Adonis Durado — design director of the Times of Oman — tells me today:
I told my staff that the world would never forgive us if we don’t do this particular graphic.
Our paper is from Islamic country, and as visual journalists, it’s our responsibility to show this relevant issue to our readers: The challenges a Muslim Olympian will face this Ramadan. The sheer idea that we’re arguably the first paper to carry this kind of graphic kept us motivated.
And brilliantly so. Here’s the latest stroke of master work from Adonis and his staff. Click for a much, much larger view:
Adonis tells us:
This graphic took us a week to finish — from research to final design. At the beginning we thought we had less data to work on, but along the way, we were overwhelmed by the amount of information that we gathered. Eventually, we had to eliminate a few. We had even expanded our workspace from a single full page to a double-truck just to accommodate everything.
I personally took charge of designing the whole package but I had all my whole graphics team pitched in. I assigned each a topic or area to work on, from content down to tiny visual elements.
Here are a couple of working sketches:
In doing this graphic, we learned that fasting is just one of the many
hurdles that a devout Muslim athlete will face if he or she intends to
observe Ramadan. Perhaps the greatest would be finding a proper
sleep. There are five obligatory prayers (called salah), which one
must perform everyday. Muslim athlete should not miss praying, as
salah is one of the pillars of Islam, even on regular days.
Here’s a closer look at a preliminary version of the part of the graphic that lays the five prayers, competition and sleeping periods and daylight and nighttime hours onto a 24-hour clock. As the curved text at the top potions out, fasting athletes have only one six-hour window in which they can take in whatever food and water they’ll need for that day.
Again, click this for a readable version.
In addition, Adonis and his staff included a chart that shows prayer times for each day of the Summer Games, in both Oman time and London time.
Just how many athletes could be affected by the intersection of Ramadan and the Olympics this year? Nearly a third of them, it turns out.
Have Ramadan and the Olympics ever overlapped before? Five times before. In fact, they’ve overlapped all three times the Summer Games have been held in London.
Adonis tells us:
We also realize that six hours might be too short and too tight to pack the needed calories that would sustain an athlete throughout the day — and we compare this on how a British Olympic swimmer gobbled up 3000 to 6000 calories — eating 11 times a day — during competition. (See our source here.)
Adonis and his staff also included a nice segment on how dehydration works and how this might be especially bad for a world-class athlete.
This bit here — laid over the main illustration — addresses how, after four hours with no nutrients entering the body, the liver will crank up production of energy for the body.
Normally, you never know about this. It happens automatically while you sleep. In my case, though, I’m diabetic. The last thing I want is for my liver to increase my blood-sugar levels while I’m asleep.
Sure enough, I happen to have a bit of an overactive liver, so my morning glucose levels sometimes make me quite ill. As a result, my doctor has me on a medication called Actos. And when I forget to take it: Man, do I feel awful.
Interesting how these Muslim athletes have to worry about the same thing I worry about, but for a completely different reason.
We found very interesting data from ESPN.com that shows the degree of difficulty for each sport discipline. This helped us evaluate and plot which sport would pose a greater challenge for an athlete who is fasting.
Admittedly, this is part where we struggled in visualizing. In fact, our graphic editor made countless attempts before we found the best solution.
What graphic editor Antonio Farach ended up with…
…is a combination of circle plot and fever line in which the X-axis is not time.
It’s a very unusual approach. But one that makes plenty of sense, once you sit down and analyze it.
One last tweak to that chart added dots at the data points and highlighted the most impactful aspects to fasting athletes in red.
Antonio included, of course, a primer in how to read the data.
The visual focus of the entire piece, of course, is the large illustration by Isidore Vic Carloman.
Looks like Isidore used graphite for his base drawing and then added color via Photoshop.
Here, illustrator Lucille Umali adds color and cut-away muscle effects to Isidore’s drawing.
