Mark Cullen, Brett Taylor


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