The CHill Zone of T&F: Conway's View From the Finish Line

Doha Review

Oct 13th, 2019
2:30 pm PDT

The 2019 World Championships just concluded. And I have to look at it from two perspectives.
From the perspective of location, it was an abject failure. Temperature wise it was so hot that the only time to go out comfortably was midnight. Prompting the walks and marathons to be held – at midnight. And even then athletes were dropping like flies. Too hot for “fans” to attend until local hero Mutaz Barshim competed. Leaving an empty stadium for much of the meet. With athletes taking victory laps in front of no one! And forcing the meet to move to the beginning of October instead of the usual August timeframe – which would have been even worse.
So, when we’re told by Seb Coe that it was the best World Championships ever, that comment needs to be vetted against the realities of the venue. Because clearly that’s not considered part of the equation.
What the Qataries did get right, was the technology. Technology that enabled air conditioning in a stadium to create a mid 70 degrees competition environment. Technology that developed a pre race light show, that I’m sure has sent the Japanese back to the drawing board ahead of next year’s Olympic Games.
It was the technology. The air conditioning. Track, warm up facilities, et al that allowed the world’s athletes to perform at an extraordinary level in the midst of desert conditions. As the athletes were the epitome of why track and field is the best sport on the planet. Because for ten days they ran, jumped, and threw at a level rarely seen in any athletic event!
While the sports leadership keeps looking for a “face” to extol, what Doha proved over and over is that the heart of track and field is the head to head competition! When our best go at it, it’s electric, exciting – regardless of the event.

Best Competitions

  • Women’s 400H – the lone WR set in the meet was the 4th meeting between Delilah Muhammad and Sydney McLaughlin. Each has been more exciting than the last. On the world’s biggest stage, it was Muhammad 52.16 to McLaughlin 52.23 – the #1 & #3 times in history!
  • Women’s 400 – Shaunae Miller Uibo entered as the prohibited favorite. She left shell shocked as Salwa Eid Naser ran a near perfect race to win 48.14 to 48.36 to become the third fastest woman ever!
  • Men’s Shot Put – It’s rare to see a 75 foot shot put. So rare that the last time we saw one was 1995. In Doha we witnessed THREE men achieve this feat! As Tom Walsh opened the competition at 75 feet and Ryan Crouser & Joe Kovacs ended at 75 feet!
  • Men’s Pole Vault – Equally exciting was watching Sam Kendricks and Mondo Duplantis battle in pole vault. Both clearing 19’7″, Kendricks winning in misses!
  • Men’s 4×1 Relay – The US broke a twelve year drought winning in an American record 37.10 with Britain 37.36 setting a European record and Japan 37.43 an Asian record in the fastest mass finish ever!
  • Women’s 1500 – Sifan Hassan pushed the pace and ran away from the field in a meet record 3:51.96! Pulling three others under 3:55!! Including Shelby Houlihan who ran an American record 3:54.99 in 4th. Bitter sweet as she just missed the podium as part of the greatest finish ever in the event.

Outstanding Individual Efforts

  • Noah Lyles continued his dominance over 200 with a 19.83 win.
  • Christian Coleman blitzing the 100 field in a PR 9.76 to become #6 all time.
  • Shelly Ann Fraser Pryce running away in the women’s 100 in 10.71.
  • Stephen Gardiner in a shocking 43.48 400 to crush the field.
  • Donovan Fraser dominating the 800 to set a new American record of 1:42.34.
  • Dina Asher Smith winning the 200 in a British record 21.88 after taking silver in the 100 for the best sprint double of the meet!
  • Christian Taylor once again winning the triple jump. This time at 58’9″.
  • Mutaz Barshim the hometown hero winning the high jump at 7’9″ to electrify the meets largest crowd.


