Exactly one year ago today, the LetsRun.com braintrust was boarding planes to head to Doha for the 2019 World Championships. No one could have prepared us for everything that would unfold over the ensuing 366 days.
As we headed to Qatar, Alberto Salazar was still coaching, Christian Coleman was still competing, and the American 800-meter record still belonged to Johnny Gray. Eliud Kipchoge had yet to break 2:00. The women's marathon world record still stood at 2:15:25. No one knew the word Alphafly, and everyone was looking forward to Tokyo 2020. You could have placed a parlay on Molly Seidel and Jake Riley to make the US Olympic team and made a fortune -- if anyone actually offered odds on that sort of thing.
Track & field, obviously, is not the only area of our lives to have changed drastically over the last year. But it seems an opportune moment to reflect, given the track world will return to Doha today for the final Diamond League of 2020.
The 2020 Diamond League season has been unorthodox, certainly. But it's hard to argue it's been anything other than a success. As the season began in earnest in Monaco in August, questions abounded.
Will the athletes still compete?
Yes, they would.
Will they be in shape?
Will any of the performances matter?
Yes x3. Just ask Joshua Cheptegei or Mondo Duplantis.
Would it have been great to have an Olympics in 2020? Of course. Is the sport back to normal? Of course not. But as the Diamond League prepares to go dark for the rest of 2020, let's appreciate the efforts of athletes, agents, meet directors, and everyone else involved in staging a 2020 track season. It wasn't perfect, but it happened. And that in itself is worth celebrating. Here's to one last set of memories today in Doha.
The meet starts at 12:00 p.m. ET TODAY so make sure you read our preview first. Doha will feature the three best men's steeplers from 2019, but they are all in the 1500. 1500 stars Faith Kipyegon and Timothy Cheruiyot will both run the 800. The women's 3,000 is totally loaded with five 2019 World medalists, led by Hellen Obiri. Plus Mondo Duplantis in the pole vault.
The 2020 World Half Marathon Championships are going to be incredible but they will not include three-time defending champ Geoffrey Kamworor. Kamworor fractured a tibia in a car accident in June and his agent has told LetsRun.com that the World Half is "not in his plans."
Russian doping whistleblowers Yuliya and Vitaly Stepanov were our special guests to talk about their decision to turn on the Russian doping machine. Plus John Capriotti is out at Nike and is Yared Nuguse a lock for the 2021 Olympic team?
For more on the Stepanovs, check out David Walsh's latest book, which tells it in a way you could never have imagined -- part love story, part spy thriller. Walsh is the Irish reporter for the Sunday Times who helped bring down Lance Armstrong.