One more detail I’ll point out to you: A little segment in the upper right of the page. Here, illustrator Winie Ariany is working on…
…a piece that addresses what Muslim female athletes are wearing in London.
Like many Americans, I know virtually nothing about Islam or Ramadan. But, wow. Look at these burqinis. How on Earth does one compete in swimming events wearing that?
The dedication these athletes have just amazes me.
An the dedication of Adonis’ staff there at the Times of Oman? Ditto. Adonis tells me:
I know my staffers were already exhausted, as we just completed our sixth double-truck Olympic preview graphic before we embarked on this.
From left to right: Antonio Farach, graphic editor; Isidore Vic Carloman, illustrator; Sreemani Kandan, infographic designer; Lucille Umali, illustrator; Winie Ariany, illustrator; and Adonis Durado, design director.
Wait, what? Six Olympics preview graphics? You mean this was the seventh double truck graphic the Times produced for these Summer Games?
Apparently so. Adonis sent us copies of all six of ‘em. Again, click on any of these for a larger view.
This one takes a look at the events held during the Summer Games, going back to the start of the Olympics in 1896.
This one covers the history of the medals themselves — what they looked like, how many were distributed and so on.
Note the bar charts that run down the side of the left side of that page. The bar representing U.S. medals is a part of that chart, but runs across the top of the doubletruck.
This one looks at who paid for the London games: Where the money came from and on what it was spent.
This one looks at the schedule and venues in and around London. The illustration shows an imaginary U.K. Olympics team made of famous folks from history and fiction.
This one addresses just the opening ceremonies and the history of the opening ceremonies.
And this fabulously-illustrated one is a look at 11 athletes from around the world to keep an eye on.
Amazing stuff, once again, from the Times of Oman.
Find the Times‘ astounding Ramadan project from last year — all 28 broadsheet pages of it — here.
Go here to read about the Times‘ first big year in the annual SND competition.
Previous coverage of the London Olympic Games here in the blog…
- Friday, July 27: A look at the Chicago Tribune‘s Olympics special section
- Saturday, July 28: A face that captures what the Olympics are all about
- Sunday, July 29: Somebody, please buy NBC Sports an atlas
- Monday, July 30: A Johannesburg paper celebrates Olympic gold for a South African swimmer
- Monday, July 30: Cool front-page Olympic photo on the front of the Globe & Mail
- Tuesday, July 31: A look at Olympics pages from the Guardian
Coverage of graphic journalism in the Olympics by other folks:
- Josh Crutchmer of the Minneapolis Star Tribune has compiled seven more posts — so far — of Olympics graphics and preview pages for the society’s home page. Find his preview roundups here and here, opening ceremonies pages here, interactives here, Day Two coverage here and New York Times print and interactive pieces here and here.
- Julie Moos of the Poynter Institute posted 15 front pages from around the world featuring the Opening Ceremonies.
Olympic background material from around the visual journalism world…
- Executive director Stephen Komives posted a collection of award-winning work from the society’s archives.
- Larry Buchanan of McSweeney’s assembled tips from Chinese papers about what they learned about visuals coverage of the 2008 games.
- CNN’s Kyle Ellis writes about students from Ball State University who are in London this summer working on coverage of the Olympics.
- SND President Jonathon Berlin of the Chicago Tribune published an Olympics Q&A with sports graphics legend Joe Ward of the New York Times.
- Jonathon also wrote an Olympics graphics Q&A with Jan Schwochow, editor of In Graphics magazine of Berlin.
- Kyle conducted a Q&A with Andy Kirk of Visualizing Data web site.
- Josh Crutchmer of the Minneapolis Star Tribune wrote tips on how to survive the 11 days of intensive work the Games create for sports and graphics staffers.
I don’t have time to do much research myself — because I’m currently in Kenya on a consulting assignment — but that doesn’t mean I won’t post great work here in the blog. If you’d like to share Olympics pages with your fellow blog readers, send them to me. The address:
chuckapple [at] cox.net