  • Britney Reese doesn’t make the long jump final after winning most World and Olympic golds the past decade.
  • Michael Norman doesn’t make the 400 final after dominating the event all year!
  • The first 400H race to feature three men under 47 saw no one crack the mark and of course no WR after a years build up to the event!
The highlights however far outweighed the disappointments. As in spite of the heat, this will undoubtedly go down competitively as one of the greatest World Championships ever. In large part because of the plethora of going talent inhabiting the sport right now! I dare say that I expect the Tokyo Games to be on par with Mexico City in terms of depth and excellence of results!
July 24, 2020. The beginning of the Tokyo Olympics. June 19 thru June 28, 2020. The US Olympic Trials. It’s all right around the corner. As long as the 2019 season was, 2020 is going to be short. It’ll be here before we know it!

Doha Will Be Remembered for the Four

Sep 3rd, 2019
9:04 am PDT

World Championships are the highlight of the sport. They showcase the best that track and field has to offer. During each one, the absolute best of the best rises to the top to create the meet’s most lasting memories. The inaugural championships in 1983 was the debut of Carl Lewis to the world. The followup in ’87 was the debut of Been Johnson Read More...

Marketing the Face of Track and Field

Aug 6th, 2019
4:37 pm PDT

Between 2008 and 2017 many people considered Usain Bolt to be the face of track and field. The athlete that the IAAF built their promotion around. The sprinter they proclaimed to be the “clean” representation of track and field, because the IAAF felt that such a representation was needed.  When Bolt said that it was time to retire, Seb Coe basically said, “woe is me whatever will we do Read More...

USATF Championships Review

Jul 31st, 2019
1:57 pm PDT

For four days America's best track and field athletes got together in Des Moines Iowa to decide who would represent the US at the World Championships. Lots to say, some good, some bad, so let's start with the bad. I'm not sure what the selection process is for championship sites, and I understand that this meet is going to be held in the summer, but how many times have I seen this meet affected by rain? So on Championship Sunday we're hit by rain yet again Read More...

USATF Preview

Jul 16th, 2019
11:10 am PDT

We're a little over a week from the USATF Championships. No more competitions to watch. The time has finally arrived. And after months of meets - we still don't know much! With Worlds being so late, some athletes have been very cautious. Then there are the collegiate kids that have already peaked for a championship Read More...

Can the US Top the Podium After A Decade

Jun 13th, 2019
12:54 pm PDT

Ten years. A decade. A lot can happen in 10 years. Ten years ago, the iPhone made its debut - now no one can remember how we lived WITHOUT smartphones. Before that Blackberry and Nokia ruled the cell phone world, and if you were really cool you owned a Razr! Young people today can't remember either of those names with a market dominated by iPhones and Galaxy's Read More...

NCAA Championships Review

Jun 10th, 2019
8:40 am PDT

It's June, and there have been track meets being run all spring. But the weather has been horrible up to now, and results have been scattered. It seems like every meet has been "so-so" with the occasional "wow" race thrown in. Like we had Michael Norman scream 43.45 at MtSac. Then Noah Lyles and Christian Coleman square off at 9 Read More...

Grant Holloway – How Many Subs?

Jan 29th, 2019
6:45 am PDT

There are a LOT of exciting young  track and field stars today. Sydney McLaughlin, Noah Lyles, Mondo Duplantis, Gabby Thomas, and Michael Norman to start a list. After watching this past weekends activities however, it hit me that perhaps the most talented athlete out there may be sliding under the radar!  I remember when Carl Lewis first emerged Read More...

How About a Real World Championships?

Jan 23rd, 2019
11:32 am PDT

It's funny that one of the first things written about the sport in 2019 is about the addition of mixed relays to the World Relays event and to the World Championships. Funny, ha ha, in that they are being added ostensibly to make the events more interesting for "fans".  How about we make the World Championships really interesting by having it be about THE BEST track and field athletes in the world? My point being that it's time to have a true world event and not the knock off of the Olympics that we've been running since 1983 Read More...

CAS Needs to Get This Right

Jan 5th, 2019
7:45 am PDT

Perhaps the most important decision for the sport this year, will be made in March when the Court for Arbitration in Sport (CAS) makes a ruling on the Caster Semenya case.  This matter has been ongoing for the better part of the 20-teens, with the IAAF ruling Semenya ineligible to compete because of testosterone levels much higher than those of women Read More...